The Brewstillery Movement

By: Kris Bohm: Owner of Distillery Now Consulting LLC.

gin drink set

Breweries make beer and often their equipment has the capacity to brew more beer than there is necessarily a demand for. Plain and simple, idle equipment does not help generate cash flow. An alternative use to consider to keep idle brewery equipment running is whiskey. American single malt whiskey is the new hot trend in spirits. Single malt whiskey has been touted for decades in America as a premium whiskey, and now bourbon whiskey is absolutely booming worldwide. If your brewery has a brew house that is sometimes sitting idle, it is time to put it to work. With the addition of a commercial still for distilling, a brewery can turn an idle brew house back on, and start producing single malt whiskey. The addition of a distillery will create a new business avenue for a brewery that can bring in new customers and generate more revenue for the overall business.       

Brewers Making Whiskey

  A few of the well known breweries, who have jumped into the distilled spirits world, are Ballast Point and Rogue Ales. There are amazing spirits being produced and distilled by breweries all over the world and your brewery can seize this opportunity as well. Brewstilleries, as we will call them, are pioneering a new business model. By using existing equipment to produce the wort or mash for distilled spirits, a brewery can create a diverse portfolio of products which can appeal to a broad base of customers.

  Ballast Point Brewery is a notable and very successful brewery that added a distillery to their operation. The Ballast Point took on a wild side project in 2007 where they added a still to their brewery in California, to experiment in spirits production. The brewers there mashed a beer recipe, then lautered an un-hopped wort that was then fermented and distilled into single malt whiskey. They also used their equipment to cook corn mash for bourbon production. A few years later, their whiskies had aged in barrels and it was bottled then released. Both their single malt and bourbon were wildly successful and well received spirits. Ballast Point Brewery sold a few years after the distillery was started and their distillery branched off to become Cutwater Spirits.

Tools of the Trade

  Breweries and distilleries use equipment that is very similar for the production of beverage alcohol. Fermenters, pumps, hoses, yeast, mash tuns, lauter tuns, and fermenters are common tools utilized by both distillers and brewers. Some breweries have capitalized on this opportunity and co-utilize their equipment and expand into distillery operations.  Let’s detail a few of the tools that brewers use that distillers can co-utilize for whiskey production. Of course this can only work if the brewers are willing to share.

Brew House Mash Tun

  A brew house is the essential tool used for the production of beer. This brew house will sometimes be idle when there is not enough demand. The steam heated mash tun in a 4 vessel brew house is used to mash malted barley for brewing beer. This equipment can also be utilized to produce mash for whiskey. With a few small changes, a mash tun can be used to produce cereal mash, made with corn or rye, that is cooked and fermented for bourbon whiskey.

  The production of malt whiskey in the Scottish tradition, using 100% malted barley, requires more complex equipment than the basic cereal cooker utilized by most distilleries. The lauter tun is a unique equipment for separating barley from the sugary wort in beer production. When making American single malt whiskey, the lauter tun is used to produce wort for distillation in the same way it is used to make wort for beer.


  Every brewer and distiller has fermenters in which they transform grain from sugary liquid into alcohol through fermentation. The fermenters used in a brewery work perfectly for fermenting wash or wort destined to become whiskey. If the excess space is available to ferment, a distillery can make use of otherwise empty tank space. Often distillers ferment their wort for whiskey fast and warm. A fermentation is often finished and ready to distill in as little as 4 days.

Pumps and Hoses

  The workhorse tools of brewers and distillers are their pumps, hoses and tri-clamps. The same pumps and hoses can be used to accomplish liquid transfers in a brewery and a distillery. Sanitization is important to mention here as it is easy to introduce unwanted bacteria or yeast into hoses if a distiller is not careful and conscientious of proper sanitization, which is required in a brewery for beer production, but not as necessary for a distillery.


  The essential ingredient that all producers of beverage alcohol must utilize every day is saccharomyces cerevisiae, or the fungi simply known as yeast. The yeast used by distillers and brewers is closely related. In fact, many brewstilleries will use the exact same strains for both brewing and distilling. The use of yeast and the knowledge of how to handle yeast effectively is similar for brewers and distillers. Sharing yeast strains and yeast propagation equipment between a brewery and distillery increases the value reaped from every batch of yeast.

  All of these tools above can be made to serve double duty for a brewstillery. Careful planning, management, and execution are key to successful sharing of equipment.

Behind the Scenes

  Many questions come up in the discussion of adding a distillery to a brewery. Let’s go through and look at some of the common questions.

  How does a brewstillery function and get licensed from a legal perspective?

  The answer to this question will vary widely depending on the location of the brewstillery. Every state and country has different laws on what a brewery and distillery are allowed to do when working in conjunction. Typically, the distillery operations are required to be separate from the brewery both in physical location and in bookkeeping. The way a brewery meets this requirement of separation is as simple as a wall that keeps the two businesses apart with a separate exterior door to enter the distillery. A distillery can share steam for heating and glycol for cooling with a brewery, but the key here is that the still and the vessels holding distilled spirits are kept separate from the beer. On licensing a distillery will need to get a federal and state distiller’s permit before they can start producing spirits and may also need local licenses or permits.

  How are records and bookkeeping managed for a brewstillery?

  When it comes to bookkeeping, the distillery part of the brewery is typically an entirely separate business. This means a separate business entity or LLC must exist for the distillery which will hold its own business license, separate books, and tax reports. For the day to day operations and transactions, a distillery within a brewery will often buy the grain from the brewery and lease the brewing equipment on a daily basis to make wort for whiskey production.

  How is a distillery taxed?

  Taxes are a big concern because distilleries and distilled spirits are taxed very differently than beer. Although they are taxed differently, by having the distillery operate as a separate business it makes the bookkeeping and taxes simple by not mixing them with the brewery. Volumes have been written on taxes of distilled spirits all about proof gallons, wine gallons, and gauging, but we will save a deep dive into taxes for another day.

  How much beer does it take to make whiskey?

  In the production of a single malt whiskey the sugar content of the wort is on the high side to maximize the potential amount of whiskey produced per batch.

  Often the ABV of a fermented wash is as low as 7% to upwards of 12%

  There are a multitude of factors that will affect the amount of whiskey produced per pound of malt, including mash procedures, fermentation, distillation and maturation.

  When distilling a beer you can expect to roughly see the following yields. This estimated yield includes the distiller’s cuts and loss from barrel aging.

  A single 31 gallon barrel of 10% abv beer can produce upwards of 25 bottles of whiskey.

Beer to Whiskey and the Hops in It

For the vast majority of whiskies both malt and bourbon are strictly made from grain. No hops or other flavoring agents are added. Beer, of course, has hops and specialty grains in it. A beer that is distilled into whiskey which we will call “hopped malt whiskey,” will carry the distinct flavor of hops and into the spirits. This can be good or bad, depending on who you ask.

  Let’s weigh the good side of whiskey made from hopped beer.

  Hopped malt whiskey tastes very different from traditional Scottish malt whiskey. Because it tastes so different and can be marketed as part of the beer story, a hopped malt whiskey is often well accepted by the public as a new kind of whiskey, since it is not compared against bourbon or scotch.

  There is a downside to distilling hopped beer into whiskey. Beer that is distilled into whiskey and then barrel aged carries a strong and unique flavor profile dominated by the hops. For some consumers, this flavor is off putting even to the biggest IPA loving hopheads. Most people that enjoy whiskey have a pallet that is trained to like bourbon or scotch single malt. A hopped malt whiskey tastes nothing like either of these spirits, your average whiskey drinker may not like unique flavors of such a spirit. This warning is not to deter a creative brewstillery from distilling such things, but to merely inform.

Let’s Make Some Whiskey!

  For those currently running breweries, you may be considering getting into distilling. If you are, be sure to do your homework or hire a pro to help you, as there are many differences between brewing and distilling. This learning curve can be expensive without prior experience. For those just getting started, the brewstillery model is a business worth considering that will give you access to a larger customer base, and create better returns on your equipment. Consideration of state laws is essential as they vary widely on the legality and requirements to operate on this business model. The future is looking bright for craft beverage alcohol production and brewstilleries are on the lead in producing new variations of traditional spirits.

  Authored by Kris Bohm the Owner of Distillery Now Consulting LLC. When Kris is not helping folks build distilleries and creating great whiskies, he is out riding cyclocross or defending his beer mile record. Would you like to talk about making whiskey? Drop us a line.

Is it Time to Franchise?

By: Raj Tulshan, Founder of Loan Mantra

franchise opportunities available

The Casual Pint, a craft beer shop and bar, opened its first location in 2011 and their first franchise two years later. Since then, they’ve steadily expanded. Now, they have 20 franchises in eight states, and have found the franchise model to be lucrative for their business – and a great way to grow their brand.

  Part of the Casual Pint’s success is a combination of a solid concept with the right set of circumstances to succeed. First, they have a stable infrastructure in place that can be replicated in other locations.  They also provided all necessary resources to their franchisees, including market research, architectural design, and marketing and sales materials. They’ve ensured that the owner of each franchise was heavily involved in their communities, a model they’ve implemented from their very first shop. Additionally, each location promotes themselves as a community gathering place that provides exceptional beer, and the business is thriving.

  Franchising, like The Casual Pint, can work really well. Consider these stats:

●   90% of franchisees enjoy operating their


●   88% enjoy being part of their organization.

●   85% feel positive about their affiliation with their franchisor.

●   80% feel their franchisor operates with a high level of honesty.

●   78% would recommend their franchise brand to others.

●   73%, given the option, would do it all over again.

