iStill Disruption: Fire your Recipe Developer!

Introduction

Here’s the second post in a short series of how iStill, with its amazing technology, is empowering the craft distilling industry. Every post highlights one topic or field that we are disrupting. We’ll explain what is different, how the change envisioned is empowering the industry, and what your specific benefits are.

Today? Today we discuss how iStill made it possible for you to fire your recipe developer and – instead – own recipe development yourself. Your recipes are your future money makers. You want them in-house not outsourced!

The old way

Traditionally, a business owner, that wants to start a craft distillery, needs to hire a recipe developer. The recipe developer designs the gin, vodka, rum, or whiskey you want to produce. What herbs will you use? What grains should you purchase? What standard operating procedure do you follow? Where are your cut points? What flavor profile do you aim for? What flavor intensity do you want to achieve?

And, to obtain answers to the questions asked in the above paragraph, how will your mashing and fermenting procedures look like? How do you extract flavors from herbs and berries? What equipment do you need in order to support the processes the recipe developer thinks you need? Will you age your products? If so, how? At what ABV?

The list of questions is almost endless. Distilling has always been considered something almost “magical”, with only a merry few being introduced to its secrets. Those are the master distillers and recipe developers we should all be after. That’s where the secret knowledge resides, that we want access to!

Of old, recipe development has been expensive and out of the business owner’s direct control. Here’s how iStill, with it’s disruptive approach, empowers you to become the master of your distillery’s future …

The new way

Our founder and CEO Odin designed the Holy Trinity of Distillation. It is a comprehensive model of how flavors are formed, concentrated, and selected in craft distilled products. The impact of understanding this model is so profound, that, the moment you learn how to work with it, you are able to create your own recipes. Better recipes than most other “recipe developers” out there, that pretent to possess “secret” knowledge, can deliver because they base their work on unproven, unscientific anecdotes, rather than the science the iStill University trains you in.

We support our theory of distillation with a set of amazing courses, that transform you into a recipe developer. Why? Craft distilling is all about flavor. Thus, the craft distiller should possess intimate knowledge on how flavors are formed, and how they can be concentrated and highlighted in your drinks. It is what makes you stand out. It is what will make you successful.

We support your training and recipe development with the amazing iStill Mini. It is small enough to help you learn from making a mistake or two. It is controlled to the extend that you can do your recipe development on ‘m. Before you scale up to the bigger production iStills.

What future do you choose?

As a craft distillery owner, you want to own your future. Maximizing growth opportunities while at the same time limiting risks, dependencies, and costs are essential in order to achieve the future that you envision.

Traditional ways hook you and set you up for failure. What if the recipe developer leaves? What if you disagree with his approach or the outcomes presented? What if you want to develop your craft distilled spirits in another direction? Who is in charge now? You? Not anymore, it seems.

iStill provides an alternative. Rather than spending 20k on a recipe developer, you can now spend half that amount of money with us. You get proper training. You get the R&D iStill Mini. You’ll learn how to make better spirits than the competition. You are back in charge of your distillery and your future. Isn’t that the future that empowers you? Isn’t that the direction all of us should take?

What future do you choose?

http://www.iStill.com

iStill Disruption: Retire your Master Distiller!

Introduction

Here’s the first post in a short series of how iStill, with its amazing technology, is disrupting the craft distilling industry. Every post highlights one topic or field that we are disrupting. We’ll explain what is different, how the change envisioned is empowering the industry, and what your specific benefits are.

Today? Today we discuss how iStill made it possible to shift the existing and traditional system of staff-oriented distillery set-ups towards an organization that focusses on owner-controlled distilling processes.

The old way

Traditionally, a business owner, that wants to start a craft distillery, needs to hire a master distiller. The master distiller takes care of distilling. First thing he or she normally do is hire an extra set of hands. Running a traditional craft distillery asks for about 1.2 FTE. And that’s just for filling, emptying, and cleaning the still, as well as mashing, fermenting, and distilling. Bottling, labelling, and packaging isn’t even included in that calculation.

Traditionally, the business owner has a plan. He is responsible for marketing and sales and general management. The master distiller decides on the standard operating procedures, mashing, fermenting, and distilling equipment, as well as the aforementioned staffing.

