iStill Industrial: Compelling Business Case!

Introduction

Alcohol is used extensively in the manufacturing industry as a cleaning agent. Parts are produced. The manufacturing process uses oils and creates dirt. As a result the parts that are produced need cleaning. Alcohol is used as the cleaning agent. It is used and then discarded.

Costs

A typical manufacturing plant can easily use 2000 liters of high-proof alcohol, as a cleaning agent, on a daily basis. Assuming the factory is producing parts 350 days per year, this results in 700.000 liters of high-proof alcohol being used. The direct purchase costs of the alcohol are around EUR 700.000,- or USD 800.000,- annually. If the costs of transport, manpower, storage, processing, and waste management are added, the total costs easily exceed 1 million.

iStill Business Case

An iStill 2000, with ATEx or IECEx certification, additional ports for automatic filling and emptying, and specific software programming to integrate with the factory’s process control software, costs EUR 200.000,-. The iStill 2000 cleans-up the alcohol in such a way that it can be re-used. The unit performs that function a daily basis, so there is no need to purchase new cleaning alcohol.

Offsetting the total investment of 200k with the savings of 1000k, results in a turn-around time on investment of less than 3 months! The total savings in the first year of operation will be around EUR 800.000,- or USD 900.000,-. Over a period of 5 years, the total savings will be EUR 4.800.000,- or around USD 5.500.000,-. Over a period of 10 years, the savings will be close to EUR 10.000.000,- or USD 11.500.000,-.

Proof of Concept

We have built the first iStill 2000 Industrial for a North American plant, that belongs to a global manufacturing company. The iStill is currently being built-in into the automated factory of our first industrial customer. It is expected to start operations by the end of this year.

iStill’s unique benefits

  1. The business case is to the moon and beyond!
  2. Did we already say that the business case is compelling? Because it truly is a huge money saver.
  3. Given the alcohol recovery, and iStill’s efficiency, there are huge environmental impact benefits to be reaped.
  4. iStill can (re)produce the cleaning alcohol at any desired strength, generating flexibility as well as savings.
  5. It does so in an automated plant setting. Staff is not placed at risk. Established SOP’s are supported.
  6. iStill Industrial integrates with your plant’s software for ease of use, maximum control, and oversight.
  7. iStills come with explosion proof certification, so your safety protocols and policies aren’t compromised.
  8. We also support smaller (500 and 1000 liter batch sizes) and bigger operations (5000 liter batch size).

Do you want to start making a difference and save money at your manufacturing plant? Reach out to me directly via Odin@iStillmail.com to discuss how iStill can be of further assistance to your business.

Cleaning with alcohol is integral to manufacturing …

http://www.iStill.com

It is High Time to End the Age of Steam!

Introduction

The Age of Steam refers to a period in the industrial revolution of parts of Europe and North America, where steam was used as an energy source for production purposes. It started around the year 1770 and ended around 1914.

Yeah, the Age of Steam ended for the rest of the world, but close to 60% of the distilleries are still pushed into using steam to power their stills! That’s craft distillers using a technology that died out a century ago! Is it time to carry steam heating to its grave in the distilling industry? Hell, yeah! Long overdue! So let’s start going.

Two types of steam heating

There’s indirect and direct steam heating. An indirectly heated steam still uses steam to condense in the Au bain Mary / double walled section of the boiler. As the steam condenses back into water, it gives off energy that heats the inner boiler. It heats the boiler indirectly, because there is no direct contact between the heat source (steam) and the wash.

Directly heated steam stills inject the steam into the mash and thus heat it up. A steam generator is purchased that generates steam. The steam is bubbled into the wash that sits in a boiler. As the steam collapses back to liquid state, it heats up the wash, and brings it to a boil.

What steam heating really produces: problems for the craft distiller

Steam works under pressure and asks for rigorous certification. An additional tool is needed (the steam generator). Additional piping is needed (all certified to the extreme). It doubles or triples costs for the craft distiller. It doubles or triples the time it takes to build-up the distillery and go from plan to production. But that’s just the beginning of the issues.

Direct steam heating adds water to the wash, thus lowering ABV, where the goal (or at least one important goal) of distilling is to raise proof! You see the conflict of watering down flavor? Not a procedure that really benefits craft distillers in their fight with Big Alcohol via the production of more flavorful drinks.

Indirect steam prevents the craft distiller to take advantage of the Maillard Reaction. The Maillard Reaction adds up to 25% of flavor to craft distilled products. If craft distillers are to compete on flavor, well, you better make sure you have a still that allows you to Maillardize your boiler contents. Indirect steam heating prevents that, so it’s a no go for the craft distiller that wants to both optimize and maximize flavor profiles of their spirits.

“But steam allows you to warm up your boiler so quickly!” some say. Yeah, well, that’s complete BS. To heat up a certain amount of wash, a certain amount of energy is needed. Via steam or via electricity or via burning wood. But if you outsource a steam boiler, sure, buy a bigger one. The people that build traditional stills don’t mind. It is not their problem. If they knew what they were talking about, though, or had your market conditions in mind, they could have told you energy is energy. Here at iStill, we go above and beyond by asking an additional question: “Is a faster heat-up time in the boiler a pro?” Since taste formation benefits from longer heat-up times, why not heat up overnight, slowly, in order to create a more flavorful product? The craft distiller does not compete on yield or per liter costs with Big Alcohol. It competes on flavor!

