Are you dreaming of opening your own distillery and owning a business that makes great craft spirits? It’s a dream for many, but it can be difficult to understand what it takes to get started. There are steps involved in starting a distillery, and having the right knowledge at your fingertips is essential in ensuring you get off on the right foot.
From understanding licensing requirements to selecting ingredients, there is much more to consider than just getting started with equipment when opening a new distillery. In this blog post, we’ll break down all the information you need so you know exactly how to open up a shop and start making smooth craft spirits!
Let’s get started!
1. In Order to Start a Distillery, What Kind of Requirements Do You Have for the Building Itself?
Consider the height limitations that are imposed by the current structure. What about the power, and which types of generators do you have accessible? How simple is it to make any kind of adjustment to the area without having to pay additional fees that will eat into your profit margin?
In order to keep from having to spend to alter the construction to facilitate the specially made gear you might have already purchased, it is crucial to understand what you are going to collaborate with in your area before making any choices regarding the location or arrangement of your distillery’s machinery. Knowing what you’ll be able to operate within your area allows you to make intelligent choices.
2. Essential Components That Should Be Included in a Distillery’s Building
- When choosing your building, it is very simple to forget about the ceiling height, despite the fact that this is the issue that might be the most challenging to work with. It would appear to be common sense, yet the proprietors of several buildings strongly discourage their tenants from putting holes into the roofing of their property. In a typical scenario, there shouldn’t be any issues, but suppose you want to incorporate a vodka column into your setup. Or, to make matters even worse, what takes place when the inspector thinks that it all must be raised 18 inches from the floor in order to reduce the possibility of a blast? Although it is possible that none of these situations will directly apply to you, it is still important to think about them before you are forced to make some difficult choices.
- The quantity of available energy is yet another possible bottleneck that is simple to overlook until it manifests itself as a problem. Would the facility have adequate energy to power all of the gear that you’re intending on using? Is there room for expansion in the event that the demand is more than you anticipated? It’s possible that energy at a single phase 120V will be sufficient to get you launched. Still, leave yourself some leeway room in case you need to upgrade your boiler or add a chiller or another type of item of machinery in the future to assist your business function more effectively.
- The quantity and quality of water have always been a concern for distillers; this is one of the reasons why specific regions are responsible for producing spirits that are known all over the world. Nowadays, obtaining a supply of pure water may be as easy as hooking up a RO system to your water line; nevertheless, the amount of water that is required to produce a quality spirit is significantly greater than the amount of water that is used in the kettle and the mash tun. In addition, it’s probable that your heating systems will require water, both for the steam and the coolant that they produce. If you aren’t cautious, the gallons can mount up rapidly, and the requirements for how to dispose of it once it has passed through your network can differ from town to town. Getting rid of or cleaning these streams is typically not a major concern or much of a pain, but you will want to give it some thought so that you can ensure that you are in conformity with the regulations that are in place in your community.
You’ve taken care of the electricity and water issues, and everything in the structure is as prepared as it can possibly be. In other words, you’re all set in terms of the facilities. You are now entering the final stretch, but there are several points you need to look over before you can consider yourself finished.
It will be crucial to ensure that the space is tidy and prepared to arrange the gear and that you possess convenient access to the devices you’ll need to facilitate installation; the distillery systems are available as simple and efficient as is humanly possible. However, large-scale projects such as this one include a great deal of intricacy, and it is impossible to anticipate and plan for every conceivable scenario that might arise.
How to Determine Which Pieces of Distilling Equipment Are Right for You
1. Understand Distillation 101
The distillation process typically takes place in the column, where several rounds of condensation and evaporation are used to separate the various alcohols from the wash. The boiling of the kettle causes alcohol vapour to be created, which then climbs to the column.
There, it proceeds to pass through the bubble cap and, based on where you are during the run, it eventually reaches the lower-proof alcohol bed on the plate. When the heated vapour comes into contact with the liquid bed, heat is released, raising the fluid bed’s temperature and generating additional steam.
