Ohio small-batch brewery Cleveland Whiskey has developed a pressure-based cooking method that ages bourbon whiskey in less than a week.
While ageing bourbon in a barrel used to be the only way to create a quality product, Cleveland Whiskey owner Tom Lix’s new method aims to shake up tradition. “We use a technology that accelerates the process considerably while producing a bold yet exceptionally smooth whiskey,” he told Stylus. ”This isn’t just disruptive technology, but disruptive thinking as well.”
After ageing the bourbon whiskey in an oak wood barrel for six months, Lix pours the liquid into a stainless steel tank with pieces of the original barrel and then manipulates the tank’s temperature and pressure levels. This process agitates the liquor’s molecules quickly, shortening the maturation period from several years to just under a week.
Lix estimates he is selling about 1,000 bottles each week. Though demand is growing nationwide, the bourbon is currently only available in select stores in the Ohio area. He plans to expand the facilities and increase productivity over the next few months in order to meet demand. “At this point we have interest from consumers, distributors and retailers pretty much across the country,” he said.
New ageing techniques are also being used to adapt the flavour of the alcohol. Last month, Napa Valley’s Mira Winery announced it had submerged two bottles of wine 60 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. Gustavo Gonzalez of Mira Winery described the flavour of the wine to UK newspaper The Telegraph, saying it was: “more complex and broad, more open and relaxed". The winery is said to be the first in the US to age its product in such a way, and has plans to submerge additional bottles for up to six months.
See more on ocean-aged alcohol and ways in which traditional production methods are being modernised in Cask-Aged Liquor.