Industrial and Biomedical Biotechnology

SWRI (Scotch Whisky Research Institute) is registered in Scotland. It is also the member of AIRTO (association of independent research and technology). SWRI is mainly situated in Edinburgh (at Research Avenue North, Riccarton, Edinburgh). The main aim and objectives of this institute is its keenness to attract the inquires, suggestions and advices from the academic institutions, research institutions, etc in order to conduct work on spirit drink production. Apart from this it also serves the needs of its member companies in improving their products and process and to maintain position of SWRI in the world market. SWRI also addresses the long term technical issue for the sustainability of the company and also ensures UK national research addresses distilling concerns. Its laboratories are UKAS accredited to ensure highest quality in all services.


Organisation of the company: This is a research institute which deals with providing the correct process of manufacturing and storing of whiskey. This also helps in the finding out the adulteration that has been done in the production. The Company is mainly organised into 4 levels. The four levels in the order of descending higher archey are as follows: 1st comes the Executive board which gives effect to the decisions and the policies of the company and to give advice and produce suggestions for the development of the company. 2nd comes the Main board which is responsible for the shares of the company it holds in the stock market.

The main board consists of the following members: Chairman, Chief Executive, Finance Director, Company secretary etc. The main board generally meets on a monthly basis for discussion of the business deals and development of the company. 3rd comes the Research management committee (RMC) which deals with the operation and progression of the projects that are being taking place in the institute. They are also involved in finding out the persons who are potential in working with the institute at their required targets. 4th comes the Technical liaisons groups.

The institute is associated with many other companies which would take the correct procedure of preparing the scotch whiskey and release them into the market. The various companies that are associated or have the membership with this institute are: Beam Global Ltd, Chivas Brothers Ltd, Diageo Scotland Ltd, The Drambuie Liqueur Co Ltd, The Edrington Group Ltd, The Glenmorangie Co Ltd, Inver House Distillers Ltd, John Dewar and Son Ltd, Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd, The North British Distillery Co Ltd, Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd, Whyte & Mackay Ltd, Wm Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd. The director of research of this company is Dr Gordon M Steele and the Company Secretary is Mrs Lynne Bleakney. The institute yearly turn over is �1,500,000 and the number of staff present in the institute is 24.


The original or the legal definition of the Scotch whiskey is it must be prepared in Scotland with the help of water and cereals, must be distilled at 94.8% strength, and must be matured in oak casks smaller than 700L capacity for a minimum of 3yrs. Must be sold at minimum of 40% strength, no additives should be added only water and caramel are allowed. Various kinds of whiskeys are being produced in various parts of the Scotland depending upon the raw materials they get there in that particular area. The various places where the whiskey is produced in Scotland are Spey side, Islay, Island, Lowland and Campbeltown.

The various products that are being produced there are Glen Moray: This is being produced with the help of 16Yrs old Spey side Malt Which is matured in oak casks then in mellowed chenin Blance Wine casks. This has an aroma of Dried Fruit which comes from the mixing of figs and raisins with chocklet and spices. There is also the taste of the leather and linseed oil. This whiskey when tasted gives the flavour of toffee in starting then on progression gives the flavour of mint humbugs and barley sugar with a hint of smoke and peanut. In total this has the texture and flavour of sugar and humbugs.

Laphraoig: This is being produced in the Islay part of Scotland. This is being prepared with the help of 10yrs old Islay Malt. This has an aroma of smoky, Seaweed and a hint of sweetness. The taste of this whiskey has the characteristics of Islay peat smoke, Earthy, tangy salt and a bit of sweetness. This whiskey can be stored for a long period of time and is unforgettable by the people of Scotland.

Highland Park: This is being prepared with the help of 10yr old Orkney Malt. This is produced in the part of Island in Scotland. This is the Scotland’s most northerly distillery at present. This has the aroma of the Heather-honey sweetness and that of peaty smokiness. This taste of this whiskey has the characteristics of Smokey sweetness and full taste of malt. The whiskey produced is heathery, Teasing and very delicious.

Auchentoshan: This is being produced in some parts of Lowland. Produced from the lowland malt. This is triple distilled rather than the double distilled. This has the aroma of tangerine and raisins with lime freshness. This has the taste of tangerine and fruit and gives sweetness after few minutes of the drink. Cameron brig: This is being produced in the part of Scotland called Lowland. This is produced from the lowland single grain. This gives an aroma of honey and spicy. When tasted gives the taste of nutty, firm and smooth. Its slightly bitter and faintly coffeeish.

Dewar’s white label: This is produced in all parts of Scotland. This also called as Blended Scotch whiskey. This is perfectly the balanced blend of Scotland. This has the aroma of heather and honey with delicate unripened pear and a hint of oak. This has a delightful taste of smooth vanilla with honey taste. This also has slight smoky sensation.


The institute offers huge range of advisory and analytical services which relate to spirit production. Analytical work supports the core research work which act as a source for the relevant companies and third parties for turbo shooting activities. To aid the provision of high quality, efficient work, analytical service group is being created at the institute. New analytical techniques are being accessed to keep update of the latest technology. Various projects have being started in this institute for the upcoming development. Some of the projects that are taking place in SWRI are:

Project 1.5 – Characteristics of Wheat which determine its Grain Distilling Potential. Project 1.10 – The Green Grain Wheat LINK Project. Project 3.4 – Improving Pot Still Efficiency While Conserving Spirit Character. Project 4.5 – Optimisation of Heat Treatment Conditions for Cask Regeneration Project 4.9 – Identifying the Design Parameters of Warehouses and Casks that Produce Consistent Maturation with Minimal Losses. Project 5.3 – Monitoring and Assessment of Issues of Health and Alcohol which Affects Scotch whisky and Related Spirits.


For the preparation of the whiskey various procedures or processes are being used. The main process involved in the production of the whiskey is the process of distillation. The distillation is used in various types that are batch distillation for malt whiskey and continuous distillation for grain whiskey. The main functions of distillation are maintaining the concentration of ethanol, solid removal, formation and removal of aroma compounds. The processing stage begins with malting process. In the malting stage, barley is allowed to soak in water. The soaked barley is left in an infused state till it reaches the germination level. During germination, enzymes released gets activated which breakdown the starch and convert them in sugars. As soon as the germination state is achieved, the malted barley is smoke dried.

In the mashing stage, malt is being grinded to form grist then the grist is mixed with water and brewing is carried out. Then the fermentation is carried out; then the products present are taken to distillation then they are allowed for ageing, after ageing they undergo bottling and then they are produced in the market. The various techniques that are being used in the production of whiskey are: Sensory evaluation, conventional capillary gas chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Ion chromatography, Densitometry, Capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and new technologies being investigated to increase the ability to detect counterfeit products. The process of distillation gets affected with some parameters which are: pot still design, pot shape and size, direction of the swan neck-Lyne arm. The material used in this processes is copper. Reason for using this is due to its conductivity, malleability and availability.


As the whiskey is being prepared from the wheat and malt and barley so in the nearer future along with the production of scotch whiskey they can also produce bio ethanol as the raw materials for the production of whiskey and bio ethanol are the same. By doing this both the company and the public would be eventually benefited. Genetically modified yeasts should also be used to speed up the fermentation process without interrupting the metabolic path ways and also by adding the flavouring agents such as esters and ketons.

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