Questions & Answers (2)!

Introduction

We had a successful Drinktec 2022 in Munich. Hundreds of brewers and distillers visited our booth, asked questions, and expressed their interest in our disruptive technology. But what did they ask? What were the questions on their mind, as they saw the iStills? In a series of posts called “Questions & Answers” we will summarize the questions that were asked most as well as our answers.

Question 2

So, what’s inside your Hybrid column? Plates?

Answer

Nope. We use in-house designed stainless steel helicon springs to pack the column with. These springs are 90% open space, so without reflux being returned down the column – in potstill mode – the column internals, which consists of thousands and thousands of these helicon springs, are not activated. Gasses travel up the column, through the open space and then out, towards the condensors and cuts selector.

So, as the column packing is 90% open space, and it performs a potstill run perfectly well, why bother to add it at all, right? Well, here’s where reflux comes into play. As with a plated column, the iStill can return reflux down the column so that the plates are activated and multiple redistillation-cycles are achieved in one go. Reflux fills the springs, and as we do so, each and everyone of them starts to become a miniature little boiler that starts to redistill.

Plates redistill and our springs redistill, so why didn’t we choose plates instead? Because plates are fixed. There is a fixed number and every bubble-cap tray offer a fixed level of reflux. This results in plated stills basically being one-trick-ponies. They are optimized (well, as far as this 1870’s technology can actually be optimized) for one sort of spirits and one ABV output. I’ll get back to that.

Our springs can be filled with any amount of reflux. This makes our column versatile instead of fixed. As seen above, without reflux, it can operate as a potstill, offering one single distillation cycle. Yet, as we return more reflux, we gradually start to boost the ABV. Due to the amazing column packing that we designed, our column offers the ability to produce – in one go – spirits at any ABV you want. One column to make all products. From vodka to whiskey. From gin to brandy. With the same still and with the same column.

And there is a bonus. Remember how bubble-cap plated stills are one-trick-ponies designed for one spirit? Well, that spirit is fruit brandy. Fruit brandy is a forward oriented drink where tails smearing needs to be limited if not stopped altogether. Bubble-cap plates are essentially tails traps. And without tails smearing how can one make a good rum or whiskey? Right, with the iStill you can, but with plates stills, you end up with a compromised flavor profile.

Reaction

What reactions did we get, when answering the question of what’s inside our columns?The reactions were mostly people being flabbergasted: “So ONE still can distill ANY spirit!?! Wow!”

At your service!

The iStill Team.

Our advanced column designs give the craft distiller a huge competitive advantage …

http://www.iStill.com

Interview Neo Blue Distillery from Japan!

An interview with Kazuhiko Nishimura. Owner and master distiller of Japan’s Neo Blue Distillery …

1. How did you get involved in the alcohol industry?

After graduating from a university majoring in Japanese logistics, I joined one of the largest alcohol logistics companies in Japan(NIHONSHURUIHANBAI CO., LTD.).

2. What made you decide to pursue distilling?

I have been working with French wines for 20 years. However, vinification is very difficult, and wine design is limited. As a result, we chose a GIN that can be made without manufacturing experience.

3. Can you tell us more about your distillery?

I run it by myself in a very small rural town in Japan. The capital investment was 200,000 yen. Most processes are manual. All processes are electric and manual for zero CO2 emissions. However, this is due to the fact that we could not invest in gas equipment, as was the original goal, due to lack of funds.

In Japan, the distribution volume of herbs is small, and there are few farmers, so it is difficult to obtain pesticide-free herbs. I rent and grow herbs on abandoned farmland around the distillery. In addition, I came up with a unique method, and this practices pesticide-free herbs cultivation based on a specific farming method, and has a large harvest with less labor.

Also, using alcohol, including methanol, will make the gin’s aroma less pure, which will have a negative effect on the human body. I noticed this theory, and I ask the supplier to make ethanol with a purity of 99.9% and use it as the base alcohol.

In addition, I use many herbs, including rose, as raw materials, so that the GIN I make has medicinal properties other than getting drunk. Of course, we use roses, so we don’t use ingredients that contain a lot of potassium.

