Wayward

What ever happened to iStill?

64 posts in this topic

Hey Friends,

I was just looking at my iStill50 I bought a few years back for R&D (holding up my collection of hats in my living room) and got to wondering, What hapened to those guys?

I remember lots of activity on this board from a bunch of months ago, but then nothing.

How are they doing? Do you have one and want to talk about it (good or bad)

Anyone bought one recently?

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Hey Guys,

Thanks for the link but I'm hesitant to look to a manufacturers website for unbiased reviews of their equipment and customers service.

I was looking for to hear if anyone is still using them, and if they are happy.

There were a lot of people with a lot of opinions talking about them last year but nothing at all lately.

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Odin just built his own distillery / training center in Amsterdam. He's moving equipment at a fast & furious pace by all reports. And while iStill isn't my cup of (automation) tea, I can offer a character reference as we spent an evening drinking together last year at ADI. Hell of a guy, never short of opinions, and crazy passionate about distillation. Were I in the market for such gear, I wouldn't hesitate buying from him.

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Hi there, please check our website! We are producing a great variety of products for craft distillers all over the world. Mashers, pumps, fermenters, stills. And we are releasing an increadible new line of products in the coming weeks. Well ... first release is actually at midnight today! Please see www.iStill.eu!

Mr. Wayward, if you want some introductions, to other distillers using my stuff, just let me know. Or send an email. I believe we have been in touch before.

Regards, Odin.

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I run pretty much all his equipment. It's great. It does as advertised, and IMO, is a great value. Anytime I've run into a question Odin has been a great resource. If anyone wants more detailed informaiton feel free to ask on this thread or in PM.

Oh, and as noted, he's opened a new distillery and kept new innovations rolling out. On top of it, from what I've seen on his media sites, he's pushing new equipment out all over. The market response alone is a sorta endorsement.

Yeah, I think the website and blogs are a good way to check in on the progression of iStill.

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Most of my equipment is iStill equipment (istill 50, istill 500 and his 2000 liter automated fermenter) and Odin is always available to help when I have a question or need assistance.

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Here are some pics of a distillery we delivered today to a distillery in Utah, USA ...

https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/new-world-distillery-from-utah/

Two masher/fermenters, each of 2000 liter capacity, an iStill One of 1000 liter capacity, the iStill 500 Pro, and an iStill Pump.

We will fly over soon for assembly, testing, and training!

Regards, Odin.

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Another satisfied iStill customer here. We have the 50 for R&D and we're running our small production on an iStill 250 while we finish assembling our 650.

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Here's an update! Just back from Ireland where we helped open up two distilleries. For more info on them and how they are doing: I will put up an article in a few weeks time. One of the distilleries is situated at a loch, at a harbour site, overseeing the water. Beautiful! The other one is set-up on an Edwardian estate. Gardens, tea house, huge kitchen, great bridal suite as well as a museum ... and now a distillery as well. Bronagh & Team, thanks for buying our equipment, thanks for inviting us over to help develop what will be, I think, an award winning gin! We will be over again soon to install your 500 liter still and help you ramp up production!

We have also recently shipped a complete distillery to Canada. For some pics and a little bit more info, please read: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/distillery-to-canada/

And what is, I think, only the second distillery to Utah has just been delivered. I and a few of my team members will fly over to help with assembly, testing, and training in a few weeks time. Chris and Ashley Cross got our fermenters, iStill One and an iStill 500 Pro Series as well as our pump system. Well, in fact they bought a complete distillery from us! They will be making agave spirits that will rock! For some more pictures and info, please read: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/new-world-distillery-from-utah/

We also just sold a complete distillery, all NextGen units, to a distillery in Pennsylvania. And today I had visitors from Scotland visiting us at the Amsterdam iStill Center. We made a rum together, on one of our 250 liter units, which was great, because they will be making rum with the iStill 2000 NextGen pretty soon as well. Keep an eye out for them. What I have seen from their recipe just tastes amazing! No wonder, since they have been dealing with both herbs and spices as well as wines for decades. They know their trade.

Next week, we welcome visitors from Estonia (they purschased an iStill 500 as well as a 2000 liter fermenter and will get their training - assembly, testing, running - over here, at our showroom AKA distillery), as well as two parties from the United States. Our USA visitors are primarily interested in our new 2000 liter NextGen equipment. They like it because it allows them to tailor a few units as mashers and fermenters, while other units will serve them as stills. And when they grow, they can easily, and at minimum costs, retrofit their mashers and fermenters with distillation columns and use them as strippers as well ... One of them, by word of mouth, wants to order seven 2000 liter / 520 gallon NextGen units.

