Abstract: This study was conducted to determine the influence of plum cultivar, harvest year, and plum component on the methanol content and the yield of plum brandy. Seven plum cultivars (Geneva Mirabelle, French Damson, Pozegaca, Oblinaya, Early Golden, Lohr, and Rosy Gage) grown in the Finger Lakes fruit region of New York State were processed into mash and juice. The samples of plum mash or juice were fermented with commercial Red Star wine yeast Montrachet (Sachharomyces cerevisiae Davis 522) for 12 d. The fermented samples were distilled, and the distillates were analyzed for methanol, ethanol, and higher alcohols by high-performance liquid chromatography. Duncan's multiple range tests show significant differences in the methanol content and the yield of plum brandy made from 7 plum cultivars. The harvest year also had a significant effect on the methanol content and the yield of plum brandy. Student's t-test results indicate that plum juices gave a lower methanol content of brandy than plum mashes without significantly reducing the brandy yield. The results of the current research can be used by the industry to select the better plum cultivar and to adopt the process to improve the product yield and quality.
Practical Application: The brandy industry can apply the results of the current research to improve product yield and to reduce the methanol content of plum brandy. The economic benefits to the brandy producers adopting the brandy production process will be significant due to the sales of new products with an acceptable level of methanol.