Meanwhile at the iStill University …

Doing interesting stuff at the iStill University! First, we are designing a vodka for a customer. Second thing we are currently busy with, is making beer, using the iStill 500 and the iStill Extractor. Here are a few pictures:

Willem working with a glass laboratory iStill …

IMG_0043

Digitally analyzing the vodka run …

IMG_0045

Heads stabilization …

IMG_0046

William making 300 liters of beer …

IMG_0044

http://www.iStill.eu

Mashing and Beer Making with the iStill Extractor!

Yes, we can mash with the iStill Extractor! Another addition to its already amazing versatility. How? Well, put your cracked grains in the Extractor, then heat-up the water in the boiler of (in this case) the iStill 2000. Next step? Put the pump on and start extracting and converting those starches and tastes from the Extractor to the boiler.

When extraction is done, all (now converted) sugars are assembled in the boiler. Cool the wort, pitch the yeast, and start fermenting. Or … boil the wort, add hops, crash cool, and then add the yeast. Right, you can use the iStill Extractor now for the production of distillers beer as well as consumers beer! Here’s a short video of how it works. A video of us using a new pump to help us to further automate mashing / extracting procedures.

Mashing in the iStill Extractor …

http://www.iStill.eu

Utah and Napa, here we come!

Hi there!

A quick update from Amsterdam, where we are preparing the coming 4-day Certified iStill Workshops. Coming Saturday I’ll fly over to Salt Lake City to give a distilling course to 15 craft distillers from all over North America. And two weeks after coming back, we have two Amsterdam 4-day workshops, one after the other. Busy times at the iStill University!

Next course in the USA is in March. In Napa Valley … and at the Napa Valley Distillery. Great location given all the wineries around as well as all the excitement related to craft distilling. The Napa Valley Workshop will be from March 19th to 22nd. If you want more information, please reach out to jason@istillmail.com or veronika@istillmail.com. Jason for info, Veronika for registration.

More courses in the near future? Yeah, I expect us to do a training in Australia in a few months from now!

Regards, Odin.

iStill University Certified Workshops are rated 9.7 out of 10 and considered the best craft distilling educations in the world …

https://istill.eu/university

 

Will Wireless Tasting be the Next Step!?!

Here’s a new iStill innovation. Yes, one that makes distilling easier again! What it is? It’s a new module we designed. A WiFi module.

With this new technology added to the iStill PLC, you can now remotely access, monitor, and operate the unit without an ethernet cable connection. You can run your iStill via your computer and even your phone with maximum ease.

The new WiFi module can be added when you order a new iStill. The costs are EUR 500,-. Or you can upgrade your existing iStill to full WiFi capability. In that case we ship you the module, instruct you how to replace the old ethernet cable unit, we update your iStill remotely, and you ship the old module back to us. The retrofit package costs EUR 800,-.

For more info, please reach out to William@iStillmail.com. If you want to place the order, please contact Finance@iStillmail.com.

The new WiFi module that we designed for the iStills …

IMG_5051

Doing a whisky finishing run via my iPhone 7S (screenshot) …

Image-1

http://www.iStill.eu

The Best Distilling Workshops of the World!

Introduction

Bold statement? Sure. Then again, it’s our trainees that say so. And the on average 9.7 out of 10 evaluation they give us confirms it: the iStill Workshops ARE the best distilling workshops available!

The feedback we get, is that the courses provide a really nice mix between theory and experience. Odin’s theories of distillation and fermentation are perceived as very informative. They lay down a easy to follow path by which the participants can start to design their own (award winning) spirits. Working with the iStills, and see how these automated and robotized distilling machines help put the theories into easy practice, is also conceived as a big eye opener.

Madison Introduction Workshop

Last December, we had a great 1.5 day introduction workshop in Madison, WI. Our generous hosts, Dave, Nick, Stephanie, and Amy, from the Two Tall Distillery helped us organize an event for 14 participants, primarily from the Chicago and Detroit areas.

We dived into distilling, fermenting, and extracting. We made gin on the iStill 500. We made and barreled and tasted Two Tall’s amazing rye whiskey. And we made apple liqueur with the iStill 100 in combination with our revolutionary Extractor column. The trainees also did extractions and distillation runs in four different groups. If I remember correctly, the all spice that we made on-site won!

Do you want to see pictures of the even? Please click on this link:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNy5WPHxcLcvcfZexcW_oQ2oShRmwWS-AuN5ElrR2B17vDFkGfyTPEFKSSorvd7ng?key=WEdxd1ZnR29uSTdnRWNQOVpXdEkwaFFCSHNGN21n

Amsterdam 4-day Certified in February 2018

In February 2018, in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), we organize two classes. The first one is fully booked. The second one, from February 19th till February 22nd still has one or two places left. If you want to register, now is the time to do so!

