Energy-Efficient Barrel Room Environment Conrol

01/12/21 01:58 PM Comment(s) By FIAL

Cape Byron Distillery | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021 

Cape Bryon Distillery is nestled among regenerated rainforest in the Byron Bay hinterland. Known for producing world-class gins, the distillery stays true to time-honoured traditions while seeking innovative ways to develop its products and further the industry. 

When the team decided to turn a collective hand to single-malt whiskey production, they knew the immediate environment would be instrumental in terms of impact on flavour profile. Whiskey ages in barrels which breathe air from their surroundings, taking flavour influence from that environment. Appropriate control of climatic conditions including humidity and temperature is essential to success. 

The Cape Byron team had a simple idea for controlling the barrel room environment — to mimic the ambient conditions of the surrounding rainforest. They developed a solution that features thicker natural insulation in the walls and use of a spray wall technology that passes air through water mist to produce a cooler more oxygen-rich environment. 

Working in the coldest parts of the day, the system draws air from the rainforest creek floor — its coolest point — and filters it back into the barrel room space, where the insulation holds the temperature steady. 

Distiller Eddie Brook wanted to fast-track and commercialise the energy-efficient cooling solution, to benefit the fast-growing local industry, something he says was made possible with FIAL’s involvement. 

“Working with FIAL has really given us the opportunity to bring our idea to life. It means we’ve not only been able to realise it, but also to commercialise it. And that benefit flows on to the entire industry,” he said. 

“This impacts other distillers in Australia and I think it will put us on the world map. Understanding how important the barrel conditions are and how we’ve managed to take out temperature curves to create a stable environment will be of huge interest,” Eddie said.