After having built a reputation as distillery consultant and recipe developer for top-shelf craft spirits from July 2010 onwards, on April 17th 2013 I finally launched iStill. In my first ever iStill Blog post I invited you to join me at the start of what I expected would become an interesting journey. And an interesting journey it has been, indeed! In a mere eight years, we became the world’s leading manufacturer of distillation equipment. Not sure what my expectations were, when we started iStill, but the current status and success was for sure beyond my imagination and grasp, that day.
Our innovations have brought the industry’s technology from the 1870’s well into the 21st century. Our educational programs have trained over a 1000 distillers: a huge reservoir of people that actually know what they are doing. Our recipe development support – combined with our technology and well-trained customer-base – have helped to make better, award-winning products more consistently and at vastly lower price-points, both in terms of up-front capital investment (to open a distillery) and in per liter spirits production costs (to run a distillery).
iStillers, more than any other type of craft distiller, make their own products. iStillers, more than any other category of craft distiller, win most of the awards. iStillers, more than any other category of craft distiller, maintain and grow viable businesses, even in today’s pandemic. Where the market for new still sales tanked with 35% in 2020, iStill grew with 27%.
The seeds of what we are now (and how we got there), were already visible in the first iStill Blog post. We started the iStill Blog to share information and to make the craft distilling world a better, more informed place. We started iStill to provide the industry with better distillery equipment. Again, to make the craft distilling industry a stronger place. Or, in my 2013 words:
“How? By talking about distilling and by making products available for pro distillers who want only the best. By means of a website / webshop that will be launched in just a few weeks time. Products that I hope will take the noble art of distilling a step further in terms of quality or at least in ease of use. For distilling, I quickly learned, is not easy. It is a labour intensive craft, where the biggest challenge is not just to get results, but to get repeatable results.“
Reading the original iStill Blog post fills me with pride and a sense of fulfillment. Yes, by sharing lots and lots of information, we have made the craft distilling industry a more competitive place. Yes, we have made distilling easier. Yes, we provide the best distilling equipment in the world. Yes, we have maintained a very competitive price point. And yes, this has forced our competitors to cut their prices with a third to sometimes 50%. No, in the transition we have lead, we have not only made friends. And a final yes: “… the biggest challenge is not just to get results, but to get repeatable results.” Process control precedes reproducibility and reproducibility precedes quality. It was true then and it is just as true now. Not just for the 1000 iStill customers that rely on our support and input, but for the industry as a whole.
On behalf of the iStill Team, I say: At your service!
Drs. H.E.J. (Odin) van Eijk, MScBA, etc.
Founder and CEO of iStill.