Job Offer: iStill Wizard Europe & Africa!

Introduction

Because my tasks as CEO and innovation manager at iStill have become a fulltime job, we are looking for someone to take over my responsibilities as representative and sales person for Europe & Africa.

The new Wizard works from his own office in his country of location. He or she develops leads into sales for both iStill as well as the Low Wines Initiative. It is an independent function. The iStill Wizard is self-employed. He or she gets a fixed percentage over sales, that is settled on a quarterly basis.

Qualifications

  • You are passionate about craft distilling and state-of-the-art technology;
  • You love helping people out;
  • You are a good communicator;
  • You are fluent in English;
  • And preferably speak at least one other major European language;
  • You are hands on;
  • And deliver on your promises;
  • You are a self-starter with commercial experience;
  • You are a team-player with experience in consultative selling;
  • You are willing to travel.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • You follow up online leads and create new leads;
  • You communicate with craft distillers;
  • You help potential customers move through the sales funnel;
  • By creating mutually beneficial results for customers and iStill;
  • You realize sales for iStill;
  • You realize sales for the Low Wines Initiative;
  • You help fill and/or organize iStill University workshops.

Procedure

Are you interested in becoming our new iStill Wizard for Europe and Africa? Then send your resume, with a short email explaining why you are qualified, to Veronika@iStillmail.com

Regards, Odin …

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http://www.iStill.com

 

 

 

Put your drinks on the iStill Bar!

Proud of your product? Put it on the iStill Bar!

Many of you, who have visited iStill HQ in The Netherlands, have seen our bar at the University. We always get asked: “Are all those spirits made on an iStill?” And of course the answer is always a proud “Yes!”

We love entertaining our students and guests and open up the bar after a hard day of training. 

So why not let potential colleagues and customers from all over the world taste your drink? Send us a bottle of your gin, whisk(e)y, rum, liqueur or whatever you are producing to iStill HQ in The Netherlands. We will give it a prominent place at the bar and tell everybody about it.

Is your drink already on the picture? Chances are we are running out of stock! So keep sharing!

For more info, please reach out to Sebastiaan@iStillmail.com.

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http://www.iStill.com

iStill Innovation Philosophy!

Introduction

Here is an iStill Blog post on how we innovate and what strategies and philosophy we apply to help move the distilling industry progress. We’ll start with a definition and work our way forward to how innovation is part of our DNA, what the guiding principles are, and how we make sure everyone benefits.

Definition

Innovation is often used as an empty filler word, without meaningful intent. If we must use the word, here is how we  define it, load it with meaning: innovation is significant positive change. It’s a result. It’s an outcome. It’s something you work towards achieving on a project. And most importantly: it entails a positive change by benefiting our existing customer base first and foremost.

Ingrained in our DNA

Innovation is ingrained in the iStill DNA. Whether it is stainless steel to replace rusty copper, catalysts to treat sulfur problems, liquid management to solve dephlagmator control issues, packing to replace the inefficient, ineffective, and expensive 18th century plate “technology”, or automation, robotization, and process control … it is all iStill innovations.

A month does not go buy or we invent new solutions to existing problems. The status-quo is there to be bashed. We feel you are worth our continuous efforts to make things better. This continuous drive has labeled us as “change initiators” and “industry disruptors”, and we are proud for that. Not because we innovate and change and disrupt for change’s sake, no, because we bring new, refreshing solutions to actual and real problems craft distillers struggle with. Why? Because we feel it is the only way forward if we craft distilling to move forward, to grow into an adult industry, that stands a fair fighting chance against Big Alcohol.

Distilling made easy

To help us apply our energy, our innovative powers best, we have a guiding principle, that is also our tagline: Distilling made easy. Distilling is a very complex process. Becoming a successful craft distiller is even more complex. We innovate with the goal of making things easier. More under your control.

Instead of you being a slave to your (old-tech) still, we want your still to be a tool-kit, helping you out at creating profitable spirits in a reproducible manner. Romantic musings over the noble art of distilling have a place in your dreams maybe, but not in your day-to-day business operation.

In that day-to-day business operation the reality is simply this: making a bottle of booze costs money, selling a bottle of booze makes money. So talk where your money is, and we’ll help you sort out the spirits production part, okay?

Retrofit-ability vs. new sales-ability

The reason why “innovation” so often is an empty filler word, is because it sells. You want to have the latest and newest, right? You know what I am talking about: you just bought a new TV, and now they introduce widescreen TV. You upgrade to widescreen, only to learn that there’s HD now. And by the time you replaced your TV with a HD-version, guess what? OLED comes out …

Companies often use innovation strategies to drive new sales. As a customer of such a company, you won’t end up any happier, but you will end up quite a bit poorer. If you don’t see what’s going on and how this can bait you, “innovation” applied like this can actually hurt you.

