Engineered For Your Success

Stillage dewatering
in the beverage industry

Sustainable and efficient dewatering of stillage from distilled spirits production

Industrial centrifuges for stillage processing

In the manufacture of distilled spirits, stillage refers to the residue remaining after fermentation and distillation of mash or other substances. The stillage usually contains water, solids, unfermented residues and other organic components. These solids can be separated using mechanical separation technology, concentrated and thus optimally pre-dewatered before thermal drying.

In addition, separation technology can be used to recover the solids content, but the volume can also be drastically reduced, so that costs for transport and, if necessary, disposal are significantly reduced.

Optimize the dewatering of stillage in the liquor industry with Flottweg

How does the stillage dewatering process work in the alcoholic industry?

The process of dewatering stillage after the distillation process is complex and poses various challenges. Flottweg specializes in the processing and dewatering of stillage in the alcoholic beverage industry and offers solutions for efficient stillage separation



After distillation of the alcohol and aromas, the fermented mash residue (the so-called stillage) remains in the still. 



The solids that remain after the first separation form a cake. 



The clarification of the thin stillage can take place in a second, optional step. This reduces any remaining fine solids for downstream processes. The recovered fine solids can be recycled as a value-added product. 



Depending on the remaining solids concentration and the clarification requirement, separators can be used again for the highest clarification of the thin stillage. 

Our centrifuges for dewatering stillage:

Mezcal – Tequila stillage processing

Mezcal is distilled from fermented agave, which is why any agave-based liquor is referred to as Mezcal. A special form is tequila, which is made exclusively from blue agave. The agave are usually cooked or roasted in order to obtain the juice for further fermentation. The manufacturing process is characterized by fermentation of the pure agave juice and the separation of the plant fibers and pulp. This waste is also called bagasse. The vinasse, as the stillage from Mezcal production is called, remains after distillation. Due to the increased production and vinasse volumes, a reduction in disposal volumes is an important issue in the industry. 

Flottweg uses Sedicanters®, or separators as required to achieve the best possible purification even with fine solid sediment. 

On an industrial scale, pure agave juice is also used as a starting product. Flottweg can also assist with the purification of the agave juice, thus improving the quality and process stability in the further fermentation and distillation process

Example of a production process for the production of tequila Example of a production process for the production of tequila

Processing of Rum stillage

In industrial-scale Rum production, fermented sugar - typically molasses or sugar cane juice - is fermented and distilled. The characteristic rum taste is created by adding a part of the stillage to the wash – also known as dunder. Here, Flottweg can achieve great results in the handling of the dunder after the fermenter. 

With the help of a Flotttweg decanter, Sedicanter® or separators, the quality and yield of the fermented wash can be improved and the solids load of the wastewater can be significantly reduced

Pure molasses is also used as a primary product in large-scale industrial production. Flottweg can also assist with the purification of raw molasses, thus improving quality and process stability in the subsequent fermentation and distillation process. 

Example of a production process for making rum Example of a production process for making rum

Processing of Whiskey stillage

The amber-colored liquor made from fermented grain is matured in wooden barrels and is given its own character by the type of barrel, maturing time, and the distillation process used.  

A Flottweg decanter can be used to process thick stillage and thus produce a wet cake of 34-42 percent solids (by weight). In a second, optional step, the thin stillage can be purified using a Flottweg Sedicanter® or separator to significantly remove any remaining fine solids. The solids are thus prepared for further utilization (animal feed, protein, nutrient source, fuel), and the water content is drastically reduced. Depending on the type of whiskey, raw material and mash recipe, Flottweg can draw on extensive process knowledge and select the optimum centrifuge set-up for the respective requirements of the distillery. 

Sustainable process efficiency with the goal of zero emissions is becoming increasingly important in the whiskey industry and will be the goal for the coming years.  

Value-added products created through upcycling represent further opportunities to increase the profitability of distilleries, solve environmental problems, and reduce the CO₂ footprint. 

Grain whiskey, for example, which is mostly made from corn, provides corn oil as a valuable by-product in addition to the classic stillage. The Flottweg Tricanter® enables a continuous three-phase separation, in which corn oil is extracted from the concentrated thin stillage (CDS). 

Example of a production process for making whiskey Example of a production process for making whiskey

Processing of stillage from other alcohols: Brandy, Gin, Vodka/Neutral Alcohol

Brandy and fruit-based distillates

Cognac, Calvados, Pisco - all these fruit-based distillates are representatives of these liquors. The alcohol can be made from fermented juice or from mash with a high fruit content. Depending on the region and the availability of sugar-rich fruit, fruit-based liquors are also commonly made from apricots, pears, or peaches. Depending on the season and harvest, the different distilleries generally use a variety of raw materials over the production year, which necessitates flexible processing so that the resulting fruit stillages can all be produced on the same production line. Thanks to the adjustable impeller, Flottweg decanters can be optimally adapted to fluctuating and changing production conditions.

Optimal results can be achieved here even without downstream thermal drying, facilitating its use as cattle feed or organic fertilizer. 


Gin is a liquor based on neutral alcohol that is flavored with herbs and spices and distilled a second time.  

Botanical solids, in particular juniper, coriander, and rosemary, remain after the cold extraction or maceration process. The herbs and spices are usually finely ground to enhance the flavor and infusion. Flottweg also offers an optimal decanter solution for fine stillage sediment which is also suitable and applicable in small craft distilleries.

Vodka/Neutral alcohol (ENA)

Vodka is a colorless and clear liquor, typically with an almost neutral taste. Vodka is made from grain or potatoes. It is characterized by distillation in rectification columns with subsequent filtering to ensure maximum purity of the distillate

In a continuous process such as the distillation of Vodka or neutral alcohol, process reliability is essential from the production of the alcohol to the utilization of the stillage

Wheat in particular, as a raw material for vodka production, places the highest demands on the separation process when processing the stillage. Flottweg offers top-quality centrifuges featuring robust construction and high reliability that meet the needs of distilleries worldwide. 

Your advantages when dewatering stillage:

Highest throughput

Economic efficiency and cost reduction now play an important role in distilleries of all sizes. Compared to the thermal dewatering of stillage, the use of centrifuges can save time and money.

There is also a reduction in disposal and wastewater treatment costs.


The process of turning waste into reusable material makes it possible to act sustainably. The resulting by-products (spent grains/pot ale) can be further utilized following dewatering.

Large quantities of marketable feed are produced thanks to a high total solids separation rate of up to 98%.

Quality and hygiene

Flottweg knows the challenges its customers face and ensures optimal product quality by using high-quality materials. If required, Flottweg also offers a cleaning concept that includes integrated hygienic cleaning.

High g forces

Flottweg centrifuges ensure the best dewatering results thanks to their high g forces: Forces of up to 4,622 g are possible. 

Continuous and automatic operation

Is it necessary to operate 24/7 without supervision? Flottweg centrifuges run autonomously and thus help to increase productivity. 

Low space requirement

Space requirements often play an important role. Flottweg offers compact machines that allow efficient use of space and can be optimally integrated into existing plant.


Are you interested in Flottweg centrifuges for dewatering stillage? Would you like to know more?

Get in touch with our stillage experts!

  To the contact form   +1 859 448 2300   Contacts worldwide