For more information, please reach out via veronika@istillmail.com

Napa Valley 4-day Certified Workshop in March 2018

From March 19th until March 22nd Napa Valley Distillery hosts a USA West Coast 4-day Certified iStill Workshop. The training, aimed at both beginning and experienced distillers, is now open for registration!

For more info, please see: https://istill.eu/university

Or reach out to Veronika directly via veronika@istillmail.com

Madison by morning …

IMG_4841

Napa Valley Distillery …

IMG_20170927_150411_435

http://www.iStill.eu

 

iStill Wishes You a Happy New Year!

Start-off

Via this iStill Blog post we want to wish you an amazing new year. We hope that all your plans and all your dreams come true!

As is our custom, we use our new year wish also as a way to reflect on the year before and to look forward, into the future a little bit. What has the future in stock? What did the past bring us?

2017 overall

The year 2017 was an amazing one for us. We saw our customers win important awards and medals all over the world. And iStill was able to beef up its production, resulting in an overall increase in new customers and units sold of over 50%. Thank you for your business!

2017 innovations

As a follower of our blog you know that innovation is at the very heart of what iStill stands for. So what did we do innovation-wise? Innovation-wise there were three things that stood out to me personally, and that I want to highlight here, looking back at the past year:

  1. The new Robot and PLC infrastructure that now provides a resolution of no less than 2,500 steps. This new (and final – at least for the coming 10 years) infrastructure allows us to start to predict runs instead of read and react to changes. The PreCog functionality’s automation is something we will be spending a lot of time and money on in 2018 . A special thanks to Arie, for spearheading this project!
  2. The all new Extractor line-up proved to be a great step too. It helps our customers at gin making, liqueur making, essence and extract production, absinth production, hemp oil extraction, coffee making, grain mashing, and vodka filtration. Thank you Willem for helping us design this great new technology!
  3. The new bullet proof insulation. Thank you William for your help at creating this amazing new innovation! The insulations always worked great, but was touchy. That’s a thing of the past now.

2017 iStill

At iStill, internally, a few things changed as well. Here’s a highlight of some organizational changes:

  1. Veronika helped us migrate to a new, web-based accounting and book keeping system. Great job and very important to further professionalize our after sales performance. Yes, it will also serve as our CRM!
  2. Christiaan was responsible for designing and launching our new website. A great improvement in terms of look & feel as well as in performance. My personal favorites? The new design center and the stories our customers share online. The website now attracts 200 to 300 visitors per day!
  3. Jason and his team became responsible for our North American marketing and (after) sales, which resulted in a bigger iStill presence in Canada, Mexico, and the USA, resulting in way more workshops, support, marketing and sales.
  4. We have set-up a new distilling hall that acts as our showroom and educational facility, here in Amsterdam. The new laboratory makes it easier to help design award winning drinks for our customers. And last year we educated over 200 craft distillers! They awarded the iStill Certified 4-day Workshop with an amazing 9.7 out of 10!

2018 market developments

The year 2017 was great. More craft distillers than ever before chose iStill. We further professionalized our organization. Major innovations were achieved, that help us make starting and running a successful craft distillery easier again.

What about 2018? How does the future look like? Let’s dive in deeper and find out. First by looking at market circumstances, then by investigating our own role in the distilling industry.

Future developments in the craft distilling industry? Here is my first prediction: I foresee a steady growth of the number of craft distillers being opened worldwide. The new year will see the beginning of a shift from growth being centralized in first world countries to craft distilling taking off in second and even third world countries. Let’s call this trend “Growth & Globalization”.

Prediction number 2? The signs have been on the wall for some time. One of them being … that we are now the biggest manufacturer of craft distilling equipment in the world. It is therefore my firm conviction that in 2018 even the most traditional markets will start to reconsider their options when purchasing distillation equipment. A movement from traditional systems towards future proof distilling equipment is picking up a lot of speed as we speak.

More people than ever, wanting to enter the industry, look at craft distilling as 1. a business and 2. a science. Instead of something traditional, rooted in the 19th century, for which a leather apron, a wooden stirrer, and a hipster beard are required. Control over taste profile, repeatability, and the lowest production costs possible will take center stage when (future) distillers take decisions on what equipment to purchase. We already see this happening at big, established distillers that leave their worn-out copper columns on their 19th century design stills in their visitor center … but reinvest in iStills for improved production quality and quantity. The trends in the above two paragraphs can be labeled as a change “From Copper to Control”.

