Introduction to Distilling in Practice

Please note, that we intend to start offering this course as of the Autumn 2021, watch this space for the first course dates

Who should attend?

Introduction to Distilling in Practice is a four-day course that provides a comprehensive introduction to the process and requirements of commercial distilling. It is suitable for those considering distilling as a possible career change or business opportunity.

No background knowledge of distilling is required for the course. Our aim is to provide you with a sound overview of the industry and an understanding of the disciplines required to run a commercial distilling business. We offer you the opportunity to learn about the different stages of distilling and discuss start-up issues, including financing and regulations, with experienced distillers and professionals.

How will you benefit?

Typical candidates are sales, marketing, human resources and finance personnel who would benefit from background knowledge in distilling production. The fundamentals of distillation (FD) require a basic knowledge of the processes used to produce and package the many types of distilled spirits consumed around the world.

There are many common features in the production of most distilled products and the purpose of this course is to provide a basic knowledge of the practical aspect of distillation processes for both distillery production staff and those employed in distillery (and related) industries, but not necessarily in technical roles.

This course is ideal for:

Anyone interested in taking the IBD examinations and gaining a qualification in distilling.
Individuals who are new to the spirits/distilling industry and would like to gain an understanding and insight into the commercial distilling process.
Individuals who wish to start a distillery or spirits related business and need to gain a basic and technical understanding of the commercial production of spirits.

Outline programme

  • general characteristics of the different types of products, including:
    • Whisk(e)y, Brandy, Rum, Gin and Vodka.
  • Raw materials of the main drinkable spirits
  • Fermentation theory & practice
  • Fermentation technology
  • Basics of distillation in practice
  • Distillation technique – batch and continuous
  • Specific production details for different spirits
  • Maturation and blending
  • Packaging
  • Quality management systems
  • Health and Safety
  • Distillation and the environment

This qualification involves formative assessment where candidates must:

Successfully complete:

  • A multiple choice task of 50 questions

Please note: the “Introduction to Distilling in Practice course, covers the practical aspect for the IBD Fundamentals in Distiling qualification.

Included in the course price are: – The study material as well as the raw materials to be used in the practical approach to the course

Required prior learning for the course: – no prior knowledge is required&nbsp;<em>(if you are not sure, contact us, so that we can help you choose the course level according to your needs and objectives).

Guided learning hours: – It is recommended that a candidate should allocate at least 50 hours of study. This is a NQF / IQF Level 2 course

Learning outcomes – at the end of this course, the candidate should be able to:

  • Show a general knowledge of the different types of potable distilled spirits and their characteristics and the methods of production which differentiate them
  • A familiarity with principal stages of the distilling processes
  • A basic understanding of the technical terms used in distilling
  • A basic knowledge of the raw materials of the principal potable spirits
  • Processing of cereals, grapes and sugar cane for production of fermentable sugars
  • Familiarity with typical fermentation installations
  • An understanding of how fermentations are controlled
  • A familiarity with the theory of distillation
  • An understanding of the basic concepts of batch and continuous distillation
  • An appreciation of the role of copper
  • Familiarity with typical batch (pot) and continuous distillation installations
  • An understanding of how distillations are controlled to produce correct product specification
  • An appreciation of the design and operation of continuous stills for Neutral Spirit (NS) production
  • An basic understanding of some specific production details for:
    • Malt and Grain Whiskies
    • Brandy
    • Rum
    • Gin and Vodka
  • An understanding of the role of storage in wooden casks
  • An understanding of the need to “finish” spirit flavour and the use of flavourings, if permitted
  • An awareness of the impact of distillation processes on the environment
  • An awareness of practices to reduce environmental impact

Progression Routes – Upon successful completion of the “Introduction to Distilling in Practice” course and the IBD Certificate in the Fundamentals of Distilling, the candidate may progress to the following qualifications: 

Craft Distilling in Practice: – the course builds on the knowledge gained in the Introduction to Distilling course, but then focuses on a specific style of distilled product which will depend on the type of fruit or other raw material available at the time of the course.

General Certificate in Distilling:The General Certificate in Distilling gives international recognition of the basic, under-pinning scientific knowledge and understanding in the principles of distilling operations

Diploma in Distilling:The Diploma in Distilling examination is a measure of the candidate’s theoretical knowledge of distilling science and technology. The objective of the Diploma in Distilling is to give international recognition of comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the principles of distilling science and technology

Please note: if you are interested in any of the IBD courses and qualifications, you will need to register directly with the IBD on the following website:

You will however, be able to choose where you sit the examination and we are a centre for the IBD examinations

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