  Independently owned businesses looking to grow can explore whether franchising would be a good solution for their unique situation. Here are some things to consider before you decide whether to franchise:

  Are you ready to sell your brand concept? To be successful, you’ll need more than just a savvy business concept. Before you franchise, determine whether you can clearly explain what your brand is, what it does, and its unique value proposition. Remember: you’ll need to be able to clearly articulate your brand and your vision to key audiences, including investors and potential franchisees, to entice them to get involved.

  Do you have a solid structure in place? Your franchisees will need to replicate your business model and operational structure for marketing, sales, technology, etc.  So, you’ll need to have strong systems and processes in place before diving into franchising. Expect to hand over ready-made “toolkits” for your franchisees to use in their day-to-day operations. Allow plenty of time to develop these concepts, plans, and materials.

  Can your business be replicated? Is there a market for your business elsewhere? Could someone else run another location as well as you do? For a company to thrive as a franchise, it must be replicable. The Casual Pint found success as a community-focused meet-up space with amazing beer, and it didn’t matter if the community was in Tennessee or Arizona. The concept translated well in different locations, and can continue to grow and thrive anywhere.

  Are you ready to scale your passion? Are you ready to teach and manage others on a larger scale? Are you comfortable stepping back from the daily operations and focusing more on franchise management? For example, if you’re a craft beer maker, once you decide to franchise, you’re no longer going to be hands-on with beer brewing.  You’ll be focused on running a franchise to sell your beer, and teaching other people how to brew it, sell it, market it, etc. You’ll also be helping your franchisees get set up with real estate, construction, hiring staff, etc. Are you ready to scale your passion, overseeing several others in a new and amplified managerial role?

  Are you ready to build a dream team of outside experts? It’s essential to consider hiring knowledgeable professionals to help you through the entire process of developing your franchise model, preparing the necessary documents, and navigating the finances, including securing loans. You’ll need to hire financial professionals who specialize in accounting, loans and assisting business start-ups, as well as, specialized franchise attorneys to assist in the drafting of your paperwork. 

  Are you ready to invest in the business’s future? Expect to invest personally in the venture, which may require a business loan. Also, you may need to recruit investing partners to help manage the expenses. Anticipate a variety of costs, including brand development, experts’ fees, legal fees, and outreach to potential franchisees. You’ll need significant capital to launch your franchises, so think about how you will raise the necessary cash.  Many people choose to divest a 40IK, start with personal savings or take loans from family to start their first franchise. Others seek out investors, small business loans and  lines of credit.

  Have you researched funding? There are several different ways to fund a franchise. Seeking out an experienced loan advisor that you can trust can save you time and money. For example,  Loan Mantra has relationships with all types of franchise lenders, so even if you don’t know the exact kind of funding you need, we can help you determine the right loan package. Anecdotally, bankers and financial experts notice significant cycles to franchise funding. In January, more franchisers will seek equipment loans; whereas in the summer months, specifically July & August, they often seek more inventory-based loans (e.g. a cyclical  inventory such as football jerseys to sell in a bar or other seasonal products).   Regardless of season, 7a loans are always a significant source product for franchise funding. Most franchise lenders will attempt to use a 7a product first, followed by direct equipment company loans, followed by loans given by manufacturers. The franchisor will usually have a set deal with an equipment company and negotiate those terms out front.

  What will attract franchisees to buy into your concept? Be the brand that you represent. Personally meet with potential owners and attend area trade shows. Be easy to do business with. Streamline your business processes. Loan Mantra’s franchisors are able to house all of their franchise contracts, financing applications, and associated documents online through the BLUE platform, allowing their franchisees to complete everything online, without having to meet in person or send by snail-mail. The way you do business tells others something about you. Working through an antiquated analog system may tell them you’re antiquated, whereas using today’s tech tools will tell them you’re ready for the future.

  If you’ve considered most of these points this may be the time to franchise your passion!

About the Author

  Neeraj (Raj) Tulshan is the Founder and Managing Member of Loan Mantra, a financial advisory firm with best-in-class and proprietary fintech, BLUE (“Borrower Lender Underwriting Environment”). Loan Mantra, Powered by BLUE, is next-level finance: a one-stop-shop for business borrowers to secure traditional, SBA or MCA financing from trusted lenders in a secure, collaborative and transparent platform.

  After graduating from Ithaca College in Finance, Tulshan began his banking career at Merrill Lynch in New York City. He spent more than a decade in the Currencies, Commodities and Investments Group where he also worked with global asset-backed securities, structured products and principal investments. There, he also originated and underwrote deals valuated over $100 million and structured finance transactions.

  When the market crashed in 2008, Raj saw a significant opportunity to fix the fractured lending ecosystem. Soon thereafter, he sought after and completed an MBA from the Said School at Oxford University and began developing Loan Mantra. His goal was to remove the silos that exist between lender and borrower using secure financial technology. Though Tulshan continues to be iterative with his fintech, meeting current demands of both market and borrower, his professional mission and good- natured approach with clients remain the same. In this, Loan Mantra displays its founder’s proud partnership between best-in-class fintech and top-marks human experts. Time-and-again, clients turn to Raj because they know he will always pick up the phone and offer unparalleled financial counsel in a remarkably human —even friendly—way.

About Loan Mantra

  Loan Mantra is a financial services company designed to serve small and medium businesses with offices in New Jersey, South Carolina and New York. At Loan Mantra your success is our success. This means that our attention, purpose, and intention are all focused on you, our client.  We are your ally to overcome obstacles, bringing peace through uncertain times to achieve your highest goals and aspirations. Your friendly, responsive agent will listen respectfully, and service your account actively through one of three locations in the US.  We speak your language whether it’s English, Spanish, Hindi, Bengal, Hospitality, Laundry or QSR, let us help you today. Connect with us at, 1.855.700.BLUE (2583).

Bringing Brewing Full Circle From Craft to Culture

By: Quinton Jay

van in front of graffiti wall

In the heart of Fresno, California’s Central Valley, Arthur Moye enters the doors of Full Circle Brewing Co. (FCB), the region’s oldest-running brewery. Some days, he says, he still can’t believe it’s his.

  Prior to purchasing the brewery in 2016 and taking over as its CEO, Moye spent 15 years moonlighting his passion for craft beer as a homebrewer. During the day, he ran his own CPA practice as a successful career accountant, leaning on his academic studies at San Jose State University and prior experience working for two of the nation’s “Big Four” accounting firms to refine his strategic skills with numbers and business acumen.

  But, in true entrepreneurial fashion, Moye eventually wanted more, something that allowed him to blend his technical efficacy, his longstanding passion for craft brewing, and his deeply ingrained want to do more and give back to others within and around his native Bay Area community.

  “I definitely took a leap of faith when I sold my CPA practice to buy FCB,” says Moye, “but something in me knew that it was a chance I had to take. I needed to know if I could combine my experience as an accountant and strategist with my passion for craft beer, and if I could build a business model around the two.”

  Not only did Moye manage to successfully create a business model, but in the first four years after purchasing FCB, he was able to ramp the brewery’s production by some 3,000%. This explosion in production prompted Moye to expand the facility’s older 7.5BBL brewhouse, one that only produced draft beer locally to Fresno’s Central Valley, into a brewhouse with a 15-barrel capacity that was able to package and distribute its uniquely-flavored craft products all across the US.

“Beer” + “Entertainment” = “Beertainment”

  Moye will be the first to admit that he could not have acquired FCB, nor grow it into the Central Valley powerhouse it has since become, fully on his own. Like any tried and true entrepreneur, he knew he needed to rely on two vital components for its success: an empowering vision for what it could become, and the buy-in of the local community into that vision.

  “FCB was here long before I came along,” Moye says, “and so many members of this community wanted to see it revitalized just as I did, but I knew I needed to convince them. I started brainstorming ways we could turn FCB into the heartbeat of the Central Valley’s craft beer and entertainment scene, and the phrase ‘beertainment’ popped into my head.”

  As Moye explains, he not only wanted to create a successful brewery known for its winning craft flavors, but a gathering place where others could converge to disconnect, detach, and simply be mindful in the present moment. So, Moye and his team set out to establish FCB not just as a revitalized brewery, but one that doubled as an event and entertainment venue all under one roof. With his vision now clear, Moye set out marketing FCB’s rebirth to the community in Fresno’s Central Valley, and was fortunate enough to find funding from a group of local investors.

  “I’m not sure if I would call it ‘luck’,” Moye clarifies, “because that might imply that there wasn’t all this effort we put into refining the vision for FCB or acquiring funding to actualize it, but it just made sense that the investors who aligned with the vision were all locals to this area and its community. When you think about venture capital or investments in California, most people tend to think of Silicon Valley and companies like Apple or Tesla—not a craft brewery.”

  Moye’s adherence to his vision for what FCB could become, however, ultimately paid off. In 2016, he was able to acquire the brewery in full and immediately got to work. In 2017, he began reaching out to members of the entertainment industry, making introductions, fostering relationships, and creating partnerships to manifest his vision of “beertainment” for FCB. By the time the brewery had closed its crowd equity campaign and canned its first product of craft beer in 2018, FCB had already experienced triple-digit growth.

  With his vision and business model for FCB’s rebirth now in full swing, Moye started signing agreements with distributors throughout California to get his product in front of more customers in 2019. Less than a year later, FCB’s brand was being placed on shelves at major retail stores throughout the Golden State.

