Make Your Distillery Pandemic Proof with iStill!

Research via the Craft Spirits Data Project teaches us that, in the USA alone, the number of people employed in the craft distilling industry got significantly lower. In just one Covid-ridden year, the number dropped by over 43%. From 30,000 people being employed to only 17,000!

Laying off people is a way to reduce costs. Given the challenges many distillers face, as they are being confronted with government measures that limit their opportunities to generate income, a cost saving strategy makes sense. Often, craft distilleries find themselves in a “all hands on deck!”-situation.

Off course the total workload doesn’t become less, laying off people, meaning that it’s usually company ownership that need to fill in the gap. Production support staff gets laid off, and the owners – confronted with limited sales opportunities being available in the short term – take over production related tasks.

This choice works in the short term, but in the long term it’s the owner that needs to make sure new sales opportunities are developed. They are responsible for a strategy aimed at growing the company. An owner stepping into the production space basically results in cost reductions short term, but this decision also leads to turnover decrease in the longer term. Not sustainable. Not sustainable, unless you have an iStill.

Given the high level of automation, the ease of control, and the low maintenance and cleaning requirements our amazing technology gives you, an iStill saves you a little over 1 FTE (as in one fulltime employee) per year. As a business owner, you can have the iStill focus on production, where you invest your time in creating new sales opportunities. How’s that for making your distiller pandemic proof?

For more reading, please see:

Made Gin Scotland!

“My advent gins this year are voted for daily on FB group made GIN Scotland. They voted today and I drank 🥴Pixel Spirits Devils Staircase was the winner tonight with an overwhelming amount of the vote.

I had forgotten quite how superb this gin truly is.Delicious green cardamon, black tea and pepper notes with some sweetness. This gin is like the best chai spice mix and I can imagine warming this to make a spiced chai cocktail (planning it already). So smooth with a lovely warmth, a hug in a glass. In fact I enjoyed sipping this so much I drank my generous pour neat.

About to have a second with tonic, which brings out the citrus and smokey notes. Perfect serve is with orange twist and tonic or ginger ale.”


Congrats to Pixel Spirits for winning some more …

iStill Supports Your Recipe Development!


Craft distilling is about the distiller designing his own recipe, producing his spirits in-house, and selling the product successfully. Starting-up a craft distillery usually kicks-off with the distiller developing recipes.

At iStill we support recipe development in multiple ways. We provide courses. We do recipe development. And we have the iStill Mini as the industry’s leading recipe development still.

There is a particularly interesting way in which we support craft distillers in their efforts to create the best possible whiskies, rums, brandies, vodka’s, gins, and liqueurs. Let’s dive in deeper!

A Three Step Model to Recipe Development

  1. Purchase the iStill Mini and iStill University combo and educate yourself;
  2. Start recipe development, using the iStill Mini and what you’ve learned via the iStill University;
  3. Send your results to iStill for evaluation.

The iStill Mini can be purchased for EUR 5.000,- to EUR 6.500, depending on options. It comes with the online distillation and recipe development course, provided by the iStill University, included. The course teaches you how to develop recipes.

Now, as a second step, use your knowledge to put the iStill Mini to work and start creating your first recipes. As a student of the iStill University, you get access to the iStill University Network. This means you can reach out to hundreds of other distillers and exchange experiences and ideas.

If you feel your recipe is ready, or nearing completion, send it to iStill. Our expert recipe development team will assess your recipe and give you final feedback.

Your Benefits

  1. You get access to the best training on distilling and recipe development: the iStill University;
  2. You acquire the industry’s leading training and recipe development still: the iStill Mini;
  3. Both above points combined, allow you to do multiple runs per day and speed up your recipe development;
  4. You get access to the world’s biggest craft distillers network for help and support;
  5. iStill’s recipe development experts – with over 450 recipes designed – give you final feedback;
  6. Your amazing recipe can now scaled up to your production unit: you are in business!
  7. For a total cost (including iMini and training) of well under 10k …

Grains, herbs, processes, procedures …

Interviewing Still Hollow Spirits’ Athey Lutz

Hi Athey, thanks for the interview. Can you tell us a bit more about your distillery, please?

Still Hollow Spirits is a small family run distillery located on a farm in the mountains of West Virginia, USA. We grow our own corn onsite using heirloom seed that has been saved in the area for generations. We focus on producing single barrel whiskeys with local ingredients and limestone spring water. We also raise beef cattle that are fed our spent mash. We currently operate with an iStill2000 with indirect heating elements. 

Why did you choose to purchase an iStill, Athey?

We were having trouble keeping up with whiskey production with our direct fired masher and still.  Corn mashing in particular on the direct fire masher, and then having to lauter the corn before distilling, where huge time sinks for us. (Trying to run a distillery and farm simultaneously is no easy task!) Something had to give and we were considering adding a steam jacket to our existing masher and putting an electronic control system our still. While researching options we came across the iStill system.

The ability of the iStill to mash and distill on the grain without installing and maintaining a steam boiler where instant attractions. We also like the flexibility of the still to produce different spirits and perform multiple functions (mashing, fermentation, distilling, fast aging, extractions). We were also attracted to the fact the still, power system and control system where all one cohesive unit covered by the same company and warranty. This seemed a smarter route rather than piecing a system together from different manufacturers and having multiple contacts for trouble shooting.

How do you use the iStill?

We use our iStill 2000 with indirect heaters as a do it all workhorse for mashing, fermenting and distilling whiskey.  We run a continuous cycle where the still is never empty except for a brief cleaning. First we mash in our grain, step down cool to pitching temp, and add our yeast. After a temperature controlled fermentation in the iStill, we activate the agitator and go into column distillation mode.  In the column distillation we are able to go straight from mash to whiskey for barreling. The next day we siphon off some backset for the next mash, pump out the spent mash for the cows, clean the still, and start another mash. Our iStill setup is somewhat unique in that we run off an electric phase converter because 3 phase electric is not available in our rural area.

How is it to work with iStill as a company?

We have had a good experience working with iStill. Jason was my sales rep and helped with specs and questions through the product selection phase. We attended a training and met Odin and Jason and learned a great deal as well as seeing the iStill in action. The purchase process and shipping where straightforward and the unit arrived in the USA in great condition. We have had quick response to setup questions and troubleshooting requests.

Anything else you want to share, Athey?

Yes! We have an Extractor for sale. We originally purchased our iStill 2000 with a stand alone extractor unit for making flavored spirits and gin. We have found with our continuous cycle of whiskey making that we do not have enough still time to use the extractor and are offering it for sale. It is in new condition and would make a great addition to anyone’s existing iStill 2000 setup. Please contact me at or 304-227-4692 for more info.