Single pass whisky distillation!

We are making single malt whisky at iStill HQ! And with all the new innovations we released over the last few months, we can now distill new make spirit in one go. No longer any need for separate (and time and energy consuming) stripping runs. With iStill you can create any taste rich spirit in a single distillation run, where the unit brings the beer to barrel strength (62% in this example) automatically and maintains that ABV during the whole run.

Preparing the barrels …

IMG_3209.jpg

The iStill 500 is producing single malt whisky …

IMG_3210.jpg

The new program for single pass whisky distillation …

IMG_3211.jpg

http://www.iStill.com

Congrats HB and Tomislav!

Croatian Old Pilot’s Gin wins gold medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Old Pilot’s Gin

8 May 2019 – Old Pilot’s Gin, which is distilled by two former army pilots in Zagreb, Croatia, has won a gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Old Pilot’s Gin, which is created by Hrvoje Bušić and Tomislav Anadolac, won the gold medal for their London Dry Gin.

“This award means the world to us, because not only is an SFWSC medal a testament to the hard work, it’s a universally recognized indicator of exceptional quality and craftsmanship,” the pair said.

(Photo: Old Pilot’s Gin)

There was more success for Old Pilot’s as they also won the brozne medal in the Packaging Design Competition at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition for their bottle design. The bottle was designed by Zagreb agency Kofein.

“As spirits shelves become more crowded, aesthetics play a larger role in making a memorable first impression. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition pays homage to these unique, thoughtful aesthetics in the Packaging Design Competition. This separate competition evaluates the creativity, impact, execution, and overall effectiveness of an entrant’s packaging design,” organizers said.

The design of the Old Pilot’s Gin bottle impressed the panel of graphic and packaging design professionals to win the gold medal.

Hrvoje Bušić and Tomislav Anadolac (Photo: Old Pilot’s Gin)

Bušić and Anadolac met more than 20 years ago at the army pilot academy in Zadar. The gin enthusiasts decided to start a micro-distillery “Duh u boci” (The Spirit in the Bottle) and Old Pilot’s Gin was created.

(Photo: Old Pilot’s Gin)

“Old Pilot’s Gin is a London Dry Gin and a true example of Croatian “craft” spirit distilled with a selection of hand picked Croatian botanicals that grow in the Mediterranean and continental parts of Croatia. The special selection consist of Juniper, Sweet and Bitter Oranges, Lavender, Olive leaves, Sage and Angelica. A single bottle packed with best flavours Croatia has to offer”, is how the pair describe the gin.

“We use special techniques for the preparation and distillation in order to preserve all those botanical oils without dominant alcohol notes. The full process from preparation, distillation, maturation, bottling, labeling and wax sealing is done by hand. Every bottle is unique and special.”

(Photo: Old Pilot’s Gin)

“The shape of the label follows the shape of the plane’s wings, and the plane used for the visual is one of the most recognizable models in history. Every detail on the bottle has a meaning, a role in the story, and all together they unmistakably tell a story that was meant to be told – the story of two passions combined: flying and finest gin spirit,” Kofein, creators of the bottle and brand said.

Old Pilot’s Gin has already won a number of awards, including Best Croatian Craft Gin, a gold medal at the GinUrWay UK competition and a silver medal from the American Distilling Institute.

Vodka Distilling Made Easier!

Introduction

Vodka is a one-dimensional, almost neutral drink, made from grains or potatoes. Its relative neutrality is obtained by a multitude of distillation cycles, where each distillation further strengthens the ABV in order to reach 190 proof, while pushing heads and tails associated flavors to the sides.

This iStill Blog post is about how we improved vodka making over the last few years, and how you – as a craft distiller and/or iStill customer can take advantage of those innovations. Quite technical maybe, but that’s what it takes to make superior vodka: its a technological balancing act between purity and output after all. Or between reflux and product, if you like.

Making vodka in the old, pre-2016 iStills

The old iStills had a robot with only 35 steps. It calculated the boiling point of ethanol via stabilization.

Making better vodka in the original iStill NextGen in 2016

With the introduction of the iStill NextGen in 2016, we completely redesigned both the column and the boiler for better performance. Robot 2.0 came out, with improved 1,000 step accuracy. The actual boiling point was still calculated through stabilizing the column. The NextGen saw a boost in production of around 50% over the older designs.

Making better vodka in the iStill NextGen in 2017

The year 2017 saw another bit update, to further improve the accuracy of the iStill’s vodka making capabilities. Robot 3.0 came out. It gave the iStill an incredible 2,500 settings.

