Precise and Safe Weighing Equipment for Distilleries

One of the critical pieces of equipment used in a distillery is a scale. High precision floor scales are needed to weigh out the ingredients before and during the manufacturing process. The partially processed high proof alcohol must also be accurately weighed as this measurement is vital in determining the correct amount of water to add to achieve the desired proof finished product. Keeping appropriate weight records is useful for TTB reporting.

Can a Distillery be a hazardous environment? There are two conditions that can become the cause of a hazardous environment. The first is a situation that occurs most commonly in a beverage based on grain. High concentrations of grain dust in the air can be quite explosive. In fact, there are many cases of explosions in silos, flour mills, and even distilleries. The other is the fairly obvious situation that there is quite a bit of alcohol around. Alcohol is volatile and flammable. Furthermore, distilleries use quite a bit of heat in the distillation process.

So the answer to the question is that a distillery certainly can be a hazardous environment. That means that appropriate steps must be taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of personnel and facilities. One of those steps includes the requirement to limit the equipment used in the hazardous area to items that have been proven to be safe to use there. The ArlynGuard Floor Scales are the perfect answer for distilleries.

The Production of Distilled Spirits

Mashing and Fermenting

The first step in the production of distilled spirits is the manufacture of beer. Meal is taken out of storage bins, weighed, charged with water, and transferred to mash tubs or pressure cookers where the mixture is cooked for several hours. Once cooked, the mash passes to cooker drop tubs and is pumped through coolers to fermenters along with thin stillage from the beer stills, water, and yeast. A fermentation period of about 72-96 hours ensues, which results in a beer with an alcohol content between 7 and 13%.


The beer is pumped through preheaters to the top of a beer still and flows over baffles in a counter current to the rising, alcohol-rich vapors from below. Vapor is collected and condensed, then either pumped to storage tanks as a “low-wine” with 40-70% alcohol content, or to steam-heated rectifying columns or doublers for further concentration into “high wines” with an alcohol content of 55 to 75%, or commercial alcohol with a 95% content.

Residue from the beer still is pumped to spent-stillage or slop tanks and sold or processed into stock feed. Many stills are steam-heated. Others involve vacuum distillation at lower temperatures. Vacuum and pressure-relief devices are usually provided, however, in some older facilities the residue discharges into the still building proper, creating an explosion hazard.

Distilled-Liquor Handling

Raw spirits from the stills are usually temporarily stored in black iron, tin-lined copper, or stainless steel tanks that hold anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand gallons in a closed receiver building or wine-tank room. Although these tanks have locked covers, sealed valves, and fittings, they may not be air tight, particularly in older facilities. This means that there may be an explosion risk due to the alcoholic vapors present in the air.

Once sampled for proof and run through quality control tests, the spirits are pumped into different tanks in the cistern room. Proof is reduced to the desired barreling strength by adding distilled water and the final product is put into barrels. Filling equipment is generally used so that valves are automatically shut off when the barrel is full. The spirits are then left to age. Once aged, they are reguaged, blended and bottled.

The Need for Accurate Measurements

Scales are as necessary to professional distillers as the meal selected for the mash. Not only are they used to follow a cherished recipe, they’re also used to help move product from one stage of production to another through pumps and valves to bottles and shipping crates.

However, just as other electrical equipment can cause a fire or explosion, so too can scales. This is why Arlyn Scales offers distilleries and other classified hazardous locations weighing equipment that is intrinsically safe for use in these environments.

Our ArlynGuard B, C, F, and P scales have one or more components that have been tested and approved to be Intrinsically Safe for use in an impressive range of hazardous locations including:

•    Intrinsically safe for use in Class I, II, III; Division I; Groups A through G
•    Non-incedive for use in Class I; Division II; Groups A through D
•    Suitable for use in Class II; Division II; Groups F & G
•    Suitable for use in Class III; Division II

Each ArlynGuard scale is equipped with one or more of:

•    Model MKE-5-IS(-C) Digital Weight Indicator System
•    Load Cell Models 620-300-IS, 620-100-IS, 620-50-IS, 620-25-IS, 620-10-IS, 520-10000L-IS, 520-5000L-IS, 520-5000IS, 520-2500-IS, 520-1250-IS, 320-500-IS and 320-250-IS

which are FM Approved components as per Approval Standard 3600, 3610, 3611 and 3810.

Our Arlyn Guard scales provide the accurate measurements you need while operating in such a way that the risk of fires and explosions is null. There are four unique models to choose from. Each has an internal resolution of one part in 500,000 and features a large digital LCD display; rugged, heat-treated, stainless steel load cells; as well as multiple unit conversions, automatic and keyboard tare, more than 100 memory locations, and net/gross capability.

Learn more about Distillery Scales for Spirits and Liquor Manufacturing

Distillery Scales for Spirits and Liquor Manufacturing Application Notes