Okanagan College’s British Columbia Beverage Technology Access Centre (BC BTAC) is helping the Canadian beverage industry through using technology to tackle some of the challenges producers face. After receiving funding from the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program, BC BTAC began a project that aimed to help beverage producers battle the challenges brought on by climate change and a growing, competitive market.

“The funding we’ve received from the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program has provided Okanagan College, through our British Columbia Beverage Technology Access Centre, with the opportunity to advance our research projects and continue to work towards transforming the lives of our students and our communities,” said Andrew Hay, VP of Academic and Provost. “This funding supports our researchers in their work on these important projects with our community partners, and creates new learning opportunities for our students.”

BC BTAC’s project involved purchasing a small-scale reverse osmosis (RO) system and offering post-processing services to producers.

The small-scale RO system is a cost-effective solution for producers. RO systems aren’t a new innovation in the beverage industry, but the systems are often on a larger scale, meaning it requires a large volume of liquid to properly process. The BC BTAC’s small-scale system provides producers with a more affordable option and because of the smaller size there is less risk of wasting product. Additionally, it eliminates the need for producers to invest in R&D equipment.

Climate change is having an impact on the wine industry with the smoke taint caused by forest fires and mildew and rot worsened by warmer temperatures. Producers can be left with no other option but to discard product because of these undesirable compounds, but BC BTAC’s RO system eliminates these compounds, saving the product and avoiding waste.

While the RO system can remove undesirable compounds caused by climate change, the system can also remove compounds like alcohol. The liquid can be simply left after the alcohol is removed or something like Cannabidiol (CBD) can be added. This process means producers can remain competitive in the growing industry.

To learn more about BC BTAC, visit https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/bcbtac.

Funding for this project was provided by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The program is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

The federal-provincial-territorial Canadian Agricultural Partnership framework ends on March 31, 2023. The Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program is funded under that framework. Check the Ministry webpage for updates and opportunities after March 31: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/canada-bc-agri-innovation

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