Due to the huge demand for our new line of NextGen equipment, I was in the fortunate position, just yesterday, to make what is for us a huge decision: we will start batch producing our all new iStill 2000 NextGens. Normally, we batch produce our equipment that is 500 liters or less. Batch production has the advantage that it helps us cut down on costs. The potential disadvantage is that you need high turn over. We don't want to stock units, we want to move them. Now, for the 50's, 250's and 500's, moving them has never been a problem, so producing in monthly batches of like 8 to 12 every month was a no-brainer. But deciding on batch producing 2000 liter units ... well, that took some more thinking. Especially since it hasn't been done before anywhere. And since 2000 liter units have longer decision cycles. That was ... until we did some calculations on the orders we are already getting in ...

In short? From now on we will be producing even our bigger 520 gallon units in batches no smaller than 4. It helps us save costs and it helps us cut down on lead times. It allows us to offer the iStill 2000 NextGen for around just 35 K. That is USD 35,000.- for a 520 gallon still that can strip and finish, that can make whiskey, rum, brandy, vodka and gin. And if you dislike pumping stuff around ... for just USD 5,000,- extra, you get our coolingunit and the software ... to make that unit mash and ferment as well. Without any compromizes.

I think this is a great thread! Whatever happened to iStill? Well,keep on following this thread. I will keep you posted. Fun stuff and more adventures lay ahead. For instance, we will be the main sponsor of the 2016 London Craft Distilling Expo. Another ADI convention, only at the other side of the pond, in good old London, England. That 'll be on October 5 and 6. And on the evening of the 5th we will throw the iStil Dinner. India cuisine food and beer and high spirits for iStill customers & afficionados! I hope you can all make it! You are invited to visit our stand, where some of the world's most amazing drinks will be served, and at our restaurant, for fun & spicy food.

See you soon!

Regards, Odin.

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After taking a step back and thinking about what's next for our growth, I am looking forward to providing a first hand report on iStill's next generation still soon.  As I've said, I'm happy with what I have, but looking at adding existing capabilities or going another way I came to the conclusion that it's iStill that continues to offer innovation.  Thats how I come out on this.  Not to disparage anyone or other equipment choices, but I think the history lines up with present day offerings.  If anyone wants my Intel after working with their new i500; check with me late this year after I've had some time. 

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Hi there,

We have been very, very busy, so I haven't had the opportunity to post too much. I am trying to change that right now and right here. First with a new thread in the gin department, where I will be sharing what I learned on gin making - and on how to create great tasting gin. And in this little thread "whatever happened to iStill". Well, apart from us introducing a completely new and improved product line ... some updates on the units we shipped over the last week or two. Here's a first one, with a picture of a new iStill 500 NextGen that's been shipped to Canada. The new owner /distiller actually building up the unit (almost done!) near Winnipeg, Canada. I love the "old school copper alambic" vs "new iStill take on distilling" of the picture!

BTW, this is a (net) 130 gallon hybrid (potstill and rectifying capacity) unit, that's fully automated and robotized, and has internet connectivity for remote control, remote software updating, etc.

Regards, Odin.

 

Edited by Odin
Took picture away because it was way too big!

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What happened to iStill today? Well, we had a great day, actually. The iStill Factory delivered another iStill 2000 NextGen to the assembly hall (where we build up, test, and dispatch). This unit will actually go to ... North Carolina, USA! With agitator (ready), PLC and touch screen computer (ready), column for pot distilling and rectifying (ready) and robotized section ... on which we still have some work to do. The factory also pushed out 4 columns for the iStills 100 NextGen, to complete the 4 boilers that were made two weeks ago.

We also had a potato vodka and gin manufacturer from the UK visiting us. He wanted to understand how our equipment could help him out with him taking control (instead of contract distilling / outsourcing) of his vodka / gin production process: boiling, mashing, fermenting, stripping, finishing. Steve, because that's his name, came over to the Netherlands yesterday evening. We had dinner (and a few beers) together and it was great doing an one on one training session today.

And ... we did the first wet tests on the new iStill Distilling Robot 3.0! It's the part of our stills that help make perfect cuts and that ramp up production speeds times two. Robot 1.0 had 34 steps to manage 3 mms. Robot 2.0 allowed us to upgrade to manage product versus reflux over a band with of 10 mm instead of 3 mm ... and we could now do that with an accuracy of a 1000 steps instead of just 34!

What Robot 3.0 will bring? 2000 steps control over 10 mm. Double the accuracy. But more importantly: while limiting operational friction. And less friction means (again) better longevity. How long? 5 to 10 years depending on use intensity.