We feel that if innovation is about positive change, it should first and foremost be a change for the better for our existing customers. Using innovation as a way to prioritize new customer acquisition would be like leaving the people behind that have bought into our philosophies and technologies earliest. We feel that wouldn’t be fair nor just.

That’s why every innovation we release is retrofittable. Remember the amazing Extractor technology we brought to the market place almost two years ago? Anyone that had purchased a NextGen iStill – say – three years ago, could still order and use one. The same holds true for glass columns, the new Robot 3.0, and new software releases and functionalities like fast aging.

In whatever we do, we have our existing customer base at heart. That leads to something we are truly happy about: when you buy an iStill you buy a system that is basically future proof. Any invention we make will fit on your current iStill! By making our innovations retrofit, we make your stills future-proof. By making your stills future-proof, we help make your business future-proof.

Continuous innovation creates new opportunities constantly …

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http://www.iStill.com

 

 

 

iStill Quality Philosophy!

Introduction

iStill designs, makes, and sells high-quality distilling equipment. How quality is achieved and maintained? What our philosophy on quality is? Let’s dive in deeper via these three simple yet vital pillars:

  1. Quality innovations;
  2. Design and manufacturing quality;
  3. Staff quality.

Quality innovations

Innovation quality starts and ends with the question “What qualities do our distilling solutions bring to the market place?”. And since iStill is an innovation driven company, we ask ourselves that question a lot. It is what helps us invent and introduce disruptive technologies to the very traditional distilling industry.

But how do we measure an innovation? How do we know where to invest our money and to what innovations we need to give our attention and energy? It is our tagline “Distilling made easy” that serves as our north star, iStill’s guiding principle. Whenever a new quality can be introduced that will actually make distilling easier, we’ll pursue it. If an innovation doesn’t make distilling easier, we’ll drop it. In order to help you make quality spirits, we need to offer very specific qualities. And since distilling is pretty darn complex, making it easier results in more control and better spirits.

An example on a quality innovation? Here we go. Boiler and column integrity are very important. For you to run a distillery, you need a functional boiler and column. These are the major parts and the parts that take longest to replace, were they to be damaged. If you drive your forklift into your still and rupture a column or boiler, you will be out of business for a prolonged period of time. A simple design solution we have incorporated to maintain boiler and column integrity is that we do not weld anything directly to either boiler or column. No weak spots and nothing sticks out, making the risk of actually damaging your boiler or column with your forklift infinitely smaller.

Design and manufacturing quality

In our designs, form always follows function. Remember, iStill is about making distilling easier, not prettier or fancier! Fancy and pretty stills are, in our perception, not a goal, but a result. The form follows function philosophy, as a consequence, results in a minimalistic, almost Scandinavian design.

Execution, how design is laid-out in material, follows another simple rule at iStill: double the norm. Put simply, most designs are made according to certain specifications. For instance: how strong does the boiler need to be and what metal sheet thickness will get us there? Thicker sheeting, an above the norm execution, leads to higher costs, and that is something most manufacturers try to avoid, since it would eat away at their cost price and margins.

At iStill, we use a very different approach. Our equipment is build by doubling the norm. Here is an example: let’s say that 2 mm thick Stainless Steel is needed for a certain size boiler. The implication of our “double the norm” philosophy is that we’ll build it out of 4 mm thick steel sheeting instead. Or lets look at the agitator engine. If we calculate that one horsepower is what we need for mixing a certain batch size, we’ll put in a two horsepower agitator.

Even though this approach to execution is more expensive, we feel it is well worth the money. Your still is going to be your money maker. You rely on it to work for decades to come. So wherever we can increase longevity, we feel we should. The double the norm philosophy pays off tremendously.

Most equipment is designed with “value for money” in mind. The designer and producer of a given tool wants to make conscious decisions on what quality he brings to the market, given a certain pricing. In doing so, he accepts that he may not be the best, but that’s allowed, since his products aren’t the most expensive either.

At iStill we replaced “value for money” by “quality over money”. If we can use a better part, if we can design something of better quality, we’ll do so. We always want the best quality, because it helps us limit your downtime. And since you depend on your distillery equipment to make a living, we feel that this is the only way to approach still building: we build according to the highest quality levels, whatever it costs.

