In archery, success is defined by hitting the 10 consistently. The quality of marksmanship depends on the archer being able to hit that 10 over and over again. An occasional 10 is not good enough, because it means he or she is inconsistent. Inconsistency, therefor, equals lack of quality. Quality can only be achieved when results are (at least) consistent.
This is true in archery and it is true in distilling as well. Craft distillers might look suspicious at the whiskies of Jim Beam or Jack Daniel's, but at least their spirits and flavor profiles are consistent. At least one very important prerequisite for quality is met.
Most craft distillers struggle to make their whiskey in a consistent manner, and unfortunately that directly translates into a lack of quality. If you can't hit your target, your goal, your flavor, your spirits are simply "off". Even though you might hit bull's eye every now and then, what are you going to do? Sell different quality bottles or barrels at different prices? That's not how you make up for screwing up!
Sorry for the harsh words in the above paragraph, but I feel we need to use them, quite simply because "craft" as in "craft distilling" has become an excuse to mediocracy at best on too many occasions
I have tasted whiskies, from the same craft distiller, that were all over the place. When he asked for my feedback, and after I shared the inconsistencies I noted, he said: "Yeah, but it is craft man, and craft means it's different all the time. That's the story, that's why craft is so interesting!" Just so you understand me correctly: I notice inconsistencies with many craft distilled products, and I think it sucks.
I call BS on "craft" heralding "inconsistency" as part of "the story", and this time I don't even feel the need to say sorry. Here is why: if "craft" equals "inconsistency", then "craft" equals "lack of quality". It is that simple. And if we accept that as a guiding principle, it signals a disastrous future for the craft distilling industry as a whole.
Here is why: with low quality spirts being sold at premium quality prices, the craft distilling industry is never going to compete with Big Alcohol.
The solution is simple. Instead of listening to the romance, start listening to me. All of you start-ups, that so often live under the spell of copper traditionalism: pull your heads out of your asses and realize you are starting a business instead of a pipe-dream.
For the last decade, I have invested every hour of my life to disprove the bogus stories, to replace distilled fiction by distilled fact, and to find out how distilling really works. The few remaining hours were spent on sharing that knowledge with you, often via this very iStill Blog.
Over the last seven years my staff and I here at iStill have worked rigorously to design and produce innovative distillation equipment, that gives the craft distiller total control over the spirit and flavor production processes. To give to the craft distiller that what lacked: the ability to produce quality spirits consistently.
Why? So you can hit your quality targets all the time! Why? Because it is the only way in which you can build a successful business. Why? Because consistency shows that you mastered the craft and deserve the title "craft distiller". Why? Because only craft distillers producing premium quality spirits at premium prices can take the battle to Big Alcohol.
Hitting flavor targets consistently equals spirit quality ...