Here’s the real reasons why steam stills are pushed onto the craft distilling industry

As a still builder, iStill wants to optimize heating (gas creation), gas manipulation, and liquefaction. Heating is an integral part to the distillation process that we do not outsource.

Other still builders love to outsource heating. First of all, it sorta lowers their still price. Their stills appear to be more affordable, because heating is not included. You still have to purchase it and it will be expensive, but that’s not their problem, but your problem. They simply build a shell still and you (or your architect or engineer) can go figure out the rest.

The other, more important reason why steam stills are still being sold, has to do with certification. As a still manufacturer that integrates heating in its solutions, iStill certifies for CE, UL, ULC, NZS, AS, ATEx, and IECEx. It costs a tremendous amount of effort and money to obtain and maintain these certifications. Our competitors (sic) don’t want the hassle and do not want to spend the money and effort. Instead, they point at the steam generator manufacturer. Or at you.

There you have the real reason why so much of the distilling industry is still residing in the Age of Steam, where it was terminated in other industries over a century ago: it helps the interest of traditional still manufacturers at the expense of your interests as a craft distiller!

Steam belongs in a museum, not on the work floor …

http://www.iStilll.com

View your future iStills in augmented reality!

If you use your smart phone and go to http://www.iStill.com, you can go to “configure” and select AR. AR stands for augmented reality. If you select AR, you can use your phone to see your future iStill in for instance your distilling hall.

We are currently uploading the Hybrid iStills. All are done, except for the iStill 200 and 1000 Hybrid. These will follow next week. The iStill Mini, iStill Potstill, and iStill Plated will see their release in AR next month!

http://www.iStill.com

One Stop Shop!

Introduction

iStill is a one stop shop. As a craft distiller, you develop, produce, and sell your own spirits. We help you with each and every step. Why? Acquiring equipment without knowing how to make a great gin, rum, or whiskey doesn’t make sense. Making great product without knowing how to sell it, doesn’t make much sense either. That’s the “why”. Now, let us dive into the “how”.

Training

To be able to distill great spirits, you first need to become a great distiller. The iStill University offers an amazing theoretical course as well as a hands-on follow-up course. The iStill Mini is the perfect training still and the perfect recipe development still. Our courses aim to help you become a craft distiller. This means that you learn how to create recipes, how to distill these recipes into quality spirits, and how to sell them and take advantage of market opportunities. As a graduated student, you can apply to the iStill University Facebook group, where over 300 fellow iStillers help each other out, asking and answering questions.

Equipment

Our distilling equipment is based on 21st century theory and technology. Not on romantic ideas stemming from the 1800’s. You are opening a business, after all, and not a museum, right? Okay, so here’s what we offer: modern equipment with unparalleled process control. It helps make distilling easier. More controlled spirits production processes, so improved reproducibility, resulting in higher quality products at lower production costs. Again, you are a craft distiller, not the night manager at the Smithsonian.

Recipe development

Do you want your recipes and spirits to be top notch? Of course you do. We offer recipe development services that help you perfect your spirits. Together, our training and equipment and recipe development services help you win medals. See: https://istill.com/halloffame/

http://www.iStill.com

Today Eight Years Ago, We Started iStill!

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.

Low Wines Initiative!

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 …

https://www.lowwines.com/

iStill Jet Propulsion Agitator System!

The Jet Propulsion Agitator System (J-PAS) is iStill’s proprietary mixing technology. What makes it unique? It achieves a 90% energy transfer, while agitating your wash or mash. That’s 8 to 9 times better, when compared to traditional mixing systems. How? By creating a wavefront in front of the mixing blades (instead of a low-pressure front behind ‘m, as in traditional systems).

The result? Better particle distribution in your boiler, a more stable gas-bed above the liquids, a higher fill-grade, no vortex creation, and a resulting better separation between heads, hearts, and tails.

All iStill J-PAS’s come with an oversized engine and lantern for longevity. A bigger motor only needs to run at half-power. The lantern insulates the engine from the boiler, so that heat transfer is minimized.

All iStills can be equipped with the unique Jet Propulsion Agitator System. iStills that were ordered without J-PAS can always be retrofitted with the system at a later date. How’s that for innovation and versatility?

Oversized engine and lantern … check:

http://www.iStill.com

iStill Boiler Radiator!

The boiler radiator is proprietary iStill technology, that can be ordered from the iStill 500 and upward. What it is? An active cooler in your iStill’s boiler. Why you want it? Well, for instance, because you want to mash or ferment in your iStill. Fermentation creates heat. Controlling your fermentation temperatures is critical for consistent quality flavor creation. The iStill Boiler Radiator does the cooling for you. Automatically, effective, efficiently.

But there is more. You can also use the iStill Boiler Radiator to cool-down after mashing. “Mashing” as in that you can mash in the iStills? Yes, you can. If you add the boiler radiator to your option list, that is.

A third goal you can achieve with the help of the boiler radiator is to cool down your stillage, after a run, as quickly as possible. Lower temperature stillage is easier to handle.

Finally, the boiler radiator can be used to recover energy. A hot boiler (or mash or ferment) holds a lot of energy. Via the iStill Boiler Radiator, you can harvest that energy and create – for instance – warm mash water. Pre-heated mash water creates for a faster and more efficient mash-cycle.

Boiler radiator in action: cooling back 1500 liters of boiler charge …

http://www.iStill.com