4. How did you find iStill? And what made you decide to choose our stills?

I had only about 15 million yen in funds, and many copper distiller manufacturers pointed out lack of funds and could not sell me their still. As a result, I searched on the Internet and found that there was a distiller that I could purchase for less than 5 million yen, that I could distill without using gas, and that I could do some work in my limited time. It was iStill.

The educational curriculum was helpful. By making GIN in Holland with the iStill University courses, I was even able to earn a sake brewing license in Japan.

5. What are your plans for the future?

I am currently planning to be involved in the production of three GINs. First, I realized that my distillery does not have the functions to exceed the production volume set by the Japanese government, so I am considering relocating with investment. Using a 500L iStill to create a distillery including retail, tourism and service industries.

The second is to set up a distillery in a local city in Japan that uses a train station. This also uses a 500L iStill. In this case, we mainly focus on the tourism industry, but I think it will be a highly fashionable distillery using local specialties such as gems and roses.

Third, in order to sell my GIN overseas, I would like to outsource the production to a distillery that uses the same iStill, and create a logistics system that does not generate shipping costs from Japan and commissions to trading companies. Also, is it possible to grow herbs overseas with my new agricultural theory?

We are also looking into whether it is possible to hold an iStill school in Japan. Much of Asia sticks to distillation techniques above the boiling point of water. Consumers are obsessed with sake that will be born in the future, so I would like to have more opportunities to convey to Asian countries that there are other theories and technologies.

6. What would be your advise to starting new distilleries?

It’s extremely simple, but I think it’s important to be conscious that GIN is not a liquor, but a drink born out of chemical theory. Rather than sticking to botanical grams, I think it’s about knowing the nature of water and alcohol contained in the ingredients and the extraction method of the ingredients. Alcohol is the only liquid with a lower boiling point than water.

If there is a need for many people who make GIN, I would like to work together to create recipes and create fragrances and flavors using agricultural products from each country. However, I can’t understand many languages ​​including English, so please prepare transportation, accommodation, and meals for two members of the Neo Blue team.

Finally, I had no money, no skills, we won the GIN Masters Ultra premium, under the WABISABI brand name, started by my American partners. So two years after starting to make GIN, we were able to create a product that surpassed KINOBI Pernod Ricard’s KINOBI GIN, which is well represented and received in Asia.

I am grateful to everyone at iStill for accepting me in 2019, when I came from Japan and didn’t know much about GIN. Thank you!

WABISABI GIN elected one of 10 best gins …

Kazuhiko-san …

Questions & Answers (1)!

Introduction

We had a successful Drinktec 2022 in Munich. Hundreds of brewers and distillers visited our booth, asked questions, and expressed their interest in our disruptive technology. But what did they ask? What were the questions on their mind, as they saw the iStills? In a series of posts called “Questions & Answers” we will summarize the questions that were asked most as well as our answers.

Question 1

Why are your boilers square instead of round?

Answer

Depending on the type of spirit you produce, agitation is needed, so that the boiler contents are well-mixed. In a round boiler the boiler contents will start to move with the agitator system. As the speed differential between the agitator and the boiler contents drops, so does the actual mixing energy that is applied. Therefore, mixing in a round boiler is not very effective and the goal of optimal dispersal of grains or herbs or grapes is not achieved.

As a result, still manufacturers, that do add agitators to round boilers, often have to resort to over-mixing the boiler contents. The now very fast turning agitator throws boiler contents into the gas bed above the liquid bath. This disruption of the gas bed, from which the riser or column harvests its gasses, leads to fluctuations in vapor speeds in that riser or column, hampering flavor consistency and cuts management. Boiler and agitator longevity will be comprised too, as both are over-worked in order to create a higher degree of mixing.

