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Greening of a Distillery and/or Tasting Room, Bar, Restaurant

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Thank you for the suggestion. We can create green/sustainable distilling section of the forum.

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I have to smirk a little bit about throwing solar panels on a roof and saying that it's an effective strategy towards reducing environmental impact (aka Greening).  Solar feels like the easiest of "cheats", compared to where the real work, and impact, is.

Heat Recovery & Storage vs. Chillers

Carbon Dioxide Capture/Recovery for Fermentation

Energy efficient distillation processes (read: Continuous distillation with heat recovery, low NOX high efficiency steam boilers (Miura, etc), highly insulated steam lines, etc) - none of this batch distillation on an uninsulated still.

On-site Wastewater Processing, Waste alcohol processing

Post-consumer recycled glass bottles and/or bottle re-use where legal

Local sourcing of all raw materials

High efficiency CIP

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To Silk's point.  I don't understand why so many manufacturers produce stills with no insulation layer.  All of our Pro Series and Signature series stills have an insulation jacket over the steam jacket on the pot. 

As a side note we have vacuum stripping stills that are as efficient as continuous column stills and they are also very fast and produce a great tasting spirit.  Distillation takes place at 150 F so a conventional chiller or well water can be used to cool the condenser.  The insulation layers on these are simple, empty jackets that we pull vacuum on.  There is no actual insulation in the jacket just vacuum, which is one of the best insulators.  These stills are fired by 190 F hot water circulated through the jacket.  The hot water can come from a hot water heater, hydronic wood fired furnace or any other hot water source.  We have them in stock up to 100 gallon capacity.

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@whiskeytango I'm not fully up to date on current local Covid requirements, as it isn't really my department, but we started using plastic when we were under "to go cocktails only" and have kept using them as the restrictions continually change. I think we could wash glasses in a 3 vessel sink again, but we are currently only doing outdoor seating, and I believe anyone washing a customer's glass is supposed to wear some sort of full facial cover, and have plexyglass in front of them, so it would probably require having am additional person on staff. Kind of a lazy excuse, but I think everyone is a bit burnt out on constantly changing operating procedures over the last year. 

From a production standpoint, being able to reuse bottles would probably have a huge impact, and would likely be something people at any size or budget could accomplish.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Silk has listed many of our cheats here for greening, but we have a few more that are very popular options and none are original ideas just our own executions


boiler blow down water to toilets and piped out to botanical garden 

compostable to go cups and straws 

separation of grain and mash water. Reuse mash water to a certain percentage, grain is high protein animal feed syrup which can be sold

daylight windows and automatic lights 

scavenged heat from con water into floors for heat with fan for distribution (this does fall into his broad base heat scavenging though)

product lines that feature the reuse of barrels

stillage that isnt separated used to make organic soil amendment for our fields and auxiliary farmers

composting of all food wastes from employee meals, tasting room scraps, etc

heads are sold to large international bike manufacturer they make a brake degreaser out of it

*installing and designing process plumbing in a way that allows them to be reused if decomissioned

no rinse fills on sour mashes with shorted yeast pitches (only 1 gen, sour mash made from sweet mash we just emptied)


the miura boiler is my favorite! we do a lot of what silk was talking about

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We have a geothermal cooling system that we have just doubled in size. It runs all the time on a continual loop and the hot condenser water is piped through radiant floor piping embedded in the tasting room floor. The system is passive and costs us practically nothing to operate and it's really efficient, cooling all of our stills and fermenters and best of all - its completely silent. It was also very cost effective to install - comparatively speaking and our customers love the concept from an environmental perspective.

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  • 3 months later...

@Silk City Distillers I'd disagree, I think solar power is one of the best thing you can do.  Your still going to be using a lot of energy no matter how many steps you take to minimize or recover it, and where that energy comes from is one of the most important parts of being "green".  Seems to me running solar/renewable powered electric for your still and mash heating and other electric needs is much better for the environment than running a high efficiency boiler that runs off fossil fuel or purchasing electricity from the grid that is mostly fossil fuel generated.


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Our main green factors are

Solar System w Insulated Electric Still/Masher

local/reused construction materials for distillery building construction

local and/or organic grain/sugar ect..

Cold spring water for cooling

onsite reuse of cooling water for crop irrigation

onsite reuse of mash as livestock feed

reuse of barrels

no use of caustics/acid/harsh chemical cleaners - enzyme cleaner instead

re-use of heads as sanitizing spray


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