Ever wonder what would happen to booze if it were sent to outer space for a few years? Well wonder no more – Japan’s alcoholic-beverage giant Suntory just delivered 5 whiskey samples to the International Space Station via their resupply spacecraft. But these samples aren’t for astronauts to shoot back; they’re for a special project. Suntory intends to study the aging process of whiskey by leaving the samples in space for a couple of years. The company produces whiskey at the oldest distillery in Japan, so the conglomerate has more than enough credibility to carry out such an endeavor.
The overall purpose of the project is to see if spirits age faster in space, when unaffected by gravity or temperature changes. Alcoholic beverages develop a “mellow” flavor after being aged for a long time, but the science behind this process is still quite a mystery. Suntory aims to bring back the samples for analysis after 1-2 years to compare them to samples of the same liquor that have been aged on earth for the same amount of time. The company hopes the project will provide further insight into the aging process of whiskey, ultimately offering a scientific explanation for the “mechanism that makes alcohol mellow.”