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Syllabus

Some elements of Spirit Institute Puget Sound’s curriculum for Craft Distillation: Art & Science, Commerce & Compliance have been emulated by other shortcourses, for which we are very flattered.

Authored by master distiller Rusty Figgins, the workshop’s running order and lectured content are in fact the basis of a time-tested, copyrighted syllabus. Mr Figgins attracts students from all over the nation and internationally because of his authoritative style, his use of world-class equipment and methodologies, his standing amongst his peers and his access to industry leaders. 

Accept no imitations! Insist on the best, most complete and comprehensive craft distilling curriculum! The SIPS Class curriculum, presented and expanded since 2008, is now undergoing preparations for its 29th session, and is currently in its twelfth year of being offered!  

Over 450 participants have received the Craft Distilling Certificate offered by SIPS, a brilliant and resourceful first step toward establishing their commercial craft distillery.  

Craft Distillation:

Art & Science, Commerce & Compliance

MONDAY

9:00 am - 10:30 am: INTRODUCTION to DISTILLING

presented by Rusty Figgins

Tour of XO Alambic (the Walla Walla area’s newest distillery!)

Classmate Introductions

Welcome to a New Industry

History of Distilling

Distillation as an Art

Distillation as a Science

Distillation as a Highly Regulated Privilege

10:45 pm - 12:00 pm: DISTILLATION ENGINEERING

presented by Rusty Figgins

Methods of Heating

Reflux and Condensation

The Pot Still

The Column Still

The Pot-Column Hybrid Still

The Continuous, Patent or Coffey Still

Copper and Stainless Steel, Compared and Contrasted

12:00 pm Lunch

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm: BREWING CONSIDERATIONS for DISTILLERS

presentation by Teri Fahrendorf of Country Malt / Great Western Malting

Malt Selection

Grain Selection

Adjunct Selection

Yeast Selection

Brewing for Vodka Production

Brewing for Whisky Production

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: FERMENTATION FUNDAMENTALS

presented by Rusty Figgins

Grain and Malt Fermentation

Tuber Fermentation

Fruit Fermentation

Molasses and Cane Juice Fermentation

Honey, Sorghum and Agave Syrup Fermentation

Yeast, Yeast Nutrition, Enzymes and Oxygen Supply

3:15 pm to 5:00 pm: PUMPS, HOSES and FITTINGS (NEW!)

presented by Rusty Figgins

Choosing a Spirits Pump (one that does it all!)

Choosing Hoses

The Ultimate in Beverage Transfer Fittings

TUESDAY

9:00 am - 10:45 am: GAUGING of SPIRITS

presentation by Jay Skovbjerg of Anton Paar

Weight, Volume and Temperature Method

Hydrometry Method

Densitometry Method

Gas-Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry Method

10:45 am - 11:15 am: PACKAGING for DISTILLED SPIRITS

presented by Rusty Figgins with Advanced Labels NorthWest material

11:15 am - 12:00 pm: FUNDAMENTALS of FILTER SELECTION for CRAFT DISTILLERS

presented by Rusty Figgins with additional material from Millipore

Activated Carbon Filtration

Membrane Filtration

Plate & Frame Filtration

12:00 pm Lunch

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm: DISTILLATION FUNDAMENTALS

presented by Rusty Figgins

Vodka and Flavoured Vodka

Gin and Genever

Rum and Cachaça

Tequila and Mescal

Whisky and Whiskey

Brandy and Eau-de-Vie

Liqueurs and Cordials

3:15 pm - 5:00 pm MATURATION FUNDAMENTALS

presented by Rusty Figgins

Barrel Construction

Barrel Selection

Barrel Care

Maturing Spirits in Barrels

Innovations in Accelerated Spirits Maturation (NEW!)

7:00 pm: NO-HOST SOCIAL

Fiesta en Jalisco, 400 W Main St, Dayton

"Is it Whiskey or Whisky?" ~ a world whiskey tutorial ~ $10 for four guided samples

THURSDAY

9:00 am - 12:00 am: BUSINESS of DISTILLING I

presented by Todd Buckley

Social Media Marketing for Craft Distilleries

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm: BUSINESS of DISTILLING II

presented by Rusty Figgins

Creative Approaches to Fundraising for Craft Distillers

The Craft Distillery Business Plan

Spirits Sales, Marketing and Distribution

7:00 pm: NO-HOST SPIRITS TASTING

Fraternal Order of Eagles, 214 E Main St, Dayton

"Stump the Chump" ~ $10 for five samples of barrel-aged spirits, tasted 'blind' and debated for class/type; extra credit for country and producer

FRIDAY

9:00 am - 11:00 pm: DISTILLATION in PRACTICE I

presented by Rusty Figgins

Explanation of Distillation Equipment

Heating and Cooling Essentials

Health and Safety Considerations

Still Construction ~ Kettle, Columns, Condenser et cetera

Charging the Still

Applying Steam Heat

11:00 - 12:00 pm: STEAM HEAT for CRAFT DISTILLERS

presented by Howard Levens of Northwest Industrial

12:00 pm: Lunch

12:30 pm: DISTILLATION in PRACTICE II

presented by Rusty Figgins

Actual Distillation Demonstration

Heads, or Foreshots

Hearts, or Body Spirits

Tails, or Feints

Final Gauging and Record-Keeping

Sanitizing the Still

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm: CLOSING REMARKS ~ ANNOUNCEMENTS

Go Forth with Great Spirit!

Conferration of Awards

Workshop Adjourns

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