But by the looks of it, I think you’ll be just fine!
Peter Daenens is owner and master distiller of Gusto Spirits …
A new micro distillery has opened its doors in Tayport, Fife, using locally sourced fruit and grain to produce Scotland’s first version of France’s famous eau de vie (courtesy BGLive).
Eau de Vie from Scotland
Tay Spirit’s “Never.25” infuses grain that is milled, mashed, fermented and triple-distilled in Fife before Scottish fruit is added to macerate and infuse into the spirit. A fourth distillation then enhances flavor even more.
This naturally flavored drink, which is being made in raspberry, strawberry, and apple flavors, is the brainchild of Kecia McDougall who was inspired by Fife’s food larder to create the unique Scottish spirit.
Using advice from Business Gateway Fife, the former nurse and distiller invested £120k to start the business, importing a bespoke 500 liter iStill distillery from the Netherlands, that has the capacity to produce up to 1000 bottles per month. The iStill systems are used for mashing, fermenting, as well as distillation.
Kecia said: “Because the gin market is now maturing, I wanted to make something different. With such high-quality grain and world-renowned fruit on my doorstep, eau de vie seemed the natural fit. The drink is 100% Scottish using wheat from Fife, fruit from Fife and Tayside, and Scottish barley. Seven steps are followed to create the unique spirit from scratch on Scottish soil, with the fruit added twice to give “Never.25“’s signature flavor. Eau de vie is already a huge hit in American cocktail bars and that trend will distil across the Atlantic and, as the only producer of eau de vie in Scotland, “Never.25” will be perfectly placed to fulfill demand.”
Business Gateway Fife
“Immediately after I came up with the idea my husband suggested I speak with Business Gateway Fife. My adviser has opened so many doors for me, connecting me with branding experts and helping me successfully apply for funding from Fife Council’s Financial Support to Businesses, Scottish Enterprise and DSL Finance. His help has kept me on track and focused. I wouldn’t be where I am without his input.”
Charles Doeg-Smith, adviser, Business Gateway Fife, said: “Kecia wanted to distil something new on Scottish soil that had the potential to be the next big thing. She also recognized that the abundance of fresh produce grown locally could help her do just that. Our support helped her gain invaluable marketing and positioning insight from The Gothenburg Experiment, a grant from Financial Support to Businesses helped ease start-up costs and a By Design Grant from Scottish Enterprise led her to work with branding experts FortyTwo Studios in Aberdeen who have perfectly captured her story and ethos.”
What’s in a name
Forgetting her 25th wedding anniversary last year provided Kecia with the perfect name for her product, Never.25, whose label features a range of symbols close to her heart that include flags (the Saltire and the Stars and Stripes), a robin, a musical pause, a golf ball, and a bluebird.
Kecia said: “Setting up the business has been a whirlwind, and it wasn’t until my father-in-law phoned to apologize for not sending us a 25th wedding anniversary card that I realized we’d also forgotten and my husband exclaimed ‘it’s never 25 years?’ which lead us to our brand name. The symbols on the label are all linked to my life – the golf ball for my son, the musical pause for my daughter, and the robin for my mother-in-law who, before passing away from Motor Neurone Disease, told us that whenever we see a robin she is around us.
“The bluebird is integral to the start of my new life in Scotland. When I left America 30 years ago I sat next to a stranger on the plane who noticed I was upset, having left my family at the airport. She asked for my address and two weeks later a beautiful bluebird ornament was delivered and it still has pride of place in my kitchen. That compassion, and the fact the bluebird is a symbol of happiness, seemed to perfectly epitomize what I wanted to achieve with my eau de vie – produce a product that brings friends and family together.”
Today we had visitors from the UK looking at the iStill 2000. And customers from Belgium came over to pick up their iStill 500 and Extractor.
Massy Distillery picking up their units …
Visitors from the UK …
“How about a challenge?”, Joris Putman said, “How about we mash tulip bulbs for my tulip vodka in the iStill 2000?”
“Sure, why not?”, was my answer.
“Well,” Joris replied, “the way I want to do it is with like 800 kilo’s of tulip bulbs vs. 1100 liters of water.”
And that is steep, folks! Very steep. With grain, a normal ratio is 1 kilo of grain vs. 4 liters of water. In the case of the Clusius Craft Distillers’ tulip vodka mashing, we were talking closer to a 1:1.3. A wash three time thicker than a normal grain bill mashing scheme.
Since there is only one way to find out if the iStill, with its amazing boiler design and jet propulsion agitator system, can do the job, well, we went ahead and just did it. With great success, I can say. Here are some pictures and movies to show you how the day went.
Joris and the iStill …
Big ass pump (also made in the Netherlands) …
Filling the iStill 2000 …
Mashing the tulip bulbs …
Part of our team is currently in the UK, where we are setting up another big distillery. Here are a few pics of the assembly of an iStill 5000.
It takes a big forklift to put the boiler in place …
Boiler has found its place …
Column assembly has started …
The column is assembled …
iStill 5000 ready for action …
Guess what just arrived at the Luftbremzer Distillery today …
Meanie is a craft distillery in Delft, the Netherlands which makes top shelf white spirits like gin and jenever, right next to the jenever capital Schiedam. Owner Paul Hoogsteder does everything himself: recipe development, distilling, bottling, packaging, sales and marketing.
My name is Paul Hoogsteder, founder of a one-man (so far) distillery. I have been brewing beer since the nineties, after learning that at my Scouting group in Voorburg, and later on got a keen interest in distilling. After completing the iStill University training in Amsterdam I decided the right time had come to start my own distillery, focusing purely on white spirits – no whisky or rum for me! I’m in regular contact with other University students to exchange ideas and help each other create even better products.
The iStill University course and the excellent Consultancy from Odin helped me to develop a few great recipes that won many medals in major international spirits competitions, right in the first half year. Business is booming, I’m already saving for the purchase of an iStill 2000 NextGen to keep up with demand.
Kyle Wray, owner and master distiller of the Avonak Distillery in Texas, has both the iStill 5000 and the iStill 500. He uses the machines integrally, meaning that the iStills are used to do the whole process of mashing, fermenting, and distilling. Without pumping stuff over.
Here is a picture of his set-up. His iStill 5000 is currently fermenting … and the iStill 500 is doing a mashing program for his whiskey.
The Avonak Distillery’s iStills in operation …
We are proud that our customer Glasgow Distillery won a sweep of 6 medals at the IWSC a few months ago. Congratulations Ian, Liam, and the rest of the team!
Here are the medals:
- Makar Old Tom – Old Tom category – Silver (Outstanding)
- Makar Original – Gin & Tonic Category –Silver
- Makar Oak –Wood Finished Category – Silver
- Makar Mulberry –Cask Finished Category – Silver
- Makar Original –London Dry Category – Bronze
- Makar Old Tom – Packaging Category – Bronze
For more info on Glasgow Distillery’s Makar Gin line-up, and the medals they won, please see: