Evaluating diverse non-brewing yeast strains for novel new-make spirit applications

Many of the flavours found in whisky and other distilled spirits are derived from alcoholic fermentation, most commonly by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Given the biodiversity of different yeast strains and species, there is an opportunity to identify strains that can produce alcoholic beverages with unique flavours and aromas. The Measday lab has isolated hundreds of yeast strains from uninoculated fermentations of wine grapes from the Okanagan Valley, BC. Most of these strains can grow on maltose as a sugar source which suggests the ability to ferment wort, the precursor for beer and many spirit fermentations. Our research proposal will validate which yeast strains have traits suitable for commercial use in whiskey production. The results of this project will benefit Driftwood Brewing Company’s distilled beverage design and quality control and exemplify the benefits of using diverse BC yeast for spirit distilling applications.

Ronald Alexander Marr
Faculty Supervisor: 
Vivien Measday
British Columbia
Partner University: