iStill Customers take over Irish Gin Market!

Hi there,

I am about to head back to the Netherlands after spending a few amazing days in Ireland. With an hour and a half left to spend before my plane leaves, I decided to check out the gin section of duty free liquor sales. The news? iStill distilleries are taking over the Irish gin market! See pictures underneath:

Shelves full of iStill distilled Irish gins …

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The gins of Blacks of Kinsale …

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Blackwater Distillery’s gins …

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Listoke Distillery’s gins …

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Me in front of the iStill gins …

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http://www.iStill.eu

Odin 2.0!

Last 3 months I have gone on a road trip in search of better health. Concise and short? I succeeded in losing 15 kilo’s of fat, while gaining 5 kilo’s of muscle.

In better shape than ever, and with enormous amounts of energy, I can inform you that we are releasing a few amazing new innovations for the craft distilling industry very soon:

  • iStill Mini: a full laboratory set-up on a small scale;
  • iStill Ragnarok: a continuous still with benefits;
  • iStill Frigg: a vacuum still;
  • Panoramix: a concoction that will help you recover GNS from feints.

Odin 2.0 …

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http://www.iStill.eu

Dreaming of Enhanced Taste …

Introduction

So here is the third post about me dreaming about … well, maybe about some future innovations that may benefit the Craft Distilling Industry. The first one was about magic potions. The second one about magic machines that combine the advantages of continuous distillation (bulk processing capacity) with batch distillation (cuts management). And sometimes I get inspiration from other industries. Like cooking …

Cryovac cooking

How that came along? Well, I happened to have dinner at a place where the chicken just tasted a-ma-zing! I called for the chef and he told me it was made “sous vide” or “under vacuum”-style. “Cryovac” is the name most often used name in the Anglo-Saxon world, I have been told.

Anyhow, I asked the chef about the procedure. And I asked him about the advantages.

The procedure is basically as follows:

  1. Vacuum seal the food;
  2. Because of the vacuum, you can now boil the food at much lower temperatures than the regular 100 Celsius.

As to the why, the chef told me that he personally found that especially more fragile and volatile flavors are better preserved, using cryovac cooking methods. Which made me think …

Don’t we need cryovac distilling?

After doing some more research, and after talking to some of our customers, here is what I learned:

  • Cryovac distilling could potentially help gin (and aquavit and flavored vodka) distilleries in harvesting subtle and volatile tastes;
  • By creating flavor essences out of substrates that would otherwise (at higher boiling temperatures) denature too rapidly;
  • Glass vacuum stills exist (for example Rotavacs). They are within the budget of the Craft Distiller, but are in general too small for efficient professional production procedures;
  • Bigger vacuum stills (20 to 50 liters) exist. They are suited for efficient professional production protocols, but come at a very high price: investments of 200 K to 500 K are the norm.

In conclusion I found that especially gin distillers would love to add cryovac distilling capacity, but the ones they can afford are usually too small. The ones they need are too expensive.

“Can we make cryovac stills bigger AND at the same time a less costly investment?” That would be the design challenge I’d put in front of my engineering team. Based on gut feeling and intuition as much as on the feedback our customers gave me, I’d say a size of 100 liter would be the goal, together with a 50% cost price reduction, for distilleries to be able to reap the benefits of cryovac distilling. But that’s just my take on it. What is yours?

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http://www.iStill.eu

 

 

 

 

 

Continuous Stills that know how to Cut?

Here’s another sorta “I had a dream” kinda iStill Blog post. The previous one was about magic potions … this one is about magic machines. For my thoughts on how magic potions could help the industry out, please read the following post:

https://istillblog.com/2018/05/07/neutralizing-taste-and-recovering-feints/

The question at hand in this iStill Blog post? Here it is: “Don’t Craft Distillers need a magic distilling machine?” I mean, there already are some magic iStills out there, that can strip and finish in one go, and that can make neutral as well as taste rich spirits. But what about continuous distillation? It has been around for over a century and a half … isn’t it time we could magically integrate the efficiency and bulk processing performance of continuous distilling with cut management and ABV management of modern days pot and column stills?

What good such a magical device might do, one might ask? Well, let me give you an example or two:

  1. Such a magical machine would help bigger Bourbon distillers, that run continuous stills, at making more flavorful new make spirit. Imagine them running stills with much more effective Heads and Tails control … now that would help them create better late Heads and early Tails smearing for a more three dimensional end product!
  2. The same holds through for rum.
  3. And both whiskey and rum distillers could or should – by using the magic machine – be able to make spirits at different ABV’s. Higher proof for more purity, and lower proof for taste maximization. Heck, the magical distilling device I see we need, could go as pure as vodka or do single pass, fully cut, barrel aging strength whiskey and rum in one go …

What do you think? Does the Craft Distilling Industry need such a machine? In order to take the battle to big alcohol not just on taste, but on economies of scale as well? What say you?

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http://www.iStill.eu

Neutralizing Taste and Recovering Feints …

This is the first iStill Blog post of a series. A series that could (or maybe should) be called “What if … ?” It’s a serie of posts about me dreaming of a bright new future for Craft Distilling, with all new technology to help them out.

Today’s dream? Here it is: “How easy would the life of the distiller be if he had a magic formula for taste neutralization and feints recovery?”

An Asterix & Obelix kind of magic potion … how could that help? Well, let me give you a few examples:

  1. Say you are a whisky or rum distillery and you produce Heads, and Hearts, and Tails. Okay, the Hearts you put in a barrel or bottle, but wouldn’t you love to reuse those Heads and Tails? Wouldn’t you want to be able – by adding the magic potion – to actually neutralize off flavors and recover basically all as good ethanol?
  2. Now, imagine the faith of a gin distiller. He (or she) in general cannot recover all the alcohol that goes into the boiler. So he has to make a Tails cut and either redistill those Tails into a clean and crisp neutral via rectification … or he has to toss it, loosing out on yield and money paid. What if he could instead add that magic potion to his gin Tails … and recover neutral GNS without rectifying or fractionating?
  3. A vodka distillery that aims for a neutral vodka needs to filter his 190 proof Hearts over activated carbon. What if we could just add a magic potion to his runs in order to bring his product to neutrality while distilling?

I think all three above examples prove that Craft Distilling could definitely use some kind of magic formula to achieve the above. Do you agree or not? Should we find our own Craft Distilled Panoramix and ask for him to come up with a concoction? Let me know what you think …

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http://www.iStill.eu

iStill Workshop in Utah!

Here are a few pictures of the 4-day iStill Distillers Workshop we just held at the New World Distillery in Eden, Utah! Next class in Utah will be early September … a special one: it’s going to be all about making whiskey! For more info, please reach out to Veronika@iStillMail.com.

Group photo …

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Let’s talk booze …

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Learning how to make cuts by smell and taste …

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The 3 quart heads cut on a 500 gallon finishing run …

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Doing the maiden run on New World Distillery’s all new iStill 2000 …

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http://www.iStill.eu

 

 

 

 

Minhas Family to open Wold Class Distillery!

Minhas family to open new ‘world-class’ distillery in Regina

Moni Minhas is building a multi-million dollar distillery in Regina, set to open early next year. He said it will be the largest facility of its kind in Saskatchewan.

On TV’s Dragons’ Den, investment ideas live or die by Manjit Minhas’s approval. The craft-brewing baroness decides whether or not to throw her millions at Canadian startups in desperate need of capital.

But when it comes to business, her own father doesn’t much care what she thinks.

“I did not discuss any of these ideas,” said Moni Minhas. “I told her once it was done – mostly because I’m so sure of myself.”

Moni is building a multi-million dollar distillery in Regina, set to open early next year. He said it will be the largest facility of its kind in Saskatchewan, churning out tens of thousands of cases of craft wine, gin, whiskey and vodka.

It’s still just a construction zone in the heart of an industrial park. But Moni hopes it will draw tourists with a taste for made-in-Saskatchewan spirits.

“This will have great ambiance — it will not look like a factory at all,” he said. “They will be able to see what ingredients go in there, how it’s produced and how it’s enjoyed.”

Moni has “retired” from his work running two oil companies. He’s still based in Calgary, but said he has a special connection to Saskatchewan, where both of his kids spent time studying or starting their careers. He also has a cousin who once played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Every time I have come here, to Saskatchewan, I find the people here really friendly, really nice, and I really feel indebted,” he said. “And what better to give back than with long-term manufacturing jobs?”

He said his distillery will need a winemaker, mechanics and food scientists, as well as tasting guides for his visitors. But he’s not just looking for Saskatchewan workers – he wants to ferment Saskatchewan crops.

“Why would you ever go anywhere outside of Saskatchewan to buy a grain, whether it’s wheat or barley?” he asked.

That takes care of whisky and vodka, but Saskatchewan isn’t known for ideal grape-growing conditions. No matter, says Moni. He’ll use something else.

“What is so special about grapes that another fruit does not have?” he said. “A grape is not necessary to make wine … this is why the craft movement is so great, it’s innovation, thinking outside the box.”

He said his process is much slower, and more labour intensive, than big-brand mass production. He’s buying Dutch-made equipment so “cutting edge” that visitors “will not believe it’s a distillation unit.” Moni will ferment by the batch, then send samples to an in-house lab for quality control.

“The role of the lab is to calculate alcohol content, to calculate specific gravity, pH balance… mineral content,” he said. “There are a bunch of things you calculate to make sure that the product is coming out the way you want.”

Visitors will be able to follow the production process, and sample the result on site. But Moni isn’t just aiming for the local market. He said he’s already in talks to export his product to Alberta, Montana, and even California, giving Saskatchewan a foothold in the international wine and spirit market.

Moni might not ask his daughter for advice, but she’s still willing to give her assessment of his new venture. She said she thinks it will be a “world-class facility.

“It will be using Saskatchewan grain, Saskatchewan fruit, Saskatchewan people to produce it,” Manjit said. “A local product, a world-class product that will be sold in Saskatchewan, but also exported to America.”

Still, her father doesn’t much care. “It’s his own money,” Manjit admits. And he doesn’t need an investment guru.

“It goes the other way around,” she said. “He’s been my mentor… I guess liquor runs in Minhas blood.”

Meanwhile, at the iStill University …

We are currently training 8 more distilleries on how to make above top shelf product. Most have ordered iStills. Some are about to do so. If you want to learn how to make above top shelf spirits as well, please register for one of our workshops. The April 29 – May 2nd class in Utah still has places available! For more information or registration, please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com …

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https://istill.eu/university