Craft Distillery

What is a Craft Distillery?

Craft distilling, described as distillers who craft less than 50,000 cases a year, has had tremendous growth within the past decade. Starting barely recognizable as a niche industry, it's turned into an emerging profitable market in America. Being supported by the American Distilling Institute which hosts an Annual Conference, craft distilling has increased from 50 in the early 2000s, and has increased today to over 600 today. New craft distillers are starting up every day, and Still Dragon has been supplying equipment and products for the past X years.

The Growth of Craft Distillers

While some distillers are concerned craft distilling growth is occurring too quickly, others point to the growth of the craft beer industry which has seen similar productive expansion in the past 5 years. While a lot of craft beer growth is regional, 2014 saw record numbers of new breweries opening in 2014, while established breweries reinvested funds to expand to meet the growing demand from customers. Some experts are looking at craft brewing as a business model for how craft distilling will expand as well.

Business consultants are suggesting that many new craft distillers are forced to expand within the first three years to meet the demand for their product. According to an article in The Atlantic, consultants from the industry are saying new businesses underestimate their needs when opening, and shortly after launching have to upgrade facilities and equipment. Still Dragon helps solve this issue by providing high quality, modular equipment for scalability as well as flexibility. While some equipment will always need to be upgraded; larger stills, larger pumps, and bigger facilities - being able to scale your installations is where Still Dragon makes the difference.

Craft Distilling Products

Still Dragon offers a variety of craft distilling products, all of which are high quality and priced competitively in the market. Still Dragon's focus is providing products which are priced available to new businesses while maintaining production quality available to already established distilleries. Because Still Dragon's products are modular it allows our systems to be extensible. Still Dragon understands that today's craft distilling industry is one of growth, and demand. With new businesses having substantial growth it's important not to overly invest in expensive equipment or products which aren’t adaptable to your needs and customer base.

Starting a Craft Distilling Business

Whether your business is private labeling or batch producing, starting a craft distilling business is littered with pitfalls and struggles. The American Craft Distillers Association was started to assist new craft distillers in navigating those hurdles. Still Dragon is also a great resource in helping new craft distillers with their product and distillery builds. Our modular and high quality equipment is reasonably priced which makes starting a craft distillery in 2014 much easier. Our staff are knowledgeable representatives who can consult with you in determining your craft distilling product and equipment needs.

Craft Distilling comes in many forms, private label distilling and contracted small batch distilling as two examples. With celebrities and other small businesses who want their brand spirit, the need for batch distilling has grown. Private labeling is still a strong business opportunity, but for craft distillers typically focusing locally first is important.

How to Avoid Distilling Challenges

Celebrities and small businesses who want to avoid distilling provide an opportunity for distillers who want to avoid the challenges of distribution and marketing. By distilling on contract, these craft distillers only need to focus on providing a good product to their client, and don't need to be concerned with the expense of sales and marketing. This has enabled experienced distillers to continue practicing their craft, but while becoming entrepreneurs and profiting from their business.

Private Label Distilling

Private label distilling is an advantageous business model. For craft distilling it's important to focus efforts locally, providing a niche product or catering to the regional palette. Since marketing is important to differentiate your spirit against the larger competitors you'll need to expose your spirits directly to your customer base. Some states allow for tasting rooms which provide businesses the ability to connect with the customers directly. In states this isn't possible you'll need to exercise strategic partnerships with local bars and stores where you can acquaint your spirit to potential buyers, and build brand awareness.

Craft Beer Expansion

The craft beer business expanded exponentially in the past decade, culminating in a type of renaissance for the beverage. When visiting bars or stores the variety of styles available was limited, and the flavor was one dimensional. Today there is a lots of competition, yet growth is still occurring, forcing current and new breweries to innovate and provide a higher quality fermented beverage.

We expect the same type of transition, and realization to occur in the craft distilling industry. What was once a miniscule segment in the industry, it has seen beneficial growth. Though it could be seen as an obstacle, it should provide motivation for craft distilleries to produce a high quality product, and to continually innovate. Experiment with flavors, and methods to deliver new variations and innovation to the industry.

New research has shown that Millenials value craft products over corporate products. So while craft beer has taken a lot of the attention from the craft alcoholic beverage segment, it’s easy to see how that will translate to the craft distilling segment within the next few years. Research has shown that Milennials look at craft beverages as being more authentic than the larger corporate businesses, as those businesses typically have more of a relationship and a large engagement with their customer. In addition, craft beverages typically use better quality and sometimes organic ingredients which research has shown Millenials value higher than their corporate counterparts.  

Still Dragon has the craft distilling products to aid new businesses in that quest. Like our botanical infusers, these allow you to add multiple different flavors to your spirits. This will enable new businesses to venture into the unknown and create novel spirit profiles which will make them unique in the market and industry.

Go to to review our products and equipment or call us directly to talk to a sales representative who can work with you to find the craft distilling product that works for you.

Written by Still Dragon North America