This process of heat transfer takes place on each individual plate. A lower temperature characterises a liquid state. The temperature is higher when steam is present. The more highly refined the ethyl alcohol, the more steam is produced, which must then be condensed for the following cycle (each plate is considered a cycle). The filtration level is higher when there are more plate parts in each column.
2. Choose the Total Amount of Plates
If you are interested in producing vodka, we suggest purchasing at least an 18-plate column. The greater the number of plates, the greater the number of phase shifts that can occur, ultimately producing genuine and unadulterated vodka. On the other hand, a longer run time is necessary when there are more plates.
Since the flavour is more important than purity in the production of whisky, fewer plate portions are preferable for the distilleries that create it.
Note that there are no verifiable studies that prove the flavour of the finished product produced by a larger system is better or worse than the flavour produced by a distilling apparatus that is smaller.
3. Determine The Kind Of Still
Did you know that there are several distinct kinds of stills? Understanding the differences between these several types of stills can help you determine which alcohol distillation gear will be most effective in producing the spirit of your choice:
- The components of a pot still are a condenser, a swan neck (also known as a lyne arm), and a large pot. The alcohol is heated up in the pot, which forces the vapour to pass through the swan neck. After passing through the swan neck, a portion of the fluid drains back into the pot, and a portion of the vapour travels to the condenser. During the distillation process, a longer and more vertical swan neck produces more reflux, which results in a lower overall alcohol content in the distillate. Conversely, a swan neck that is shorter has a lower thermal disparity during the reflux process, which results in alcohol that is more organic and subdued.
- A pot, a column with copper plates, a lyne arm, and a condenser are the components that make up a reflux column. The greater the number of plates, the more refined the alcohol will be. The less the plates you use, the more concentrated the flavour of the alcohol will be. There are many distinct varieties of reflux stills, but the three most common are as follows:
- Liquid management (LM) reflux still – In most cases, the fluids that are allowed to flow back down the column are controlled by a needle valve.
- In a reflux still used in vapour management (VM), a tee is installed under the reflux condenser. This tee connects to a valve and the item condenser.
- Reflux from the cooling management (CM) system still – Some of the vapour is reduced by a dephlegmator that is located at the top of the column, whereas some of the vapour is allowed to move on to the item shotgun. The amount of power, or heat, that is applied to the kettle still affects a CM reflux.
4. Take Into Account the Cost of Your Craft Distillery Equipment
When arranging for all of the accessories, such as irrigation fittings, heating elements, extra gaskets and clamps, etc., creating a budget for the necessary equipment for alcohol distillation can be an extremely time-consuming process. Because time is precious, you should exercise caution whenever the price looks unusually low. It may result in welds of poor quality, future difficulties, and increased expenses associated with the machine’s maintenance in the future.
Don’t overlook performing some calculations to figure out which piece of equipment has the optimal size in terms of litres. There are situations when the smaller investment can cost more per litre. Still, the larger system, despite having a somewhat higher initial cost, may end up producing a better return on investment. Achieving success requires careful consideration of both price and quality when purchasing gear.
5. Find A Provider That You Can Rely On
Having access to a reliable supply of craft distillery gear is another essential component of achieving success. A reliable supplier has an in-depth understanding of their own gear and distillation in general.
If you have any detailed questions, your provider ought to be capable of answering them and give you sound advice on the best alcohol distillation gear for your handmade distillery. The following is a list of advice that can be used when conducting research on a possible provider:
- Keep an eye out for durability — If a business has been in business for a longer period of time, you have a better idea of whether or not they will be in business in the years to come. This is an essential aspect to consider when selecting a provider.
- Investigate their standing by finding out what their clients have to say about them, requesting referrals, and stalking their social media sites.
- Examine the quality of their customer support. They should not only be able to provide ongoing maintenance for their gear, but they must also be capable of answering enquiries and providing assistance for distillery developments.
- Asking questions is the quickest approach to determining the sense of competence exhibited by a provider. So if you have any questions, please don’t be hesitant to contact us. But there’s no such thing as a foolish question, so stop worrying about it!