Published Date

 January 10, 2018 — Innis & Gunn today unveiled a brand new look for its core barrel-aged and craft brewed ranges. The launch of the new packaging – which provides a unifying look across the Scottish brewer’s line-up of beers – also coincides with a return for Innis & Gunn to using 100% barrels in what used to be known as the brewer’s “oak-aged” beers.

Until 2010, Innis & Gunn matured 100% of their brews in oak barrels, mostly first-fill bourbon barrels - which could each only be used once. In 2010, the popularity of Original eclipsed the availability of barrels and Innis & Gunn’s Founder and Master Brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp designed the ‘Oakerator’ tank - a new method that gave the same flavour results but didn’t rely 100% on filling barrels with beer. Between 2010 and 2017, their oak-aged beer was matured in the Oakerator over oak chips.

As of today, Innis & Gunn Original is once again 100% barrel-aged, using an innovative method developed by Innis & Gunn which enables the brewer to ‘put the barrel into the beer’.  

“At Innis & Gunn, we see it as our mission to continually push the boundaries of craft beer, to keep evolving and developing new ideas and techniques,” explained Gunn Sharp. “We’re now in the privileged position of being able to barrel-age using both traditional and modern techniques. As we head into 2018 – our 15th anniversary year – we’re going to be bringing some incredibly exciting beers to the market that truly showcase the incredible flavour possibilities of barrel-ageing beer.”

Through this new method, barrels (which could include bourbon, rum or Irish whiskey) are broken down and the staves then broken into pieces. The pieces are toasted to open up the wood, unlocking layers of incredible flavours and aromas. The barrel pieces are then placed into the ‘amplifier’ - an updated iteration of the ‘oakerator’ - and the beer is circulated through it to achieve the rich depth of flavour that the barrel brings to the beer. To-date, the brewing team has discovered five different ‘toast’ levels, each of which brings a unique flavour to the finished brew.

Innis & Gunn Original and the brand’s new rum barrel red beer, Blood Red Sky (coming to Canada in 2018) are both now brewed using the ‘barrel into beer’ method. Other limited-edition beers (which often require lengthy maturations, or have fruits or hops added to develop maximum flavour) will still be brewed using the traditional ‘beer into barrel’ technique, matured in Innis & Gunn’s bespoke, temperature controlled barrel store at their brewery in Perth, Scotland.

“Beer usually has 4 ingredients - malt, hops, yeast and water,” concludes Sharp. “For us, the barrel is the 5th ingredient. When used in the right way and when matched against the right beer style, barrel-ageing can create an explosion of flavours and aromas in the beer.”

All beers in the core Innis & Gunn line-up in Canada - including IPA, Session IPA and Innis & Gunn Lager - will transition to the new branding in the coming weeks.

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