the success of a distillery can be dependent on expansion and the ability to accommodate that growth. That often means distillers are investing in either bigger pot stills or incorporating a continuous system. Though Forsyths still supplies more batch systems than any other, they are seeing some consistency in the questions they’ve received from potential clients looking for greater capacity for output. Clarke has noticed an emphasis on heat recovery and energy efficiency in recent years. “More modern concepts such as Thermal Vapour Recompression and Hot water heat recovery systems are being asked for much more regularly as there is a drive by the industry to reduce its Carbon footprint and energy costs,” said Clarke. In the first and second piece of this series, bourbon production was viewed through the lens of equipment. It’s clear that there are people who stand on both sides of the line
that divides the distillation of whiskey; some will always believe in a continuous system and some are devoted to batch distilling. There is also a very influential economic factor in this equation — the cost of continuous systems is high, but their possibility on return promises to pay back the investment. The exciting thing about being a part of a young industry is that there is much room for growth. Craft distillers have shown that good whiskey can be made off a pot or a column, and it’s the assertion of this writer that the American landscape has plenty of room for both styles of spirit, and more blends of the two. There really is no “best;” the judgement of spirits is, in and of itself, a subjective practice that depends on individual tastes. As long as quality continues to improve, American drinkers have a large and varied selection of whiskeys in their future, pot, column, or otherwise.
Devon Trevathan writes about spirits, wine, and cocktails for a variety of publications. Her focus tends to be on the science behind distillation and the history of drink culture. When she’s not working, she’s probably at home in Nashville painting watercolor tasting notes or dreaming about the pack of dogs she hopes to have one day. You can follow her @devontrevathan on Instagram and Twitter, or find her at a bar with a Negroni in hand.
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