Craft brewer Innis & Gunn tests ‘virtual beer goggles’

Innis & Gunn founder Dougal Sharp. Picture: Contributed
Innis & Gunn founder Dougal Sharp. Picture: Contributed
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An Edinburgh-based brewer and bar operator is promising to transport drinkers to faraway lands by serving up a shot of virtual reality alongside its beers.

Innis & Gunn has teamed up with cognitive neuroscientist Dr Jacob Jolij to create virtual reality (VR) content that it claims will change the way beer tastes by triggering the brain to send new signals to the tastebuds.

Customers who order the brewer’s Original or Lager tipples at participating bars, including its Beer Kitchen venues in Dundee and Edinburgh, will also be served a VR headset and a beer mat explaining the concept.

The move came as holidays firm Barrhead Travel said it would be introducing VR headsets into its stores to allow customers to view hotel rooms and “destination experiences” before they book.

READ MORE: Will 2016 become the year of virtual reality?

Jolij said: “A taste experience is not just a matter of chemistry and biology. Whenever you take a sip of your favourite beer you do not just taste the water, the grains, and the hops, but your brain adds in your previous memories, surroundings, and expectations.

I’m excited to see how drinkers react when they’re thrust into dense woods and scale tall cliffs

Dougal Sharp, Innis & Gunn

“Immersing the drinker in this virtual reality world created by Innis & Gunn is a very powerful way of enhancing the taste experience. It will change the way your brain processes and interprets the signals coming from your taste buds, drawing on personal memories of sight and sound to create a unique experience of the beer for every drinker.”

Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer Dougal Sharp added: “This year we’ve seen VR amusement parks, house viewings and food tastings so we were fascinated to explore how this incredible technology would impact our beers.

“I’m excited to see how drinkers react when they’re thrust into dense woods and scale tall cliffs. By accessing the wilderness of Scotland we’re playing with the way people consume our beers, when we are no longer confined to the physical space we occupy, the possibilities for innovation are endless.”

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