  But as Moye and his team at FCB would soon find out, not all that glitters is gold; even in California. Just months after FCB’s craft beer landed on shelves throughout his home state — each can sporting his coined phrase, “beertainment” — a new threat to business emerged in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pivoting to Find Value Amidst a Pandemic

  In mid-March of 2020, the world was wracked by the WHO’s declaration of the COVID-19 virus as an official global pandemic. All across the country, businesses that weren’t deemed to be “essential” were forced to close their doors virtually overnight, leaving Moye and his team at FCB scratching their heads as to how they could keep their business (and its vision) afloat. With the threat of a pandemic looming overhead, the “entertainment” aspect of FCB’s “beertainment” draw was shut down, so Moye had to once again get creative with his strategy in order to help his fledgling business survive.

  “During the pandemic, two of the most famous venues in town closed, one of which had been open for over 50 years,” says Moye. “FCB had taken over ownership of that venue, but we had to close it during the pandemic since it had no outdoor seating. My team and I put our heads together and collectively brainstormed ways we could pivot the business.”

  Ultimately, Moye and his team at FCB managed to keep their business alive by regularly hosting virtual shows with comedians, musicians, and other artists over Zoom. At the same time, they doubled down on FCB’s packaging and distribution, getting larger amounts of their craft beers into chain stores and craft liquor stores in California and 6 other states. They also picked up another brand, Sonoma Cider, and implemented their own iteration of a D2C sales model, deemed Full Circle 2 Go (FC2G), at a time when omnichannel retailing in the beer & wine industry was taking off in the US.

   “Running a brewery is one thing,” Moye adds, “but running a brewery that doubles as an entertainment venue also requires employees who can manage things like sound and security. When the pandemic forced us to shut down, suddenly these employees had no key role, so we asked them what their other skills are in order to keep them on board. Our security guards were repurposed as delivery drivers, and our venue’s promoter became the program director for FC2G.”

  As Moye explains, in a matter of mere months, the revenue from FC2G was able to match the revenue earned from their entertainment venue. Furthermore, by being able to pivot not only his brewery’s business model, but also the roles of his employees during the height of the pandemic, Moye was able to foster greater loyalty amongst his employees with FCB’s brand while simultaneously providing value to his brewery’s community. Now, nearly two years since the pandemic began, FCB still hosts comedy shows every Sunday night and has since been able to reopen its entertainment venue to more musical artists, albeit at lessened capacity.

Do What You Love, and You’ll Want to Work Every Day of Your Life

  Despite the onset and lingering effects of the pandemic, brewing craft beer has remained a thriving industry. With an economic impact of over $9 billion in California alone, Moye remains dedicated to his original vision for FCB as a communal hub where anyone and everyone can come together to unwind, destress, and share in their mutual love for uniquely-flavored craft beer and live entertainment.

   Additionally, as a black entrepreneur, craft brewer, and business owner, Moye is grateful that he is able to allow FCB to contribute towards the 1% of black majority-owned craft breweries in the US. Though black majority-owned craft breweries are still a distinct outlier in the industry, Moye hopes to see more post-pandemic events and gatherings like Barrel & Flow fest bringing black-owned-and-operated breweries together to celebrate Black arts, artists, and creators to help foster deeper DEI initiatives within the craft beer space.

  “It’s a little funny to me whenever I mention the ‘1%’ thing,” Moye adds, “because I still get responses from people like, ‘why does it have to be a black thing?’ But it’s not just about that—it’s a craft brew thing. It’s about finding a tribe of people who support you and your vision. It’s about finding other black-owned businesses breweries that support you because you all want to see more diversity, more inclusion, more representation, and more equity in the craft beer space. When you’re able to find those feelings in what you love to do, your work doesn’t feel like work.”

  It’s rare that we are able to find ourselves in a career that allows us to blend our technical acumen, interpersonal skills, and passions. Although, perhaps this is what makes the draw of craft brewing so attractive to so many. It grants those of us with a deeply-rooted love for craft beer to build a community around our ardor and share our enthusiasm with others, regardless of who or where they are.

Vegan-Friendly Beer

A Growing Trend To Watch This Year

By: Natasha Dhayagude, CEO, Chinova Bioworks

beer and pizza on the side

In an industry as competitive and ever-changing in terms of new products and trends, the ingredients for developing beer are constantly evolving. One trend to watch is the plant-based movement. Whether consumers are vegan or not, many consumers are paying more attention to what is on the ingredient label before they consume their favorite foods and beverages.

  Examine most beer labels carefully and currently, you will find that many beer brands are using animal-based compounds to process alcoholic beverages. Some animal-based compounds that are widely used throughout the production process of beer and alcoholic beverages are pepsin, a foaming agent obtained from stomach enzymes of pigs; chitin, derived from lobster and crab shells; and carmine, which is found in the crushed scales of cochineal insects. Another commonly used compound is isinglass, which is a kind of gelatin obtained from fish swim bladder. These compounds are often used in the alcohol production and filtering process to make drinks appear clearer and brighter. Clearing is an aesthetic concern and stability issue; it does not only look better, but it is more stable than cloudy beer.

But what if you Live a Vegan Lifestyle? Can You Still Enjoy beer?

  Because the vegan lifestyle is grounded in plant-based products, beer manufacturers must ensure the animal add-ons are completely taken off the list during alcohol production. With new technology, leading beer makers, including Budweiser, Coors, Corona and Heineken, have already begun shifting its processing to incorporate vegan-based ingredients instead of animal-derived ones.

  Vegan brewing is a growing trend, as more consumers are looking towards environmentally sustainable, plant-based options when purchasing food and beverages. While the market for vegan, gluten-free and low-calorie beers is still somewhat small, this industry is set to begin expanding as future generations become increasingly aware about the ingredients in their food and beverages. The growing trend of vegan brewing stems from millennials who are making more conscious decisions about what they consume, even when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Vegan beverages require a series of preparation and ingredients to meet the expectations of vegan consumers. Veganism has inspired the alcoholic beverage industry to incorporate plant-based and animal cruelty-free products. For many, being vegan has gone farther than just a trend; it is a lifestyle that many live by.

  Chinova Bioworks launched a major research initiative with College Communautaire du Nouveau Brunwick’s (CCNB) INNOV centre, supported by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s Voucher Fund in 2021 to develop a new fining agent for vegan-friendly beer. Fining agents are used in breweries to clarify and brighten beer. The term “fining” is used to describe the forced clarification process. It increases the brightness of the finished beer by removing suspended yeast and haze-forming proteins and polyphenols. A beer with elevated levels of haze tends to deteriorate rapidly. This process also shortens aging times by removing the excess flavor-destabilizing components from the finished beer.

  For years, CCNB’s Grand Falls campus has developed technologies around brewing and distilling. Now, our company, Chinova Bioworks, has provided CCNB with a viable product and is putting its clean-label expertise to leverage the vast depth of brewing expertise at CCNB’s campus. Through this research, Chinova Bioworks will develop a new application for its proprietary white button mushroom fiber, Chiber, as a rapid fining agent for breweries. White button mushrooms contain many health benefits. Aside from the white button mushroom improving the quality of a product, it also has a notable amount of vitamin D minerals infused within the mushroom itself.

  Chinova’s mushroom extract is also a natural solution to reducing food waste and assisting in the production of vegan-friendly alcoholic beverages. Chiber is a cost effective, sustainable and vegan-friendly solution for the brewing industry. Before being used by breweries, Chiber has also been used for plant-based meat, dairy alternatives, sauces and condiments. It is a pure fiber extracted sourced from the stems of white button mushrooms that help improve quality, freshness and shelf-life and does not contain any allergenic materials from the mushroom, which results in increased consumer satisfaction and reduced food waste. Testing is also conducted to confirm the absence of regulated allergens. Chiber is odorless and tasteless; it does not alter the taste, color or consistency of beverages.

  Early results have shown that Chiber works eight times faster at settling yeast post-fermentation and can leave residual antimicrobial benefits to the beer, which makes it stay fresh longer. Chiber is a one-for-one replacement for artificial preservatives that provides the same protection from microbial spoilage, while being a natural and clean label ingredient. Chiber holds many certifications including: vegan, kosher, halal, organic compliant, non-GMO, declared allergen-free, paleo, keto-friendly, low FODMAP, gluten-free, Whole 30, and it has no sodium contribution.

  This research initiative comes at a time when many breweries are working to shift to vegan-friendly beverages to keep up with consumer demand for more sustainable products. Chinova Bioworks’ technology would provide brewers a vegan alternative to animal-based, isinglass fining agents and synthetic polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) that has long been used in the beverage industry as a processing aid. Because many people are searching for vegan and plant-based options in every aspect of their lifestyle, Chinova Bioworks is committed to providing sustainable solutions through our white button mushroom fiber. Our goal is to help manufacturers produce clean-label ingredients and reduce food waste. Alcoholic beverages, beers in particular, are filled with animal-derived and synthetic ingredients, so we believe Chiber can make an impact for beer brands looking to expand their offerings to consumers. With this research, producers in the beverage industry will be able to consider the opportunity to incorporate vegan-friendly and sustainable products into their own beverages using clean ingredients. This research initiative will pave the way toward more vegan-friendly and sustainable beer and alcoholic beverages.

  In 2021, Chinova Bioworks worked on the research portion of the vegan beer initiative and with early adopters for market testing, while actively seeking innovative companies to take part in this initiative. Once this research initiative phase is completed, we expect that Chiber for alcoholic beverages will become available during the first half of 2022. The future for beverage companies is exciting and new technologies like Chiber may help many expand beverage offerings to a wider range of consumers looking for a good brew.

  Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and co-founder of Chinova Bioworks, a food technology company founded in 2016 to develop natural, clean-label preservatives extracted from mushrooms for the food and beverage industry. Chinova is headquartered in New Brunswick, Canada, and 90% of her team is made up of women practicing in STEM fields. Dhayaguede was named Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 and Startup Canada’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 for her role in co-founding Chinova. Since then, she has raised $4.5 million in capital investment from major food-technology venture capitalists and has formed strategic partnerships with major multinational producers in the food-technology industry. Dhayagude earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of New Brunswick.

 For more on Chinova Bioworks, visit

Unpacking Findings From the Craft Spirits Data Project

By: Becky Garrison

craft spirits tray

While Jason Parker, co-founder and President of Copperworks Distilling Company, reported an 80% drop in revenue in 2020 due to Covid-19 closures and restrictions, in 2021, Copperworks actually expanded their operations. After the furniture store directly next to their Seattle water-front property closed, they plan to lease this establishment with plans to turn this facility into a cocktail bar and event space.

  In January 2022, Copperworks signed a lease to build in the former Nine Yards Brewing facility in Kenmore, Washington. They raised $2 million for this expansion, which will allow them to distill ten times more spirits since their partner breweries, Pike Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing and Fremont Brewing, cannot produce enough product to meet the growing demand.

  Copperworks’ ability to grow during this global pandemic was emblematic of other craft distiller-ies, evidenced by the 2021 Craft Spirits Data Project report. The report was presented on De-cember 7, 2021, by the American Craft Spirits Association and Park Street Companies at the Annual Craft Spirits Economic Briefing during ACSA’s Annual Distillers’ Convention & Vendor Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

  Since its inception in 2016, the Project has been a research initiative designed to quantify the number, size and impact of craft spirits producers in the U.S. Among the industry groups who participated in this project include the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Na-tional Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

Assessing the Growth of Craft Distilleries

  Despite the global pandemic, the U.S. craft spirits category as a whole did grow in both volume and value in 2020, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years. Park Street CEO Harry Kohlmann attributed the slower growth rate to the early period of the pandemic when on-premise sales were shut down in a significant portion of states and consumers were “pantry loading” the brands that were available at off-premise locations. Pre-pandemic, craft spirits brands often prioritized onpremise to brand build, so it stands to reason this period was detrimental to the category.

  However, as Copperworks’ story illuminated, craft spirits companies are nimble and innovative. Kohlmann noted that the majority of them were able to transition to a market strategy that relied more on e-commerce and off-premise sales. Also, Kohlmann pointed to a 2020 trend that partial-ly made up for the drop in sales early in the pandemic regarding consumer buying habits. “Consumers went from purchasing big staple brands early on in the pandemic to more premium ex-pensive products like craft spirits when the pandemic panic subsided.”

Craft Distillers by Size

  In compiling this report, the Project team utilized data from surveys, regulatory agencies, nation-al and regional industry data sources, survey data, interviews and team assessments. The report defined a craft distillery as a “licensed U.S. distilled spirits producers that removed 750,000 proof gallons (or 394,317 9-liter cases) or less from bond, market themselves as craft, are not openly controlled by a large supplier, and have no proven violation of the ACSA Code of Ethics.”

  The survey delineated between small, medium and large craft distillers by a range of gallons and 9L cases removed from bond annually. A large craft distiller produces 100,001 to 750,00 gallons (52,577-394-317 9L cases), a medium craft distiller produces 10,001-100,000 gallons (5,259-52,576 9L cases), and a small craft distiller produces 1-10,000 gallons (1-5,258 9L cases).

  Small producers make up 90.1% of all U.S. craft producers though they are responsible for just 10.3% of annual case sales. While larger producers only make up 1.6% of the total number of craft producers, they are responsible for 56.6% of cases sold.

  As of August 2021, the number of active craft distillers in the U.S. grew by 1.1% over 2020 to 2,290. To put this growth into perspective, Park Street charted the growth in distillery numbers from 2015 to 2020. During this time, large craft distillers grew from 23 in 2015 to 37 in 2020, a 61% increase.

  Also, the number of medium craft distillers more than doubled from 73 in 2015 to 188 in 2020, while small craft distillers nearly doubled from 1,067 to 2,054.

Sales of Distilled Spirits

  The survey compared results from 2020 sales compared to sales in 2015. These statistics were not broken down by ecommerce versus brick and mortar sales. Nor did this Project address the impact of grassroots marketing strategies employed by some distillers during Covid-19, such as pairing with restaurants and bars to offer cocktail-to-go kits or forming collaborative local alcohol delivery services.

  The number of cases produced by medium craft distillers has grown from 1.3 million 9L cases to over 3.9 million 9L cases. On average, the number of cases produced by a medium-size craft distillery rose from 18,000 9L cases to 21,000 9L cases. Small distilleries grew from 597,000 9L cases to over 2 million 9L cases, with the average number of cases increasing from 559 9L to 663 9L cases.

  Overall, the U.S. craft spirits market volume reached over 12 million 9L cases in retail sales in 2020, at an annual growth rate of 7.3%. In value terms, the market reached $6.7 billion in sales, with an annual growth rate of 9.8%. U.S. craft spirits market share of total U.S. spirits reached 4.7% in volume and 7.1% by value in 2020, up from 2.2% in volume and 3% in value in 2015 and 4.6% in volume and 6.9% in value in 2019.

  In terms of distribution, large producers are often nationally distributed, medium producers are usually distributed regionally, and small craft distillers tend to be only available locally. In 2021,  46% of the total U.S. craft business occurred in the craft distiller’s home state. This local distribution accounted for 59.6% of sales by medium producers. For large producers, out-of-state business sales remain key, accounting for 70.9% of the total business.

  While direct sales at the distillery are key for all craft distillers, they are particularly important for small craft producers, with over 47% of their total business coming from this sales channel. Along those lines, less than 8% of the total business for small craft distilleries comes from outside their home state, though this number appears to be growing slowly.

  Exports add 0.9% to the overall volume for U.S. craft distillers, with medium craft distillers reporting 0.2% sales from exports. These exports declined by 32.9% from 104,000 cases in 2020.

Employment In Craft Distilleries

  According to this survey, COVID-19 had a heavy impact on the U.S. craft industry. Between 2018 and 2020, the average number of full-time employees decreased by 24%. In 2019, total employment surpassed 30,000 but was reduced by nearly 50% in 2020 to under 17,000. While this data points to a significant drop by any standards, Kohlmann noted that the industry still maintained volume growth at a 7.3% rate, reaching 12 million cases produced with fewer employees.

Ranking of Distilleries by State

  In breaking down the number of craft distilleries by region, the West and South contain the highest percentage of distilleries at 30% and 29.3%, respectively, followed by the Midwest with 20.7% and the Northeast at 20%.

  The top five states that produce the most craft spirits are, in order, California (190), New York (180), Washington (135), Texas (135), and Pennsylvania (117). In this ranking, Pennsylvania passed Colorado, which has historically been in the top five. These five states make up 33% of the U.S. craft distilleries. The next five states––Colorado (107), Michigan (88), North Carolina (80), Oregon (77) and Ohio (73)–– comprise an additional 18.6% of the market, with the remaining states representing 48.4% of the market.

Impact of Legislation on the Industry

  The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act reduced the Federal Excise Tax on dis-tilled spirits from $13.50 to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons removed from bond annually. As a result of this decision, the U.S. craft spirits industry invested $759 million in their businesses, rising from $698 million in 2019. According to the Project, the top moti-vation for investing was expanding to meet consumer demand and increase visitor space.

  As a small craft distiller who opened during the pandemic, Stephen Hopkins, owner and distiller at Aimsir Distilling in Portland, Oregon, pointed to how state law can aid small craft distillers for whom tasting sales remain critical. “Oregon recently updated its law to reduce the taxes on tasting room sales which has really helped our business survive the pandemic.”

  Also, he noted the need to streamline the process of moving products to different states. “The overhead of moving to another state is very high and often hard for small producers to overcome. Even regional states being more cooperative would help small producers as well as the consumers.”

The Right Equipment for Your Brewery Startup

By: Gerald Dlubala

cozy brewing facility

You’ve likely had a vision of the perfect brewing location in your mind for quite some time, and finally, you’ve found it. After all of the location hunting, permit wrangling and liquor license drama, it’s time to get the essential equipment installed and get to brewing. But how do you know what equipment is necessary? And how does that translate to your brewing goals?

  “Well, that depends,” says Chris Jennings, technical writer for Glacier Tanks LLC, a retailer of stainless-steel beer tanks, mash tuns, brew kettles, pumps and parts. Jennings is well-versed in the brewery startup process, having been part of multiple startups and currently opening his brewery.

  “You know, with a brewery, location is always going to be important,” said Jennings. “But as a potential owner, you need to take into account the inherent demands of your operation to understand your needs. For example, if you want a small little local brewpub, a smaller footprint to house smaller production equipment is fine. But, do you want to stay local? Are you looking to produce a regional brew? Do you see yourself as a regional production brewery? Are your goals to become nationally distributed? Your answers reveal your goals and ultimately factor into your basic equipment needs.

  “A common path for brewery startups is to fit the brewing operation into an established and secured location, especially with the popularity of historic buildings,” said Jennings. “It’s perfectly okay if you don’t have a location set, but if you do, then you already know the building’s options and available utility choices. You’re going to have to get permits for everything, especially in historic locations, which will make you fully aware of your on-site choices. Does your location have three-phase electric, 40-amp circuits, and 220-electric? What fuel source is available for the boilers? Are we looking at electric heating options, direct fire options (natural gas or propane), or steam, which, by the way, is the most efficient option and should always be the first choice if available? And please, always involve your preferred equipment supplier as early in the process as you can, even when considering specific buildings and locations if possible. We can help with building a potential brewery layout with AutoCAD software, and then custom fabricate an entire brewhouse based on the available footprint and specifications if needed.”

