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Newbie from Devon, UK

Hi all,

Been lurking on the forum for some time now as I ponder my next move with my nano-distillery.
Been happily developing my gin for a year or so in very small quantities with some hobbyist kit. The gin is getting some interest (the uk gin craze shows no sign of slowing) and I even won an award for it so now I want to capitalise on this and scale up my hobby to make it a viable small biz as I really enjoy the whole process of making it - would happily swap the day job to run a micro-distillery - if only I could make it pay (dreams).

I love the modularity, quality and thought that goes into the SD kit and after some great advice from the SD EU am planning on a pot belly, 4" dash and GB. I'm on a rectifiers license so won't be making a vodka base from scratch (have to buy it in duty paid) - hopefully one day will score a distillers license - not that easy though. Hopefully putting in the order next week - once I work out the power challenges - so envious of you guys that get 3 phase as standard to your homes. To get 3 phase here costs about £4k! So I'm stuck on single phase.

Slightly nervous, as it feels like a sizeable step up, but very excited to join the SD community.

Cheers

Domo

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Comments

  • Welcome.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Cheers mate. You're the Aussie SD man right? Lived in Sydney for many years. Hope to get back one day - oz is just the best :)

  • Yes mate, that is correct, StillDragon Australia here.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Welcome @domo.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Welcome!

    Ah I think everyone was nervous at the beginning of a new phase in life ;)

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • edited August 10

    G'day! If you have access to a couple of 20A single phase power circuits, that'll drive the 200l pot belly at 9600W with 2 x 4800w elements. Filled with 200l @ 30% heat up will be about 1.4 hours, less if you don't fill it right up or a bit longer if you use a lower ABV charge

  • Thanks all.

    @crozdog That's really useful info thanks. I'm getting I have one single 20A circuit that is getting an upgrade to 60A so perhaps that will handle 2 x 4.8kw elements.

  • 60A single phase is not a lot of power... Two standard 5500W elements at 240V is 46A, hardly anything left for lights or warm water... I run my distillery on 3x63A and have to turn off the airconditioning to make sure the main fuses don't blow.

  • Not sure how big your kettle charge is. But if want a 20 minute heat up with 30 liters for example, you'll need to throw about 150 watts per litre at your kettle.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Don't know how you guys in Europe get by with such little power.

  • Depends on where in Europe you are. In the UK single phase is a lot more common, but (if you are willing to pay) 200A is sometimes possible. Three phase is indeed expensive, especially for a normal house. In France you have to pay A LOT for anything more than a tiny single phase connection.

    In the Netherlands it's 1x35A or 3x25A for a typical household, pay 100 EUR a month extra to get 3x63A which is almost always possible. 3x80A will require a new outside cable but can be done almost everywhere; above that you need a separate room for the electrical supply which contains no water or gas connections. I have 3x63A in the distillery, might have to upgrade to 3x80A if I ever need a 2000L boiler. Beyond that it's time to get a purpose build distillery and move your house to a villa in the south of France ;-)

  • Yeah, here in the states, modern homes are almost always set up with dedicated circuits for all appliances. That includes microwave ovens, garbage disposers, trash compactors, GFI circuit for counter top small appliances. And then a few spares for chilled wine storage, spare fridge, etc. 200 amp service for houses is more or less a requisite now-a-days. Used to be 12 circuits were typically modern unless you had gas fired water heaters and cooking appliances. Now 20 circuits isn't enough.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Hello Domo

    I'm in the UK as well.

    How easy was it to get the rectifiers license?

    Is it possible to get one while researching a possible business plan before committing to a commercial venture? Or does HMRC only give rectifiers license to commercial operations?

  • @Homebrew said: Hello Domo

    I'm in the UK as well.

    How easy was it to get the rectifiers license?

    Is it possible to get one while researching a possible business plan before committing to a commercial venture? Or does HMRC only give rectifiers license to commercial operations?

    Rectifiers License is fairly straight forward particularly if you have a VAT number, more challenging is passing the Personal License exam (worth paying for a course if you are not entirely familiar with UK Licensing laws) and the Premises License can throw up obstacles particularly if you are in a residential area.

  • @homebrew since law changes in 2016 it has become a lot easier for people to obtain compounders and rectifiers licenses, there are still a number of hurdles, but you are more likely to get one these days as long as you have a clear and descriptive business plan.

    Anyone can obtain these licenses, you just need to make sure along with your application you know all the relevant information and provide the HMRC with everything they need to know. The process can still take around 6 months.

    The size of the still these days doesn't really matter, an example is Conker gin starting off with a 30 litre still to make gin. If you are after a distillers license there is a lot more to account for and work into your plan, but there are some key people out there who offer advice and help new business get licenses.

  • Thanks for the advice. Very helpful.

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