One of the marvellous things about the The Craft & Co in Collingwood, is our glorious copper pot still in the front window! Welcome to distilling at the The Craft & Co, and welcome to the first instalment of our distilling blog. We want to show three things in this, our first entry -> What distilling at The Craft & Co is all about; who we are; and most importantly, an intimate introduction to our still!
Distilling at The Craft & Co
The Craft & Co is a makers’ incubator. We’re a resource and inspiration to get more people making, preserving, and experimenting at home, or for business. And distilling at The Craft & Co is no different. All the infrastructure that we have built is available for use, for small personal projects, or the first steps in large scale production.
Our mission is to be provide easy access to distillation for entrepreneurs to start their brands. The more Australian-made spirits that are on shelves, the more consumers choose Australian when making the choice of which spirit to sip. And that means more Australian jobs. We love the idea of sipping our way to a stronger economy!
The barriers against people getting their idea into a bottle and onto selves have always been considerable, with excise licensing, building a distillery, and capital outlay to fund production. Distilling at The Craft & Co is about making this as easy as possible, and removing some of those barriers.
Creators with a vision for a spirit can join us at The Craft & Co and produce their spirit on our still, under our excise license, and with our expertise available at every step to make the process as easy and safe as possible. We can help distil, source bottles, labels and boxes. We have great relationships with numerous botanical and barrel suppliers. We have a brewery and in house brewer for mashing. We have everything under one roof to start your spirit brand. And once your brand is in market, and it is time to scale, we can build your distillery for you.
Who are we?
We are your distilling resource. We’re available to teach you how to distil, how to use the equipment, how to manipulate flavour during a run, how to be safe and to help plan what equipment you’ll need for your own distillery once it is time to scale up. We’re experts on flavours and work with you to translate a concept from paper, through micro batches, to large scale production. We have collectively spent the last 50 years working in the alcohol industry, building distilleries, selling spirits and building brands. We’ve also got a swag of local distilling awards under our belt, and also proud to have contributed to our client’s accolades along the way.
But with all of this knowledge, our most important job at The Craft & Co, is to get out of the way! Our job is to provide you with the knowledge and resources so that you can make your concept a reality.
Introducing our still, the steam powered copper beauty in the window. She is a 140 to 180 litre CARL hybrid alembic pot still, supplied and installed by local team at FB*PROPAK . Or the not-so-romantic technical term, a discontinuous pot still. Like all CARL and Barison stills, she is made from hand beaten copper.
In many ways, distillation is as easy as boiling a kettle, then collecting the steam. The art is in managing the still to deliver the flavour you want, from the materials you use. This is where a modern hybrid still like ours becomes so important. An older style pot still will usually draw from your wash a given style of flavour, depending on the size and shape of the still. You can slow it down or speed it up by changing the heat, but that is the only change you can make to the flavour of your product at the distillation stage. With our stills, you can manage changes at every step. You can adjust the heat to manage the speed of vaporisation, you can manage the various ‘reflux’ or condensation points, where the alcohol steam can be condensed back to liquid and re-distilled. These reflux plates can be opened and closed to manage the way that vapour passes through, which changes the flavour, and what happens to the vapour after condensation. You can also manage the cooling, through the copper dephlegmator inside the top of the three plate side column.
This is an extension of the main spirit condenser, that takes cool water from the main spirit condenser and runs it through the top of the column. This allows you precise control of the speed that vapour leaves the still. The longer that alcohol vapours are condensed and re-distilled before moving to the final spirit condenser, the greater the purity. This means that our little copper still in the window can achieve in one run, the purity that you would expect from three full distillations. And in terms of production, you can go from mash to new make whisky in one run.
It is quite a challenge to introduce all the joy of distillation in a these short paragraphs, so for those who want to know more, feel free to get in touch with our distillation team. So welcome to the wonderful world of distilling at The Craft & Co, where we love Australian spirits and want to support the growing industry as much as we can. If you are a maker of a local spirit, please come past and introduce yourself, we would love to know about what you make and how we can support your brand with our retail and maker events.
If you’re ready to get started on your own distillation business, please contact our friends at Gypsy Hub for more details: