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Bourbon production - how to get the most from your distillery equipment

Keeping up with demand: Add Aggreko for critical and reliable utilities

As the home of bourbon, Kentucky’s distilleries take great pride in the quality of their products. With its ideal climate, fertile soil, and water flowing through limestone reserves, it’s no wonder the state produces 95% of the world’s bourbon. Not to mention the sector’s commitment to investing in the best and most efficient distillery equipment.

Now, bourbon is more popular than ever as consumers in Europe and Asia-Pacific show an increased interest in American whiskey. Fueled in part by the sales of cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and Manhattan, demand for premium and super-premium bourbon brands is growing fast. An increasing number of small distilleries are also adding more variety to the market by developing their own high-quality bourbons.

As the spirit’s popularity has increased, distilleries have been looking to increase production to keep up with this demand. But even with perfect conditions bourbon production isn’t straightforward. There are a couple of key challenges which affect most distilleries.

Aging infrastructure

Bourbon’s long history is part of what makes it so special. However, this also means that many distilleries are over 100 years old. To maintain or expand production levels, it is inevitable that these facilities will need to be upgraded or repaired from time to time. This in itself is tricky as equipment may need to be taken offline during the process, which will halt or reduce production. But if it isn’t done, distilleries risk unplanned outages which can be even more damaging.

How costly is a distillery equipment outage?

As soon as equipment fails, unless there is redundancy in place, production will be reduced or completely halted. For as long as the equipment is offline, revenue will be lost. The more severe the outage and the bigger the facility, the greater the amount of lost revenue.

Repairing or replacement of equipment will have its own cost, and then you will also need to add emergency response fees.

Sounds like a lot doesn’t it?

That’s why contingency planning is vital to avoid outages and protect profitability.

Seasonal variations

If temperatures were the same all year round then bourbon production would be a lot simpler.

But that’s certainly not the case in Kentucky.

Increased ambient temperatures and humidity in the summer have a significant impact on the cooking and fermentation processes.

Extra cooling and dehumidification are needed to keep production on track, but as this is only an issue for a few months of the year it’s difficult to justify large investments in additional equipment.

How can distilleries overcome these challenges?

Planning ahead is key to avoiding outages and downturns in production. Distilleries should audit their equipment to identify well in advance when it is likely to need repairing or replacing.

Aggreko’s temporary solutions can help with both maintaining production levels during an upgrade or repair cycle and coping with increases in ambient temperatures and humidity during the warmer months. They are also ideal for a short-term increase in production when demand grows faster than expected.

These solutions include:

Power, cooling, and dehumidification support

Aggreko has a wide range of temporary power solutions spanning from 25kW to 1,500kW that can be powered by diesel or natural gas. We saved one customer approximately $100,000 by installing temporary power equipment during a utility upgrade. Aggreko can also provide a variety of temperature control and HVAC systems to cover all requirements.

Oil-free air compressors

Cool, dry air is essential for bottle-blowing. Aggreko’s oil-free air compressors ensure that air can be cooled and dried without introducing impurities, allowing you to protect your equipment and production

Food-grade heat exchangers

Production can be maximized by using Aggreko’s food-grade heat exchangers that meet the highest safety requirements to ensure no downtime or product contamination.

Cooling towers

Some facilities may benefit from the use of cooling towers to keep distillery equipment at the right temperature. Whether it’s for temporary cooling during the summer months or to cover planned maintenance, Aggreko has a range of cooling towers to fit every need.

Partner with Aggreko to ensure the continued production of quality bourbon

Aggreko has decades of experience in supporting bourbon production with an extensive, strategically located fleet of equipment that is available for quick installation wherever you need it.

Get in touch today to discover how we can help you meet the growing demand for quality bourbon with temporary, flexible, and modular solutions.

Learn more about our solutions for the food and beverage industry