THOUGHT PIECE the carling team
International Distilling Industry Courses and Qualifications
When it comes to Whisky, the differences between it and other brews are quite notable. As a distilling industry, it is important that correct certification be obtained for the distilling process. And while there are quite a few courses available, the most notable of International Distilling Industry courses and qualification providers is the IDB (Institute of Brewing).
Remember Alcohol Distilling is regulated
In the United States, it is quite easy in some states to get a distribution license for alcohol. Yet, to obtain a distilling license, there are quite a few considerations to take into account. First, the distribution of Alcohol is regulated by the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) as well as the FAA (Federal Alcohol Administration Act), and FDA (Food and Drug Administration). In most cases, the more training an individual has in whisky and alcohol distribution and distilling methodologies, the easier obtaining licensing for manufacturing and distilling of whisky will be.
The main difference between the Certificate and the Diploma is in the amount of hours a person has spent learning a specific sector of training. Depending upon your state, certification may be sufficient. This does not supersede any Federal Laws which may require a diploma level of training. For all realistic purposes, those which are in administration should have a Masterclass of Whisky. The reason why your industry should have formal training in whisky distilling and the proper and legal methods for doing so is simply due to the fact that “do it yourself” methods and operating a still improperly could be considered moonshining. Even if you have a small company and not a large industrial plant:
“If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture-distilling” (TTB)
The Authority Factor
If you take a look at the top distilleries in the country, then you will note that they all have a high level of training and certifications in the brewing and distilling process. Apart from meeting the regulations of the local and federal government, the course training, certifications, and diplomas lead the investors in their brands to see them as an authority in the market. Consumers are more apt to buy a product from a plant which has passed comprehensive courses from accredited sources than from a small business with just a distribution and distilling permit. Take for example Jack Daniels Whisky (which is arguably one of the most noted whiskys in the United States). They are noted not only for their flavor, but for their experience and for their trained distillers such as Jeff Arnett, 7th Master Distiller.
What Courses are Available For the Whisky Distiller?
When choosing courses for Whisky Distilling, it is essential that you start at the ground level and work your way up. By this I mean that the course should cover at least:
- Mashing & Fermenting
- Distilling Processes
- Bottling and Packaging
- Raw Materials & Disposal
- Government Gauging, Reporting and Permits
- Basic Production methods
There will be variations on the names and the courses which are available, but at the core each of these sectors should be chosen. Additionally, the courses which you choose should be from an accredited source. True, a local course may be expedient for a local license, but if you ever plan on branching out, the local training may not be sufficient. The following are a list of accredited international distillery course providers:
- The American Distilling Institute
- Distillers Union
- Whisky Marketing School
- Colorado State University (B.S. in Fermentation Science and Technology)
- Cornell University (Department of Food Science)
- Whisky Ambassador Programme (Located in UK)
It would also be beneficial to the Whisky Distiller to obtain training in consumption awareness courses, as some states (Such as New York) may require you to have such training as well as offer such training to your employees.
Never Stop Your Learning
Granted, you can get the certification and the diplomas needed to become an authority-like figure in whisky distilling. However, as methods and technology do change, it would be wise to take note of these changes, even if you use an old/traditional method of distilling. Furthermore, as new methods become available, the TTB and FDA are quite apt to evolve in their requirements for training.
Ensure that you are constantly up to date by finding a Whisky Union and train in such changes on a regular basis.
The Carling Partnership offers a range of specialist jobs for a wide range of companies exclusively in the distilling drinks industry.