Making even better vodka in the iStill NextGen in 2018

For 2018 we changed two major things. First, we added a double calibration to the thermometer probes, further narrowing their operational windows. Secondly, we added an air pressure monitor. The new monitor allows for second-to-second supervision of air pressure. The moment it changes, the iStill automatically compensates. Since the iStills are now no longer dependent on stabilization for air pressure readings, they become both more accurate and more efficient. Basically this shaves up to an hour off the total run time!

Making the best vodka in the iStill NextGen since 2019

With the 2019 innovations in place, we feel the way we help make vodka has reached its peak. No more improvements are planned, we have reached the optimum. Non Plus Ultra. What the 2019 innovations are? ABV-Control and the Reflux Capacitor.

ABV-Control does, well, what it says: it helps manage your ABV. It works via a sophisticated program, where the computer, based on thermometer inputs, predicts what will happen, and prepares the robot accordingly. No more column re-stabilizations. Instead of open or close, the unit now continuously optimizes. The result? Better performance and higher efficiency.

The Reflux Capacitor improves the overall column performance with 25%, resulting (again) in a more stable run. As a result, the take-off vs. reflux ratio can now improve even further, creating the purest product possible in the shortest amount of time.

Want to buy?

That’ is perfectly possible. Easy too. If you buy a new iStill, you get ABV-Control, double calibration, the air pressure monitor, Robot 3.0, and the Reflux Capacitor as standard. Together, this incredible innovation suite maximizes and optimizes your vodka production.

Want to upgrade?

If you want to upgrade your 2016, 2017, or 208 iStill NextGen to Robot 3.0, the air pressure sensor and Reflux Capacitor, that is perfectly possible. It costs EUR 5.000,-. Online assembly support is provided and part of the offer.

No, you don’t need ABV-Control or the double calibration. It is part of your service agreement and was rolled out to your iStill during the last software update.

Vodka distilling made easy with iStill …

IMG_3193.jpg

http://www.iStill.com

Another Sunday Joke!

A fire fighter is working on the engine outside the station when he notices a little girl next door in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the side and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle.

The girl is wearing a fire fighter’s helmet and has the wagon tied to a dog and a cat.

The fire fighter walks over to take a closer look.

“That sure is a nice fire truck”, the fire fighter says with admiration.

“Thanks”, the girl says.

The fire fighter looks a little closer and notices the girl has tied the wagon to the dog’s collar and to the cat’s testicles.

“Little partner”, the fire fighter says, “I don’t want to tell you how to run your fire truck, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat’s collar, I think you could go faster.”

The little girl says, “You’re probably right, but then I wouldn’t have a siren.”

download.jpg

Thanks Forest Beekeeper for sharing!

Our Open Pricing Policy Explained!

Introduction

The only established distillery manufacturer that is completely open about its pricing is iStill. Other still manufacturers hide their prices and charge you according to what they think you can pay. This iStill Blog post dives into the reasons why we choose to be completely open about pricing, and the benefits this brings you.

Reasons to be open about pricing

I think openness is in our DNA. When we came to the market place, we did so with completely new and potentially disruptive distilling technology. Nobody knew us, nobody understood what the iStills did. Sharing information, experiences, innovations: it became second nature to help educate craft distillers while bringing our messages across.

The reason other still manufacturers were not open about pricing, probably had to do with the status-quo that existed up until around five, six years ago. The major manufacturers had the market divided between them. And since it was a growing market, where demand outperformed supply, this turned into a really  nice business model for those still suppliers: a growing market and very high margins per unit of sales.

Upon entering the market, with our revolutionary iStill equipment, the industry standard of hidden pricing models felt outdated. Outdated and wrong. Outdated, because we live in a world that is connected, where people have access to information, to others instantly. Hiding prices in an era that’s all about transparency didn’t seem like a logical choice. And – apart from the rationale – it felt plainly wrong, because …

We strive to build partnerships, or at least relationships with our customers, and support the establishment of craft distilling network. Trust is essential for partnership, for relationship, and for networking. Imagine what a hidden price policy does to that? It destroys it. You don’t believe me? Just imagine you bought a 110k Mueller, and you now talk to a colleague … who informs you he paid only 95k for the same unit. You’d feel screwed. Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback. Mistrust prevents the establishment of partnership and relationship and networking.

