5 Equipment Must Haves in a New Distillery

Equipment needs for distilleries will vary based on a whole host of factors, and every distillery has its own needs, wants, and bottlenecks. Even though your distillery will be very unique, every distillery has some things in common.  Without certain pieces of equipment and capacities in place, your distillery won’t run as well as it could, if it runs at all. We’re going to try to be as universal as we can with this list of distillery equipment must-haves but since every distillery is different, please leave a comment and let us know what your essential piece of equipment is at your facility.

The Right Kind(s) of Hoses

Hoses go beyond simple irrigation fittings and can and should be used in many applications. Hard piping everything in can be great if you’re building a distillery layout that won’t change much over the next decade, but if you’re planning on growing, it is worth it to look into getting hoses and a pump truck to give you the flexibility to transfer between different tanks without switching your piping around. Having the right kinds of hoses on hand can be a lifesaver in your facility, and not using the right type is an easy mistake to make. Hoses rated for high temperatures and/or proof will help your final product quality if your production environment requires them. Using the wrong hose is like having a draft beer from a dirty line; it can impart unwanted flavors and lower the final product quality.

Pump Trucks/Portable Pumps

We touched on pump trucks and having a portable pump can make your job a lot easier. Priming pumps and pumping over a long distance can be a hassle, especially if you’re in a hurry and rushing. Moving a pump out of the way to do a job or moving a pump closer to a job to eliminate long lengths of the hose is never fun, but it’s a lot easier if the pump has wheels! 

Enough Condensing/Cooling Capacity

Chillers are a wonderful and potentially expensive addition to your distillery. You can never cool your distillate colder than your cooling medium, so if you like having a colder distillate coming off your equipment, they are a great way to go. If you have decently cool municipal water, you can also go with a sufficiently large condenser, the greater surface area means that you get more heat transfer per unit of volume passing through the condenser. This is a great way to add cooling capacity without adding new equipment, just upgrading what you’re already used to.

Enough Heating Capacity

Similarly to the point above, having enough heat is crucial to effectively running your still. A boiler can be a big expense, but if you don’t have enough power to heat the still with electricity, you could be stuck heating up for a long, long time. A 100-gallon kettle needs over 80 AMPs on a 208V, 3-phase circuit to heat up in an hour, and if you change that to a single phase you’ll need close to 150 AMPs to heat up in an hour. If you have less power or a larger system, it will take even longer to heat up, if you can get there at all, before you start losing heat. Having sufficient heating, regardless of the source, will be crucial to keeping your operations schedule manageable.

Fork Lifts 

This one sometimes gets overlooked, but it is crucial to success, even in a small distillery. Pallet jacks are great and if you’re starting off small may be a good enough option to get you started before you’re ready for the expense of a full-sized fork lift. Once you pass the point where the pallet jack isn’t going to get the job done you’ll be happy to have the forklift handy and you’ll be much more productive when you’re not manually moving heavy things around your distillery.

Distillery equipment must haves are always hard to pin down since your distillery’s workflow may be different than someone else’s even if you’re making the same product on similar equipment. Leave a comment below or reach out to us to let us know how we did. There’s always something new to learn and we’d love to hear from you!