Established in Hammersmith in 2009, Sipsmith Distillery uses the first copper still to launch in London for close to 200 years, crafting uncomprimising, artisanal gins and vodkas.
The distillery gives female names to each of its stills and the first, Prudence, orginally used electricity to power elements in the steam jacket surrounding it.
As Sipsmith’s export market grew, production increased, and the founders realised that additional stills were required to meet demand. After Constance, the distiller’s third and larger still, Sipsmith decided to switch from an electrically-heated process to one using a steam boiler.
Fulton Sales and Marketing Manager Doug Howarth says: We visited Sipsmith Distillery when they were using German electrically-powered stills but wanted to install a gas-fired steam boiler for their new, larger premises.
Our area manager discussed the specifications and options with them and an order was subsequently placed for a Fulton 20J vertical boiler and associated ancillaries. We continued to provide assistance and technical support throughout the installation and during commissioning.
Many craft breweries and distilleries start off using electric, however, as demand and output grows, many move to steam-based systems such as those from Fulton. Whilst electric systems can be efficient, they only heat the water required for the steam jacket, and are therefore not as manageable or controllable as steam boiler-based systems.
Felix James, Head of Operations at Sipsmith Distillery says: For us, the difference is the same as cooking using electric or gas. Prudence and Patience both used electric elements initially but, to control the water temperature, you could only switch on or off the four elements in the steam jacket.
And then there would be a delayed response as it would take time to transfer the energy through to the stills. With steam, once it’s turned down or off, the stills are very quick to shut down or respond to the temperature change.
Unlike big plant’ distillation processes that can produce a spirit in less than two hours, each Sipsmith gin or vodka distilling process takes up to eight or nine hours to complete.
Explaining the reasons for specifying Fulton, Felix mentioned the ties with nearby Fuller’s Brewery which uses Fulton’s boilers in the brewing process:
Fulton are very well respected and, being a UK manufacturer, are very easy to deal with. We undertake our own water analysis every month but do have a service contract with Fulton, which visits the site every three months to conduct its own analysis and check the condition of the boiler and the system.
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