From the Highlands to the Lower Main Robust Fork Positioners for liquid gold

The use of KAUP Fork Positioners in the St. Kilian Distillery proves that they continue to function reliably even years after being put into service.

Whisk(e)y is a trend. According to the Federal Association of the German Spirits Industry, almost 80 million bottles of various qualities are sold in Germany every year. The majority of whisk(e)y consumed is produced by small and large spirits producers around the world – including in the northern part of the United Kingdom. But away from the Scottish motherland, more and more distilleries are emerging that produce high-quality whisky. One representative of this trend is the internationally award-winning St. Kilian Distillers GmbH (St. Kilian) located in Rüdenau near Miltenberg am Main. Used attachments from KAUP are in daily use here in the production process in Germany's largest distillery.

But admittedly, the hilly surroundings around St. Kilian don't exactly resemble the Scottish Highlands. However, the spicy aroma on the factory premises immediately reveals what is being produced here: first-class, traditionally produced single malt whisky according to the Scottish model. "We have original Scottish equipment and our Master Distiller is not only a trained graduate brewer and maltster, but also enjoyed insights into Scottish and Japanese distilleries," says St. Kilian Marketing Manager, Andreas Kreser. "This is the only way we can successfully produce whisky," he adds. The fact that the 'signature edition' whiskies are now commanding top prices is an indication of their success. The other varieties, which, among others, are dedicated to the acting duo Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, have also reached an increasingly broad fan base since the distillery was founded in 2016. To meet the ever-increasing demand in the D-A-CH region, the days in Rüdenau are regularly dedicated to whisky production.

And this is where KAUP attachments come into play. Together with used forklifts from Linde, fork positioners from the T466 series are on the move on the distillery premises. They transport both empty and filled barrels. Sometimes it is so narrow that the forklift and its load only just fit through. This is in stark contrast to the St. Kilian maturing warehouse, which is about eight kilometres away from the actual production site. In former NATO ammunition bunkers, all filled barrels are stored for several years so that the typical taste of the whisky, known as flavour, can develop. "Two things are decisive for this," explains the St. Kilian whisky connoisseur: "The previous life of the wooden barrels used, and the barley malt used, which comes to us either directly from Scotland or from regional Franconian origins." Therefore, whisky production needs patience. But in the end, after fermentation in open vats, double distillation in original genuine pot stills and years of maturation, we have a genuine Lower Franconian single malt whisky.

But why does St. Kilian use fork positioners for barrel transport and not attachments that would obviously be more suitable for this? Drum clamps, for example. The answer is clear. Flexibility. The T466 is optimized for visibility and load-bearing capacity and can be used to move a wide variety of transport goods. And that is frequently the case in whisky production. Sometimes it is pallets with empty barrels on their way from A to B. Other times, special racks with filled barrels. Or also containers with new bottles on the way to filling. Drum clamps would be out of place there or would have to be regularly replaced with other types of attachments. The T466 is quite different. Like a good whisky, the fork positioner has matured more and more over the years and today, thanks to its design, is in its element for these changing transport tasks. This applies to both new and used fork positioners. "Of course, we purchased the existing attachments as used equipment," says Andreas Kreser about the current T466s, "but so far there has been no reason to regret it. Rather, it is exactly what we need here." This shows that it doesn't always have to be a new machine. KAUP attachments enable the required workload to be achieved also after years of service – whether in the Scottish Highlands or on the edge of the Odenwald.


St. Kilian Distillers GmbH is an owner-managed German distillery that produces single malt whisky along Scottish lines.

Head Office: Rüdenau, Germany
Branch: Spirit industry

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