Thanks CaptMorgan for sharing …
Thanks CaptMorgan for sharing …
Here is a video of the last iStill University Distillers Course that we organized earlier this week:
Our customers can be found all over the world:
The start of a new year is both a moment of contemplation, looking back at the year before, and an opportunity to look at the future. Introspection, conclusions, changes and adaptations: we have spent a lot of time on those topics during the month of January. The goal? To further improve the customer’s experience.
Via this iStill Blog post I want to inform you about what we learned and what we changed. Nothing dramatic, just dotting a few more i’s, but I feel it is important to share anyhow.
Where we implemented changes? In our Sales Force, our Support Organization, in the iStill University Program, on the iStill Innovation Agenda, and in our focus.
iStill Innovation Agenda
The last 6 1/2 years have seen us implement the Mother of all Innovation Agendas, whereby iStill has single-handedly pushed the craft distilling industry forward from 1870’s technology (when the bubble cap and the Coffey still were invented – two technologies with severe draw-backs, btw) to the 21st Century.
With the 2019 introduction of ABV-Control and the Reflux Capacitor, we strongly feel innovation is about done. The iStills are basically a century and a half ahead of the competition and have reached what’s called “innovation maturity”, meaning that our new technology is both completely developed and completely rolled-out into our product-line and is available for customers to purchase. Product development and market availability in perfect harmony.
In other words? No major innovations coming up in 2020 and 2021! Instead, a focus on professionalization … and a slight change in focus on where we make a difference to the craft distilling industry.
When we started growing into international markets, we asked early customers to help us out. This initially informal representation grew into the Wizard Organization, that has supported our cause greatly over the last few years.
But as we grew, more and more the need was felt for a more professional Sales Force to guide new customers into the iStill Family. More professional and more centralized.
To achieve the above goals, we have hired Chris Anker as iStill’s new Sales Manager. If you want to find out how iStill can help you out, please know that Chris is available via Chris@iStillmail.com.
Since we value the huge support our existing customer base gives to wannabe iStill customers, we initiated a Referral Fee Program. It aims to make it even more worth your time to help support modern distilling. For more information, please see:
iStill is currently developing a log-in for customers. The log-in is a place where they can find customer information, manuals, FAQ’s, bulletins, and the Issue Management Protocol. It aims to improve self-sustainability via online support and is expected to be introduced in March.
If you have urgent iStill-related support questions, please reach out to Support@iStillmail.com. Business as usual, there, and William and his team are ready to follow up.
Most people hugely appreciate the 4-day courses we organize through the iStill University Program. Students rate them with a 9.8 on a 10-point scale. Up until now, we gave courses at iStill HQ in the Netherlands, in the USA, and in Australia.
What we have learned is that the courses in the Netherlands see students from all over the world … including North America and Australia. Most of the American and Australian students love to take the longer trip to see our facilities and meet the team, and that is hugely appreciated.
Given the fact that we have a complete hall, dedicated to educational purposes, in the Netherlands, we have decided to centralize the iStill University Courses at our Head Quarters. There, we do not have to make any compromises, we are supported by the whole team, to give you the best experience and the most profound distillers education possible. No more courses abroad for 2020 and 2021.
To help mitigate travel expenses, there is a regional discount code for you to benefit from. For more info, see:
Focus on Value Creation
iStill has seen huge growth over the past years. With sales numbers rising by 50 to 100% per year. In a mere 6 1/2 years we have become the world’s leading manufacturer of distillation equipment. Over the last years, we have branched out to related industries, like low wines production, contract distilling, and portfolio distilling.
Investigating where we make a difference, where we have the most impact, leads to the following conclusion: it is through our equipment, our technology, and our willingness to share our distillation knowledge that we serve you best. This conclusion helps us focus on where iStill creates the most value for you: in supplying you with advanced distillation equipment and in training you in how to translate the associated theories and technological advantages into benefits for your distillery.
This means that our focus will be on education, equipment, and recipes. In other words: the iStill University, iStill equipment, and our recipe development department. We’ll stop low wines production, contract distilling, and portfolio distilling.
As we shift our attention towards professionalizing sales and support, and implement a focus on value creation, something remarkable happens. It is as if iStill (and you?) upshifted a gear or two. The organization feels leaner and meaner. And that feeling is backed up by your appreciation.
January sees a 100% growth in orders, and a 116% rise in leads, supporting the conclusion that we made the right decisions. The year 2020 promises to be another amazing growth-spurt for modern day craft distilling. I am happy and proud that iStill is at the forefront of that development.
At your service,
Drs. H.E.J. (Odin) van Eijk, MScBA, etc.
CEO of iStill.
Odin on focus …
What we post here is an account of iStill’s CEO, Odin, helping out a distiller that has difficulty making good gin with his still. Mind you, the still he uses is not an iStill, but a piece of equipment made in China, but Odin decided to help out a fellow-distiller anyhow, by analyzing his set-up, coming to conclusions, and giving advice on how to solve the issue.
There are two reasons to post this on the iStill Blog. First, it can help create awareness that there are many poorly designed stills out there. And if you end up buying or “designing” one, you might find yourself in a bad situation, where you cannot achieve the product quality you aimed for. Let this iStill Blog post serve as a warning. Secondly, this post shows that still design is a science, based on facts, and not something artsy-fartsy, romantic, close to magical, based on opinions.
