Distillery Technology

All machines supplied by our company are planned, laid out, built and tested for quality in our manufacturing factory in Weselberg.

Process design also happens here, this is what our engineers, technicians, engineering draftsmen and designers take care of, supported with state-of-the-art tools like CAD and 3D simulation software.

Schmitt plants distinguish themselves through flexible workmanship using all available input materials and can thus provide a long life of reliable and consistent operation.

Commissioning is done in minimal time by our very own engineers, thanks to long-standing experience with distillery technology.

Before answering questions about process engineering, parameters and commissioning, let’s first try to find a solution to the following question:

What are we even distilling?

Our plants are well suited for distilling a wide variety of raw materials.

Starchy products require an initial pre-crushing, followed by a starch hydrolysis and saccharification.

Processing molasses and sugary juices renders pre-crushing unnecessary.

More complex technology, which is not yet fully developed, is required to process raw materials with high cellulose contents. The difference to common raw materials of the first generation is the complicated and expensive hydrolysis of cellular materials in this case.

Distillation and rectification, however, follow the very same principles as with other raw materials and resources, both plant types vary only slightly.

Plant components, based on a plant for starchy raw materials

Raw material intake and storage:

Before storing raw materials, they should be assessed for quality and quantity. Depending on which raw materials are used, and how they are transported (via truck or train), unloading and further transport are adjusted.

Cleaning of raw materials:

Each kind of raw material should be properly cleaned with a suited machine before the crushing process. This is to prevent wear and tear of succeeding machines and devices, as well as eliminating bugs and pollutants, which interfere with the fermentation process and lead to unwanted byproducts inside the mash.

The cleaner the final product needs to be, the more important an efficient cleaning stage becomes.

Crushing of raw materials:

The starchy raw materials are crushed in a wet milling process. The mashing water is already added in this milling stage, the ideal mix of starch flour and water happens on the way to the mashing column. The ratio of starch to water is optimized in this stage.

Our customers are offered a choice of fully vs. partially automated plant controls.

Mashing (starch liquefaction):

Our proven, energy efficient Schmitt mashing system can handle all inputs. We only allow variations to accommodate a raw materials crushing stage and the mixing stage, where water is added. The starch is „unlocked“ without pressure and in a continuous process. The energy necessary for heating is generated through recycling heat from another part of the plant.

If a specific mashing process is required, for example when mixing malt mash for whiskey production, we can customize our mashing system to our customers‘ needs and wishes.

Yeast Cultivation:

Cultivating the yeast directly inside the plant leads to an optimized breed, which is a perfect fit for the particular plant and raw material. We start the yeast cultivation process with a pure culture yeast, which has already been optimized for usage in distilleries. Yeast reproduction then takes place in yeast tanks, manufactured specifically for this purpose. It is crucial to prevent infections of the mash, which makes a neat and correct workflow a necessity here. A cleaning solution and steam are then used to cleanse the yeast.

The pure culture is then added to fresh mash and multiplies, aided by the optimal growth conditions inside the yeast tank. The finished yeast mash mix is then slowly stirred into the sweet mash inside the fermentation tank. Part of the yeast can be re-used for the next batch.

Fermentation:

Fermentation happens inside the according fermentation tanks. Progress varies with used base materials, which is why fermentation volume must be adjusted to the raw materials.

To make sure all raw materials are fermented without losses, we exclusively use a discontinuous fermentation process.

This is another step of the workflow, in which correct operation is crucial, to minimize losses.

Distillation and rectification:

Plant design differs, based on which end product is desired, how clean and concentrated it needs to be, and how much energy is available.

Here is one of our plants as an example. See below for a selection of possible designs and end products.

Neutral alcohol to be used as:

  • Potable alcohol made in fine spirit distilleries
  • Pharmaceutical alcohol for medicinal use
  • Other technical application fields

Learn more about plants for neutral alcohol production >>

Flavored distillates made from:

  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Grains
  • Sugary juices
  • Sugarcane
  • Macerates

Learn more about flavor distillation >>


Bioethanol made from first and second generation raw materials.

Concentration is achieved through:

  • Molecular sieves
  • Membranes

Learn more about bioethanol >>