Environmental Impact on Beer & Whiskey

Researchers at Oregon State University recently conducted a project that looked at the impact of the environment on beer and whisky. Dustin Herb said they wanted to see if terroir could be used as a differentiator when marketing other types of alcohol as opposed to wine.

“We’re just really scratching the surface when it comes to understanding the overall role that these environments play, but the long and the short of it is that yes, there is something that is going on in the environment, in the interaction with each variety that contributes to the flavor in each new experience.”

Those impacts, he noted, could be positive or negative, but it’s there. Herb said that he sees a future where, much like AVAs in the winery industry, alcohol and beer could offer regional added value.

“It’s not just about producing whiskey with better flavor, it’s also about making a product that is of high quality and that is representative of where it’s being grown and allowing flexibility and profitability for the growers the develop products from certain areas.”

The researchers used gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and the noses of a six-person trained sensory panel to determine which compounds in the barley most contributed to the aroma of the new make spirit.

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