Drinks new product development
By Geoff Taylor - 2 December 2014
The alcoholic drinks sector, spirits in particular, is currently going through a very innovative phase, with products such as premixed cocktails and other ready–to–drink blends. This also applies to full strength spirits and liqueurs.
Creating or matching a flavour/aroma is in many ways the easy part. Filling this product into a container which can be sold, and ensuring that the product maintains the same colour, flavour and aroma over a reasonable period of time is more challenging!
As an example, pink is currently a colour very much in vogue and understandably producers want customers to see their pretty pink liquid so it is packed in white flint glass. Sadly what can happen, even after a few days, is that the pretty pink liquid starts to turn brown. If we are involved early on in the product creation stage, some simple changes or modifications may help to eliminate this unfortunate visual change.
Less obvious, oxygen and/or light, in particular uv light, can alter the aroma and flavour of a product. Oxygen can enter a product during its creation and filling, with damage not being apparent until several days or weeks later. Light, of course, can come from store lighting or even a shop window. Some of the aroma and flavour molecules are easily damaged by uv light; most frequently, the aroma and/or flavour are diminished, a process termed as aroma/flavour capping; occasionally, unpleasant aromas and flavours can be produced.
Once the product has been created, it is essential to test its shelf life in the final bottle or pack. As a service to our clients, we have developed a number of shelf life/forced ageing protocols, which involves periods of heating, cooling and shaking (in automated laboratory shakers) and uv light treatment; in this scenario 30 days testing can approximate to 12 months shelf life.
If you are developing products along these lines, even if you haven't come across any problems yet, it might be worth giving us a call.
About Geoff Taylor
Geoff Taylor joined the wine industry after graduating in Biochemistry in 1976 and has spent his entire working life therein. Read more...