How the tests went? Almost perfect. Positions and accuracy and power inputs needed where spot on. We did encounter an issue with total closed status. That still gave a few drops of product due to non-perfect alignment of this beta version of the Robot 3.0. Instead of "just" perfecting alignment, I - supported by my robotization and automation MegaMinds - made another decision: let's add a homing and self-aligning structure to the robot. So we can maintain total control in even the most challenging conditions.

And that's what we will be building in the next few days. After that? More dry tests of the improved robot design by the end of next week ... and new wet tests (with a distilling device filled with beer or wine and the goal to make brandy, whiskey or vodka) on December 5th. If all goes as I expect it to go .. we'll take Robot 3.0 into full swing production by January 1st 2017!

Here are a few pictures of our testing day, today.

Regards, Odin.

Our three MegaMinds discussing Robot 3.0 and PLC integration ...

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The test run on an iStill 500 NextGen ...

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The robotic guys supervising the test run ...

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The iStill Robot 3.0 ...

IMG_1384.JPG

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Here are some pictures of us finishing our next build. This is a 2000 liter iStill NextGen. That's 530 gallons net. It will have a robotized column, automated cuts, internet connection, insulation, touch screen computer and jet propulsion agitator. It will predominantly be used as a still. Where? In North-Carolina. It will ship next week. Here are some pictures of us building up the unit.

Regards, Odin.

The iStill 2000 NextGen. Wiring done, touch screen computer mounted ...

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PLC has been build and firmware is uploaded (iStill 500 NextGen on the background) ...

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Column sections ready and packed for shipping ...

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Our agitator ready to be installed ...

IMG_1387.JPG

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I'll let you know, when everything is up and running, ThreeStacks, and if the distiller in question feels comfortable with me sharing. Hope you understand!

Regards, Odin.

PS: To make up, here's a set of pictures of another iStill 500 NextGen with distilling (robotized), mashing and fermenting capability. It is on its way to Ireland, where  it will serve a Craft Brewer, and help him transition into Craft Distilling as well ... Blacks Kinsale Brewery from Cork. Maud and Sam will use it to make gin and whiskey.

IMG_1378.JPG

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blacks.jpg

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Our NextGen boiler combines mashing, fermenting and distilling capabilities. You can use all functionality … or just a part of it. And even if you choose to configure your iStill NextGen as – for example – a Masher/Fermenter … one can always upgrade to distilling later on. Or vice versa.

Here are a few pictures of an iStill 2000 NextGen configured for mashing and fermenting, that just went to its test cycle. There is a boiler radiator and a jet propulsion agitator. This unit is of course also equipped with the extra large, ultra low wattage heaters. This specific unit will be used by the customer to clean and ferment molasses for his rum. This unit will probably be crated on Friday or Monday.

Regards, Odin.

Uploading the latest firmware and testing the boiler radiator ...

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This specific unit can boil, mash, and ferment ...

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An example of a 4-step automated mashing program ...

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Here are a few pictures of another iStill 2000 NextGen we are currently building. The boiler is welded and ready to enter the acid cleaning bath. That will clean up the welds. Later this week pictures of how the unit looks after the acid cleaning bath. After that, insulation is added. And then it will go to our assembly hall where it will meet with column, plc, and get assembled, wired, and tested.

We'll probably take this unit with us to the 2017 ADI Conference in Baltimore.

Regards, Odin.

IMG_3444.jpg

 

Edited by Odin
Took one picture away, because it was way too big

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Okay, so I seem to have posted a bit too many pictures and can't post new ones anymore. Reached my ADI Forum limit. So ... if you want to see the unit after its acid cleaning bath, please check out the iStill Blog post: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/building-process-istill-2000-nextgen-2/

Regards, Odin.

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Here are a few pictures of another 2000 liter unit we are currently shipping: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/istill-2000-nextgen-to-the-orkneys/

Tomorrow we have visitors from the UK. They come by to pick up their iStill 500 NextGen and get some training on how to operate it as well. They will use the unit they bought especially for gin making.

On Friday we'll have a party flying in from the USA that wants to order our 5000 liter units.

The 2000 liter unit we have been building, and which build you could follow in the posts above, is now in the assembly hall. It will be wired and assembled and tested and then dispatched in the coming two to three weeks.

We'll also be shipping 4 more iStills 100 NextGen coming two weeks. And we have started working on the next batch of four iStills 100 NextGen. Many are used for product development. Others are used for smaller size (GNS-based) gin production.

The next batch of 5 iStills 500 NextGen we will start building next week, and the next batch of 2 iStills 2000 NextGen will start the week after that. First week of January will see another batch of 5 x iStills 500 NextGen. But before that ... Xmass holidays!

Regards, Odin.

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