Also, as the boiler contents start to move with the agitator – in a round boiler – a vortex is created. The vortex sucks gasses downwards, competing with the riser or column. This interferes with the riser or column doing its work properly. As with over-agitating the boiler contents, a vortex hampers production speed as well as flavor consistency and cuts management. What essentially happens, in both cases, is that micro burst of over- and under-pressure influence the vapor speeds inside the distillation system, resulting in unwanted smearing of heads and tails flavors into hearts.

The vortex has a secondary negative effect. As the vortex reaches downwards, more boiler contents are pushed upwards, via the sides of the boiler, limiting the fill-grade of that boiler. Especially in combination with over-mixing, this can result in a big difference in gross vs. net boiler capacity. In a round boiler with a gross content of 650 liters, the maximum net filling will be 350 to 400 liters only. The choice for a round boiler severely limits your production capacity, as you have to do more yet smaller runs.

How a square boiler with flush corners helps? Well, first of all the boiler contents cannot start to spin with the agitator. The moment the wash start to move with the agitator, the corners – that are further away – generate a counter rotational movement, keeping the boiler contents in place and thus maximizing the speed differential between agitator and wash. As a result all the energy put in by the agitator translates into actual mixing and perfect particle distribution.

Since no vortex is created – in a flush-square boiler, that is – and no over-mixing needs to take place, the gas bed above the boiler contents is very stable. The riser and column can do their work under optimal conditions, which results in higher production rates, better quality spirits, and recipes that are reproducible from one run to another.

Finally, our 630 liter gross capacity iStill 500 has a net fill rate of 500 liters. That’s about 30% more than an equally sized round boiler. The benefit? You get more still for your buck. You can process bigger batches. Your yield – and therefore your income – is significantly increased.

Reaction

What reactions did we get, when answering the question of why we have flush-square boilers? The reactions ranged from “that makes total sense” to people being flabbergasted.

At your service!

The iStill Team

Square boilers matter …

http://www.iStill.com

Copperpenny Gin Blows Judges Away!

The Spirits Business’s Judges were blown away by Copperpenny Gin 005. Jan and Jenny congrats! We are so happy and proud that you are iStill customers. Spirits Business’s judgement of your 005 gin is amazing. Here it is:

Canadian entry Copperpenny Gin 005 blew the judges away in this year’s blind tasting, securing a top medal in the competition: Master.

Cheong Thong’s tasting notes included: “Good hit of green juniper on the nose with pink peppercorns, and sansho on the finish.”

Athavia also greatly enjoyed the gin. She picked up notes of “lovely cardamom” leading to a “light and fresh palate with a backbone of good juniper”.

Copperpenny Gin 005 is bottled at 43% ABV …

iStill is London Craft Distilling Expo’s Main Sponsor!

We are sponsoring London’s Craft Distilling Expo once more. And as the world’s leading distillery manufacturer we decided to not be just any sponsor, but to be the event’s main sponsor.

It’s the kind of sponsorship that comes with benefits. Like free tickets for our customers (or soon to be customers). When the Craft Distilling Expo is? October 6th and 7th. At the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.

Are you in the process of purchasing an iStill? Are you an iStill customer? Then reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com to get one or two free tickets. If enough of our customers show up, we’ll do Beer & Burgers on the evening of the 6th!

http://www.iStill.com

Master Distillers Course – Customer Feedback!

Datum: 11 september 2022 om 08:54:57 CEST
Aan: Veronika van Eijk veronika@istillmail.com
Onderwerp: Thank you

Good morning Veronica and Odin

I would just like to thank you, and all those at IStill, for an amazing week and a brilliant course. You are supported by a fantastic team, and I would particularly like to hail Sebastian, Willem and William as the “triumphant triad” driving the course.

Sasha and I look forward to seeing you in London in a few weeks time and once again quite simply, thank you.

Best wishes

Brian Cohen

Do you want to participate at the industry’s best educational program? We have a new course planned from November 14th till November 17th. In Amsterdam, at iStill HQ. If you want to register, please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com!

https://www.vintersoldistillery.com/about-us

Comparing Energy Efficiency: Traditional vs. iStill!

