Our Experiences at the 8th Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference

01 June 2023

Edinburgh… The capital of Scotland, the second largest city in the country, a favorite of travelers with its magnificent architecture and historical riches, a magical city… However, there is one more thing that makes Edinburgh so special: It has hosted the 8th Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference.

In May, I went to Edinburgh and attended this important conference as a speaker. Before I talk about my travel notes, I would like to provide you with some information about the conference. This year, the 8th Institute of Brewing & Distilling Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference (IBD WDSC) was held. The most important reason for why this conference is so special is that it is the only global conference focusing on the distilled spirits. It is held every 3 years, and it brings together the technical experts from different categories of distilled spirits, and it creates a unique opportunity for them to share their latest developments, as well as their ideas.

From 20 different countries, approximately 500 professionals from the distilled spirits industry and academics have attended the conference this year. For and on behalf of Mey|Diageo, I and Tolga Cetin, the Project Manager, have attended this conference together. We have also met with Duygu Beypinar (she currently serves as the Business Development Manager of Cameronbridge Distillery in Diageo Scotland), who is our source of pride in Scotland, at the conference.

It was a very valuable experience to exchange ideas with our global industry stakeholders about the future of our industry. However, this year, the conference was different than previous years for us. For the first time in the history of the conference, we were invited to present two different scientific studies carried out by us with respect to the raki and aniseed, and as a company that operates in line with the mission of "modernizing the legacy from the past and transferring it to the future", which I presented at the conference. I was so proud to introduce our raki and aniseed to the world.

Attendants from all over the world made oral and poster presentations in 12 different fields such as raw materials, fermentation, distillation, chemistry and flavor in the conference. In the conference, global Diageo employees from all over the world made 3 oral presentations and 4 poster presentations in total. We made two of these presentations. I had the opportunity to make presentations about raki and aniseed.

One of the presentation headings of the scientific studies that I presented with respect to the raki and aniseed was "The Sensory Wheel of Raki". In this presentation, I provided detailed information on the subtleties of raki production and the sensory richness of the raki, by starting from the special raw materials of the raki. The other presentation heading was the “Impact of the Region on the Essential Oil and Aroma Composition of Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.)”. In this presentation, we also emphasized how the sensory characteristics of the aniseeds, which are grown in the Republic of Türkiye, change based on their growing region. We are proud and happy that our study on the “sensory wheel” of raki and the aniseed terroir were introduced to the world and registered in an international scientific conference for the first time.

The sensory wheel is studied for gastronomically rich products, such as whiskey and wine in the spirits industry, and coffee and chocolate in the food industry. In cooperation with Cukurova University, we also studied the sensory wheel of raki, which is an aniseed spirit, for the first time. Our scientific article, in which Prof. Dr. Turgut Cabaroglu and Dr. Merve Darici from Cukurova University, and Duygu Beypinar, who served as Senior Quality, Technical and Innovation Manager at Mey|Diageo during that period, and I described the background and processes of sensory wheel of raki that we studied together, has also been published in Foods, one of the world's leading peer-reviewed food science journal. I still remember how I was excited that day; it is a great pleasure that all the hard work and meticulous work yielded such a wonderful result…

Our work has continued since then, and upon this conference, the sensory wheel of raki was registered and included in the international literature, and thus unique raki production process, which is based on the multi-stage and rich production methods, was transferred to the global platform.

In addition, I presented my thesis “The Impact of the Region on the Essential Oil and Aroma Composition of Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.)”, which I wrote on aniseed that is an extremely precious and valuable product of ancient Anatolia, at an international scientific conference for the first time. My motivation here was to increase the international awareness of a valuable resource both for raki culture and for our country. In the study, I researched the impact of aniseed on the essential oil and aroma composition, by taking into account the climatic, soil and geographical conditions of the region. I can say that I studied the impact of terroir on aniseed. The main purpose of the study was to contribute to preservation of raki tradition, which has been lasting for generations.

The presentations went very well. It was an unforgettable experience both to listen to different projects and to present our own projects that we are proud of. Technical tours were also held as part of the conference. Thanks to the visits to InchDairnie and Lindores Abbey Whiskey Distilleries and Mc Millan Retort Production Workshop, we had the opportunity to see the whiskey production processes and copper retort making processes on site technically. During this trip, I also visited Diageo's archives, and Cameronbridge Distillery, Scotland's largest distillery, where Duygu Beypinar, our source of pride in Scotland, serves as the Business Development Manager.

These were the details of this very useful and enjoyable trip for me. You can find many more interesting articles on our blog. Enjoy reading!

With my best wishes,

Koray Ozcan

Mey|Diageo Senior Technical and Innovation Manager