What sets iStill craft distillers apart? Well, the use of modern technology and a better understanding of the theoretical concepts related to all (most) things “distilling”. Yes, that, and the wish to produce in-house.
Strong statement? For sure. And if we mirror it, here is what many, many “traditional” distillers do: they invest into the romance via a (non or hardly functional) copper still, and then purchase most of their product with Big Alcohol (think MGP).
The above two paragraphs merit two conclusions: 1. There is a market for pre-made semi-ready product, especially in the rum and whisky segments; 2. We – as iStillers – are better equipped than anyone else to fill that gap.
How we fulfill that gap? Well, how about we, the iStillers, start producing high-quality low wines? This allows the “traditional” distiller, who now mostly outsource the actual alcohol production, to do the final run and make final cuts. They get control over flavors and – market-dependent – and can do it with a rectifiers license only.
The Low Wines Initiative is a concept we introduced to the UK market like 2 1/2 years ago. It got raving reviews, but never took off because of two reasons: 1. Our launching partner didn’t deliver on their contractual obligations; 2. Our proposed business model was pretty top-down and could be considered a hard franchise, placing too much dependency on iStill HQ relative to the position of the local low wines production center servicing (and understanding) its market.
Given that demand never ceased for high-quality low wines product, how about we give this initiative another try? If MGP has a huge market share in delivering low-quality finished product, why don’t we deliver high-quality semi-finished product? Better quality, more room for the customer/distiller to play with and create their own unique product, that is now sellable at higher margins. And for iStillers that participate in the Low Wines Initiative: a secondary income stream, a central place in your local distillery scenes, continuous use of your equipment, and higher total revenue streams. Diversification also makes for a more future-proof business model.
Interested? If this is an initiative you want to be part of, please let us know. As a customer wanting to purchase high-quality low wines. Or as an iStiller ready to take a place center-stage by servicing other craft distillers with your advanced equipment and knowledge, and our help.
The business model? Soft franchise. We provide the recipes and do most of the marketing. You’ll be part of a global movement. We’ll provide recipes, SOP, and redirect leads. You add your local marketing and sales and production savvy to that. Fixed administration fee and fixed marketing fee.
Placing iStil distilleries center-stage …
One of the very best gins of the world, made on an iStill. In fact the whole top 5 is made on iStills!
Due to Covid, a customer that ordered three iStills 100 Hybrid Manual in early 2020 now cannot take delivery of them. The units never left iStill HQ and are brand new. They now become available for sale. If you want to order one (or more), please reach out to Esther@iStillmail.com. Here is the specification list:
- 100 liter insulated boiler (net);
- 2 1/2 inch diameter insulated hybrid column with reflux valve;
- Column packing;
- StillControll Probe & App;
- 3.5 kWh heater, 230v;
- Can pot distill and column distill (up to 96%);
- iStill Distilling University (online course) at EUR 1.895,- is included for free.
Price per unit? EUR 9.950,- ex VAT and ex crating and transport. We can ship the unit all over the globe, or you can come by and collect it at iHQ. Coffee is always ready, and we usually have a drink to share as well! Here are some pictures of the units:
Congratulations to our customer Seven Hills Distillery from Hungary for winning Best Contemporary Gin 2021!
Seven Hills Tokaj Gin:
The iStill Tradeshow offers a new interview! Martijn and Judith, owners and distillers at Rummieclub Distillery talk rum to us …
My iStill 100 has finally arrived in Japan and I was, after a somewhat lengthy process, able to do my own customs clearance and take delivery of this beautiful piece of distilling engineering!
If you recall, I first made contact with you back in June 2020. I was looking seriously at several still manufacturers/suppliers prior to communicating with you at that time but I was taken by your honest and straightforward communication style and was drawn by the unique design and functionality of your iStills. I didn’t know a whole lot about distilling back then if I am honest but after taking your lectures (more than a couple of times) through the iStill University course, it was clear to me that I couldn’t have made a better choice of company for my distilling operations. Your knowledge and wisdom has Been so inspiring to me and your philosophies on how we craft distillers can win over big alcohol through understanding of flavour extraction and profiling just made so much sense.
