Archive: Equipment

Automation Now Making a Splash in 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 […]

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Using New, Reused & Recycled Barrels in the Brewery

Barrels are one of the hallmarks of the wine industry, and commonly associated with the craft spirits industry; however, they play an essential role in brewing beer as well. Breweries utilize barrels and kegs in a variety of ways, and, depending on the purpose, will seek out specific vessels, whether new, used or recycled barrels, or stainless steel kegs. History and Use of Beer Barrels The history of the barrel dates back thousands of years to when English monasteries produced and stored brewed beer in wooden vessels. Early brewers made wooden casks from vertical strips of oak that were held together with steel hoops. Over time, the process improved, ensuring the barrels were water-tight, easily transportable, and able to enhance […]

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Minnetonka Brewing & Distilling Equipment Company: Now, From Start to Finish

Founded just as the craft brewing boom began, Minnetonka Brewing & Distilling Equipment Company’s initial concept was to provide affordable, high-quality brewing equipment and accessories to the fast growing industry. Early on, industry veteran and founding partner, Dan Kahn, mentioned craft distilling would be the next craze, so we went in search of high-quality distilling solutions to add to our impressive line of brewing equipment. Minnetonka is excited to be associated with the fine folks at Squarrel Barrel. Enhancing and building upon the 2,000-year-old process of barrel aging, they have designed and developed, and are bringing to market, a new era of wood aging solutions. We’re a thrifty bunch at Squarrel, so we’re always looking for ways to conserve resources, […]

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Before You Buy New or Used Equipment: What You Need to Know

As a business owner, the decision to buy new equipment becomes a priority when a piece of critical equipment breaks down and it costs as much or more to fix it as it does to replace it. Or your equipment becomes obsolete and the new technology will allow you to increase your capabilities. Or…the new equipment will make it easier to grow your business – serve more customers, produce more products faster and of a higher quality. Each is a valid reason to buy new equipment. Now, for the big question: How Shall I Pay for It? Cash, Bank Loan, or Lease? 1) Leasing conserves your capital 2) Leasing preserves your bank lines of credit 3) It’s easier to qualify […]

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How to Choose the Right Pumps & Drives for Your Brewery

Certain pieces of equipment are essential to breweries of every shape and size, while others become more necessary as operations grow. Commercial brewers use various types of pumps, and an increasing number of breweries are incorporating drive technology into their beer production process as well. The Uses of Pumps in Breweries In the modern craft brewery, pumps a variety of purposes, and are essential to the brewing process, regardless of the size of the brewery. These devices raise, transfer, deliver and compress fluids with a suction side and a discharge side. Some pumps have a single purpose, while others perform a multitude of functions. Pumps transfer hot water into the top tier of the brewery and recirculate mash, as well […]

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Software for Distilleries: What Spirit-Makers Need to Know

As a response to the craft beer boom and the sheer number of breweries operating across the country, there are currently more tech companies working with brewery software than distillery software. There are overlaps in the basic needs of these two industries, and an increasing number of software developers are working to accommodate distillery operations too. However, there are significant distinctions between breweries and distilleries in terms of software needs to keep track of things like proof gallons, angel’s share/evaporation, and barrel aging. This has led to the development of highly specific software that is designed with the unique needs of distillers in mind. Leading Distillery Software Companies One prominent leader in the distillery software industry is Whiskey Resources, which […]

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Buying vs. Leasing Depends on Business, Experts Say

Cash on the barrelhead is a must for Rusty Cox’s barrels, or whatever equipment he needs to run Davis Valley Distillery LLC in Rural Retreat, VA. “If you have money to buy, you don’t have to worry about lease payments; just go ahead and pay for the stuff and get it,” says Cox, who makes spirits, wine “or just about anything you need.” Cox is getting ready to buy a 300-gallon system from Paul Hall of Doniphan, MO-based Affordable Distillery Equipment LLC, which sells stills, fermenters, air compressors, pumps, tube kits and an array of other implements a distillery needs. There’s even a bit of bartering involved in some transactions with Hall, Cox says. “Paul sends people over here, and […]

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Birth of a Barrel

In the whiskey industry, increasingly in the beer industry, and most definitely in the wine industry, the barrel is front and center. From Bourbon to Scotch, sour beer to barrel aged stouts, Cabernet to Pinot Grigio, the barrel is a star. However, for as much as we know about what it can do, what do we know about its earliest days, the days it reaches the distilleries, breweries, and wineries that hold it so dear? The Oak, The Whole Oak and Nothing but the Oak The life of a barrel starts with choice of wood. Oak has been used to construct barrels for approximately 2000 years. Oak has the flexibility needed to bend staves into place, the longevity to last […]

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Smooth Operator– Pumps & Drives for the Brewery

Consistency is important to brewers. Customers expect each beer to be the same, so brewers need their last batch to taste exactly like the previous one. Machinery that works consistently and precisely is the key: pumps that control ingredient dosages and drives that allow automation of the bottling process. Choosing a pump and drive system is different for a start-up than for an established brewery. Start-ups have limited capital, so purchasing one versatile, cost-effective pump that can handle multiple functions reliably is the ideal. Established breweries are looking to minimize operating costs while increasing efficiency, and achieving both may require a drive to automate the bottling process as well. This article will provide an overview of the various pumps and […]

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Mobile Canning: What is It, and Why You Should be Using It

The craft beer boom has given way to many industrious ideas over the years, all that support both the brewing industry and the local economy of the communities where they reside. As small brewery numbers continue to increase and the demand for canned craft beer thrives, many of these breweries are wondering how to meet the customer demand without having to get a bigger space. Enter, mobile canning. Mobile canning came on the scene fast and solidified itself almost immediately. Catering to breweries of all sizes, there is now almost no where in the United States that isn’t covered by one mobile canning company or another. What is mobile canning? Well, it’s exactly what you think – mobile canning is […]

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