Steam & Condensate System at Virginia Distillery
- PROJECT Steam & Condensate
- PROJECT Steam & Condensate
- Built the steam and condensate system around the distillery's boiler, using their P&IDs and schematics
- Ran piping through all of the tanks and all of the heat exchangers
- Ran piping for cooling water, potable water and all other aspects of piping
- Installed valves where necessary to maintain optimal pressure throughout system
- Added structural elements to securely connect equipment and piping
- Stood by to work out issues after the distillation process has started
About this PROJECT
The Virginia Distillery is a multi-year project that will not only be the largest malt whisky distillery in the United States, but also one of the most energy efficient distilleries in the world. To craft high quality malt whisky, Virginia Distillery has imported two giant copper pot stills from the Highlands of Scotland in which to distill their product.
The overall distillation process has been kept quite simple, and in addition to the copper pot stills, utilizes a high quality water source and hands-on guidance from beginning to end. Although the process remains simple, the distillery has been built to be as energy efficient as possible. That means capturing and reusing heat where possible, repurposing byproducts from the distillation process to supply local farmers and more.
Waco was brought in initially to build the steam system around a boiler that the distillery had already purchased. Because of the success with the steam and condensate system, Waco was kept on-site to continue work on the process portion of the distillery, welding sanitary stainless steel piping and adding other mechanical elements required to ensure the system functioned correctly.
What IT TOOK TO ACHIEVE THIS PROJECT.
Unique Project Challenges
The distillery started off with the understanding that there would be no firm drawings to go from and that changes would be made along the way. Rather than submitting an estimated project cost for the job, Waco provided estimated time & materials costs, knowing that adjustments would be made as the project progressed. The Virginia Distillery brewmaster and project managers worked alongside Waco to figure out the best ways to get the job done. When the process side of the distillery was awarded to Waco, the two parties continued to work together in the same fashion to find the best solutions. Even after the buildout was complete, Waco stood by to make sure all elements of the distillery were functioning properly and to full capacity, to ensure that the final product was beyond satisfactory.
Summary of Results
With Lee Waldeck as Project Manager and Tommy Ady as Superintendent, Waco was able to take several steel and piping applications and bring them together to complete this project. The project was unique, starting with only a rough estimate of costs and resource usage and with the understanding that changes would be made throughout the process to ensure optimal implementation.
Despite the dynamic nature of the project, it was completed on time. Even after the build, Waco continues to provide support for Virginia Distillery as they work through the initial stages of production.
A Q&A with Virginia Distillery Co. Master Distiller, Andrew Shand
1. What led you to use Waco for the initial steam & condensate portion of the project?
“Waco was in the top 2 companies in the bid section. We had very good recommendations from a number of companies on the performance of Waco.”
2.What made you decide to keep Waco on for the process portion of the project?
“We had an amazing crew to work with. We like the way they took pride and ownership of the project and the way they worked with our concept and tried to improve upon it.”
3.Did you face any notable challenges during the projects while working together?
“We worked very closely as a team and talked through different options to find the best options for any issue that arose. The Waco team [was] invaluable in their support, ideas and flexibility.”
4.What specific part(s) of the project have you been most impressed with from Waco?
“Work ethic, attention to detail and ability to become part of our team.”
5.After the buildout was complete, how important is it that Waco was ready to “work out the kinks” as you started the distillation process?
“It is always handy to have a good team of fitters available to help start and expand our business.”
6.The project started without concrete plans or budgets and with the understanding that changes would be made along the way. How was it going through the project like that and how did Waco impact that process?
“We had a very good crew who became part of the team with innovation and knowledge to find solutions to help in the best design and build for our site.”
7.Would you use Waco again?
“I would ask for the same team again, They would be my No. 1 option.”
8.Is there anything else that stuck out to you about this project and working with Waco that you think is worth sharing?
“Their attention to detail and pride in what they are doing combined with a very strong work ethic. They have been a pleasure to work with. I think both parties have learned from each other.”