The traditional way of setting up a distillery comes with risks. The owner is at the mercy of the master distiller. It is often his way or the high way, resulting in the business owner not having access to the actual recipe and standard operating procedure. A second associated risk has to do with the additional costs of the distillery hall staffing. A master distiller is expensive. A third risk is that the master distiller makes himself indispensable, preventing progress and efficiency gains on the work floor, because that would threaten his position of authority

The new way

Now look at iStill entering the market. The iStill distillation units come fully automated and based on a new theoretical model on how distillation actually works. The new model as well as the functionality of the new technology are educated at the iStill University.

Given the automation, the business owner no longer needs to hire extra hands. The cost savings are about 1 FTE. Given iStill’s educational facilities, the business owner is no longer dependent on a master distiller. The business owner is trained to own his distillery operation and standard operating procedures, limiting dependencies on hired staff and enhancing innovation and growth on the work floor.

What future do you choose?

As a craft distillery owner, you want to own your future. Maximizing growth opportunities while at the same time limiting risks, dependencies, and costs are essential in order to achieve that future that you envision.

Traditional set-ups hook you and set you up for failure. What if the master distiller leaves? What if you disagree with his approach? What if you want to develop your craft distillery in another direction than your master distiller is happy with? Who is in charge now? You? Not anymore, it seems.

And when the master distiller leaves, now what? Do you have the equipment to help move you forward? Do you have the expertise to take over and step in? And if not, do you really own your business and your future? Again, I am not sure you do.

The person that invested his money, that took all the risk, that hopefully understands the markets he or she needs to cater to … is left dead in the water. We have seen it happen all too often. We have even seen master distillers oppose a business owner choosing iStill equipment. The thought of a still entering the distilling hall with all of our advanced distilling knowledge incorporated felt like too big a threat for the “master distiller” running the production end of things. Heck, we have even seen “master distillers” turn as much of our automation off as possible, so that the programs they run become (sort of) their programs, and – there you go – they are back in the saddle again, ruling the future of your company. Ruling your future as an investor and business owner.

iStill provides an alternative. You save at least 1 FTE to start with. You own your business, your distillery, and – hence – your future. You are no longer dependent on a “master distiller”. You simply need a machine operator instead. You save a lot of money. You are back in charge of your distillery and your future.

What future do you choose?

http://www.iStill.com

The Craft Distilling Industry’s Sustainable Future!

Introduction

Imagining a post-Covid world, where the economy recovers … what will the future of the craft distilling industry look like? Will it be a sustainable future? And under what conditions will it achieve long-term success? In this iStill Blog post our founder and CEO Odin does a deep dive on the above topics. He focusses on the US market, since that’s both the biggest market for craft distilling and it is ahead of the curve. Lessons learned in the USA are applicable internationally. They help paint a global picture.

Competition

A sustainable future depends on the ability of the craft distilling industry to make a difference, relative to the competition. Yes, there is a large customer base for alcoholic beverages, but who is going to serve that market?

Up until a decade ago, this market was served by Big Alcohol. A small number of big companies pushing out industrial quality spirits catered the market. Craft distilling is relatively new to the scene. For the craft distilling industry to attain a long-term future, it needs to take market share away from Big Alcohol. It needs to do so by growing its own market share and by then maintaining that market share.

Market share and adoption rate

What market share is needed? To what number does the craft distilling industry need to grow? More is better, but I feel there is also a very specific long-term goal. A goal that needs to be achieved in the coming decade. What that magic number is? It is 14%. For the craft distilling industry to take on Big Alcohol on the long term, 14% market share is needed.

Why? Here’s why! New technologies or innovations disperse in a standardized pattern. It is called “Wright’s Law”. At first a new innovation or technology grows at a slow pace, then that pace picks up, only to slack-down by the time full market potential is reached.

The reason that a new innovation or technology, like craft distilling, isn’t embraced immediately, has to do with how the human mind works. Some people love to try new stuff. Others hold on to what they know.

Based on purchase psychology, four categories of customers or consumers can be distinguished:

  1. Early adopters (14% of the market);
  2. Early majority (36% of the market);
  3. Late majority (36% of the market);
  4. Laggers (14% of the market).

