Nine New Master Distillers!

The iStill University delivered nine new master distillers to the craft distilling industry. From the UK, the USA, India, Nigeria, and the Netherlands!

Congrats Esther …

Congrats Autger …

Congrats Mayukh …

Congrats Tony …

Congrats Mike …

Congrats Dylan …

Congrats Brent …

Congrats Tobias …

Congrats Jay …

The whole team …

Do you want to become a certified master distiller? The iStill University trains 200 people per year. Students value our curriculum with a 9.8 out of 10. For more information, please contact

Today We Honor Aris!

Aris has, over the last decade and more, helped out numerous distillers. He freely shares his experience and his time to help craft distillers around the world make better decisions.

To celebrate and honor his contributions, Aris has been appointed as Member of the Watchkeeper Charter – a unique fellowship of people with one unique quality in common: their actions empower the craft distilling industry.

Aris with his Charter and the iStill Watch that goes with it …

Aris wearing the iStill Watch …

iStill Watch!

What we wanted to achieve

The iStill Watch is a project that we have put quite some time in, over the last year and a half. As admirers of the craftsmanship, the detailing, and the precision engineering of beautiful timepieces, as well as stills, it has been our desire to design a watch that does justice to our brand and to the people that will wear one.

For whom we designed it

For whom did we design the iStill Watch? For those that positively impact our industry and help make it a more vibrant, competitive, and empowered market place. Either by helping out the industry or individual distillers directly, or by helping us make a difference.


Wearing an iStill Watch makes you a Watchkeeper. iStill’s timepiece, in other words, comes with both acknowledgement and responsibility. The acknowledgement of having made a significant contribution to the craft distilling industry. And the responsibility to keep watch over our industry: to call out and amend what’s wrong, and to help individual craft distillers – and the industry at large – move forward.


We have designed and built 25 iStill Watches. Seventeen watches have been reserved to celebrate those that have already made a difference. Eight watches are held in stock for future jubilees.


Movement: Swiss Automatic, 26 jewels, pearlage decorated, Glucydur balance wheel, Cotes de Geneve finished rotor

Movement (continuation): Nivaflex mainspring, Incabloc shock protection

Calibre: 28,800vph, 4Hz, smooth sweep

Power reserve: 44 hours

Waterproof: 10 ATM, 100 meters or 330 feet, double O-ring sealing

Accuracy: 0 to +5 seconds/day

Case: 41 mm, 316L Stainless Steel

Glass: Sapphire

Dial: Black, with illuminated silver dots

Bezel: 316L Stainless Steel, polished

Hands: Silver, illuminated

Caseback: 316L Stainless Steel screw-cap, with sapphire glass window

Crown: Wide model

Bracelet: 22 mm, Stainless Steel, 3-link, mat/shine combo, black PVD coat

Buckle: Concealed double butterfly folding clasp

Individual watch test report: strength & pressure testing passed (well above and beyond specifications)

The iStill Watch …

Happy 2023: The Golden Age of iStillers Starts!


On behalf of the iStill Team, I wish you a Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true. In good health. Achieve your personal and business goals, as well as your good intentions.

Here’s my take on the state of our industry. What challenges face us? How do we translate threats into opportunities? Why do I expect the Golden Age to start and what will iStill’s role be? Let us dive in deeper, as 2023 might well become a truly amazing year …


Inflation is high, so consumers have less money to spend. Interest rates are high, making investments in new business opportunities more costly. Energy and grain prices are up significantly, impacting production costs and profit potential.

The distilling industry, craft as well as Big Alcohol, is affected particularly hard by the above challenges. Lower demand plus higher investment costs plus rising production costs do not sound like a Golden Age is eminent. But it is. At least for iStillers.

Understanding the difference between commodity, luxury, and premium products

To make opportunities out of challenges, it is important to understand the difference between commodities, luxury items, and premium products. Commodities are goods needed for a basic level of existence or survival. Bread, meat, electricity, gas, vegetables, and housing are all examples of commodities. Commodity goods are relatively price-inelastic. We need them, so we’ll continue buying them with the money we have left, even at higher prices.

Luxury goods are products or services we want but don’t really need. They make life nicer, but they are not essential to our survival. In a downward economy, where people have less money to spend, most will spend more money on the now higher priced commodities at the expense of luxury goods. Luxury is about faith and, as the overall sentiment in the market is becoming more negative, trust in the state of the economy negatively affects luxury goods disproportionately. Put differently, luxury goods are very price-elastic. With less money around, much less luxuries will be sold.

