Re-imagining sensory quality assurance: New techniques and technologies

Lindsay Barr, New Belgium Brewing and DraughtLab, LLC, USA; Becky Bleibaum, UC Davis and Dragonfly SCI, Inc, USA; Matt Conyer, DraughtLab, LLC, USA; Cassier Poirier, Briess Industries, Inc, USA

The most important function of any fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business is the production and release of brands that are both free of defects and consistent with their intended sensory profile. This objective requires the application of robust sensory Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) methods that are practical to implement. Time, money, and resources are obstacles shared by every Quality Assurance program, but for the American Craft Brewing Industry, these constraints were significant barriers-to-entry. These obstacles forced craft breweries to rethink methods for sensory quality assurance to make them more streamlined yet robust enough to meet the challenges of variable raw materials and the fermentation process. As these methods, and the new technologies that support them, became more widely adopted in craft brewing, other industries quickly began to take notice and starting in 2016, they have been successfully applying them in their own businesses.

In this workshop, rapid quality assurance methods developed with time and cost efficiencies in mind will be presented by their developers and those who put them to use every day. Specific case studies, primarily from the craft brewing industry, will be shared to highlight how this industry has applied Sensory QA methods in a unique way and have successfully circumvented the common challenges from lacking time, money, and expertise.

Guided and interactive tastings will be performed with attendees to highlight the broad application of these methods to both new and established sensory programs. Participants will gain a clear understanding of what is required to execute powerful and robust QA methods without spending excessive time and money in the process.

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