The last big shift in the distilling market I name the “Cafeteria Model”, which stands for new market entries desiring the freedom to choose what they want and need at the time they need it.

Maybe a still, maybe training, maybe product development or business consultancy, or maybe just a facility they can contract / outsource their distilling to. Or any combination of the above. The new craft distiller is not so much interested in the still, he or she is interested in the whole package, the support that makes his business a success. As a result, he is looking for support on various levels and on various topics given certain timelines: training, product development, distillation support, and equipment.

iStill: “Growth and Globalization”

The last months, we have invested in further beefing-up our production capacity. The  iStill Factory and Assembly Halls are now, I am proud to say, capable of producing another 50% more units. That’s 300 distilleries we’ll build. Pretty much one a day! We expect this to sorta cover the “Growth” part of the trend discussed above.

How we adapt to globalization? By opening up new markets and by establishing support on all continents and in all major countries. The year 2018 will see a big boost there. Please follow the iStill Blog for more news soon!

iStill: “From Copper to Control”

With the new robot and PLC upgrades in place, 2018 will see us release even more advanced firmware for the iStills. Firmware that can predict runs, based on past experience, will further optimize spirit quality while lowering production costs per bottle.

Alcohol and taste are created during fermentation. Alcohol is concentrated, and tastes are separated out, during distillation. What if we can design a technology that helps you create a taste definition of the spirits you make? Not just in terms of ABV, run procedures and sugar source, but way deeper and more refined? Think: the amount of acetone, ethyl acetate, ethanol, propanol, butanol, furfural in parts per million. Think: the amount of certain esters and other taste molecules in parts per million in your drink.

If we can help you establish an objective definition of your drink, the next step is that the iStill then automatically adjusts its distillation settings to make sure your profile, your spirit’s definition is met. Or let’s take things another step forward: what if we analyze your fermentation results and then confront that with your now objectified spirit definition, and the iStill learns how to adapt for any changes that might occur? I am proud to say that we are currently investigating technological break-throughs to help you gain that amazing amount of control over your spirits production process!

iStill: “The Cafeteria Model”

When I started designing the first iStills, my goal was not to become a still manufacturer. Instead, I entered the industry from a product development perspective, helping people around the globe at creating better whisky, vodka, rum, brandy and gin. The first iStills were designed to help me understand what distillation is all about, and how different approaches and designs can help harvest the tastes one is after.

So, from the very beginning, iStill, when we started to actually produce stills, has also always been about helping you out as a distiller. Not “just” by producing equipment, but by making distilling easier. The still is not the goal, but the means. A means to an end: helping you to become successful in the craft distilling industry.

Very soon after we started equipment production, we learned that the new theories on distillation that I discovered needed to be part of a training module. And that training and buying an iStill go hand in hand. Our 4-day Certified Workshops are aimed at teaching our customers how distilling really works and how they can optimize the use of their iStills.

This coming year we will take our support model another step forward. Yes, you can buy our stills, and follow our workshops and maybe ask our help at designing award winning drinks. But we now also offer contract distilling. We feel that this addition really puts us in a realm of our own. Still making, spirits design, distilling training, and contract distilling and warehousing. Four parts of your distilling process where each reinforces the other.

Just like our machines can do anything from mashing to distilling, our organization is now fully integrated as well: we can help you out at pretty much every step of your way, the way you want it, and at the time you need it! At this moment we offer this integrated service package (and it is up to you to pick what you want) in Europe. The UK and the USA will follow shortly.

Again, thank you for your business. Thanks for taking the time to read my vision on our industry’s future. I am looking forward to 2018. I am sure it is going to be an interesting year. Together with you, we’ll change the world of distilling some more. Step by step, but always moving forward in the right direction.

At your service,

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

Founder, owner, and CEO of iStill.

Schermafbeelding 2018-01-02 om 13.43.43

http://www.iStill.eu

 

 

 

 

 

 

iStill Innovation: Bulletproof Insulation!

The iStills were the first insulated stills available on the market place. Insulation is an innovation that helps shorten run times, saves energy, and creates higher, more controlled spirit production levels. Good insulation can easily improve your overal system performance by 15 to 20%.

Up until today however, insulation has had a draw-back. It was quite touchy and easy to damage. “Up until today”, because here’s another iStill innovation: Bulletproof Insulation.

From now on, all new iStills will be fitted with this new innovation. The insulation value is just as good (even slightly better) than our existing insulation, but it is stronger. So strong you can’t cut it with a knife.

