Global demand for Irish whiskey is continuously rising, and Irish Distillers is the largest producer of premium Irish whiskey. Since 1780, the company’s distillery in Midleton, County Cork has produced the famous Jameson brand via traditional methods and using water from the Dungourney River and the best Irish barley. Targeted optimization of the production process increased yield by 50% with no change in quality. SEEPEX BT pumps are a key part of this new solution.
The saccharification of the starch occurs in the mash tun when ground barley is mixed with water. The resulting wort is then placed in a fermenter with yeast to ferment into a low alcohol content liquid. After fermentation comes the triple distillation process inside the still. The distillate is then aged for at least three years in oak barrels before it is allowed to be called whiskey.
In the production process, large amounts of draff are pumped from the mash tun into a feed production system where it is processed into high-quality animal feed. Pneumatic conveyor systems were previously used to transport the draff in a very energy-intensive process using compressed air. Growing demand for the distillery’s whiskey necessitated increasing the number of mashing operations from 30 to 45 per week. But the conveyor system for the draff and the time required to empty the mash tun – an average 55 minutes – posed the largest problems, creating bottlenecks.
SEEPEX proposed replacing the pneumatic conveyor system with a progressive cavity pump with open hopper, based on applications developed for UK breweries and distilleries. This pump is able to reliably transfer low to highly viscous products with low or high moisture content, eliminating the frequent blockages which occur with pneumatic pumping systems.
The goal was to empty the mash tun in 25 minutes. In the past twelve months emptying the tun took an average 22 minutes using the SEEPEX pump, improving even upon the target time. The original goal of 45 mash operations per week was also achieved. Rising global demand for premium, high quality Irish whiskey can now be met without any issues or problems.