Before my initial contact with you, I had already committed to the globally-recognised IBD distillation course (which I have just passed with credit) but your lectures clarified much of the theory I was learning in a simple and easy to understand approach (with some interesting drawings!) that just makes so much sense. In retrospect, I could have chosen a copper/stainless steel still from anywhere else in the world that could have been delivered to me soon afterwards but I decided to choose iStill. I soon learnt an additional bonus of choosing iStill would be gaining access to the Facebook iStill group has proven an invaluable tool for me. I have already learnt so much from other iStillers around the world.
Now I know I have taken receipt of something much more than just a still for making my gin, my vodka, my brandy and my rum. My iStill 100 and my iStill mini will become great talking points in the promotion of my brand “Blue Rabbit Distillery”. I understand now why you are fast increasing your market share of the global craft distilling market and I hope your will continue to stir up the well-engrained traditions of the distilling industry with your innovations and technology.
Let me just add, that many businesses have good quality or value for money products but sadly do not pay enough respect to the whole customer experience. Your whole team, from finance through to support and shipping, has communicated promptly, courteously and efficiently. That is what adds great value to iStill. I am so looking forward to making some great craft spirits on my iStill and for your continued support as my business grows.
In the meantime, please wish me good luck in obtaining my alcohol distillation licence from the Japanese government. That’ll be the second most amazing thing for me to get!
All the Best,
Mark Smyth, Tokyo
Looking at the numbers, I’d say there is room for more modern-day African craft distilleries. iStill currently has 487 customers in Europe, but only 16 in Africa …
Even though iStill, with its innovative stainless steel stills, has made a huge contribution to healthy craft distilling, most of the stills in operation around the world are still made from copper. Copper has traditionally been used in still manufacturing, because it was cheap, bendable, and available. In more modern times, with bigger distilleries running bigger and therefor warmer ferments, copper has been a medicine for the resulting poor quality distillers beer, resulting from overheating fermentations. Copper catalyses the sulfurs created by stressed-out yeast.
But, to those that do not have the means, the money, or the expertise to shift towards temperature and pH controlled fermentations, this “medicine” comes with some very bad side-effects. First, the copper particles that infect the whisky or rum are toxic and cause (among others) non-alcoholic induced fatty liver disease. In brandy making copper particle contamination also results in the formation of ethyl carbamate in the bottle, which is a carcinogenic.
Over the last few years, we have received more and more questions from distillers that use copper stills: can’t iStill, as the industry’s innovation leader and the world’s biggest producer of distilling equipment, find a solution to counter the bad side-effects of distilling with copper stills? Up until last year, our answer has always been that they could (and maybe should) buy iStill’s, because our stills are made from stainless steel. With iStill’s options for controlled fermentation and iStill’s copper waffle technology, all issues can be addressed: controlled fermentation limits sulfur contamination and negates the necessity of copper stills as a bad medicine solution.
But as we have grown, over the years, and as our focal point became more and more that we want to empower the craft distilling industry as a whole, we decided to take-on the challenge. If 70% of the market already invested in copper stills and does not have the financial resources to reinvest in controlled fermentation equipment or stainless steel stills, what else can we do for them?
We took on the challenge and, on behalf of the iStill Team, I am proud to inform you that we solved the copper particle contamination issue! Our team has designed a multi-stage filter that gets rid of 99% of the copper particles, that is retrofittable to any distillery (it is stand-alone), and that can be cleaned and re-used in under five minutes.
The current size filters 50 liters per hour. If you have bigger needs (AKA produce more than 50 liters per hour), just add a filter. Longevity? With proper treatment (clean the filter after every run via a water counter-flush), the filters will remain functional for many years and do not need to be replaced.
The iStill Copper Particle Filter can be ordered now. First deliveries will take place in March. The unit costs EUR 5.000,- ex crating and transport. If you want to order one, reach out to Finance@iStillmail.com. Our Finance Department will email you a payment-link. After you used that link to pay, you’ll get the invoice and, a few weeks later, via air transport, your iStill Copper Particle Filter will arrive.
iStill Copper Particle Filter in a traditional copper still set-up …
iStill Copper Particle Filter after a distillation run …
iStill Copper Particle Filter after 5 minutes counter-flush water cleanse …