Thursday, March 19, 2009

Something new in beer spoilage genomics

The headline reads:

But the story is short on particulars, possibly because of future patents.
Haakensen has helped discover three new methods of detecting beer-spoiling bacteria, including a DNA-based technique, that has big breweries around the globe hoisting pints in celebration.<...>

"What we've done here is, by using DNA methods, we can actually figure out in a matter of one to two days if that beer will spoil," Haakensen says.

And it's not necessarily accurate:
Breweries usually have to keep batches of beer for two to three months to make sure they haven't spoiled before cases are shipped out on trucks to liquor stores, says Haakensen.

Well, not quite.

During and after production, brewery quality control technicians at better funded breweries will examine beer for microbial contaminants, utilizing microscopes, petri dishes, and the like.

A small amount of bottled and/or kegged beer may also be kept on-premise and tested for stability and flavor over a period of days, weeks, months, maybe even years.

But most of the beer will be shipped as soon as it's ready. Freshness counts. Money speaks.

I was alerted to this story by Bryce Eddings at

1 comment:

  1. Andy Crouch recently posted a piece on the Beer Wars movie and the working thesis behind the film. In that post, he made an interesting point:

    "Access to market is no longer the looming problem. Deciding which markets to turn down and how to keep fresh product on the shelves are the problems today. This is undoubtedly a much simplified view of one aspect of the industry but it serves as an example to illustrate the greater point."

    Money does speak, and for larger breweries of "craft" beer, they've gotten wiser over the years and focus on consistency. In keeping their products fresh for longer, they may have a leg up.


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