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bannonjd

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We are in the process of organizing our distillery and looking at stills. Many questions to consider including size, shape, column, copper or SS, what company to go with, agitator or no agitator, etc, etc…Can we discuss the pros and cons of dealing with the bigger companies (vendome, carl etc) vs the newbies on the block. If I buy a still from a start-up that has only a few still out there do I have to worry about how it functions, safety of it, it's efficiency, durability etc. Big companies are so expensive but maybe you get what you pay for? Don't want to make a mistake… but by the same token don't want to pay twice as much just because...

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In my humble opinion, the information already contained in past posts with regards to stills is about as good as you'll get via this or any forum. The only way that you're going to come to a conclusion on what you need for your setup is to continue to look into the industry. Go visit other distilleries (call ahead and pre-schedule anything if you plan to do more than just go on a simple tour), go to workshops and classes, they'll be worth the money if not for just seeing their operation up close and personally. We specifically started our one-day course because of folks asking about working here for a day to learn the ropes. If I were to have taken a course like ours prior to setting things up, I probably would've saved tens of thousands of dollars, but there weren't near as many options for things like that 5 years ago when we were getting going. There are many, many MORE options for still makers (most are in the ADI directory) than there were just a few years ago as well. Bottom line for those figuring out how to set an operation up, If you're not prepared to engineer your own distillery, or don't have someone already involved in your operation that is going to be the main person to do so, I recommend you look into hiring a consultant (they're in the ADI directory). If you're simply wanting to set up a small operation without millions of dollars, go to a class or workshop (doesn't have to mine, we only have limited room anyway) to get your head on straight.

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Bannonjd,

Your still type, size, config, throughput, M.O.C. (material of construction), utility, etc, etc, etc..........are all best determined by your debt service model. Figure out how much you think you can sell, at what price (+/- 20%), then work backward. That will give you ample data on a great deal of data about your operation...still size, mash/ferment volumes, bottling line needs, bond size & capacity, etc, etc, etc.

I say it often in this forum. Your debt service numbers drive all of your decisions.

We also offer a consulting service, if you'd like to discuss more, please feel free to PM me at anytime.

Cheers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

..under utility, water cost and sewage is beoming a huge issue, especially if you can't cool your product with city water being limited (for whatever reason).

At some point you'll have to think about a refrigerated chilled water loop- most get sticker shock when they find out the cost of it.

Questions arise about buying used equipment, value of it versus new when you consider the amount of valuable time and money wasted when preventing the "used" from being "used up".

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