Consequences for craft distillers

The consequences of our open price policy are tremendous. It simply puts us (iStill) in a position of always having to try harder. We have to try harder to improve upon our technologies. We have to try harder on maintaining the lowest price points possible.

Why? Well, just look at it from our perspective. We bring stills to the market and we are the only one that is open about pricing. Now, imagine a competing still manufacturer, that is trying to reel in a customer, and he learns the customer also considers iStill. The competitor can now simply go to our website, design an iStill, and adjust his price to be lower than ours. That is: if he can get to our price level at all!

In plain English? Us being completely open about pricing, means our pricing has to be low. As low as possible, not to play into the cards of potential competitors.

Now, I can almost hear you think: “Buying an iStill is about so much more than price, isn’t it? It’s also about the advanced technology they offer and the great build quality …” And it is, but – when we started out – nobody knew about us, let alone about what we had to offer. But you are right: our open price policy does not just push us to sell iStills at the lowest possible price points, it also pushes us to keep on innovating. I guess that’s what simply happens when you have an open vs. a closed mindset: you create a culture of challenging everything, where innovation is a logical outcome.

And there is even more happening as a result of our open price policies! What? Well, the traditional suppliers have been forced to lower their prices significantly. iStill being more affordable and delivering top-notch technology has made us the thorn in the side of traditional manufacturers. And in order to try and deal with the kind of competition we now deliver, they have been forced to lower their prices to try and keep up.

A 20-plate, 600 liter (gross) Holstein sold for 180k like six years ago. Last I heard is that they now sell for closer to 110k. The summary? Even if you do not want to purchase iStill equipment, we helped make setting up your craft distillery a whole lot cheaper.

Invitation

This is an invite to all still manufacturers: stop misbehaving and start complying! If people want to go out and buy a car, they can research pricing online. When you check out housing, purchase prices or monthly rents are available. When a craft distiller purchases an iStill, there is a design center with open pricing to help you out. So what’s holding other still manufacturers back? Please come out into the light, and leave the dark ages. As the craft distilling industry is maturing, it deserves an adult treatment.

iStill: at your service …

fixed-growth-mindset.png

http://www.iStill.com

New Batch of iStills Mini!

Introduction

We have begun fabricating another batch of iStills Mini. As you probably know, the iStill Mini is iStill’s product development still. We designed this unit to help our customers create their specific drinks on a small scale.

The smaller scale of this product development still translates to faster and lower costs of spirit design. The fact that it is an iStill makes translating your recipe to the bigger, production oriented iStills a no-brainer. It’s now just a matter of scaling up.

Specifications

The iStill Mini is an 8 liter (gross), direct fired still. It is made out of stainless steel, while the boiler is insulated. It comes with power manager (0 – 2 kW). The Purity Selector allows to distill both taste-rich spirits like brandy, gin, rum, and whiskey or very pure vodkas or GNS. It comes with an additional extractor column. In fact, it comes fully specced: power manager, boiler, column, packing, agitator system, heater, blue tooth temperature probes, coolers, and an app.

What’s new or changed?

Nothing major, but let’s dive in anyhow:

  • Lower placement of heating element for a minimum charge of 5 instead of 6 liters;
  • Some redesigned power manager internals;
  • Product cooler now comes with tri-clamp connection (just like the rest of the still);
  • New, bigger knobs to screw on the lid;
  • Different boiler drain design;
  • Minor changes to the extractor column to optimize suction and through-put.

Pricing

The price of this new batch of iStills Mini stayed the same. EUR 3.000,-. We transport them to most parts of the world via air mail, which adds around EUR 500,- to the invoice. A wheeled trolley bag is included in the transport costs.

Production and availability

We expect to have the new batch of 50 iStills Mini ready in about five weeks from now, so that’s when we’ll start deliveries again. Of this new batch, 13 have already been sold. If you want to start product development, and feel the iStill Mini can help you out, please order soon. The last few batches sold out in weeks rather than months and we only expect to manufacture a new batch after the summer.

Want one? You order it, we invoice you, you pay for it, and we ship it. You get the iStill Mini a few days later via air mail, assemble it (instruction available), and run it!

For placing an order, please reach out to your iStill Wizard:

  • Avian@iStillmail.com for the UK;
  • Jason@iStillmail.com for the Americas;
  • Sarah@iStillmail.com for Asia and Australia;
  • Sales@iStillmail.com for Europe and Africa.

The iStill Mini …

IMG_3182.jpg

http://www.iStill.com