An adoption rate of 14% is the overall minimum goal, since it means that all early adopters are wheeled into the domain of craft distilling. The strategic advantage is that this creates a defendable (and thus sustainable) market share. The more early adopters are “conquered” by craft distillers, the more difficult it will be for Big Alcohol to make intrusions in that trend-setting market.

A second strategic advantage, to conquering the early adopters market, is that it sets the industry (any industry, actually) up to grow further. The early majority will only try things that others, the early adopters, will try first. Late majority consumers and customers will only be persuaded to try something new, once most of the early majority (so close to 50% of the total addressable market!) is doing it.

Is a 50% to 86% market share feasible for the craft distilling industry? No, it isn’t. Not in any foreseeable future. Not in any sustainable future. But 14% is achievable. Achievable and important, because it creates both a defensive and offensive position that puts pressure on the competition from Big Alcohol.

Valuation

Creating a sustainable long-term future all depends on value creation. I hope the above paragraph makes that clear. But how do we measure value? Well, that’s actually pretty easy.

Money has been invented a long time ago. It serves as a great way to measure value. We can use it to calculate the total value of the total addressable market. Here is a simplified example:

If the global market is 1000 bottles big, and the average selling price of a bottle of spirits is EUR 20,-, well, then the total market value is 1000 x 20 = USD 20.000,-.

So what’s the value of the craft distilling industry, relative to the total addressable market? The craft distilling industry holds about 4,5% of the value of the total addressable market (in the USA). Big Alcohol owns 95,5% of the total market value. Quite a discrepancy. How do we bridge the gap?

Growth curve

Craft Beer has been around for a decade longer than craft distilling. Their growth curve and our industry’s growth curve match very well. The market share value of Craft Beer is currently around 12,5%. It is therefore expected to see the craft distilling industry grow with similar numbers. Given a 12% growth, year over year, a market share of 14% is obtainable within a decade. As follows:

Differentiator

But why would consumers buy craft distilled spirits? I mean, Big Alcohol has taken care of consumer demand pretty successfully for over a century and a half now. What sets craft distillers apart? What “weapons” do we bring to the battle? Simply put, craft distillers can distinguish themselves by their personal approach, via the experience and storytelling they offer, and by producing better quality spirits. Big Alcohol takes the efficiencies of scale and low production costs, as well as huge marketing budgets with ‘m.

If you bring the price difference between craft distilled and Big Alcohol produced spirits up, it becomes clear that the craft distilling industry cannot compete on price. The 4,5% market share they have in value equals a less than 4,5% market share in bottles, simply because purchasing one bottle of craft distilled spirits is about 50% more expensive than a bottle that’s produced industrially.

This means that a personal approach to sales, the adventure of having a drink at your distillery, and – especially – the quality of your product NEED to be 50% better! That’s how the craft distiller carves out a living for himself and his family.

Sleeping with the enemy

All right! Bright future ahead then? Easy growth targets. Lots of amazing new entrepreneurs entering the craft distilling industry. All good, right? No, something is amiss. Something is seriously wrong. We – the craft distilling industry that is – has been sleeping with the enemy. And it is costing us dearly.

Craft distillers design their own recipe, produce their own spirits, and are responsible for selling the bottles they make. Leave anything out and you are either a recipe developer or a contract distiller or a producer that fakes in-house production.

Due to a lack of knowledge, a lack of funds, and a lack in modern spirits production technology no less than 2/3rds of so-called craft distilled spirits are basically outsourced and purchased at companies like MGP. Those spirits are bottled and labeled by the “craft” distiller, but they are not craft distilled spirits! Since they are bought in from Big Alcohol, 2/3rd of the 4,5% value market share is actually only 1,5%.

There you have it: the real value of the market share of the craft distilling industry in the USA is closer to 1,5% than it is to 4,5%. The real value market share of Big Alcohol isn’t 95,5%, but a whopping 98,5%.

