Speaking exclusively to The Morning Advertiser, founder and master brewer Dougal Sharp said the new process was “the culmination of seven years' work” and would enable the brewery to claim 100% of their beer was barrel-aged once more.
The brewery previously aged their beer in bourbon barrels, but were forced to change this process in 2010 due to a shortage of barrels, meaning the company had to state the beer was oak-aged rather than barrel-aged on its labels.
However the new process, which involves breaking up bourbon and rum barrels and toasting the pieces before circulating the beer through them for between five and 10 days, means the beer can be called barrel-aged again.
Unique aromas and flavours
Explaining the process, Sharp said: “We take the staves and break them up and toast them. We've uncovered five levels of toasting you can give, each with its own unique spectrum of aromas and flavours.
“We then blend those depending on the finished beer we are aiming for, and put them in what we call the Amplifier kit, which is a vessel we can circulate the beer through for between five and 10 days to absorb the flavours, and the results are just astonishing.
“With great pleasure we are now able to report we are going back to barrel-ageing 100% of our beer. We are now able to make beers we could never make before, and the flavour results we are getting is amazing. It's the culmination of seven years work, so I'm thrilled.”
Innis & Gunn has recently accepted a £15m investment offer from private equity firm L Catterton for a 27.9% of the business. Speaking about the investment, Sharp said: “We have a partner who is 100% aligned with us in the ambition to grow this business.
Shareholders back business plans
“They are the world's largest consumer-focused private equity business and they have invested in a whole host of consumer brands, some of which have been in their portfolio for over 10 years. These guys are long-term value creators in the branded consumer goods category and I cannot imagine a better partner to work with.
“We would never have worked with a company who were just in it to make a quick buck.”
Sharp confirmed the brewery had offered its crowdfunding community the opportunity to sell back their shares at the price they paid last year, but that not a single investor had opted to do so.
“It doesn't get much better than that in terms of votes of confidence,” he said. “We have a shareholder base that is 100% behind the plans we have set out and an investor that gives us the financial muscle to go and deliver the next five years of success at Innis & Gunn.”