Craft Distillers should consider bulk buying neutral spirit in order to make themselves “scalable” in the face of increased demand.
Speaking at London’s Craft Distillers Expo yesterday, spirits expert and author Ian Smiley said that while it is beneficial for budding craft distillers to create their own spirit entirely from scratch, there are also benefits in buying grain neutral spirit (GNS) from large distillers.
He said that while creating GNS could offer more character, buying this would give craft distillers greater consistency and would also allow them to prepare for a sudden surge in demand.
“When it comes to craft distilling, there’s only one spirit which the big companies can make better than small companies and that is ethanol.
“Some time craft distillers can become victims of their own success. They could all of a sudden get a bulk order for 72,000 bottles from a big company in India or China, and these companies won’t wait.
“So craft distillers need to be ready to scale up and have a plan in place to distill large volumes. Some people might view this as cheating but it is the only way to scale up without buying all new equipment, which would take at least a year and would be very expensive.”
However, Smiley said that if craft distillers decided to buy their GNS as opposed to make it themselves, they must be honest about this, even if the information “is not printed on the front of their bottles”.
He also said that there were benefits to craft distilleries always creating GNS themselves, as they will be able to say their products are “100% craft”, adding that they can produce a “residual flavour” in their own GNS which offers character.
But buying GNS is “cheaper, purer and cleaner”, is easier to implement and allows craft distillers to quickly ramp up production should they need to.
Source: The Spirits Business