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JoeBlotto

Still Quality vs Price

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JoeBlotto    0

I'm struggling to find any aggregated topic on the matter, so I thought I would start one. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

I'm still in the stages of working on my business plan budget and am struggling a bit on the topic of what still to aim for. A little background - I am located in Columbus, OH, and we have two high-quality distilleries in town, Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery. Both consistently make quality spirits and win awards, both national and internationally. Both also happen to run Kothe stills. I've been to quite a few distilleries across the US. Some have been good, some have not hit my palate well, and some (even award winners) were flat-out bad, IMHO.

Thus far I've been operating under the assumption that I should also aim for a Kothe or other engineering marvel if I want to produce similar quality. However, I know that plenty of other still manufacturers are also winning boatloads of awards, and many are far cheaper (ignore the Chinese knock-offs for the sake of this discussion, I would think). Obviously things like ingredients, cuts, fermentation, etc. have a large part to play in resulting quality, but the still has to be a factor too. However, how large can it be and does it justify the additional cost?

Sure, I'd like the Cadillac, but is it worth the cost? Can I make the same quality spirits and save myself $60k for the time being? 

Ignore the "presentation aspect" for now.

 

Happy to hear any opinions from those of us who have actual experience operating these beauties!

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PeteB    44

It is not what the still costs or its brand or what it looks like (as long as it is safe) the final product is much more about how it is operated. 

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Mulderbri    1

High cost does not equate to quality spirits.  We started with a very low equipment budget....we had to because we bought a building. We are very happy with our vodka as is everyone who has tried it. We are very happy with our equipment. It is a 250 liter electrically heated still with an automated column made by GENIO and made in Poland.  Formally sold under a different name but always made in Poland. Now the man who created this amazing equipment is handling all sales world wide through the GENIO team while building them at his factory in Poland. www.g-still.com

 

Full disclosure here. I am a rep, along with my partner, for the company in the eastern US. We just went live world wide today August 10th. I am a full working distillery and now a GENIO showroom and training center. PM me or email me. usa@g-still.com. We use this equipment every day and I can vouch for the efficiency and quality of the spirits that it produces.  

Brian. 

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Falling Rock    20

Ingredients, fermentation, still operation and aging all go hand in hand. I think anyone currently making a great drink would still make a great drink if you gave him a beer keg on a gas burner for a still.

Better equipment may ease or speed production, but better equipment will not necessarily produce a better drink.

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JustAndy    12

I've professionally used home-built 55-gal drum electric stills, 3 different simple pot stills (800L, 1500L, 2500L) built by inexperienced US fabricators, a steam-heated CARL with brandy & vodka columns, and a 4-plate electric water-bath KOTHE. While it is possible to make good spirits on all of them, the carl and kothe both dramatically expand the options of the types of things you can distill and the different methods you can do it by. They are also significantly safer, faster to heat, and easier to clean. Knowing what you plan to produce is the biggest factor in what type of still you should look for. If you plan to make gin from redistilled GNS, you don't need much. If you want to make pear brandy from whole fruit, you need either something more sophisticated or the hands-on experience you'll only gain from ruining a batch

I've heard of several people finding deals on used german stills, both in the US as people outgrow them or go out of business (how we got the CARL) and abroad as the brandy market continues to shrivel. That is the path I would take, as I think there will be a pretty regular clip of closures in the next few years.


 

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Hi JoeBlotto, Justandy

 

I can sell you a still that will produce just as good as any German made still at 1/4 to 1/3 of the cost.  In fact we have a German still here now that we are modifying so that it will better suite the customers needs and it is the 2nd German still that we have modified.  You can spend a huge amount of money for a name. We have equipment in over 145 distilleries and the proof is in the Spirits.  Email me paul@distillery-equipment.com  for a reference list of customers that you can call, email and visit to see our equipment in operation.  Check out our web site http://distillery-equipment.com Here is what one of our customers had to say about the equipment that he purchased from us: 

“When we started the plan of Black Dog Distillery, we reached out to several still manufacturers and suppliers. ADE and their team took the time we needed to help us understand our options. Not just for today but where we might go in the future. Fast forward a year and half later, we are open and operational. The equipment has been performing and producing award winning Vodka and Rum.” 
-Keith Moore, Black Dog Distillery.

For more info check out the 5th reply to the topic below.

 

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Side note: There is no need to take stock in awards.  Most brands have won awards and gotten gold medals.  In general, the more awards a brand wins simply proves how many competitions they enter - not how good the product is.  The entire tasting competition industry feeds off of distillers' insecurities and desire to be recognized.  It's all not too dissimilar from how kindergarten teachers give all their students a gold star at some point throughout the school year.

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Tall Ship    1

I built my own 250 gallon all copper and   design the heat source which is forced hot water I also built a 30 gallon for the finally stripping 

of my neutral spirit I produce rum, vodka, whiskey and coming out with a gin I don't have any awards and I have not sent any out to be graded 

 but I sell a ton of product 

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EarthAngel    0
On 8/10/2016 at 6:45 AM, Mulderbri said:

High cost does not equate to quality spirits.  We started with a very low equipment budget....we had to because we bought a building. We are very happy with our vodka as is everyone who has tried it. We are very happy with our equipment. It is a 250 liter electrically heated still with an automated column made by GENIO and made in Poland.  Formally sold under a different name but always made in Poland. Now the man who created this amazing equipment is handling all sales world wide through the GENIO team while building them at his factory in Poland. www.g-still.com

 

Full disclosure here. I am a rep, along with my partner, for the company in the eastern US. We just went live world wide today August 10th. I am a full working distillery and now a GENIO showroom and training center. PM me or email me. usa@g-still.com. We use this equipment every day and I can vouch for the efficiency and quality of the spirits that it produces.  

Brian. 

I am interested in the 500L.  I was inquiring how long does it take for delivery to Canada?  Please email me at tnthiel@gmail.com.  Thank you.

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