Technological innovation in the Scotch whisky industry

Tradition is a very important factor in the Scotch whisky business both for the producers and fans of the product. Attachment to the customs established over the centuries, such as the use of the same products or whisky production methods, is often highly exposed in the producers' marketing materials. This does not mean, however, that the whisky industry is not looking for modern solutions and innovations, as exemplified by the solutions announced in recent weeks by one of the industry leaders - Diageo.

Diageo has created the world's first 100% plastic-free paper bottle for high-alcohol drinks. The bottle will make its debut as a packaging for the famous Johnnie Walker whisky in early 2021. The project was created in partnership with the Pulpex Limited consortium, which as a leader in sustainable packaging technologies developed the first scalable, fully plastic-free and recyclable bottle. Its use as a packaging for one of the most popular Scotch whisky in the world is a major step for the whisky industry towards sustainable development and ecological solutions.

Innovative technological solutions are also introduced at the very beginning of the production stage - at the moment of filling the casks with fresh distillate. Diageo, in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, Siemens and Kigtek, has developed a modern cask filling method that can save producers millions of pounds. The result is an innovative mechanical station and a digital system that will replace traditional methods of filling kegs in the future. Automating this process is primarily aimed at solving the problem of uneven filling levels in casks resulting from overfilling or underfilling. The use of the new technology is to allow full control of every drop that goes into the cask, which will allow producers to save significant expenses related to logistics and warehouse space.

The issue may seem insignificant, but given the scale of Scotch whisky production, the potential savings could be in millions of pounds. Suffice it to say that Diageo currently stores over 11 million casks of aging liquor. Filling them all to the maximum level would allow significant savings in storage space. For such a large scale of production, it is also necessary to maintain the highest standardization and repeatability.

Solutions developed and tested by Diageo could set the standard for the Scotch whisky industry for the future.

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