Choosing The Right Distillery Equipment

Choosing distilling equipment can be about as complicated a task as you want it to be but it isn’t as daunting as it can seem at first. Distilling has been practiced for thousands of years, and your setup can be as simple as a basic pot still or as complicated a setup as you can imagine and possibly even more complicated than that as you learn more. While there isn’t a one size fits all approach to choosing the right distillery equipment for you there are a few things that can help you narrow down the list of potential equipment to make it a lot more manageable. 

There are two main ways to approach picking the right distillery equipment for your operation, an operational approach and a budgetary approach. The budgetary approach is pretty straightforward, you figure out how much you have to spend on equipment and you do your best to make it work with what you have. This may not be a bad way to get into a new hobby, but it is a frightening way to start a business, and if you plan on making any money, you’ll have to look at things operationally. Even if this is an experiment or a trial project, you’ll get a lot of benefits from going through the exercise of looking at this from an operational standpoint.

Starting from an operational approach, you’ll want to focus on your operational flow, production goals, and product mix. Figuring out production volumes will be necessary to size the equipment you’ll need properly, and different spirits may require different equipment. Gin baskets are wonderful for making gin but don’t help much with rum or whiskey, for example. Knowing your production volumes will help size any of these specialty items you’ll need as well as your main production equipment. A good way to look at sizing equipment is like buying shoes for a child. You want to leave room for growth, but you don’t want it to be so big that it’s almost unusable. Finding that sweet spot can be difficult if you’re taking a shot in the dark, but with a plan in place, you should be able to get closer to the mark.

Aside from the sizing of the equipment, knowing your product mix will help you figure out what kind(s) of equipment you’ll need. While it’s theoretically possible to make vodka on a pot still, it’s just not very efficient, and you’ll spend more money over time rerunning spirits than the cost of the column. You can use several pieces of equipment to do multiple things, but sometimes there’s no substitute for using the proper tool to save you time and money.

Timing is also an important factor, and you’ll want to pick a timeline to get started. Custom systems can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to put together, and even items that are in stock will likely need to be modified to fit exactly what you need. We can do a lot off the shelf, but often you’ll spend more time and money trying to retrofit something to “make it work” than if we work together and get it right the first time.

Choosing the right distillery equipment for your operation isn’t exactly easy, and your plans may change as you grow and your operation evolves. That’s where modularity and the ability to add or modify equipment becomes a wonderful convenience, but you’ll still need to start from a good basis to make life easier for you. We’d love to be part of your startup or expansion plans, so please reach out or leave a comment below to let us know how we can help!