USA – Voodoo Scientific, an innovative company in the spirits distillery space, has partnered with Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, to optimize an enzymatic solution to enable distillers to produce ultra-premium spirit products that are truly smooth.

To support the development of the enzyme critical to Voodoo’s product, the partners plan to leverage Ginkgo’s extensive protein discovery and design capabilities to design and optimize the enzyme for a wide range of conditions in spirits manufacturing, from craft to global-scale production environments.

Voodoo Scientific argues that most distilled alcoholic beverages produce some degree of harsh sensation, or “bite,” when consumed, which is a major deterrent for many potential customers.

The innovator said no mellowing technique used by distillers to date has been able to fully eliminate this unpleasant attribute.

It identified the scientific cause for this harshness and created an enzymatic solution to give distillers the ability to manage the faults to produce more premium products by creating smooth spirits.

Voodoo’s ability to make smoother spirits also enables the development of new flavor profiles across the full range of spirits types (e.g., vodkas, whiskies, etc.).

The Voodoo enzymatic solution targets and eliminates only the specific compounds that are responsible for the harshness of alcohol, while not affecting other components of the beverage’s flavor profile.

“Providing distillers with a means to eliminate, or control, the harshness of their spirits products is very gratifying,” said Joana Montenegro, co-founder, and Chief Science Officer at Voodoo.

“We believe we can enable innovation in this large global industry and in ways that are truly meaningful to consumers seeking premium experiences.”

The enzymatic solution also does not require spirits producers to change their existing processes or equipment, as it is added as a processing aid during fermentation, so it does not persist into the bottle.

Montenegro added that Ginkgo was the best choice of partners for the company among the ones it considered because of their unique combination of strong scientific capabilities and a business model that fits an early-stage company like Voodoo.

“Engineering this class of enzyme to operate under the unique conditions required for distilled alcoholic beverages is a great application for Ginkgo Enzyme Services,” said Jennifer Wipf, SVP, Head of Commercial Cell Engineering at Ginkgo.

“Improving the functionality of enzymes underpinning critical production processes – making enzymes work better – is an area we’re passionate about because it opens up real business opportunities for our customers, especially as they push into new product development.”

Voodoo Scientific’s enzymatic solution was recently recognized as a top innovation in the spirits industry at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ (DISCUS) annual conference.

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