The problem and the set-up
The problem the distiller had? Some of the flavors he was looking for didn’t come over well enough in his gin. He described the result as “less than elegant”. The distiller informed Odin that he runs a 100 gallon, steam powered Still Dragon, that the run takes 6 to 8 hours, and that he uses a potstill configuration with a 2 inch riser. The distillery is located at the high altitude of 6,000 feet above sea level. Here’s how Odin, despite not having a whole lot of information to go by, analyzed the situation, came to a conclusion, and gave his advice on how to solve the problem.
“So, quite honestly, there is not enough information for me to go on. But guessing my way forward, here is what could happen. Some calculations first, then a conclusion and maybe some advice that could help you manufacture a solution. 100 gallon system = 400 liters. I work / think in metric, hence the conversion. Not sure if that is gross or net capacity, but as most manufacturers advertise gross boiler content, I am going to estimate 300 liters net capacity. Now, I will bring up the numbers of the iStill 500. Why? Because it is most comparable in size and optimized for perfect vapor speed management (more on why that is important later). With us, 500 means 500 liters net. So your system is smaller and matches up to 60%. Looking at your run times, well, there seems nothing wrong there. Depending on the gin we run, 8 hours could be what we’d do with the i500 as well. So that’s good for comparison.
My design is directly fired and insulated and around 90% energy efficient. I estimate an uninsulated indirect design to be around 50% efficient. So my guess is that you are probably throwing the same kind of power (gross) at your unit as we do with ours. Your boiler content size is smaller than the i500, but your set-up being less efficient sorta compensates for that. Efficiency answering the question of how much of the gross energy input is actually used to distill (vs. heating up your distillery). Why the above line of thinking (and its outcome) are important? Because it tells me that the amount of vapors produced in your unit (for instance in liters or gallons per second or minute) are relatively equal to my set-up. So that part is fine. Relatively meaning that your 60% net boiler size is matched by overall lower net power input that seems to be at around 60% of what I would run.
Your gross power input might be the same as on my system. Your net power usage for vapor production is in line with your unit holding net 300 liters vs. mine holding 500 liters. Your set-up probably creates 60% of the vapors when compared to my design.
Time to move on from power and boiler and overall system efficiency to the column. The iStill 500 that I choose as a comparison has a 5 inch column. That’s 12.5 cms (again, I am metric). So the radius is 5.5 cms. Compensating downwards from 6.25 because of the thickness of the column wall and the fact that the iStill 500 column is packed, which eats away 10%. Now, what is the surface area in my column, were we to cut it in half and look down into it? It is 95 square cms or about 16 square inches. Your riser is 2 inch in diameter. Let’s say 1.8 net. This means the surface area in your riser is only 2.55 square inch. That’s only 16% of my (optimized) design. Why is that important? Here we go:
With some assumptions, and based on limited information, I concluded, in the first paragraph, that your set-up produces roughly 60% of the amount of gas (liters per minute or in gallons per minute, that does not matter) than my design does. Expecting you to have adequate cooling in place to knock all gasses back down to liquid phase via your product cooler, this merits the following assessment: the vapors in your set-up move WAY too fast. Say that given a certain time interval an optimized gin still creates 100 liters or 100 gallons of gas vs. your set-up producing 60 liters or 60 gallons in that same time interval. Comparing the i500 to your set-up here. If we divide 100 by 16 the outcome is a relative speed inside my column of 6.25. When we divide 60 by 2.55 square inch, the vapor speed in your column is 23.5. That is 3.7 times faster. The gasses in your set-up travel way too fast. Why is that important?
It is important because higher vapor speeds suck up higher boiling point associated rooty, nutty, earthy flavors, earlier in the run. Basically, via the small diameter riser, you over-harvest back-end flavors. And that while making gin, which is mostly a forward cut product (flowers, fruity). Your problem increases because of your high altitude. Low air pressure results in higher vapor speeds. Given where you are at, another boost of around 40%. In my system, we measure air pressure and automatically adapt cut points and/or power settings. Lowering the power setting on your set-up would not work, because it would result in higher total run times, with more potential of over-cooking the botanicals, creating more of the back-end flavors you are looking to get rid of. What I would do if I found myself in your situation is easy, and I am pretty sure SD can help you out here: get rid of the reducer and install a riser (and bridge and cooler) that are much wider in diameter. 4 inch or 5 inch would cut it.
Then do another run, taste as you go along. The back-end/tails-associated flavors will come over much later. You’ll know by tasting. If you taste what comes out and it is as if all of a sudden the music has stopped, that’s the moment where – again – tails-associated flavors come over, and where you need to stop.
A long post, but I hope you like the effort of me helping you solve your issues.
The two inch diameter riser, to the left, is too small …
Aris Aristidou and his wife are opening the Crim Dell Distillery soon! Where? On the beautiful island of Cyprus! They purchased an iStill 2000. Here is a picture of what the distillery looks like …
Here is a map of the iStill customers in England. As you can see, there is no stopping progress! Are you considering to join the ever growing family of modern, 21st century distillers? Do you want to learn more about the amazing technology iStill has to offer? Do you want to learn about distilling via one of our courses? Then please reach out to us via Sales@iStillmail.com.
Modern-day distilling takes over the present-day world, including England …