Premium goods offer better quality, or materials, or services, or a combination thereof. Premium products are called “premium”, because people want to pay a premium price for those higher-quality products. Especially in times of economic contraction, premium products flourish, because if someone can spend their money only once, well, then it better counts. Premium goods make life easier – and that’s appreciated at times when life is becoming harder. In economic terms, premium goods have a reverse price-elasticity: the more expensive money becomes, the more the focus will be on purchasing “premiums” at the expense of “luxuries”.

Effects on Big Alcohol

Big alcohol produces bulk spirits at low prices. Their products are as close to a commodity as alcohol can come. I therefore expect Big Alcohol to be relatively okay. There are challenges, yes, but the economies of scale and associated low production costs make their spirits the “go-to” place for everyone that needs a drink.

Traditional craft distillers

Traditional craft distillers produce small-batches of expensive spirits. The quality struggles to reach the level of Big Alcohol, while the production and marketing costs are about double. Traditional craft distilled spirits are luxury goods. The goodwill factor of the consumer is what drives most of their sales (“this is locally made, so let’s give it a try”). With faith in the economy taking a down-turn, the traditional craft distillers will face hard times in 2023 and beyond. I expect a substantial amount of them to be pruned away.


iStillers have the ability to produce high-quality, premium spirits, at a lower cost price than traditional craft distillers. Premium always sells, since people – with money being more expensive – want quality products and services rather than mere luxuries. I therefore expect iStillers, that focus on delivering premium products to customers, to do well. Especially as there will be less competition from traditional craft distillers, which opens up marketshare, and because iStillers can establish a bigger value-gap to the spirits made by Big Alcohol than traditional craft distillers can, allowing for a higher selling price per bottle.


More than any other supplier to the industry iStill has been able to deliver premium products, materials, and services to the market. We are the only one to sell automated equipment, that is able to produce high-quality spirits reliably and repeatably. Our mashers, fermenters, and stills come with 10 year warranty. We don’t just sell a product, but also educate our customers and help them develop award winning spirits. Where the Corona Crisis grew our market share from 15 to 35% globally in just two years, the oncoming recession will only see more distillers choose for iStill. You simply cannot beat our numbers: 70% lower costs on energy and staffing, and 100x more control over flavor consistency and quality. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see iStill become the new norm in distillation technology in the coming few years, replacing most of the copper pot and plated still technology that is currently being purchased by 60 to 65% of the starting distillers.

Towards a Golden Age

The challenges, that the industry faces, provide us with this simple yet massive opportunity: as the luxury products of traditional craft distillers get pruned away and Big Alcohol spirits are mostly considered commodities, we can finally create a craft distilling industry that delivers on premium spirits. If you have an iStill and a focus on bringing premium products, services, and experiences to your customers, you – as an iStiller – can grow your marketshare, your turnover, and your profits. Not in face of the recession, but because of the recession. Why? As mentioned before: premium goods sell at a premium, especially in times when there is less money to spend and people want to spend it wiser and better.

Our support to your success

Of course, in 2023 we’ll keep on innovating on our disruptive distilling technology. We have some amazing developments coming up. Even more good news: our prices will remain the same for this year. Also, we are dedicated to further broaden the services we offer via the iStill University, iStill Laboratory, and our Recipe Development Department.

We’ll keep on fighting the fear, uncertainty and doubt which is spread by the so-called “consultants”, that restrain our industry. We’ll keep on calling out the BS propagated by too many self-proclaimed “industry experts”, that look to make a living at your expense via the spread of non-sensical information. We no longer support the tradeshows they organize to promote their services.

The new year of 2023 will also see us break the monopoly on information, which the “consultants” and “experts” and their tradeshows have put in place. How? Via more research in the iStill Laboratory. Via more posts on the iStill Blog. And via the release of more videos on iStill TV.

Any other good intentions, Odin? Anything else iStill wants to disrupt in the new year? Yes, on an industry level, I expect us to disrupt both the old boys network, mentioned above, and the award industry. Here’s how and why:

We’ll introduce a charter of industry watchkeepers; people who make our industry a more vibrant and empowered market place. Being appointed a Watchkeeper is both an acknowledgement of your positive impact in the past, and a responsibility to help distillers in the future. To call out what’s wrong and help amend it. The Watchkeepers Charter aims to develop practical peer-to-peer consultancy and expertise. An alternative to the current industry-wide infestation of self-serving consultancy, provided by clowns that never produced a drop in their lives.

Secondly, we are working on a scientific measurement and scale for award recognition. The current medal competitions are profit centers. Arbitrariness at best, and money spend on the “right” consultant at worst, decide on who wins medals. Medals you pay for! We find that unacceptable, both ethically and from a professionalization perspective. Awards should be given based on objective criteria. Awards should be accompanied by feedback that helps the craft distiller improve his spirits. The alternative we are working on aims to address both issues.

