At this point we still hadn’t distilled anything yet. We were doing a lot of research on the various stills available and their respective prices. Because we weren’t coming at this venture with deep pockets we had to start really small. We opted for a 25 gallon pot still made from Hillbilly Stills in Kentucky (http://www.hillbillystills.com). It was small but it would have to do. All the other stills we looked at started in the 80 thousand plus dollar range. So we opted for the largest still they made (http://www.hillbillystills.com/product/6-plate-vodka-turn-key-distillery/). At that time the still only came with a 4 plate column. It worked wonderfully (and still does). Our first batch of Vodka was produced on this still. It took a full week of double distillation runs but we got it done. We named it TS Elliott (the TS is for tiny still). In the mean time we were looking at getting a small business loan (another blog post) so we could purchase a larger still and about 9 months later we put in our order for a 125 gallon copper pot still from Vendome in Kentucky (http://vendomecopper.com). If you look at our front page you can see the still in the background. We named it Jules (for Jules Verne). Jules is powered by a 450K BTU boiler (http://www.peerlessboilers.com). Having Jules has allowed us to jump up production by a factor of well over 5. What used to take five 13 hour days was now condensed into one 9 hour day. But to justify the cost we would have to sell a lot more product.
-Christopher M Neumann