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Tech that produces more whiskey faster

Using its carefully guarded trade secrets, one small business is pushing new methods into the world of whiskey to address higher demand for the spirits.

With more modern technology than what's used in the traditional whiskey-making process, Cleveland, Ohio-based distiller Cleveland Whiskey has refined a proprietary scientific method, explained the company's CEO and founder, Tom Lix.

"We're a technology company. We're not a craft distiller, we're not a microdistiller. We really use technology and the art and science of maturing whiskey and aging it," Lix said in an interview with CNBC.

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The company uses pressure aging, which shortens the aging process by using intense pressure in stainless steel tanks to push young spirits in and out of wood, which gives the whiskey its flavor, Lix said.

It took a lot of trial and error to refine his time-saving methods, however.

"I was exploding mason jars in my basement for years," Lix recalled.

But thanks to his experimentation, his current process takes about a week from the beginning of production to bottling and shipping, compared with the years it takes using traditionally methods, according to Lix.

Spirits distilled by Cleveland Whiskey, a small business that uses pressure aging technology to produce its batches in a fraction of the time required by distillers using traditional methods.
Jarrett Bellini | CNBC
Spirits distilled by Cleveland Whiskey, a small business that uses pressure aging technology to produce its batches in a fraction of the time required by distillers using traditional methods.

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And by using tanks instead of barrels, Cleveland Whiskey doesn't lose the so-called "angel's share," the whiskey lost to evaporation, Lix said.

Using traditional whiskey production methods, according to Lix, can lead to a loss of 3 percent to 6 percent of whiskey volume per year.

Lix's bourbon production method leverages a loophole in the traditional definition of bourbon, which doesn't dictate how long the spirit has to be aged, Lix said. And it has its share of critics.

"Of course the industry thinks we're heretics. They think what we're doing is sacrilege, but there's a whiskey shortage. More people are drinking whiskey around the world, and you can't crank up production like corn flakes or computer parts," Lix said.

While whiskey experts hope to calm the fears of a whiskey shortage, there is a shortage of the wood used to make the barrels in which whiskey is made, according to The Wall Street Journal.