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Forsyths - Still Masters of Choice

Updated: Mar 5

Glenfiddich distillery still hall

Image by Club Oenologique

For many whisky nerds, the name Forsyths might be self-evident. But it might be an unknown for those entering the world of whisky or starting to build up an interest in trivia, history, and specifics of making whisky.

When associated with whisky, the name is usually attached to the word 'pot still'. Even though the Forsyths steel, brass, and coppersmith company also makes equipment for the gas and oil industry, to many distillers, they have become the famous makers of stills of choice.


The Company

Alexander Forsyth copper worker

Image by Forsyth - Alexander Forsyth circled

The company called Morayshire Copper & Brass Works was established in 1890 in Rothes, Scotland. It was owned by Robert Willison, who employed one Alexander Forsyth as brass and coppersmith. When Willison retired in 1933, Alexander took over the company and established A. Forsyth & Sons with his son Ernest. In the 1970s, the company name was shortened to Forsyths. Today, the fourth generation Richard Ernest Forsyth still oversees the operation.

Forsyths logo

Over the years, Forsyths has reinvented itself. After the Second World War, they introduced new welding techniques that replaced riveting, a common practice at the time. The company concentrated on making stills and condensers until the whisky industry fell under hard times in the 1980s. They expanded their expertise in the gas, oil, paper, and pharmaceutical industries by learning to work with carbon and stainless steel to survive. They have also acquired expertise working with titanium and super duplex in recent years.

With the new whisky boom, the company has become busier and more popular than ever. Even though they are known for their skills in making all types of stills with great craftsmanship, Forsyths also makes mash tuns, spirit safes, fermenters, spare parts, and condensers, just to name a few. They have become famous for the quality of work, and for many producers throughout the distilling industry, acquiring a Forsyths still is a must.

Jump into the official Forsyths website for more information and inquiries.


Why Forsyths?

There are multiple companies manufacturing stills and other distilling equipment, so why are many distillers around the world turning to Forsyths for their distilling needs? All of their stills are handcrafted and proven to produce high-quality spirits. It is this guarantee that drives distillers to choose Forsyths over other manufacturers. And, of course, these days, reputation precedes them.

Working on a copper pot still Forsyth's

Image by Forsyths/ WordPress

Copper (melting point 1,085 degrees Celsius) is used for stills because of its ability to conduct heat and remove sulphurs from the resulting spirit. Sulphur is introduced to the still from the yeast used for fermenting. During the distillation process, hydrogen sulphide forms inside the still, which, in turn, forms copper sulphate that sticks into the walls of the still. Proper cleaning between the spirit runs can remove the remaining impurities in a copper still. When a still is made from stainless steel, these impurities stay in the spirit. For many, to choose copper is to produce a 'cleaner' result that tastes better.

nugget of copper

The lifespan of copper is still around 25 to 30 years, but some parts may need to be replaced over time. A disadvantage of using copper is its ability to erode. This erosion is sometimes referred to as 'sacrificial copper'. When a still is made, the walls are around 3-4mm, but over time, this will diminish. It's the price to pay for distilling with copper.

Forsyths are known for their ability to customise stills that vary in charge capacity from 50L to 25,000L. Many distilleries also believe that bumps still affect the taste of the spirit produced. Forsyths can manufacture new stills as replicas of the ones being replaced - bumps and all. Unfortunately, great craftsmanship also comes with a hefty price. Not to mention that a lot of copper is needed to make a single piece.

Traditional craftsmanship, diversity, and adjustability to personalise stills according to the customers' needs make distillers around the world choose Forsyths. Even though Forsyths is known for its work in the whisky world, it has also become popular in producing other spirits. Their pot stills can be admired at the Glenfiddich malt whisky distillery in Scotland, the Patron tequila distillery in Mexico, the Woodford Reserve Bourbon distillery in Kentucky, the Yamazaki malt distillery in Japan, and the Appleton Estate Rum distillery in Jamaica, just to name a few.

Scotland whisky distilleries with Forsyths stills

World whisky distilleries with Forsyths stills

Spirit distilleries with Forsyths stills

Images by Forsyths/ The Whisky Ardvark


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