Infographic of spirit distilling process

3M filtration for distilleries

Premium spirits – brandy, whiskey, vodka and others – require premium particle & haze control. 3M filtration products are designed to help distillers bring out the best flavors, colors and clarity while reducing waste and loss.

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That’s the spirit!

From the purest single malt whiskey to a perfectly curated brandy, many spirits are aged for decades. Spirits typically have much higher value by volume than any other beverage, so reducing waste within the distilling process is of the utmost importance. Fully enclosed depth filters can help with reducing loss, as can using high solid loading filter cartridges with superior throughput performance.


The distilling process for spirits

Here’s an example of where filtration can enhance your distilling process.

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Barrell char removal

It’s vital to include char removal and particulate reduction in your process to ensure a cleaner spirit.

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Chill haze and clarification

The same barrels that impart great taste to spirits can also be responsible for a hazy appearance.

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Final filtration

The final filtration helps ensure that the clarity and longevity of the spirit succeeds over time.

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Applications for distilled spirits

Distilleries around the world use 3M filtration because of performance, convenience and quality. 3M systems help to deliver economical answers, easy-to-use products and solutions for consistent operations.

Barrel char removal
  • Contaminants can detract from the appearance, taste and perceived value of the finished product. Many spirits, most commonly whiskey, are matured in a barrel which is charred on the inside. This helps maturation as the carbon created from the ash acts as a filter for the harsher elements of the spirit, creating important flavor compounds such as vanillin, tannins and spices.
  • Charring and the maturation stage can lead to visible particulates in the spirit, so it is vital to include char removal/particulate reduction in your process to ensure a cleaner spirit.

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Chill haze control
  • The same barrels that impart a great taste to whiskey, brandy and rum can also be responsible for a hazy appearance. Our lenticular-style depth filter cartridge, 3M™ Zeta Plus™ series, provides turbidity reduction by removing suspended long-chain fatty acids that can give spirits a hazy appearance at lower temperatures. The totally enclosed system also helps to eliminate spirit leakage, reducing alcohol fume emission.
  • For those difficult-to-filter spirits, the 3M™ High Flow series filter can act as a prefilter, protecting and extending the service life of downstream filters.

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Final filtration
  • Your finely distilled spirit is a product of history, tradition and pride – with years often dedicated to the aging process. Before being bottled, spirits must run through a final filtration process to ensure that the clarity and longevity of the spirit succeeds over time, whether it be it months, years or decades after bottling. The bottles must also be rinsed with particle-free water prior to filling to avoid contamination.

Featured products for Chill Haze and Clarification

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Additional resources for distilled spirits

Need more information on filtration? See more 3M resources for your distillation process.

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