  Jennings told Beverage Master Magazine that the bottom line for brewery startups is to save time, money and heartache by getting equipment to make your daily work life more manageable. During the brewery startup process, it’s imperative to associate yourself with informed people who can offer guidance and experienced purchasing information. The essential equipment to consider for brewery startups include the mash tun, a hot water source or hot liquor tank, depending on the production size, a boil kettle, heat exchanger and fermenter. Matching these essential items to your brewery’s goal-driven production needs within the allotted space goes a long way in ensuring a quality startup.

  “Other things can technically wait,” said Jennings. “But when considering equipment, I always suggest that anything else you can add to the actual production process immediately makes your brewing life more manageable. Any production process needs equipment. It’s just the way it is, so the more equipment you can have available upfront, the easier and more manageable your daily brewing life will be. Of course, I’m talking about anything and everything else, including a brite tank, filter, glycol system, applicable pumps, valves or other minor equipment. As a brewmaster, you want to focus on brewing your beer rather than losing quality time to menial or time-consuming tasks that the proper equipment or tooling can handle.

Size, space, and the Limits of Customization

  “Custom tanks like those we offer at Glacier Tanks are awesome,” said Jennings. “But even though our tanks and brewing equipment can be customized, there are not infinite options. Brewing is a science, and science determines the effectiveness, performance and size of the brewing equipment needed, including tanks.”

  But Jennings said there’s more to consider when matching projected production numbers to equipment. For example, adding additional fermenters doesn’t necessarily increase your production capability. If your boil kettle is a five-barrel capacity and you add a 20 barrel fermenter, you’ll need four brew sessions to fill it. So yes, you’ll have more beer, but you have to account for the extra time spent brewing. Adding two 10 barrel fermenters or four five-barrel fermenters may be more economical and efficient. Rather than looking at an 18- to 20-hour brew day to use a single 20 barrel fermenter efficiently, smaller capacity options allow more time between brew sessions while providing greater batch control and increased possibilities for brewing variety.

  Glacier Tanks offer stainless steel certified tanks that can adapt to any extraction process a brewer considers, including kombucha, soda, non-alcoholic products and even winemaking. The company keeps experienced brewers on staff to ensure that their systems remain industry-specific, including their turnkey brew systems that can be a two or three-vessel system, ranging from three barrels to 15 barrels requiring a 14’ x 16’ space.

  “Space is always at a premium for brewing operations, so when projecting a layout, it’s important to take every square foot into account,” said Jennings. “As for equipment, science says that the larger everything is, the larger everything needs to be. If you’re considering a three-barrel boil kettle, you’re looking at a piece of equipment just over seven feet tall and about three and a half feet wide. A three-barrel fermenter is 6’4” and three feet wide. A 10 barrel kettle will be 8’ 6” tall and 4’ 9” wide. A 10 barrel fermenter will take up 8’ 5” by 4’ 2”. A 20 barrel kettle requires a 15’ x 15’ space. Fermenters can range up to a 20’ x 8’ area required for a 100 barrel option.

  “What a brewer needs for a startup depends on the production goals. If your production is greater than five barrels, you should have an HLT just from a water conservation standpoint. To calculate the production capacity of any system, multiply the size of the system in barrels by how often a week you want to brew. Take that weekly amount and multiply by the number of weeks a year (50 is standard) you intend to brew to get your annual production number. You can also work backward to set your brewery production goals and scale the equipment and system to the necessary workload. Divide your annual production goals by the weeks you will brew to arrive at a weekly production number. The number of brew cycles needed per week then depends on the capacity of the system you install.”

The Never-ending Evolution of Brewing Technology

  While it’s true that brewing technology is constantly evolving based on needs, Jennings said that technology generally changes because of the potential of greater efficiency or measurable cost savings. One example is in the area of water conservation. “The brewing process wastes a lot of water, so there is always interest in any new technology that decreases, limits or stops wastewater and saves money. Glacier Tanks has incorporated a spud valve based on old German technology that allows a brewer to off-gas produced CO2 at a predetermined PSI setting during the fermentation process. As fermentation ramps down, the amount of CO2 released naturally lessens, allowing the brewer to capture more of their own produced CO2 to keep in the solution. It’s more efficient and can reduce the cost of purchasing CO2 after releasing all of your own. Higher efficiency plus cost savings drives successful changes.”

  “Sizing your system is the important first step in starting your brewery,” said Jennings. “Brewery equipment is scalable and should be scaled to your brewhouse so you won’t have to upgrade too rapidly. Even though saving money is important for a new brewer, penny-pinching or skimping on initial equipment purchases upfront can lead to supply and demand issues, income and product loss, and increased waste. Rather than wasting money on things you might need, spend the money on quality equipment you need. Also, don’t consider expansion only for the sake of growth. Fixing a problem due to bad planning is very expensive. Instead, make sure that the market is there and you’re prepared to expand your workday.”

When Even the Basics are too Much: Small Batch Equipment for Limited Spaces

  Quality equipment is essential, especially if you’re a small batch brewer with limited space. No one knows this better than Adam Sommer, Head Brewer and owner of Evergreen Farm Brewing in Metamora, Illinois.

  Sommer used his detail-oriented background as an electrician and mathematics enthusiast to start a small-batch, ground-to-growler brewery on a farm that’s been in his family since at least the mid-1800s. However, by choosing the old farm as his brewery location, his available brewing space was limited by the dimensions of the original farm buildings. That meant fitting a complete brewing system into a 15’ x 15’ space, and after researching his options, he found an all-in-one brewing system option from BREWHA Equipment Company. Their turnkey system allows the entire process of mashing, boiling and fermenting to occur in the same portable, conical fermenter, saving both space and time for a small-scale brewer.

  “Space was definitely an issue, but being out here in the country, we operate out of an existing well, so wastewater is an important issue as well,” said Sommer. “With the BREWHA unit, we only use two gallons of water per gallon of beer compared to four gallons that are normally needed.”

  Sommer told Beverage Master Magazine that he has been brewing beer for less than a year but estimates his production to be about 50 barrels for his first year. He plans to expand by renovating more original buildings and combining those with new structures that will feature the same aesthetics and appeal as the original structures. Sommer also has a couple of one-barrel fermenters for experimental brews and for producing different beer styles. Additionally, he uses two jacketed water chillers with a third in the works that provide a steady range of temperatures throughout the fermentation process.

  “And it’s easy to overlook at first, but you can’t forget about the small but equally important equipment and supplies that you need to serve your customers properly,” said Sommer. “We keep a supply of growlers and howlers so our patrons can take and enjoy our products at home or share with others. The amount that you’re going to need is just kind of guesswork at first, but the important thing is to have a relationship with a supplier to get your orders delivered when you need them.”

  When asked about advice for startup craft brewers, Sommer echoes the thoughts of Jennings. “Don’t skimp upfront. Instead, buy the best option to handle the capacity you need. That will allow you to make a quality product at a good price point for all involved. At the onset, the BREWHA brewing system was what I needed to get started. The price was right, and the system met my goals, needs and specifications.”

  Sommer’s ultimate goals for Evergreen Farm Brewing include becoming a destination brewery featuring event spaces with Airbnb rental options.

For more information, go to

Packaging With a Purpose

How the Right Packaging Can Protect, Promote & Preserve Your Craft Beer

By: Cheryl Gray

beer manufacturing facility

Putting a distinctive face on a craft beer product means giving it a good chance to shine in the marketplace spotlight. However, that’s only part of the role of packaging. It should also protect craft beer from outside contamination while preserving its flavor integrity.


  Enter the expertise of companies that shape the multiple roles of packaging for breweries. Among them is SKA Fabricating of Durango, Colorado. Founded in 2012, SKA Fabricating is the result of a demand for a can depalletizer designed by Matt Vincent, one of three partners in Durango’s award-winning SKA Brewery. SKA Fabricating now employs more than 70 people and manufactures and sells depalletizers, conveyors and packaging line equipment to businesses worldwide.

  Ska Fabricating has more than 1,000 clients in 23 countries, providing them with depalletizers and other custom packaging line equipment. Beyond the craft beer industry, the company also provides packaging line equipment to producers of food and beverages such as coffee, tea, water, kombucha, soda and orange juice. Non-beverage industries include aerosol, paint cans and spice jars.

  The size and capacity of systems built by SKA Fabricating fit virtually any brewery packaging line need. They range from a 20’ x 20’ square at 20 containers a minute to a 60’ x 60’ square running 250 CPM and above. The company is big on automated packaging line systems, touting them as more economical since automation requires less manpower. However, SKA Fabricating provides manual systems for clients who prefer them, such as start-up breweries on a tight budget. Those manual systems are available for half-height use and do require more personnel. As breweries grow and want to advance to automatic packaging systems, SKA Fabricating can help with the transition. 


  Another part of packaging is filling the cans and bottles that craft brewers use as containers for their products. XpressFill offers multiple fillers for the craft brewing industries. Rod Silver spearheads marketing and sales for the company.

  “XpressFill’s filling equipment is suitable for breweries that are not ready to invest in a full-blown production line. Our artisan brewers can realize significant savings in their efforts to grow their markets before making such a significant investment.”

