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Lab equipment check list


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Does anyone have an all inclusive list of lab equipment needed for a medium sized distillery? If money were no object, what would I purchase? I’m not sure I even know the right questions to ask, but I’m about to be tasked with equipping one. 

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JustAndy brought up a good point, it all depends on the needs of the distillery but here is a list EVERY distillery should have.

1. A set of TTB certified alcohol hydrometers that cover all your bases

2. Set of glass graduated cylinders (50ml, 100 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml, 1000 ml)

3. A handful of HDPE beakers

4. A TTB certified digital thermometer

5. A nice pH meter

6. A brewer's hydrometer for measuring OG/FG

7. A benchtop scale that measures to at least 0.1 grams

As you get bigger or have specific products you can add to this list. I'd start here:

1. Portable Density meter (this will save you so much time)

2. Lab distillation apparatus (this is for any products that may have proof obscuration such as liqueurs)

3. Water testing equipment 

4. Microbial testing equipment (media, plates, incubation chambers, microscope, etc)

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JustAndy and Sickfloss have made great points that, depending on the specific needs of the distillery, more or less might be needed.  That's why consultants exist. They can typically save thousands of dollars by making sure you get what you need without spending precious funds on something you might never use. 

My experience is that many people who think they have a "Medium Size" distillery, typically have what would be considered a small one.

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Closed off lab area with a sink, ample counter/work space and cabinets to hold everything above, comfortable/ergonomic work chair or taller drafting stools, ample storage for samples and sample bottles.  Safety glasses wouldn't hurt.  Fume hood.  Laptop.  Lots of outlets (like every foot or two along the countertops), good lighting.  Air conditioning.  Fire extinguishers.  Cute set of cleaning brushes for all the glassware, drying rack too.  Decent radio (Sonos with Pandora or something good like that).

What?  Am I dreaming again?

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  • 3 weeks later...

What's the budget? For necessities,

 - hand-held density meter

 - all ranges of alcohol hydrometers

 - pH meter (needs calibrating on a regular basis)

 - multiple sized beakers and graduated cylinders for blending/testing/trial proofing

 - scales for measuring in grams/kilograms

  - thermometer for random testing of temps (you should have thermometers on all of your tanks and lines)

 - water testing equip or a lab nearby to test for you

 - TTB desktop density meter (add-on for obscuration) - bigger ticket item ~ $30000

 - smaller scale glass distillation apparatus

 - smaller scale copper distillation apparatus (1-2 liter)

 - microscope (along with plates/medium, etc if necessary)

 - Methylene Blue

 - Is RO in your processing plan for water?

 - DISCUS manual and Fire Code Manual

 - Tables, Shelving, Fire Extinguishers, Eye Wash Station

If you are really going big then GCMS or HPLC - But you will need to hire someone to operate them or train yourself. - Super Big Ticket Item

You can always call me - we met at ACSA!





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