Staff quality

Since quality is dependent on so many tasks and functions being done right, it takes a team of specialists to realize high-quality products. A team of individuals that are passionate about what they are doing, whether it is welding, designing, testing or assembling an iStill. It is passion, and the willingness to learn from mistakes, that drives us forward. It is passion that changes the world. Therefore, passion is basically the only job requirement, if you want to be an iStill employee. Passion and the willingness to learn and innovate. To help make distilling top shelf product a little bit easier each and every day.

iStill Quality Philosophy …

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Our Open Pricing Policy Explained!

Introduction

The only established distillery manufacturer that is completely open about its pricing is iStill. Other still manufacturers hide their prices and charge you according to what they think you can pay. This iStill Blog post dives into the reasons why we choose to be completely open about pricing, and the benefits this brings you.

Reasons to be open about pricing

I think openness is in our DNA. When we came to the market place, we did so with completely new and potentially disruptive distilling technology. Nobody knew us, nobody understood what the iStills did. Sharing information, experiences, innovations: it became second nature to help educate craft distillers while bringing our messages across.

The reason other still manufacturers were not open about pricing, probably had to do with the status-quo that existed up until around five, six years ago. The major manufacturers had the market divided between them. And since it was a growing market, where demand outperformed supply, this turned into a really  nice business model for those still suppliers: a growing market and very high margins per unit of sales.

Upon entering the market, with our revolutionary iStill equipment, the industry standard of hidden pricing models felt outdated. Outdated and wrong. Outdated, because we live in a world that is connected, where people have access to information, to others instantly. Hiding prices in an era that’s all about transparency didn’t seem like a logical choice. And – apart from the rationale – it felt plainly wrong, because …

We strive to build partnerships, or at least relationships with our customers, and support the establishment of craft distilling network. Trust is essential for partnership, for relationship, and for networking. Imagine what a hidden price policy does to that? It destroys it. You don’t believe me? Just imagine you bought a 110k Mueller, and you now talk to a colleague … who informs you he paid only 95k for the same unit. You’d feel screwed. Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback. Mistrust prevents the establishment of partnership and relationship and networking.

Consequences for craft distillers

The consequences of our open price policy are tremendous. It simply puts us (iStill) in a position of always having to try harder. We have to try harder to improve upon our technologies. We have to try harder on maintaining the lowest price points possible.

Why? Well, just look at it from our perspective. We bring stills to the market and we are the only one that is open about pricing. Now, imagine a competing still manufacturer, that is trying to reel in a customer, and he learns the customer also considers iStill. The competitor can now simply go to our website, design an iStill, and adjust his price to be lower than ours. That is: if he can get to our price level at all!

In plain English? Us being completely open about pricing, means our pricing has to be low. As low as possible, not to play into the cards of potential competitors.

Now, I can almost hear you think: “Buying an iStill is about so much more than price, isn’t it? It’s also about the advanced technology they offer and the great build quality …” And it is, but – when we started out – nobody knew about us, let alone about what we had to offer. But you are right: our open price policy does not just push us to sell iStills at the lowest possible price points, it also pushes us to keep on innovating. I guess that’s what simply happens when you have an open vs. a closed mindset: you create a culture of challenging everything, where innovation is a logical outcome.

And there is even more happening as a result of our open price policies! What? Well, the traditional suppliers have been forced to lower their prices significantly. iStill being more affordable and delivering top-notch technology has made us the thorn in the side of traditional manufacturers. And in order to try and deal with the kind of competition we now deliver, they have been forced to lower their prices to try and keep up.

A 20-plate, 600 liter (gross) Holstein sold for 180k like six years ago. Last I heard is that they now sell for closer to 110k. The summary? Even if you do not want to purchase iStill equipment, we helped make setting up your craft distillery a whole lot cheaper.

Invitation

This is an invite to all still manufacturers: stop misbehaving and start complying! If people want to go out and buy a car, they can research pricing online. When you check out housing, purchase prices or monthly rents are available. When a craft distiller purchases an iStill, there is a design center with open pricing to help you out. So what’s holding other still manufacturers back? Please come out into the light, and leave the dark ages. As the craft distilling industry is maturing, it deserves an adult treatment.

iStill: at your service …

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http://www.iStill.com

All work and no play makes Odin a dull man!

Odin a dull man? Let’s prevent that from happening, please! All work, and no play? C’mon Odin, if you don’t play, at least realize your kids do!

Regina van Eijk, Odin’s second daughter, and her Ajax Women’s Football Team, became champions of the Netherlands today. After a 90 minute play the scoreboard measured a 2-2 draw. A shoot-out followed and Ajax won 7-6.

Ajax Women’s Team is the new Netherlands Champion …

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Odin with two of his beautiful daughters …

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http://www.iStill.com