  Since XpressFill offers fillers specifically with start-ups and smaller craft brewers in mind, the company promotes its products as the gateway to an opportunity for artisan brewers to run efficient, cost-saving packaging production lines. The company cites its products as top industry choices when it comes to being affordable, compact, user friendly and easy to maintain.

  Silver added that customer support is an important key to client satisfaction and that XpressFill has products for production brewing lines, large and small. He described how brewery clients are already benefitting from the range of products that his company has on the market, all designed to optimize productivity.

  “We offer counter-pressure fillers for both bottles and cans. We also offer an open filler that will fill both bottles and cans,” Silver said. “The XF4500C is a counter pressure system for cans capable of filling 200 12 ounce cans per hour. The XF2200 (two-spout) and XF4400 (four-spout) are open fill systems for cans capable of filling 300 to 600 cans per hour. The XF2200 and XF4400 can also be adapted to open fill bottles. The XF2500 (two-spout) and XF4500 (four-spout) are counter pressure systems for bottles capable of filling 200 to 400 12 ounce bottles per hour.”

  Silver laid out the pros and cons of manual versus automated production lines. “The most obvious distinction is production capacity and cost. The XpressFill systems are affordable for start-up breweries, ranging from $2,500 to $6,500. Automated systems are, at a minimum order of magnitudes, more expensive. Often, brewpubs will provide cans or bottles to be sold at the pub in limited quantities. Brewers getting started in retailing their brews will want to start in a deliberate manner to test the market. Larger breweries will also use our fillers for small batch or specialized runs that do not require start-up of larger production facilities or mobile operators.”

  Silver described how XpressFill works to protect the integrity of the beer inside any container. “All of our fillers have a pre-fill CO2 purge cycle to minimize the oxygen in the container prior to the fill cycle. Our can-fillers also have a post-fill top-off function to ensure an adequate layer of foam on which to place the lid. The counter pressure systems require a minimal air compressor to operate the pneumatic actuators. Our fillers operate at 110 volts, although they can be provided at 220 volts for our international customers.”

  Ease of use is also important. Silver said that his company prides itself on the simple operation of its products.“XpressFill can-fillers can easily be operated by a single user. Weighing under 40 pounds, they are intended to be used on a tabletop for portability. A few test runs are required to dial in the settings and bring the equipment to temperature for best results. Our fillers will purge and fill the cans, and a separate seamer is required. To maximize the production and efficiency, many of our customers use a second operator for the seaming function.”

  Silver said that XpressFill products have state-of-the-art safety features, compliant with industry-standard safety measures, including all applicable electrical and mechanical requirements. All materials in the flow path are food grade and meet the standards set by the National Sanitation Foundation.

  Fillmore Packaging Solutions is another company focused on small craft brewers. Its history highlights how owner Tony Saballa, a craft brewer in his own right, founded the company because he couldn’t find products on the market catering to the needs of small breweries like his.

  Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Fillmore Packaging Solutions provides its clients with options for automated can filling machines that utilize an automatic shutoff feature. This prevents cans from overfilling, a costly and time-consuming production line mishap. The product’s four-head can-filler is designed to fit into small spaces and accommodate small budgets. The product features double pre-evacuation counter-pressure filling, designed as an effective method of reducing dissolved oxygen during beer packaging. It can fill 12 to 16 cans per minute. Standard features on the product include under lid gassing, automatic lid placement and seaming. Additional features such as tank and CO2  pressure sensing and temperature monitoring with onscreen readout help to enhance the product’s ease of use. 

  The firm has also created two- and four-head filler machines for bottles. The machines operate on 110v/220v and compressed air. Fill rates for the two-head machine range from six to eight bottles per minute. The four-head machine fills at a rate of 12 to 16 bottles per minute. Features for both include automatic filling and self-leveling to correct fill height. The four-head model has a feature that pushes bottles onto the production line’s packing table. The models are operator-controlled from start to stop, loading and unloading bottles and loading crowns onto crown heads for capping. Fillmore also created a keg washing machine featuring a 25-gallon detergent reservoir with heater and a 25-gallon sanitizer reservoir.


  When it comes to the aesthetics of packaging craft beer, labeling is the star. Colorado-based Lightning Labels has provided clients with custom-designed labeling for nearly twenty years. The company uses HP Indigo digital printing technology, which combines the best features of traditional offset printing with digital techniques. This hybrid delivers top-notch quality whether the client’s order is large or small. 

  Lightning Labels prides itself on the vibrancy of its color palettes, produced in high-resolution and designed to be water-resistant. Labels can be affixed to bottles, cans, growlers and kegs in a wide range of finishes, using high gloss, matte or textured paper. There are separate front and back label options, or clients may opt for one large wrap-around. Lightning Labels touts that its print quality allows listing custom beer ingredients in a crisp, readable font. Bottle labels are available in paper,  vinyl and eco-friendly options as well as more durable alternatives. As the name implies, Lightning Labels touts a quick turnaround on product orders.

  Blue Label Packaging Company specializes in labels for beer cans. Headquartered in Lancaster, Ohio, the company also uses HP Indigo printing, offering its customers an array of materials and substrates, such as foil, film and paper cut and stack labels. Product finishes and decorative techniques aimed at creating high impact include hot foil stamping, die-cutting and embossing. 

  Cost, creativity, and careful planning matter when it comes to packaging for craft breweries. The combination results in products that distinguish themselves on store shelves and meet the benchmarks of industry standards and food safety requirements.

Pumps, Motors and Drives in the Distillery

By: Alyssa Ochs

distillery equipment set

There are various kinds of specialized machinery used in modern craft distilleries to produce the high-quality spirits we know and love. Among these are pumps, motors and drives, which are worth learning more about to choose the best options for your distilling needs. To kick off the new year, here are some best practices and tips for ensuring that these pieces of machinery are functional and effective for their intended distilling purposes.

Distillery Uses for Pumps, Motors and Drives

  Pumps perform many unique functions in a distillery, including bringing in water, mashing, wort recirculation and fermentation transfer. Distillers also use pumps during distillation, for filtration, to fill barrels for aging and fill bottles when the finished product is ready.

  Motors drive the pump and grinding mills using electricity. Motors serve various purposes in distilleries, including pumping cool water, charging, discharging the still, agitating tanks and transferring distillate and spirits. Explosion-proof motors are critical in a distillery as a safety precaution while handling high-proof liquids and vapors. Some motors used to make craft spirits are not explosion-proof, but the key to using them safely is strategic placement on the property.

  Drives are part of the mechanical device that brings about its dynamic movement and are a great way to streamline the bottling process.

  All of these moving parts contribute to the automation process that modern distilleries use to increase efficiency, improve safety and work around labor shortages.

Pump Recommendations and Tips

  Among the many types of pumps available, centrifugal and positive displacement pumps are common in distilleries. Distillers also use flexible impeller pumps and double diaphragm air pumps with grounding tags.

  Air-driven double diaphragm pumps work well in flammable distillery areas and are versatile and self-priming. Meanwhile, electrically-driven double diaphragm pumps tend to be more cost-effective because they do not require compressed or pneumatic air. Electrically-drive peristaltic hose pumps can discard botanical waste by pushing liquid through a rubber hose and ensuring the desired flavors and fragrances remain in the spirit.

  Typically constructed with stainless-steel and hygienic materials, air-operated diaphragms pumps can handle multiple fluid types and applications, and they can be trolley-mounted for greater versatility. Hygienic pumps comply with food and beverage safety requirements, while pumps with low flow rates can transfer spirits from tanks to barrels for maturation. However, it is important to have the capability to adjust the flow rate for different cask sizes to prevent spillage and product loss.

  Glenn Mulligan at FLUX Pumps Corporation in Kennesaw, Georgia, told Beverage Master Magazine that FLUX drum and container pumps are ideally suited for distilleries of all sizes.

  “The pumps are lightweight and portable for ease of operation in many areas of the plant,” Mulligan said. “Whether you are pumping concentrates, additives or sanitizing products or ingredients like honey, FLUX has a solution. Food-grade pump options and motors suitable for use in classified atmospheres, such as explosion-proof products, pose no problems for the equipment.”

  FLUX Pumps Corporation has been producing pump technology for over 70 years, starting with the invention of the first electric drum pump. Beyond its well-known drum pumps, FLUX’s product line includes eccentric worm-drive pumps, centrifugal immersion pumps, air-operated diaphragm pumps, flow meters, mixers and complete system solutions. The company also carries a comprehensive range of accessories to suit the needs of various industries and applications.

  Overall, distilleries need pumps that provide efficient transfer of their products over a wide range of head and viscosity conditions. Multiple seal options are also useful, as leaky seals are common. Other things to look for in a new distillery pump include clog-free check valves, durable integral mounting, corrosion-resistant materials and easy installation with quick disconnect ports.

  Jon Johnson from Carlsen and Associates told Beverage Master Magazine that using pumps in a distillery is tricky, and the only type of pump he would sell to a distillery is an air diaphragm pump. Johnson has been in the industry for over 30 years and understands that distilleries must abide by rules that vary between each city, county, state and fire department.

  Based in Healdsburg, California, Carlsen & Associates is primarily a wine equipment supplier that offers positive displacement pumps, centrifugal pumps and air pumps, along with various related tools and fittings.

  “If you use an explosion-proof, Division 2 pump––which means that all rotating devices are non-sparking and have a cast-iron frame on the motor––you can put the motor and pump in there, but you have to put the control on the outside of the building and can’t run the speed control into the room because that is still illegal,” Johnson said. “You also need to have three backups if the air pressure drops.”

