Good business sense....they're ready for bourbon to hit the main stream once again...stock up now...
If Wyoming Whiskey is looking for a longer aging period for their whiskey, they should leave the warehouses without heat. Think of them being all lower level for aging.
It is interesting that The Party Source appears to be planning a big column still rather than the smaller pot stills usually favored by micro distillers. One reason might be they they have the capital to install such a big rig. But they must feel that column distillation (with, presumably, a doubler) is superior to pot distillation, at least for American whiskeys. Of course, Woodford Reserve produces pot still bourbon. But when I compare their pure pot still whiskey (Master's Collection) with Brown-Forman column still whiskey (Old Forester), I am not convinced that the pot still product is superior. Might it be that column stills are actually better for distilling American whiskey? If so, I wonder why? Perhaps corn and rye just do not react as well to a pot still as barley malt.
They're not alone and this might well be the next wave.
First, the idea that pot stills are inherently superior is a myth, though widely believed.
Second, with the exception of Woodford, no one has made bourbon or rye exclusively in pot stills since before Prohibition. It's not the 'normal' way to make American whiskey.
Third, most mirco-distillers don't use true pot stills, i.e., alembics (like Woodford does), they use hybrids that have rectification columns. I think they perform more like column stills but because they're charge and not continuous, they technically are pot stills.
Fourth, each type is better for different things. If you want to make relatively small batches of lots of different things, the typical hybrid set up that most micros use is probably best. It's very versatile. If you want to produce relatively larger batches of a small number of products -- say a couple of different whiskeys -- and you care about efficiency, a small column still set up is probably best. Column stills are much more efficient than pot stills.
All column stills are the same height. The crucial capacity metric is still diameter. The typical column still at one of the major bourbon distilleries will have a diameter of between 48 and 72 inches. I suspect the one PS is installing will be much smaller, maybe 24 inches.
I also assume they will have a pot still doubler. It isn't essential, technically, but according to most bourbon-makers, you really can't get the whiskey to taste right without it. Barton is the only major Kentucky distillery that doesn't double everything. I'm not sure when they use it and when they don't. All they say is that they use it when they "need" to.
As for your speculation, Tom, there are some issues with especially corn in a pot still, but they can be addressed. Most pot/hybrid stills can have an agitator installed for corn and some other things that otherwise tend to cake and stick. Woodford solves the same problem with a recirculation pump.
Referring again to the Wyoming operation, and a similar one being finished up now in far Western Kentucky, these set-ups are designed to produce about 200 gallons of spirit per day, a lot more than a typical micro produces.
Last edited by cowdery; 09-04-2011 at 15:53.
Thanks for a very informative reply, Chuck! Now I wonder why all column stills are the same height. Is there some principle of physics (e.g. involving vapor pressures) that makes a certain height optimum?
Yes. There has to be about 11 inches of separation between plates to avoid entrainment.
Entrainment is bad.
absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat.
Speaking of distillation, here is question I have sometimes pondered. Perhaps Cluck or another board member can help. How does a pot still doubler work? The juice is flowing continuously out of the column still. So the pot still doubler must be able to handle this continuous, high volume flow. Yet traditional pot stills work one batch at a time. What's up?