The future (And technology) waits for no one or anything….
Not even whiskey…
But the tech stuff IS missing something right now….
Will it sell?
There is an old joke about business that gets told a lot in Napa Valley: How do you make a small fortune in wine? Start with a large fortune.
The same goes for making whiskey. Equipment, barrels and enough space to keep them all can cost millions, money you won’t recoup until years later, when the spirit has matured. In the meantime, you’ll have lost 20 percent or more of your product to evaporation as it ages — what distillers wistfully call “the angel’s share.”
Whiskey, in other words, is ready to be hacked — at least according to Stuart Aaron and Martin Janousek. Their company, Bespoken Spirits, in Menlo Park, Calif., says it can make whiskey in just a few days, using heat and pressure to force alcohol in and out of small pieces of wood that give the spirit its characteristic flavor and color.
“With modern material science and data analytics, we can change this antiquated industry,” Mr. Aaron said.
Bespoken, whose first bottles appeared in stores last fall, joins a crowded field. Nearly a dozen companies claim that they can speed, or even bypass, the aging process. Many have attracted significant attention from investors: Endless West, in San Francisco, has received nearly $13 million in funding since it was founded in 2015, while Bespoken’s backers include the retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter….
Spirits experts tend to agree that whiskeys like these have a way to go before they can compete with conventional labels.
“From my analysis, while someone can create a good product, I don’t get the same kind of complexity as you get from, say, an old bourbon,” said Nancy Fraley, a veteran freelance blender who consults with dozens of spirits companies in the United States and Europe….
For a traditional whiskey blender like Ms. Fraley, that’s more than OK.
“From what I have seen and tasted, I don’t see it replicating a 20-year-old whiskey,” she said. “Does that mean it’s bad? No. Does is have a place in the market? Yes. Just as long as we’re clear that it’s not the same thing.”…
image…Credit…Gabriela Hasbun for The New York Times