  He said that air diaphragm pumps could be safely used to pump high-proof and mash anywhere in the distillery and an explosive environment. Some distilleries use positive displacement pumps, but this is only safe if not in an explosion environment.

  “Make sure the products are grounded and that elastomers in the pump are compatible with whatever you are pumping and cleaning it with,” Johnson said.

  Carlsen and Associates sells Yamada-brand diaphragm air pumps, and Johnson said that the NDP-25 and the NDP-40 pumps are the most popular options. An NDP-25 pump costs approximately $3,200, while an NDP-40 model is closer to $5,000. The main difference between the two is volume.

Recommendations and Tips for Motors and Drives

  Experienced distilleries prefer energy-efficient, hygienic and explosion-protected motors, as well as those with effective brakes and built-in encoders. Different types of pumps use different motors to power them, but distillers should seek out certified motors that are explosion-proof and have multi-phase power, as some motors only fit certain transmissions.

  Air motor pumps are small pumps used to ensure safety and prevent explosions. Air motor power costs considerably more than a direct drive electric motor; however, upgrading motors can dramatically improve safety and comply with standards.

  Variable frequency drives can provide power at low speeds and have options for efficient designs, normal and heavy-duty operation, safety functions and cooling systems. Distilleries use electric variable frequency drivers as motor controllers that vary the voltage and frequency of power. This is how the electric motor is driven within an RPM range instead of a binary on or off. Drives can be programmed to minimize hydraulic shock and provide great accuracy while maximizing the properties of heat exchangers.


  When choosing new pieces of equipment, factors to keep in mind include having access to readily available parts and quality people who can install and repair the equipment when needed. Mobile machinery and multi-functional pumps can help save valuable square footage in small distillery operations.

  Distilleries benefit from having pump-related products built from materials that conform to FDA and 3A requirements and can be quickly taken apart, cleaned and put back together. Mulligan said that this is why FLUX pumps are perfect for pumping different liquids while preventing cross-contamination. He also said that there is a common misconception that drum pumps are pieces of “throw-away” equipment.

  “While this may hold true for the lesser-quality brands, FLUX is committed to providing the best pump on the market with the lowest overall cost of ownership,” Mulligan said. “Every part for all of our pumps and motors are sold as individual components, which can result in repairs costing as little as just a few dollars. FLUX has customers that have been using pumps for over 20 years–some by just completing only the bare minimum for maintenance.”

  Mulligan also said choosing the best pump should be easy because many drum pumps on the market will solve the customer needs, but with varying degrees of customer satisfaction.

  “Selecting equipment from a manufacturer that is long-lasting, with the ability to be repaired when necessary, will result in a pump life that can be counted in decades,” Mulligan said. “Quality equipment results in less downtime and more production, ultimately adding to the bottom line. We can show you how the break-even point for the return on investment comes in just a few months, with thousands of dollars saved over the lifetime of the pump.”

Blending In

By: Tod Stewart

distilling instruments in the table

It’s been said that spirit distilling is a science, and spirit blending is an art. As I am neither a scientist nor an art-ist, I prefer to simply enjoy the end result of the distiller’s science and blender’s art.

  That being said, in the interest of science (possibly art), I’ve subjected myself to the organoleptically humbling “blending exercise” on several occasions, trying to duplicate house styles with the Metaxa Master Blender in sunny Greece; with the Mount Gay Rum Master Blender in sunny Barbados; with the Appleton Estate Master Blender in sunny (sort of) Jamaica; and with the Brand Ambassador for the Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky in the bowels of a definitely un-sunny bar in Toronto. I’m sure there were more. Most have been men-tally blocked, as the mind can only tolerate a finite number of crushing failures.

  So, acquiescing to the reality that I would never enter the sacred realm of Master Blender, I chose instead to live vicariously through the lives of those who have, in an effort to understand more about the art and science of blending.

  Enter Cécile Roudaut, Master Blender for St-Rémy, the French distiller of one of the world’s most popular brandies. To her mind, distilling and blending are equal parts art and science, but the approach to each differs slightly.

  “For me, both distillation and blending are arts, but they are expressed differently,” she said. “I think that the art of distillation requires a lot of know-how but also intuition, and depending on what you want to achieve…inspiration.” When it comes specifically to blending, Roudaut said that “the olfactory notes are a bit like music notes, they must be harmonious and not discordant. Blending is the art of harmony of notes; there is a part of intellectual, of artistic property.”

  To me, the art/science/frustration of spirit blending is twofold. First, it aims to create a sort of liquid gestalt, where the blend turns out to be something magically different than its component parts. Secondly, it seeks to do this consistently, day in day out. Most spirits are, in fact, blends. Whether you’re blending whisk(e)y, brandy, rum or tequila, you’ll be shooting for a common goal, though you may go about it somewhat differently.

  “The common objective [in blending] is to obtain a product that conforms to a standard,” said Karina Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador for the tequila producer Casa Sauza. “For a specific [type of] spirit, the blending process has unique details related to customs and legal constraints, production and warehousing processes, ap-proval criteria and so on.”

  These blends are typically closely guarded secret recipes, sometimes passed down from hand to hand. Could someone who’s not a part of the covenant of the Master Blender/Knights Templar/Masonic Orders in general ever be able to duplicate a successful blend? Maybe it isn’t possible. Maybe trying to replicate a blend is a mug’s game.

  So I asked a few Master Blenders this: Is trying to replicate a blend a mug’s game? To which they replied: “Yeah, pretty much.” See, even if you had all the exact component liquids and mixed them in the exact propor-tions, you still wouldn’t get the correct mix down in a blend-off competition that might last an hour.

  Here’s a possible reason why.

  Spirit blenders have been likened to marriage counselors in many instances, or at least in one instance I know of for sure. In the book Goodness Nose, Richard Patterson, Master Blender for Whyte & MacKay scotch, revealed this about whisky blending: “Not all of the whiskies will immediately fall in love with each other. Indeed, some may be totally incompatible. The boisterous, younger malts may simply flirt, only to go their separate ways. The chosen whiskies must be given time to court, time to sort out their differences and to make the necessary compromises before a perfect partnership is achieved.” Obviously, all this cohabitating, marrying and getting-to-know-each-other isn’t really doable during a blending exercise that may only last a half-hour or less. Before that stage, the professional blender’s task is not only to select the spirits that will best work together to create a final product but also to ensure that there is sufficient stock of the components on hand to recreate this product in the volume required regularly.

  “I believe that blending is about controlling all phases of the rum-making process,” said Nelson Hernandez, Master Blender at Diplomático rum. Hernandez explained that crafting what he calls the  “Diplomático style” calls for a combination of elements and processes, including the final blending of distillates extracted from three distinct stills.

  “We have a continuous distillation system we call Barbet. It was designed in 1959 exclusively for our distillery, with a very particular internal shape that allows us to obtain a light but very aromatic distillate. Another unique system we have was imported from Canada. It is called a Batch Kettle, and we adapted it to get a semi-complex distillate. Finally, we have a discontinuous copper system, which was used in Scotland until 1959 to produce malt whisky. These distinct distillation systems allow us to obtain three completely unique and exclusive distillates, which we then age for different durations and blend them to achieve our specific expressions.”

  Be it rum, whisky, brandy or tequila, once the blender is satisfied with the profile of the new blend — or the proximity to the “standard” is so close that no differences can be detected — the blend is ready to be replicated on a commercial scale. However, given the advances in modern science and technology, I wondered how im-portant the human senses are in the finalizing process, especially when it comes to duplicating a pre-existing blend. Surely in the world of gas spectrometers and the like, this task would be best handled by machines. Or so I thought.

  “The Whisky Mastery Team at The Macallan are a truly unique group of individuals whose abilities to blend single malt whisky have put them at the forefront of the industry,” said Cameron Millar, The Macallan Brand Ambassador. “The human element of whisky making is largely down to the use of a whisky maker’s nose or olfactory sense. This team of whisky makers will nose each and every cask selected for use by The Macallan, providing a quality check that no machine or technology could ever replicate.”

  In fact, of the half dozen or so Master Blenders, Cellar Masters, and Brand Ambassadors I spoke to, all were unanimous in asserting that while technology can offer assistance, it is ultimately human senses that dictate the final blend. “So far, there is no modern technology that has managed to replace the talent of men and women Cellar Masters,” confirmed Anne Sarteaux, Cellar Master for French brandy producer De Valcourt. “Of course, there are analyses that ensure the organoleptic components serving as support for the daily work, but only the human palate identifies the subtlety of the Eaux-de-vie which make up the final blend.”

  Hernandez concluded that, from a strictly human perspective, a Master Blender has to have an exceptionally good memory for aromas and flavors. Probably a bit of an understatement.

  Once the ultimate blend has been settled on, it’s time for the Master Blender to unleash it on a thirsty world. This basically involves recreating the blend by the barrel rather than by the beaker. But it’s not quite as simple as a straight swapping of millilitres for casks.

  “To start, each blend is elaborated in our laboratories with graduated test tubes,” Sarteaux said. “Then we select the available blends that we regularly test. We then develop the blend on a larger scale, always testing the or-ganoleptic quality. Each selection is then tasted. Lastly, we test our brands blind with an independent and expert consultant.”

  Constantine Raptis heads up perhaps one of the most intricate blending regimes. As Metaxa Master, Raptis blends spirits, wines, and a special aromatic component together to create the signature spirit of Greece.