It will come in two varieties:

  • Bulletproof Insulation, that will be used on new iStills;
  • Bulletproof Retrofit Cover, that can be added to strengthen existing iStill insulation.

More on retrofit pricing later. Here’s a movie that shows the amazing results we achieve with this great new innovation …

And here is a picture of it being applied to an iStill 500 NextGen …

IMG_4876

http://www.iStill.eu

Automation now making a splash in US distilleries!

“Worlds seem to be colliding, as tradition-conscious craft distillers look for ways to build modern efficiencies into their businesses. For an increasing number of proprietors who deem themselves artisans as well as entrepreneurs, technology is the means to that end. H.E.J. (Odin) van Eijk is one such entrepreneur. Van Eijk said he saw the need for more automated systems years ago, so he started developing a robotized approach to distillation and launched a line of automated tools under the iStill banner in Amsterdam, Netherlands. iStill’s automated distillery systems are catching on, van Eijk told Beverage Master Magazine, noting that they currently have about 50 systems operated in the U.S. Those systems, with capacities ranging from 26 to 1,300 gallons, can perform automated and robotized mashing, fermenting, and distilling …” – Beverage Master December- January 2018.

Do you want to read the whole article? Please click here: https://www.istill.eu/stories

Schermafbeelding 2017-12-17 om 15.08.35

Rigorous Testing Creates Perfection!

Introduction

Every unit we build is tested to the max. And since our units are automated and robotized, every run creates more data. Data that we can use to further optimize the automated programs we offer our customers via firmware updates. Here’s an iStill Blog post that shows how we test and what the parameters are that we get over.

Today’s test run

Currently, we are testing a 500 liter iStill. The unit is filled with 450 liters of 30% low wines and we are doing both potstill run tests and pure run test. The first category teaches us how fast the unit can strip and/or finish taste rich product. We do these tests at 50% power settings, to simulate finishing, and at 100% power setting to simulate stripping. The second category – testing pure mode – tells us what the maximum ABV is that the unit can produce and at what rates it does so.

Strip run test in potstill mode

The iStill 500 produces 51 liters per hour at robot opening 750 and 100% power. This means the unit strips at over 50 liters per hour. The column cooler settles at 33C. Well below the maximum cooling temperature of 50C. Great result for the column and cooling!

Finishing run test in potstill mode

The iStill 500 produces 25 liters per hour at robot opening 500 and 50% power. That’s mimicking a slow finishing run, with relatively low vapor speeds. The cooler temperature drops to  below 27C. Again, a great result for both column and cooler.

Pure run test

We are currently finishing the pure run, where we make vodka and GNS. With a power setting of 80%, a robot tolerance of 0.3C, and a first opening of 200, the unit easily reaches > 96.5%. The amount produced is 21.5 liters per hour. In plain English? The iStil 500 reaches maximum purity levels (azeotrope) and produces 21.5 liters of it per hour. Another world record for iStill! Here are some pictures:

iStill 500 NextGen going through its test cycles …

IMG_4736

Touch screen computer showing the pure run tests …

IMG_4737

Alcohol strength above 96.5% …

IMG_4735

Potstill run at 100% power: influence of robot setting …

IMG_4745

http://www.iStill.eu

Another iStill Certified Workshop!

Introduction

We are currently doing the last day of yet another iStill Certified 4-day Workshop! With customers from all over the world. Croatia, India, the Netherlands, Portugal, Rumania, the UK and more.

The iStill Workshops are rated by the trainees with a 9.7 out of 10, and considered the best education in the craft distilling industry. Do you want to learn more about what we taught? Please read on!

Day 1

  • Introduction
  • Odin’s theory of distillaton
  • What still for what drink
  • Making single malt whisky with the iStill 2000

Day 2

  • Odin’s theory of fermentation
  • Starting a new whisky ferment in the iStill 2000
  • How to make vodka and gin
  • Vodka run in the laboratory
  • Trainees design and distill their own gin

Day 3

  • How to set-up a distillery
  • Extractor theory
  • Extraction runs on cinnamon and strawberry
  • Aging, fast aging, and barrel aging
  • Procedures to help you make award winning spirits

Day 4

  • Assembly of the iStill
  • Dialing in your iStill
  • Spirits and food pairing: how to present your spirits

Interested?

If you want to learn all about distilling above top shelf product, our courses will help you out. Do you want to learn more? Please reach out to veronika@istillmail.com for courses in Europe. And to ashley@newworlddistillery.com or jason@mutinyrhum.com for our next workshop in North America.

Class room and dinner …

Hands-on gin distilling …

http://www.iStill.eu