Distilled Spirits and Filling Machine Choices

Long after many predicted a slow to the growth of craft distilleries in the United States, more and more people are finding a niche and creating their own unique spirits. As we continue to receive requests regarding packaging equipment for craft distilleries, we thought today would be a good day to touch again on the two most popular filling machines used in this industry.

Overflow Filling Machines

An overflow filler offers distillers a fill to level system that offers great aesthetic benefits for glass and clear bottles, which are used often with distilled spirits. An overflow filler will allow each bottle to be filled to the same level even when there are small volumetric discrepancies from bottle to bottle. The unique nozzles of the overflow filler create a seal on the bottle opening before releasing product into the bottle. Once the liquid reaches a certain level, the product will "overflow" through a return nozzle and back in to the tank of the bottle filler. Distillers must keep in mind that the industry does have standards and regulations for volume, with an allowable, but slight margin of error. In most cases the interior volume of the bottles will not vary enough to fall outside of the allowable range, but there are rare cases where the manufacture of the bottle produces such a wide range of interior volumes that the overflow filler (or the bottle) may not be the best choice. A distiller will want to verify the range of volumes in their bottles before running mass production, as even with a gravity filler, discussed below, a high range of interior volumes can produce issues with packaging.

Gravity Filling Machines

Rather than a fill-to-level principle, a gravity filling machine will provide a volume based fill for distillers. In other words, the same amount of product will be released in to each bottle. If interior volumes of the bottles differ when using the gravity filler, different fill levels will be apparent in the bottles. Again, with the predominance of clear and glass bottles used in the industry, this can provide an unwelcome visual if every bottle is filled to a different level. Just like with the overflow filler, a container with small discrepancies may be OK, but clear bottles with large variances may not work well with a gravity filling machine.

Both the overflow filler and the gravity filling machine can be manufactured as tabletop, semi-automatic or fully automatic liquid fillers, allowing these machines to handle the demands for both small and large production distilleries. Liquid Packaging Solutions also manufactures rinsing equipment, capping and corking machines, power conveyor systems and a number of other pieces of equipment for the distilled spirits industry. To learn more about the filling options, or any of the packaging equipment manufactured for craft distillers, simply browse the distilled spirits page of the LPS website or call LPS and ask to speak with a Packaging Specialist today.