  “I create Metaxa by bringing together aged distillates, Muscat wines from the Aegean islands and a secret bou-quet of May roses and Mediterranean herbs,” Raptis said. “Every blend is created following the same philoso-phy. The first step is to collect, evaluate and record all the information (years of aging, origin, organoleptic characteristics) of every cask where distillates are left to age. Then, based on my experience and — sometimes small-scale tests — I decide which cask will be used for the specific blend. The content of the casks is emptied in a tank and stirred. The new blend is then tested, and if needed, I may add some specific distillate to achieve the final character of the blend that I am looking for. Usually, my blends are 20,000 or 70,000 litres, depending on the Metaxa style that I want to create.”

  Consistent flavor is what a blender aims for, but just as different casks bring different nuances in flavour and taste, color consistency also has to be considered and typically adjusted. Raptis said, “Every blend is created with distillates of different aging that may have certain variations in their appearance. Therefore, every final blend may present slight colour variations that are adjusted by the addition of natural caramel colour. This step is important so as to maintain stable all the other organoleptic qualities of the blends.” Note that the addition of natural caramel color is standard practice in the blended spirits industry and has no impact on the final taste of a brown spirit.

  Sometimes, for blenders to offer something truly unique, a break with traditional practices (and mindset) is re-quired. Canada’s Alberta Distillers Ltd. releases an annual, limited edition Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky. In blending the final product, a bit of “coloring outside the lines” is necessary.

  “To create our award-winning Cask Strength Rye whisky, Alberta Distillers Ltd. breaks from the traditional blending technique that other Canadian distillers are known for and selects only pot stilled liquid that is aged in new white oak barrels,” said George Teichroeb, the distillery’s General Manager. “Once matured and drained directly from these barrels, nothing is added to the whisky. Additionally, we use both pallet and rack style warehouses during maturation. This, coupled with the unique weather we experience here at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, offer distinctive nuances to this coveted whisky.”

  Like the end product itself, the art and science of spirit blending are complex. But whether they are mingling whisky, rum, tequila, brandy or exotic elixirs like Metaxa, the aim of the blender is the same — consistency and uniqueness in aroma, flavor and color. The Master Blenders and Cellar Masters use both talent and time to en-sure that, as a spirit aficionado, you can be confident that the second bottle you buy will be every bit as enjoya-ble as the first one.

If It’s Premium & Luxury, We’re Drinking It

By: Hanifa Sekandi

bartender mixing alcohol

Maybe we have been home too long? Could it be sheer curiosity leading us to develop a sophisticated spirits palate? It is true that when your life is busy, you tend to give very little thought to what goes into the cocktail you are drinking. You may know you like gin, bourbon, whiskey or tequila but, unless you are a spirits connoisseur, the quality of liquor you drink may evade you. Now that you have graduated from junior bartender to an award-winning at-home mixologist, drinking just anything does not cut it. You want premium and luxury spirits that are high quality and arouse the palate. You desire a tequila on the rocks that is as smooth to sip as it is when poured for a single shot. Your bar cart is the a la carte experience that your neighbors dream of; they sure do envy it in the community group chat. It is time to expand your horizons to premium and luxury spirits from around the world.

  You may not be able to travel to a far-off land, but you can feel its energy, the ingredients, the rich soils, and the minerals that make up the alcohol in each bottle. Alas, you can feel the African rhythm, the tranquility of India, the heat of Mexico when you savor one of their premium spirits. It is the road less traveled that leads one to incredible experiences. During this time, our hearts and minds come alive and begin to dream again. Until then, the road will be through the liquid poured and made with pure heart by people who want you to discover their lands and what makes them unique.

The Heat of Mexico: Tequila

  It is not that people were not drinking tequila in years past; they certainly were. As with all things great, it takes time for people to appreciate what has always been good. Tequila traces its beginning to Jalisco, Mexico. Travelers to this sunny destination learn very quickly that tequila is one of the essential elements of experiencing Mexican culture. Yes, there is more to Mexican culture than this ancient craft spirit, but there is no denying its pulsating effects. There is the ad-age that you may have heard, “tequila makes babies,” meaning that it goes down so smooth and keeps the party going, you most likely will not remember what happened the night before. With each sip, the heat rises, the party becomes passionate and livelier. What has changed? Why has tequila gained popularity in recent years? What seems like a newfound love for tequila is due to education. Premium tequila brands are going a step further by partnering with brand ambassa-dors, bartenders with in-depth knowledge about tequila and a deep understanding of how tequila is made and what makes a brand luxury.

  For some, tequila is a waist-friendly, craft-spirit-alternative that sips well. It is the alcohol of choice when mixed with low-caloric pre-made drinks. This trend might have been ushered in with popular diet-savvy cocktails, like the skinny margarita, since pared-down emphasizes the quality of tequila used.

  Premium tequila contains 100% de agave. Lower-quality tequila, called mixto, consists of other alcohols and less than 51% agave-derived alcohol. It is most likely what you tried years ago at your local bar before they upped their alcohol repertoire due to the patron’s elevation of tastes.

  If tequila is the main event for burgeoning spirit enthusiasts delving into premium alcohol, skip-ping the frills and enjoying it “just as” seems appropriate. A familiar mid-level premium brand is Clase Azul Reposado. Due to the white ceramic bottle with beautiful blue hand-painted details, it is a recognizable brand. Although this mid-range tequila only ages for 8-months in American oak barrels, it boasts a rich flavor profile. It is not unusual to find this bottle perched on the shelves of travelers who have visited Mexico and needed to take a piece of tequila splendor home with them. Another noteworthy premium tequila made with agave from the highlands of Jalisco and aged for five years is Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila.

  Word travels fast with the premium brands recognizing that tequila education increases aware-ness and demand. Hence the prevalence of tequila tastings has become a common occurrence not just in Mexico but in bars across the globe that showcase premium tequila as the main event.

Feel the African Spirit: Brandy

  South Africa is known for its Winelands but, for those who know, there is something rhythmical-ly beautiful about African-crafted spirits. Each country on this rich continent has homegrown spirits that keep the symphony of well-made liquor loud enough to entice explorers far and wide. It is not surprising that as the premiumization of this sector flourishes, South African spirits are found on the top shelf right next to the best American-made bourbon in town. Although South Africa is known for its brandy, there is a diverse array of spirits that never fail to impress. A standout spirit is a blue-hued botanical gin by Six Dogs that gets its color from a blue pea flower. The magic of this gin is apparent as it changes to a lovely pink when mixed with tonic.

  On the world stage, South African brandy has received prestigious accolades. KWV Centenary Limited Edition Brandy, made in the Paarl region of South Africa, has a premium price tag that will send chills down your spine. Its namesake and distiller is Ko-operatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid Afrika, a distillery that has been making brandy for over 100 years.

  The word brandy derives from the Dutch word ‘brandewijn,’ meaning burnt wine. Brandy’s long legacy dates back to the 17th century with Dutch settlers. This is apparent with the breathtaking gardens and Dutch farmhouses where spirits are still made. South African brandy is described as having a velvety texture with robust citrus and floral notes along with an enchanting aroma. A standout attribute is that distillers maintain traditional brandy-making practices. Although they have pivoted with the times, honoring the tested and true techniques produces a premium amber spirit.

  What brandy distilleries in this country have maintained is crafting beautifully aged batches with copper pot stills as the first stage. They follow this by further aging it in oak barrels. Batches un-dergo this process for at least three years before a brandy with an alcohol content of 38-43% is ready to be bottled.

  South African brandy is composed of Colombar and Chenin blanc grape varietals, fermented to make this chest-warming spirit. For those who love wine but turn their nose up at this deep-colored, rich, alcoholic beverage, the two are close relatives that share the same roots, often liter-ally.

  When sourcing authentic South African premium brandy, keep in mind that the rules are strict for brandy distillers. Therefore the real deal is only made from grapes endemic to the South Afri-can Winelands and distilled, aged, and bottled there.

The Tranquility of Spirits in India: Whiskey

  When most people think of India, they imagine themselves in an ashram meditating and doing yoga. India is a country where people travel to find what is missing within and, for some, to simply find what is yet to be seen. It is a land that is full of beauty and undiscovered treasures. It is not surprising that premium spirits are made in a country rich and diverse with indigenous plants. The climate is ideal for growing and harvesting; therefore, making unique premium whis-key was inevitable. 

  For Hermes Distillery, a premium spirit distillery founded in 2018, producing homegrown pre-mium whiskey was a necessary endeavor. Founder Amit Kore recognized that India could pro-duce top-shelf liquor just like America and Europe. The Rockdove premium label whiskey made by this nouveau distillery bouts all the luxuries that an avid whiskey drinker desires: A rich and deep-colored whiskey, light-bodied and smooth like scotch.

  The 100-year old technique used by Hermes Distillery at their Tomsa plant, the first in India, is from Spain, and it is the same technology used by familiar brands Crown Royal and Johnnie Walker. Moving at a pace that would take most distilleries decades, Hermes is opening the door for Indian-made premium liquor to join prestigious distilleries as a top-shelf selection.

  Drinking premium or luxury is not about social class. It is about quality. A survey conducted by Bacardi found that 75% of the people value cocktails made with high-quality spirits. For those looking to experience more than a night out with any old cocktail, premium spirits allow them to enjoy the moment with ease and appreciation. It is better to stretch your wallet just a little bit to drink the real deal. In the case of tequila, 100% de agave is a must! And wouldn’t you like your botanical gin to contain ingredients sourced from the lush gardens of South Africa? Seeing the meticulous effort that goes into an Indian-made whiskey, you must recognize that there are no shortcuts for luxury. So, as we usher in a new year, let’s take the long road down luxury lane, slowly sipping one premium spirit at a time.