Ultrasonically-Aged Alcohol? You Can’t Make This Stuff Up
Humans are innate problem solvers. When it comes to the creation of food and beverages, it is no different. For as long as farming has existed (which is a really, really long time), we have been finding ways to make things taste better, grow faster, grow bigger and become better than ever before. One such example is wheat. Historically, wheat grew over a long period of time and yielded unpredictable results. What you (the farmer) got was what you got. Over time as demand increased, solution was created to make wheat grow faster, and in larger quantities to meet demand.
The same can be said for humans and alcohol creation. We drink when we are happy, sad, celebrating, or even just waiting for a flight at the airport. Much like the wheat example above, methods of producing alcohol has improved. Take brandy for example. Making brandy is so fine an art that the production process is law in Europe. Brandy is undrinkable when first distilled, but then after being left to age it reaches maturity and can be bottled. Brandy can be (and has been) aged anywhere from 2 years to 153 years, the oldest bottle ever sold produced in 1858 and sold in Shanghai in 2011 for $156,700 USD.
With advancing technology, a research team in Spain has found a way to speed up the process. The researchers sent the distilled wine through oak chips (a traditional method), but as it passed through, they hit it with ultrasound waves. The resulting drink, which took only three days to create, was judged by 8 industry experts and deemed to be akin to 2-year aged brandy.
Although the resulting liquor could not be called ‘brandy’ in the traditional definition of the word because it didn’t follow European laws of production, the results were exciting to say the least.
For years, researchers have been experimenting with ultrasonic sound for a variety of outcomes in the wine category also. It has been found and reported by Hielschler Technologies that using ultrasonic sound in a variety of ways can lead to increased flavor intensification, faster yield times, better colour, longer shelf life, and faster oaking and aging. All of these incredible innovations make it possible to make better wine faster, and unlike brandy, it is legal to call it wine.
This type of process is still in its infancy, and the outcomes have yet to find their place in the market. One potential gap in this product is the story behind the beverage. As evidenced by Hubba’s craft brands, consumers love a story. But as we can see by the influx of market share boutique beers have gained in the last 7-10 years and the consumer base the “new guys” have garnered, there is always room from more alcohol. And for the most part, there are consumers who will buy it. As these technologies progress, become more refined and less expensive, it is safe to bet that ‘ultrasonic-made’ alcohol is something the average consumer will be able to buy sooner than we think.
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