Simulated Sour Mash Product Wins at DISCUS’ First-Ever ‘Innovation Showcase’


October 12, 2021

Lallemand DistilaBact LP, a dried bacteria product available to the distilling market, was named the grand winner of the Distilled Spirits Council’s first-ever “Innovation Showcase” competition at the 2021 DISCUS Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.

The winning product, which was presented during the Shark Tank-style competition by Mitch Codd, Technical Sales Manager at Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits, is an innovative approach to the traditional method of sour mashing. The product is a tailored bacterial inoculant designed to be pitched alongside a yeast in the fermentation and ultimately mimics the sour mash process not always available to smaller producers. 

The second-place winner was Siponey, a canned cocktail on an environmental mission, presented by its CEO Amanda Victoria. Third place was awarded to Pratt Industries for its sustainable, e-commerce packaging solution, presented by the company’s Business Development Manager Jim Bickley.

Six finalists were selected to compete in the inaugural Innovation Showcase at this year’s conference.  The finalists were chosen out of more than 50 submissions in categories spanning from spirits packaging, technology, supply chain, sustainability, marketing, structure, responsibility and product development. 

Each contestant had 15 minutes to present their innovation in front of a panel of judges who scored the innovation based on its concept, value, scalability and demonstrated impact. 

Judges were Sarah Barrett, Executive Editor, Wine and Spirits Daily; Mark Menezes, Principal, Acadia Strategic Partners; and James Restivo, VP of Account Development, Nielsen IQ. The Showcase was hosted by Heather Firtszche, CEO and Co-Founder of The Spearhead Group.

The first, second and third place winners receive prize packages ranging in value from $5,000 to $20,000 including a $10,000 cash prize for the showcase winner.

Other finalists included: Daryl Grimes, Chief Operating Officer of Smart Start; Tom Lix, Founder & CEO of Cleveland Whiskey; and Gal Motzaeli, VP of R&D, Inventor, & Founder of Solido.