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Help with water usage calculation

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I am in the process of getting a building put up for my new distillery and the utility district asked me for my estimate on water usage. Can someone help with a rule of thumb for water usage based on 10,000 cased per year production (750ml bottles) with a good water recovery system? I will be making vodka and whiskey. I would appreciate any help.


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  • 2 months later...
Guest Bobcat Hill

Somewhere between a half million and million gallons per year. Maybe less or more depending on numerous unstated factors.

Jedd, would you mind explaining how you calculated this figure for Darren?



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10,000 cases = 24,000 gallons of product. I estimated an ultimate yield of 5% of the wash amount, which means 480,000 gallons of wash. Add in condenser water and you're definitely over 500k; as to how much, that depends on the "numerous unstated factors." Of course, if Darren is re-distilling neutral spirits, you have to throw out those numbers and start again.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Maybe this is a stupid question, I don't know...

But why cant you just have a very large water tank that your circulate water from? On average I understand you need about 4 gallons per minute for average room temp water in a large-ish, say 250 gallon still.

Or maybe two tanks that you pump water from one, through the condenser and into the second so the water temperature is consistent. Then just switch a valve and pump the water back into the first again.

You could even have a setup for the water to be cooled to a specific temperature, so that you could run it at maybe 2 or 1.5 gallons per minute.

And if you were really crafty, you could build a simple radiator outside from copper, and circulate the water through that in the winter.


Maybe I'm missing something

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a large reservoir is a good idea, it just needs to be big enough. adding some active cooling on your warm water out put, such as a radiator and fan, will help some if your reservoir isn't quite big enough, or to help how quick you can turn around and run again. Volume is good, but surface area helps too.

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