Measuring the Color of Bacardi Mojitos

Posted August 10, 2015 by Mike Huda

Would you choose a beverage off the store shelf if the same brand sitting next to it was a different color? The Bacardi Bottling Corporation knows the answer is probably no, which is why the company incorporates strict color standards into its Bacardi Mojito production process.

bacardi mojito production

Bacardi Mojito is a mix of premium rum, flavorings and special natural ingredients. Since the color of these ingredients can vary, Bacardi bottlers need to continually adjust their recipe to maintain consistent flavor and appearance.

According to John Scussel, lab supervisor for the beverage plant, “We can’t just follow the exact same recipe for every batch of Bacardi Mojito that we mix because of the color variations of a few incoming ingredients. Using natural ingredients can make the final product appearance notoriously difficult to control,” Scussel says. “A small change in lot-to-lot color of these can make quite a difference in our Mojito, and our consumers demand consistency in not only taste, but in the appearance of our products.”

Lack of color control is an expensive proposition. Imagine mixing a 10,000-gallon batch of Mojito, only to find out it doesn’t meet Bacardi’s strict color tolerance!

Today we’ll look at how X-Rite worked with Bacardi to put together a hardware and software solution that ensures quality and consistency of the Bacardi Mojito beverage.

A Color i7 benchtop spectrophotometer measures small batches to quantify liquid color. X-Rite engineers even custom-made holders  so Bacardi could use its existing stock of specialized cells for transmission measurements in the Color i7.

After the measurement is taken, Color iQC software analyzes the data to calculate just the right recipe for the full production batch. According to Scussel, “The graphic representations are great. We build what we call the color box – a rectangle that gives you a graphic representation of the color specs. It’s easy to see, to understand, and to print out. You can put it in someone’s hands and show them why they are off – ‘Oh, it’s a little too yellow.’”

Color iQC also allows Bacardi to record measurements, process parameters, job history, and other information and easily share it with individuals both on site and at other locations. Scussel says he is thinking about enabling other aspects of the Color iQC software that can help with predicting the color of products by inputting information about the ingredients of recipes – essentially performing virtual trials without mixing the formulas.

Bacardi is an international company, and each of the instruments needs to use the same standards when sharing results. X-Rite’s NetProfiler technology does that and more. Says Scussel, “NetProfiler is absolutely the cat’s meow: it allows instruments in several locations to act as one instrument,” he says. “I was concerned about how to keep our instruments calibrated until I learned that you can use NetProfiler to do a test on site. And if the instruments still don’t calibrate properly, X-Rite has a strong support system for getting them fixed.” Using proprietary software and certified physical standards, the system takes just minutes to produce performance NIST traceable statistics on every instrument within a network, which allows plants to exchange spectral color data with confidence that they are using the same standards.

“X-Rite supports its software really well,” Scussel says. “It’s pretty obvious that X-Rite has talked with people who use color measurement instruments. The company does what its customers want, rather than what may be easier for its software engineers. And X-Rite has really good service and availability,” he says. “If I pick up the phone, someone helps me.”

X-Rite’s solutions can be customized for virtually any product and workflow. Get in touch to see how we can help your business, too.

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