This is harming for various reasons. First of all, with every new craft distillery that opens shop, it is actually Big Alcohol that is gaining more market share! Secondly, industrially produced spirits do not support the story telling at the distillery, nor does it provide the 50% increase in spirit quality. A 50% increase in spirit quality, that is needed to defeat Big Alcohol at their game! Here’s how the future numbers will look, if we do not change that:

As you can see, outsourced, Big Alcohol produced, so-called “craft distilled” spirits will be 9% of the total market value. Less than 5% is true craft distilling market value. Now, let me introduce a third reason why this scenario should be prevented at all costs. The USA government grants craft distillers substantial tax advantages over Big Alcohol. Based on the above numbers, Big Alcohol, within a decade, could make a successful push in terminating those advantages. Why give craft distillers an advantage, if they use it to source at Big Alcohol, whose advantageous position needed correction in the first place? Check mate craft distilling industry. Or is there another solution? Something that can turn the tide?

iStill’s mission

Our mission is – and has always been – to empower the craft distilling industry. We call out what’s wrong (see above). My team and I go the extra mile to help each and every person, that wants to become a craft distiller, with better education, better recipes, and vastly improved equipment.

iStill customers make most of their products in-house. Why? Because we educate our customers. And because we provide them with modern, efficient technology, that allows them to make spirits that are 50% better at less than half the costs.

Our customers show the industry the way forward. They win more medals, they have more success, they have better business cases than those craft distillers, that invest in expensive and outdated equipment, that invest in self-proclaimed “master distillers” that aren’t hampered by any kind of experience or information.

iStill aggressively pushes its technology, so that we can reach more craft distillers. We aggressively speak out when Big Alcohol backed old boys networks try to sell you solutions that do not support your competitive advantages.

Here’s what the future would look like, when the industry as a whole embraces true craft distilling. Where the stories that we, the craft distilling industry, tell our customers actually add up to us designing, making, and selling the product. In-house. If we do so, in just about 10 years, we will achieve a profitable and sustainable future for the craft distilling industry. For our businesses to grow, for our families to prosper. This is how the numbers, in terms of market value division, would look like:

iStill University is the industry’s leading educational facility. The iStill Laboratory has helped design over 450 recipes for customers all over the world. iStill provides the advanced distilling (and mashing and fermenting) technology you need to take the next step and to bring spirits manufacturing in-house. To become a true craft distiller. To kick Big Alcohol’s butt.

It’s the only way forward and the ball is in your court. Wanna play? I am available at Odin@iStillmail.com.

http://www.iStill.com

Gin Butikken: Danish Distribution Story!

Introduction

Here’s an interview with Jesper on how he started distilling his own gin first, but now distributes globally made gins via Denmark’s biggest craft gin network. I hope you find it an inspiring story, that stimulates you to think out of the box regarding your own local distribution. Or maybe Jesper’s initiative offers you iStillers a springboard to enter the Danish market with your gin, rum, or whiskey? If so, and if you want to learn more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jesper directly via: jesper@begincph.com.

Jesper, can you tell us a bit more on how you got involved in the alcohol industry?

It was a coincidence that I ended up in this industry. About 3 years ago my wife was fired from her job as an international sales manager in a big Danish company, as the company was sold and moved. As a consequence she had a lot of time home with a salary from the job.

She wanted to start up a company, but didn’t know what. We were following a lot of sites who sold companies, and suddenly we saw that BeGin Copenhagen was up for sale. At that time BeGin was a concept developed around a RTD (gin/tonic) by two students – as part of their exams. My wife e-mailed me the case and 48 hrs later we owned BeGin. We then started to produce RTD. So by a few random factors I ended up as Co-owner in BeGin – first as a RTD producer.

BeGin’s gins …

And what about Gin Butikken? How did it come to be?

Ginbutikken.dk was one of our biggest customers in BeGin Copenhagen. Ginbutikken.dk is one of the largest gin-webshops in Denmark – with around 500 different gins on the shelf. I started to work with Ginbtuikken.dk as one of the first customers in BeGin Cph.

A year ago my wife had the opportunity to buy a part of another company in Denmark, why I took over BeGin Copenhagen myself. I needed someone to help me with sales, marketing, and staff. On the side I run a law-firm as well – so I had my hands full to be honest :)I started to work with Ginbutikken.dk as a lawyer as well – as I helped them with company setup, knowledge and so. As our cooperation started to grow on several fronts we decided about 9 months ago to join the two companies.Today I own 50% of Ginbutikken.dk and BeGin Copenhagen, and my partner Kenneth owns the other 50% of the companies.

