So here is the third post about me dreaming about … well, maybe about some future innovations that may benefit the Craft Distilling Industry. The first one was about magic potions. The second one about magic machines that combine the advantages of continuous distillation (bulk processing capacity) with batch distillation (cuts management). And sometimes I get inspiration from other industries. Like cooking …
How that came along? Well, I happened to have dinner at a place where the chicken just tasted a-ma-zing! I called for the chef and he told me it was made “sous vide” or “under vacuum”-style. “Cryovac” is the name most often used name in the Anglo-Saxon world, I have been told.
Anyhow, I asked the chef about the procedure. And I asked him about the advantages.
The procedure is basically as follows:
- Vacuum seal the food;
- Because of the vacuum, you can now boil the food at much lower temperatures than the regular 100 Celsius.
As to the why, the chef told me that he personally found that especially more fragile and volatile flavors are better preserved, using cryovac cooking methods. Which made me think …
Don’t we need cryovac distilling?
After doing some more research, and after talking to some of our customers, here is what I learned:
- Cryovac distilling could potentially help gin (and aquavit and flavored vodka) distilleries in harvesting subtle and volatile tastes;
- By creating flavor essences out of substrates that would otherwise (at higher boiling temperatures) denature too rapidly;
- Glass vacuum stills exist (for example Rotavacs). They are within the budget of the Craft Distiller, but are in general too small for efficient professional production procedures;
- Bigger vacuum stills (20 to 50 liters) exist. They are suited for efficient professional production protocols, but come at a very high price: investments of 200 K to 500 K are the norm.
In conclusion I found that especially gin distillers would love to add cryovac distilling capacity, but the ones they can afford are usually too small. The ones they need are too expensive.
“Can we make cryovac stills bigger AND at the same time a less costly investment?” That would be the design challenge I’d put in front of my engineering team. Based on gut feeling and intuition as much as on the feedback our customers gave me, I’d say a size of 100 liter would be the goal, together with a 50% cost price reduction, for distilleries to be able to reap the benefits of cryovac distilling. But that’s just my take on it. What is yours?