In summary? In summary I feel confident that we can wish you an amazing new year. You are iStillers. You are the future of our industry. And we are here to help make distilling easier. For 2023 and beyond!

At your service,

Dr. H.E.J. (Odin) van Eijk, MScBA, etc.

Founder, owner, and CEO of iStill – Distilling made easy

Preparing for Drinktec Munich 2022!

We are preparing for the world’s biggest brewing and distilling convention in Munich. We’ll have a large booth and will be taking with us:

  • iStill 250
  • iStill 500
  • iStill 2000
  • iStill 5000 (with copper column)

Drinktec is from Monday September 12th to Friday September 16th. Are you an iStill customer? Are you considering the purchase of an iStill and do you want to meet the iStills and our team? Reach out to to claim a free entrance ticket!

Here are pictures of the iStills 500 and 2000 on our bespoke display pallets …

There is a Difference between Value and Affordability!


It sometimes happens to us. Like once or twice every quarter. Someone is starting a new distillery and needs equipment. Somewhere along the way they heard about iStill, so they decide to email us and ask for a quotation. We don’t do blind quotations, so we propose a video call for proper introductions, and to make sure we understand what the new distiller needs. It allows us to give sound advise and feedback on if and how we can best be of assistance.

But, as mentioned above, it sometimes happens that the start-up (or their “consultant”) just wants a quote. “We’ll compare the quotes and decide which one is most affordable!” Yeah, right, and that’s exactly the reason we do not quote blindly. Not because we do not think anyone is entitled to the most affordable solution, but quite simply because there is a huge difference between Value and Affordability.


Affordability is about price. It is what the seller asks for his product. Who knows why? Probably to cover his costs and to make some profit along the way, but who really knows? Price is a given and one item can be priced higher or lower than another item.

Similarity of the items is important. Only similar items can be judged on affordability. If I need a gallon of milk, it may cost me 2 bucks in one shop and 3 in another. If the milk is of the same quality and freshness, well, then the cheaper one is clearly more affordable and should be considered.

But how about pasteurized milk vs. fresh milk? How do we go about comparing a gallon of pasteurized milk vs. a gallon of fresh milk? What if the first costs two dollars or Euro’s and the second one three? A comparison on affordability will make everyone choose for the pasteurized version. But is cheaper always better? Asking that question brings Value in play.


Value does not equal price. Or at least it does not equal the price the seller wants for the product. Value is about what the product means to you. Let’s migrate from the dairy oriented example back to the craft distilling industry.

Say you think craft is about tradition and romance and doing everything by yourself manually. You are considering a beautiful copper still from Germany. Your business plan teaches you that you need a 2000 liter capacity still, so you ask for a quote. The quote comes in at 200k. You now ask iStill for a quote for their iStill 2000. That quote comes in at 100k. From an Affordability perspective, your choice is clear: the iStill is the more affordable option and should be purchased. But how much do you value the ideas of copper and tradition and intensive manual labor (cleaning not being the last). Maybe this has a value for you that’s bigger than 100k, in which case you’ll probably convince yourself to go for the traditional German still and spend the extra 100k.

What if you feel that craft distilling is a business, and you want to spend and manage your money intelligently. You do appreciate quality and understand that process control and being able to repeatedly produce consistent flavor profiles are essential. You ask iStill for a quote and it is 100k. You ask a traditional Chinese manufacturer for a quote and it is 60k. What do you choose? It all depends on how much you value the additional value the iStill brings you.

The way we work

We do not blindly quote you. We insist on talking to you so that we can establish what you want, what you “value”. Only if we understand what you need, can we inform you about what we offer.

We might think we offer great value (and we do), but does that equal “value” to you? Only if we can discuss how process control and automation save you time and money, while improving both yield and spirit quality, can you establish if we are the right value proposition for you. Only if we can learn what products you want to make, are we able to advise you on what options suit you. Only if we understand why you might have been attracted to traditional copper stills (is it the myths people told you or is it the look that appeals to you), can we inform you if our technology will serve you to your satisfaction.

Value goes beyond affordability. A company is more than an investment. A still is more than a price tag. If your values correspond with our values, we’ll probably both find our business relationship rewarding or even inspiring. If you reduce your decisions to a price tag, to “affordability”, you do yourself and the creator whom’s products you want to purchase a big injustice. An injustice that usually comes at a hefty price tag. Like you selecting the wrong supplier or us selecting the wrong customer to do business with.

I hope you value our approach. Based on close to a decade of experience, interacting with very different customers and distillers from all over the world, I find our approach adds value to the point of it being priceless! 😉

Regards, Drs. H.E.J. (Odin) van Eijk, MScBA, etc.

Founder, owner, and CEO of iStill.