An Unlikely Group of Ex-Roofers Is on a Mission to Save the Whiskey Industry Millions of Dollars By Conserving the ‘Angel’s Share’
An unlikely group is developing new technology that it believes can save the whiskey industry millions of dollars.
A team of former roofers used its experience in the roofing industry to come up with an idea to conserve the “angel’s share” of whiskey. The angel’s share is the amount of aging spirit lost to evaporation during the time it spends maturing. The longer whiskey ages, the more the barrel slowly empties, leading to a great deal of evaporated whiskey that can’t be bottled and sold.
These ex-roofers have formed a Fort Worth, Texas-based company for their new project: Devil’s Cask.
If these roofers can save some of the angel’s share, as they’re aiming to do, whiskey producers would indeed be able to make significantly more money by selling more whiskey without changing anything about their production capabilities.
How Devil’s Cask is Saving the Angel’s Share
Devil’s Cask’s developed Aegis Coating, a patent-pending technology that involves coating the outside of whiskey barrels with a silicone-like substance that reduces the angel’s share and minimizes leaks, according to the Devil’s Cask website.
According to Devil’s Cask, a test study showed that barrels using the Aegis Coating technology lost 46% less liquid than those that were uncoated.
“The coating greatly diminishes ethanol and water evaporation from the cask without significantly affecting the flavor profile of the maturing spirit,” the website reads. “In addition, the coating will continue to allow oxygen to permeate the wooden cask.”
If successful, and if it truly doesn’t have a noticeable impact on the flavor of the spirit, this technology could be groundbreaking for the whiskey industry, as it will allow distilleries, especially those in higher-altitude states, such as Colorado, to increase their yields and thus profits.
How Devil’s Cask Got Its Start
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, founder and CEO Jeremy Grunewald came up with the idea while touring Jameson distillery in Ireland.
“I’m like, ‘I wonder if anyone’s actually tried this before and looked into it and see what types of applications or patents or technologies are out there to kind of improve wooden barrels’,” Grunewald said, according to the Star-Telegram. “There’s not a lot of innovation, there’s not a lot of advancement, it’s very much an industry that’s ripe with heritage and tradition.”
While on the tour, Grunewald said a guide mentioned that Jameson loses about 26,000 bottles worth of whiskey every day to evaporation.
“I’m like, man, this sounds kind of like a waterproofing vapor barrier type of thing that I’ve spent my whole career for the past decade on developing, designing and working with,” he said.
Last summer, Devil’s Cask journeyed to Kentucky to market its product, a trip chief operating officer Chase Ament told the Star-Telegram resulted in “encouraging” talks. Whiskey companies are interested and are waiting on data from tests.
At the moment, Devil’s Cask has about 75 coated barrels of whiskey aging, with plans to increase that number to hundreds or thousands. per the Star-Telegram. And the company isn’t limiting itself to whiskey.
“That’s just for the whiskey side of it, tequila [like] reposado and añejo are also aged in barrels,” Ament said. “That’s a whole new market that we’re gonna explore.”
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