There are various reasons why a faster aging process might be desirable. But it can come at a price, and it can even cost the maker good whiskey. Some of the earlier craft whiskey folks found out the hard way that trying to push it too fast will not only ruin your whiskey, but your reputation as well as all other craft whiskey makers. There have been some advances in the process though, and Richard Thomas wrote a nice down and dirty on the subject for The Whiskey Reviewer.
Can Technology Shorten The Science Of Barrel Maturation?
By Richard Thomas
If public has been smothered with any one whiskey factoid lately, it’s that whiskey simply can’t be produced on demand. Actually, unaged whiskey can be made on demand, but the aged stuff takes longer, and boom times have left production decisions made several years ago a step or two behind the reality of modern demand.
Take Jim Beam, which filled a staggering one million barrels of whiskey between 2014 and 2016 and has two million barrels in its warehouses. Some simple math tells us that half of Beam’s inventory is two years old or less, and against this even the modest Jim Beam White hovers in the four to six year age range. In between is the situation that has driven Beam to take the age statement off of Jim Beam Black, Basil Hayden and Knob Creek. While not quite a shortage, it’s certainly an uncomfortable, if not painful, pinch.
The big distillers have a substantial investment, in brand identities, stock and infrastructure, tied up in making whiskey in the traditional way. Distillers in the burgeoning American craft distilling sector can… (read more here)