Drinking whiskey could soon be a step in tackling climate change, and if you don’t believe us, keep reading.
It’s hard to believe that shortly we could be drinking environmentally friendly whiskey, which has been created using sustainably grown barley – at least, that’s what scientists are hoping for.
While it is not entirely sure that sustainable barley will be fit to drink, scientists are adamant that they will undertake extensive research to see if we can reach the end goal – sustainable whiskey production.
If so, this could significantly impact our planet without compromising the distinctive character of whiskey. Sit back, relax and let us explain.
Scientists to trial sustainable barley − research has begun
Whiskey experts and scientists are embarking on a groundbreaking journey that could change how we look at whiskey.
By testing the viability of growing barley sustainably, researchers from University College Dublin (UCD) and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh aim to ensure it meets the stringent requirements for distilling high-quality whiskeys. And it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Extensive tests are being conducted on barley cultivated with green fertilisers in the hopes of taking a more environmentally friendly approach to whiskey production.
Ireland and Scotland are well known for their excellent quality whiskey, so it was a no-brainer that experts from both countries would team up to see if this could significantly reduce our dependence on non-renewable fertilisers in the production process.
A two-year project − tests and trials
The project, lasting two years, is being funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and scientists from both universities plan to test three types of sustainable fertilisers during the process.
Researchers Dr Ross Alexander and Dr Calum Holmes are set to conduct these experiments in the university’s world-renowned International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD).
Dr Angela Feechan, a plant pathologist at Heriot-Watt, recently explained that it is not enough to know if barley can be grown without using fossil fuels but what changes could occur when using a biostimulant.
The main aim of the trials is to see if the barley can still retain its high quality when sustainable fertiliser is used, such as its ability to respond to high heat or fight off disease.
When speaking of the grain in question, Dr Feechan said, “The Irish BioCrop project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is carrying out field trials at the moment, and we’ll be using their grains” – named Cassia, Valeria and RGT Planet.
The future of whiskey − paving the way for sustainable whiskey making
While the outcome of this innovative trial could mark a significant shift towards a more resource-efficient and environmentally friendly whisky production process, there is a lot to be analysed beforehand.
Through meticulous micro malting research, the experts aim to gain certainty regarding the potential effects of biostimulants on barley, including aspects like seed growth, grain size, enzyme values and soluble protein content.
The stringent process could result in the barley being deemed suitable or unsuitable for whiskey production.
Still, with extensive testing, only time will tell if we will soon be able to continue to savour the timeless pleasure of a fine whiskey while reducing our carbon footprint and wouldn’t we all love that?