The Best Place For Your Boiler?

Steam boilers are often relegated to “second class seating” when it comes to distillery planning. So much emphasis is always placed on the actual still and were in the distillery to position the distillation boiler to maintain an efficient process flow as well as provide the wow factor that seems to be the hallmark of a successful distillery tour experience. Let’s face it, the still is the star of the show. However, it is all the other ancillary equipment needed that makes it happen. Remember now, the still doesn’t feed itself.

Often times the still placement for the sake of customer viewing is not all that conducive to promote efficient process flow and can further contribute to the increase of heat loss from the steam boiler that would otherwise perform more optimally in a better location within the distillery. Translation: Less than optimal location (sometimes) equals a bigger boiler. A bigger boiler equals more Benjamins.

The boiler space location to the novice distillery owner is on par with what IT trade guys commiserate over when critiquing the (“oh shoot we forgot to plan for the wiring/network closet location”) architectural plans of a new construction project.

Retrofitting a rented space can add to the challenges of optimally locating the ideal placement for the distillery’s steam boiler. In most cases, there is an existing footprint that can often foist undesirable limitations on one’s best planning efforts.

It should be no surprise that having an optimal amount of flexibility when planning out the distillery footprint is most preferable. Typically, this is best illustrated when the distillery owner has the opportunity to plan and build the distillery from scratch. The distillery owner should take into account the distillery tour experience for the tasting room customers, the process flow for the distilling team, the accessibility for the boiler contractor, as well as the requisite, ongoing maintenance over the service life of your steam boiler.

Distilling Boiler Placement

Bottom line: If you are a distiller, your boiler is the foundation of your ability to keep up with production demands. Do not plan for your boiler location as an afterthought. Keep your boiler location choice as centrally located as possible. Allow for growth. Do not undersize your steam boiler if you plan on growing. When sizing your boiler (notwithstanding sizing for growth), always add an additional margin for theoretical heat loss rather than actual, calculated heat needed for a specific piece of equipment at 100% efficiency. Your boiler contractor will advise you accordingly. Do not be dismissive of recommendations provided by your boiler contractor. They really do know their stuff!

Sincerely I say to you, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to fully optimize your ability to apply heat to your vessels/tanks in order to process your finished product in a timely manner. Your ability to keep up with production demands as well as get to the next level of production volumes will no doubt depend upon it.

Plan well. Bounce ideas around with people smarter than yourself. Listen to your team. Do not underestimate the importance of this element of planning your distillery build.

Cheers, happy distilling, silainte.