A look into the future of the drinks industry.

March 30th 2017

Inspired by a recent article in the Metro, entitled ‘Tech Gets Tipsy’, we decided to explore the relationship between the spirits industry and technology, as well as how innovations are shaping the way we experience drinking our favourite tipples.

For example, Virgin Holidays has created ‘Holiday Spirit’, the world’s first data-distilled rum. IBM’s Watson supercomputer drew out the strongest emotions in 15 million holiday-related posts, analysed them, and then matched each emotion with a flavour – pairing the feeling of happiness with vanilla, for example. The data was then used to create a uniquely smooth blend, which ‘tastes just like a holiday’, thanks to rum connoisseur Ian Burrell.

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In addition, Japanese brand Suntory and Scotland’s Ardbeg Distillery have both sent whisky samples to the International Space Station to see how zero-gravity affects taste. Suntory’s scientists wanted to see how ‘the formation of high-dimensional molecular beverages consisting of water, ethanol, and other ingredients in alcoholic beverages contributes to the development of mellowness’, with experiments taking place in Japan’s ‘Kibo’ module on the ISS. Scotch brand Ballantine has even created the Space Glass, a vessel designed to drink whisky in space.

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Other innovations include Bartesain, a machine created by engineers for bar-quality cocktails on demand, and a VR cocktail experience at One Aldwych Hotel in London.

Finally, researchers from the National University of Singapore are even developing ‘virtual flavours’ that can be downloaded from the internet, adding a new dimension to drink advertising and imagery in the future.