Introduction

Today, we are diving deeper into the topic of efficiency. As many parts of the world see a rise in energy costs, it is a topic that needs to be addressed. Yes, we all know that iStills are the benchmark, when it comes to efficiency, as they are compact, controlled, and insulated. Traditional stills have outdated designs, that hark back centuries, and are not insulated. But how much is the difference really? Can we quantify it? Put numbers on it? Yes we can and yes we will. Here ya go:

Setting the stage

In one corner, we have the traditional distillery set-up: a 550 gallon masher and stripping still and a 140 gallon finishing still. Both are jacketed and steam-powered. The steam-engine runs on propane.

In the other corner sits the iStill 2000. It is electrically powered and can finish a 2,000 liter batch in one go. No need for double distillation, no need for two stills, no need for a steam-engine.

What will they fight over? New make whiskey. Or whisky. Or Bourbon. The goal is to mash, strip, and finish a total of 4,000 liters or 1,100 gallons of wash into 62.5% new make spirit, that’s ready to hit the barrel. Who will be more efficient and by how much? The traditional set-up or the iStill? And, as a bonus, we’ll also translate energy usage into energy costs.

Traditional efficiency

Based on a real world example by now iStill customer Aris Aristides, that ran a traditional set-up, making American whiskey in the USA, here are his numbers:

  • Mashing 2,000 liters in the 550 gallon masher costs 30 gallons of propane;
  • Two mashes therefore equal an energy use of 60 gallons;
  • Stripping 2,000 liters in the 550 gallon stripping still costs 30 gallons of propane;
  • Two stripping runs therefore equal an energy usage of 60 gallons;
  • The finishing run consumes another 30 gallons of propane;
  • Total propane used is 150 gallons;
  • 150 gallons of propane equals 600 liters of propane (yes, going metric here);
  • One liter of propane provides 7 kWh of energy;
  • So mashing, stripping, and finishing 4,000 liters into new make spirit costs 4,200 kWh.

Aris’ costs when running a traditional, copper set-up …

iStill efficiency

Based on two real world examples, from a French and a Dutch customer, that use the iStill 2000 to make new make spirit in one go, we come to the following energy efficiency numbers:

  • Mashing 2,000 liters in the iStill 2000 costs 150 kWh of electricity;
  • Two mashes, for 4,000 liter total, therefore equal an energy use of 300 kWh of electricity;
  • Distillation run time is 10 hours (including heat-up, based on the latest 54 kWh model);
  • Power usage of 46,5 kW per hour throughout the distillation run;
  • Total power usage, in order to distill a 2,000 liter wash into new make, is 465 kWh;
  • Total power to distill 4,000 liter of wash into new make spirit is 930 kWh;
  • So mashing and distilling 4,000 liters of wash into new make spirit costs 1,230 kWh in total.

The iStill 2000: the craft distiller’s favorite whiskey production machine …

Costs

Based on (currently less disrupted) American energy prices, the following can be noted:

  • One gallon of propane costs $ 3.-, so a traditional runs, that use 150 gallons, cost $ 450,-;
  • One kWh costs $ 0.14, so the iStill runs, that use 1,230 kWh, cost $ 172.-

The outcome of the battle?

The iStill 2000 uses 1,230 kWh to mash and distill 4,000 liter. The traditional, indirectly fired, steam-heated, copper set-up used by Aris in his previous, pre-iStill distillery uses the equivalent of 4,200 kWh.

Using an iStill instead of a traditional set-up saves the craft distiller a whopping 2,970 kWh. The iStill is 3.5 times more efficient than the traditional distillery!

Mashing and distilling 4,000 liters results in 440 liters or 2 barrels/barriques of new make spirit at 62.5%. On a traditional, copper set-up it costs $ 450.- to produce this amount. With the iStill the energy bill is just $ 172.-.

Conclusions

If you want to be an energy efficient craft distiller, buy an iStill. If you want to be a cost efficient craft distiller, buy an iStill. If you want to be an environmentally friendly distiller, buy an iStill. And since our customers win more awards than anyone else out there: just buy an iStill.

http://www.iStill.com