BEVERAGES MARKET: ALCOHOL / SPIRITS MANUFACTURING
Man has been making distilled ethyl alcohol from the 700’s A.D. through the present. Ethyl alcohol has been used to make many of the traditional spirits over the years: bourbon, whiskey, cognac, brandy, gin & amaretto.
- Step 1. Grain Milling: Corn is typically stored dry in 275 ton silos. Nine tons of corn is added to 5,000 gallons of water and put into an autoclave oven for 90 minutes. The steam from the heat & water activate enzymes that transform starch into sugar. Yeast is added to start fermentation process that will continue over the following 60 Hours at 100*F. This process transforms starch into sugar, and the sugar to be converted into alcohol during fermentation. The fermenting culture gives off carbon dioxide (CO2) to eliminate oxygen from this process. Corn oil comes to the surface of the tank when fermentation has ended, evidenced as the corn oil has a distinct red color visible to the naked eye. This fermented mash has an alcohol content of approximately 13%.
- Step 2. Distillation: condenses vapors of the 3 columns of mash and ferments at 185*F. Live steam separates and distills the alcohols. Grains are dryed in a large rotating drum cylinder. Gin is aromatized by the addition of lemon skins, cinnamon and / or coreander.
- Step 3. Aging the Spirits: the distilled spirits are stored and aged in wooden oak barrels in a temperature controlled environment. The spirits can lose up to 3% of it’s alcohol content each year it is set out to “age”. The spirits are taste tested against prior years batches to ensure the product maintains strict quality control before they are bottled.
Typical whiskey bottling line will fill 140 x 750 ml bottles per minute; with a specific quantity measured before the bottles are capped (by the “capper” machine), sealed and labeled for sale. The bottles are then packaged into cardboard shipping containers to be transported through the appropriate distribution system.