Science Behind the Art: Trillium’s Quality Assurance & Innovation Process

Science Behind the Art: Trillium’s Quality Assurance & Innovation Process

May 20th, 2022

Step through a secret wooden door and faint sounds begin to emerge. Hums, clinks, whirrs, and beeps radiate out of a brightly lit room filled with beakers and machines. You’ve entered our Quality Assurance laboratory in Canton.

Behind every can, bottle & pour is our expert team led by Director of Quality and Innovation Burke Dignam. Burke joined Trillium in 2016 after many years in Germany as a brewer at Uerige Brauerei, Weyberbraeu, and Riegele Brauerei. Education has always played a vital role in Burke’s career, having studied Finance, Mathematics, and German at UMass Amherst and Beer & Beverage Technology at Doemens Academy outside of Munich.

“We focus our time efficiently on the controls that will have the greatest impact on consistently producing our brands while minimizing the greatest risks to product integrity. This approach employs not only reactive controls, but proactive ones as well. While we strive for consistency, our goal is also to continually improve the quality of our beers,” Burke said.

Crafting a high quality recipe begins with sourcing the finest raw ingredients available. As a standard at Trillium, we only integrate all natural products with no artificial substitutes or extracts. Pushing boundaries and experimenting creatively is at the heart of what excites us most about brewing. From hand-selected hop lots and organic fruit to single-origin vanilla beans and locally roasted coffee, we seek out uniquely expressive ingredients that speak volumes in our beers.

The birth of every new recipe begins in our lab where our QA/QC team meticulously creates and analyzes miniature benchtop trials. This is where the real magic happens - amounts and ratios are dialed in, intended aromas and flavors are achieved, and a new beer begins its journey to your glass.

Scientist looking through a microscope performing a beer Quality Analysis in a lab

“Benchtops are the most important tool we have for developing new brand concepts. Typically we'll go through 5-10 iterations before being happy with a recipe, but we've done as many as 30 different iterations before for a given concept. Benchtops are also a great opportunity to qualify high value ingredients, such as hops and vanilla beans, to make sure we are maximizing quality,” Burke said.

Before any beer is released, a sensory evaluation is conducted by a panel of our most discerning palates. Every day, the team gathers in a special space designed specifically to eliminate distraction and focus the senses. Sitting in silence at individual stations, each panelist looks, smells, and tastes - logging every aspect of each sample to ensure alignment with established specifications. Any perceived issues with appearance, aroma, or flavor are identified at this step and corrections are made.

“The most rewarding part of working at Trillium is developing and producing world class beers that our fans love! Working with passionate people who take pride in what they're doing, while continuing to learn and grow,” Burke said.

For Burke and his team at Trillium, brewing really is an art and a science.