Spectroscopy in Beverage Analysis and Testing

Beverage testing and analysis using spectroscopy


Trust what is inside your liquid refreshment


For all beverages, the compositional quality and safety must be monitored throughout production. Using best practices for quality control, you can not only ensure the integrity and safety of all raw ingredients, process intermediates, and the final product, but will also be able to track contamination, minimize adulteration, and confirm product consistency.

New products are constantly being introduced into the global beverage industry, with drink items like probiotic/fermented beverages, energy drinks, sports drinks, alcohol-free beer and spirits, ready-to-drink canned cocktails, boxed wines, botanical-forward spirits, and “clean label” simplicity drinks. Along with these novel refreshments come new and diverse analytical challenges as well as the continued need to support classic favorites such as sodas, fruit juices, milk drinks, alcoholic beverages, and flavored waters.

Testing of beverages

Drinks specifically prepared for human consumption include varieties that are non-alcoholic (tea, coffee, milk, juices, soft drinks, flavored waters, carbonated drinks) and alcoholic (wine, beer, spirits). Beverage analysis measures ingredients and other definitive characteristics of the drink.

Fermented beverage production

Fermented beverages like beer, wine, and spirits have been around for centuries. Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic drink around the world, made from water, brewer’s yeast, a starch source, and a flavoring agent, like hops.

UV-Vis spectroscopy for beer, wine, and other drinks

Typically, reliable beverage analysis methods for non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks are accomplished with colorimetric measurements in the visible range. UV-Visible spectrophotometers offer quick, inexpensive, easy-to-use analysis to verify whether product quality is within specification, especially for beverages like beer, wine, juices, energy and soft drinks, and other thin liquids.

Learn more about UV-Vis analysis applications for beer and wine


Beer. Among many beer attributes that can be analyzed by UV-Visible spectrometry, bitterness (attributed to isohumulones from hops) is a concentration-dependent component of its flavor quality. By extracting an acidified beer solution into isooctane, measuring absorbance at 275 nm, multiplying the value by a factor of 50, and comparing the resulting bitterness unit (BU) value to the standards for its beer type (pilsner, pale ale, stout, etc.), you can easily determine bitterness manually. Or you simplify your calculations of bitterness and twenty other beer attributes with BeerCraft Software on our GENESYS 150 UV-Vis Spectrophotometer.


Wine. While wine can be created simply by letting a batch of grapes ferment over time with the naturally occurring yeast present on its skin, vintners create nuanced recipes to optimize the aromas, flavors, and colors to tantalize the discriminating tastes of wine aficionados. Ensuring the quality of wine whether you are testing for contaminants or developing a new product, is crucial for your brand. You need to understand the analytical wine analysis process to ensure that regional regulations are met, that safety and quality are maintained, and that authenticity of the final product meets your brand promise.

FT-NIR spectroscopy in beverage analysis


Liquids can be measured more quickly by near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy than by other methods for moisture, protein, fat, free fatty acids, ethanol, density, solids, organic acids, carbohydrate profile, and other important constituents. Because sample prep is eliminated and results can be produced within a minute, NIR is an effective tool for measuring key parameters in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, liquid sweeteners, edible oils, fruit juices, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and nutritional formulas.


Analyzing food, feed, or beverages? Learn how the Thermo Scientific Antaris II FT-NIR analyzer helps ensure product quality from beginning to end.

Beverage additives

Each beverage includes a set of ingredients that define not only its characteristic taste, but its refreshment profile, mouthfeel texture, nutritional composition, and shelf-life. Having the ability to analyze the real-time chemical profile at various stages of the beverage production process helps ensure final product quality.

How sweet is it?

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used in the soft drink industry as a direct replacement for sucrose (table sugar) as it has a similar sweetness. Liquid HFCS has several advantages over sucrose powder including easier blending, better stability, longer shelf life, and lower cost in areas where corn is plentiful. Analyzing the real-time carbohydrate profile for fructose and glucose percentages can be performed throughout the process with the Thermo Scientific Antaris II FT-NIR analyzer, which can measure samples quickly inline, without sample preparation, using fiber-optic probes.

Changes in concentrations of carbohydrates such as glucose, lactose, and fructose can hurt the manufacturing process as well as product quality, nutrition, safety, and shelf life. Of special concern is the concentration of D-glucose, which can impact those suffering from diabetes. Using visible spectroscopy, you can quantify the absorbance of an enzymatic reaction that produces a colored product absorbing light at 560 nm to measure D-Glucose concentration. The Thermo Scientific VISIONlite Software provides users an easy method programming experience for D-Glucose analysis and guides you through data collection, data processing, and report printing.

Micronutrient testing

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a popular dietary supplement in many beverages, with known benefits in the prevention of scurvy, that is increasingly recognized in the immune-health market for its antioxidant properties. Analysis and quantitation of ascorbic acid in mixtures can be difficult and time-consuming, requiring significant expertise to perform complicated titrations or extractions coupled with fluorimetry. FT-NIR spectroscopy offers a simpler, faster analysis that provides highly accurate, reliable data.