Jump to content

General Purpose Pump for small distillery


Recommended Posts

Hey all,

I'm sourcing a "Do-All" pump for my small distillery (325 cases/year)

I will not be mashing so I dont need to move any really viscous fluids.

I only really need it for moving honey wine (mead) from the fermenters (200L) to the still (250L) or holding tanks (300L), moving alcohol around the facility, recirculating and pumping through the filters.

I've got a HUGE compressor built into my building and all the power in the world (heavy 3 phase down to 110) so either electric or air works.

My main concern right now is initial cost and use of operation. I'd like to use the pump to move gin and vodka and some natural infusions with minimal down time between products that doesnt cost $2500.

Any ideas or personal recommendations?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Assuming you aren't actually moving honey - something like a 1/2 or 3/4" double diaphragm pump, teflon balls and seals, body in whatever ethanol compatible material you like. Heck, you've got the air already. They are super light, and plenty reliable given you aren't pumping solids.

You could probably get by with a 1/2" pump if taking 5-10 minutes to pump your 300 liter volumes isn't a big deal. But you can control your pumping speed and output pressure with an air regulator, so there isn't any problem with running a larger 3/4" pump slower. At those volumes I don't think you need anything near the capacity of a 1" pump.

You can occasionally find a full teflon pump, body, balls, seals on ebay for around $500, something like a Yamada DP-20F. This is the cadillac of diaphragm pumps, with a list price near $4,000, so be happy they depreciate terribly. However they can't run at the higher pressures that other pump manufacturers can. I don't know how many PSI you need for your filtration, so that might push you towards something more like an ARO or otherwise.

You mention recirculating, at what temperatures?

Spectacular packaging btw.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscocity of honey is about 10x that of oil, I don't see how you'd pump honey with anything other than a gear reduced positive displacement pump with a VFD, Waukesha or similar. I'd also imagine you'd have problems with collapsing the suction hose too. Bucket brigade is probably more realistic for honey than pumping, especially if you are buying it by the bucket. Heck, even a small forklift if you are using drums is going to be less expensive, and you can use the forklift for other things.

Anyone that can afford to buy a tote of honey these days can probably afford the gear to move it. What's a tote of honey these days, $10k?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I won't be using this pump for honey, only wash and spirits.

And yes, I've got a forklift. My honey comes in 55g drums that weigh about 700 pounds each and are a bitch to move around ;) so I can use the forklift to lift and tilt the barrel and a heating band to bring the viscosity down enough to pour/scrape out of the barrel into my holding tanks.

For those interested, the honey runs at 2.25 a pound so you can crunch the costs if you'd like.


Back to pumps

I'll keep an eye out for an eBay special on the Yamaha but if I need to pull the trigger right now, any other new pump suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing you need to consider is how an AOD pump operates. If you can handle the pulsation then it's the cheapest way to go for pumping alcohol since all electrically driven pumps will require an explosion proof motor.

For pumping low viscosity nonflammable liquids you can look at centrifugal pumps like March or Chugger pumps which are popular among home brewers. Your volumes are small enough that you wouldn't be waiting all day to fill, just like 15 minutes.

For pumping alcohol, explosion proof centrifugal pumps are much more expensive and harder to find.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would strongly discourage you and anyone else from going with the Duda Diesel Pump that you linked. After several lengthy discussions with them about these pumps, they assured me that it was the right pump for my application.

First major issue was the advertised size. I wanted and was told that I was getting a 1 1/2" input and output pump size. Instead what I got was a 1 1/2" adapter on either side that was simply an adapter screwed into the 3/4" ports. Certainly not a 1 1/2" pump. When I called them on it, they said it is what it is and basically tough shit. I suggested that they change the way the product description was written they said, with quite attitude, " We think it's fine the way it is"

Then there's the quality issue. Ok so it wasn't going to do what I had wanted it to, gee maybe I can simply use it to pump water...should handle that right? Wrong. The impellers would jam up and seize. Had to keep manually spinning the keyed chuck to free it.

Not a good experience with Duda Diesel on any front. Ended up going with an air operated diaphragm pump (Made in the good Ole U S of A) and couldn't be happier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks, we worked pretty hard on our bottle.

I'm looking at some Yamada DP-20F on ebay, is there anyting I should look out for? Also, is it expensive to overhaul one of these?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just got off the phone with Yamada and they recommended away from the DP-20F becasue it can't be grounded. They said go with a NDP-20BSS (stainless)

Said that the poly body could build up a static charge and discharge :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a line of groundable, ATEX-rated 316 stainless air diaphragm pumps designed for high-proof spirits: our SimpleSpirits line.

The 12 GPM (45 LPM) version without cart would probably suit you fine based on the quantities you mention, and it comes with air regulator, ball valve for controlling air flow/pump speed, and Tri Clamp adapters for $1666.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...