In the Irish distilling industry, domestically sourced wheat emerges as a contender to replace imported maize. According to new research, there is a correlation between the protein level, the starch level and alcohol yield, meaning that Ireland’s high-yielding wheat crops are suitable for distillation, says an article in the Irish Farmers Journal.

Offering yields of over 410 litres of alcohol per tonne of wheat on a dry basis, there is a great potential for wheat to play an essential role in the distilling sector. This is an opinion expressed by Sinead Morris of South East Technological University (SETU) at the Teagasc National Tillage Conference earlier this year, as reported by the Journal. 

SETU and Teagasc, Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority, partnered up in October 2023 to create a national brewing and distilling innovation hub. One of the projects seeks to produce and to process Irish wheat and novel grains such as rye, maize grain and spelt as a substitute for imported maize.

The National Centre for Brewing and Distilling (NCBD) explains that in recent years, distillers have tried to revive heritage grains and mash bills to diversify, with the NCBD supporting this innovation by using a pilot plant to optimise flavour profiles, yields and overall process ability of various mash bills.