6 months ago we moved both companies to a new location, setting up our online webshop with new facilities. We will open a new showroom/shop in about a month. We just finished our new distillery at the same site, and are currently building a gin school after some good inputs from Shakespeare Distillery (also iStill Customer) in the UK. Big thanks to those guys 🙂

We currently employ 4 people beside Kenneth and me – so we are growing. The idea is to make Denmark’s most exciting gin-house, with a shop with all kinds of gin, a gin school and the distillery.

Over 500 gins are being distributed …

What makes Gin Butikken different or special for the consumer?

First of all – we do everything to please our customers and to give them the best experience. We import a lot of gin from the craft distillers ourselves. We do that from all over the world. We love that, and that is our main goal. We prefer to be the first mover. Some of the things we import we also sell to bars, restaurants, and events. People know we have a wide selection of gins and other liquor. So we also have a wide range of B2B-sales.

The consumers love our variety – love we have the gins they can’t find anywhere else in Denmark. They also love our prices, as we often can sell to a reasonable price, as we do our own import.

How could Gin Butikken help out craft distillers?

We would love to import spirits from craft distillers and expand our range of superb quality. We could provide a good starting position for export to Denmark and a growing market.

Croatia’s famous “Old Pilot’s Gin” is already represented by BeGin …

The Gin Butikken model is mostly tailored towards bringing in gins from all over the world but distributing them primarily in your home country Denmark. Would the Gin Butikken model work for other countries? Would you enjoy playing a role to maybe scaling this initiative up to 1. Other countries; 2. Other drink categories?

At the moment we only sell to Denmark mostly. But we are finalizing some cooperation plans with a partner which would give us access to some of the Scandinavian markets, as they are state owned. That would give us some very interesting export solutions. We also have other spirits than gin – but gin is currently our main goal. We would love to do more whiskey and rum as well – and are buying more and more of this. Again, we would love to have what you can’t find all over. iStill owners might both do rum, whiskey and gin – and that could be very interesting to have a whole range of that in our shop.

Craft gins from around the world on display …

What is your connection to iStill? How did you find us and what is your feedback on working with us?

BeGin Copenhagen is a customer of iStill – and we just set up our brand new distillery with iStill equipment. We love it. I was introduced to iStill by a friend of mine who works in the beer-industry. I asked him a few years ago which still I should buy when I should set up my new distillery. He told me to look at iStill, and a month later I bought a Mini, completed the course and started testing and testing. I love to work with the Mini. So far I have enjoyed every moment of cooperation – always friendly, direct and easy to communicate with iStill and the employees.

Any final thoughts or ideas you’d like to share with the audience?

All iStillers are more than welcome to visit us in Denmark – to see our setup. If anyone is interested we would love to get in touch to start up cooperation or exchanging liquors.

BeGin’s own gins are produced on iStills …

Post Scriptum by Odin

Many years ago we thought it a good idea to help create a global distribution network for craft distilled spirits. With education, training, and the efficient production of high-quality spirits solved by iStill and the iStill University, it made sense to tackle the next big problem, AKA distribution.

The idea resonated through the industry, but never really became more than, well, just that: an idea. Analyzing why such an a priori good idea didn’t become a success taught us that a global craft distilling network could not be organized centrally. It HAD to be a bottom-up, grass-root movement. By and for the craft distiller. Not by iStill.

Do we see, in BeGin’s approach, the beginning of such a bottom-up, grass-root movement? To be perfectly clear: I do not make any claim that we helped inspire this. Not at all! I am only stating that the approach explained above is inspiring. To me and hopefully to many other craft distillers.

I find it inspiring that craft distillers wanting to enter the Danish market now have an outlet. Or a market entry, for that matter. I find it even more inspiring to think about what power it brings to the craft distiller that decides to become an importer and distributor of other craft distilled spirits, from other countries and continents. The B2C sales helps you bypass other distribution networks. And B2B sales might benefit hugely, because you now have so much more to offer than “just” your drinks!

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.