Booze | May 28, 2021 12:19 pm

A Huge Scotch Distillery Just Hired These Adorable Detection Dogs for a Secret Project

Bran and Rocco are here to sniff out the bad barrels

Bran and Rocco, two detection dogs being used by a whisky maker in Scotland
Bran and Rocco, two detection dogs being used by a whisky maker in Scotland
B.W.Y. Canine

Meet Bran and Rocco. They are very good boys helping the Scotch industry.

These two cocker spaniels are being used to identify imperfections in whisky casks at the Grant’s Whisky distillery in the U.K.

Rocco (aka “Whisky Dog”) helps the distillery staff identify wooden casks which have imperfections; those casks are then set aside and not used by cooperage. The training took eight months, though exactly what the dogs are sniffing out is, unfortunately, confidential; supposedly, detection dogs have “never been trained to perform this very special task in the U.K. or Europe,” according to B.W.Y. Canine, a supplier of detection dogs. (Note: Bran trained alongside Rocco but the distillery only needed one dog; he will be used at other whisky distilleries.)

“There are no other dogs doing this in any other whisky distillery,” says the dogs’ trainer Stuart Phillips. “It hasn’t been an easy process and because no one has ever done this before, I’ve had no where to go to for advice, like I would when training other dogs for explosives, tobacco or drugs. For over eight months I’ve had to keep this whole project quiet, so it’s great that this is now in the news and people can hear about the worlds first whisky dogs which were trained in Pembrokeshire for a huge Scotch whisky maker.”

Grant’s is the third-largest Scotch whisky maker in the world. And their need for barrel integrity is apparent; their trademark is a Triple Wood 12, which matures in three different types of casks.