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How Do I Handle Re-Distillation?

In some cases, one might re-distill liquid multiple times in order to achieve the proof or quality needed for their product.  This isn't necessarily limited to spirits production either, one could have a process where they double or triple dry hop a beer or we might have multiple flavoring steps for cider or kombucha.

The question ultimately rises, how should I handle this in Orchestrated?

There are generally two ways to handle these multiple processes in Orchestrated:

  1. Treat it as an additional step in the process. For example, one could have "Distillation" and "Second Distillation" steps, or "Distilled" vs "Distilled - 2".  If this is required for TTB/reporting purposes then breaking these out into multiple steps would be required.  
  2. If it's not required then you may consider keeping the re-distillation step out and combine multiple steps in one (e.g. “Distillation” step actually encompasses 3 distillation steps and is recorded when the third one is completed).

More in depth:

Perhaps those two options are a bit too simplified.  How can you better determine which option to choose?  Consider the following:

  • Time between steps - if product will stay in one of the stages for days, you may decide to split (option #1) in order to track this better.  On the other hand, if you process a second or third distillation on the same day, there may be no need to split and you could choose option #2.
  • Loss of liquid between steps - do you need to be able to track liquid lost between steps?  This could be for either reporting requirements or just efficiency tracking.
  • Tracking requirements/interest - even if liquid isn't lost, perhaps you still wish to be able to track transfers from one stage to another?  For example, being able to see what stage a product is in at the end of the month or for tracking/counting purposes. 
  • Accounting - if these multi-level steps require separate tracking from a GL perspective, we may need to split these off to separate steps as well.
  • The number of steps already in the process - perhaps lowest on the list of priorities but still worth considering if you're on the fence, consider how many steps are already in your process.  For most users, the struggle is to keep the number of steps limited since each one requires a Production Order (PdO) to be processed.  If you have 4 stages from first PdO to the last (wort, green beer, bright beer, packaging) then adding one or two more may not be too bad.  If you have 9 already from first to last stage, then there may be more of an interest in not adding additional steps (and perhaps reviewing if you can consolidate the ones already there!).   

Final Thought:

Keep in mind that every step in your process requires a PdO to be processed.  Generally speaking, we are looking to process with the fewest number of steps in order to minimize mistakes and simplify processing overall.

If you're still on the fence or not quite sure if it makes sense to split out steps, our suggestion is to keep it simple.  If all the scenarios above do not result in "yes, we must split these into multiple steps" then you likely should side with simplicity and choose option #2 above.  In the future, if it's determined that there is a need to split out steps then you can easily create the new steps and adjust the Bill of Materials (BOMs) accordingly. 

It is much easier to start simple and build if/when needed rather than to start with something more complex and try to reduce it later.

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