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Automating 40% of Clonakilty distillery processes and improving traceability

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Automating 40% of Clonakilty distillery processes and improving traceability

quotation marks
Tali Kauffmann
Product Marketer at Opvia
7 minute read

Clonakilty Distillery is a family-owned operation based on the scenic coast of Ireland. Founded in 2019 by the Scully family, it uses its unique maritime climate to produce distinctive whiskies and gins. Quickly establishing a great reputation, Clonakilty's award-winning spirits are now enjoyed across Europe and America.

Sector: Whiskey & Gin Distillery

Industry: Food & Beverage

Location: Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland

Company size: <50

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Clonakilty Distillery's production process

1. Barley

The process begins with careful selection of high-quality barley, making sure that the grain meets the distillery's exact standards for flavour and purity.

2. Fermentation & distillation

The barley mash is fermented for over 100 hours, much longer than is typically done in the industry. This allows for the development of incredibly rich and natural flavours.

After fermentation, the liquid is triple-distilled using long-necked stills, refining the spirit to a smooth, high-quality whiskey. Following distillation, the spirit is then diluted with pure spring water sourced from Clonakilty's own deep well to achieve the precise concentration for maturation.

3. Maturation

The whiskey is aged in casks within Clonakilty's coastal warehouse. This kind of exposure to the Atlantic Ocean's maritime air uniquely influences the flavour, infusing the whiskey with subtle saline and briny notes.

4. Bottling

Post maturation, the whiskey is adjusted to bottling strength gradually over a minimum of two days to make sure that the flavours are well-integrated.

All the bottling is done on-site to maintain high quality control and maintain the authenticity of the whiskey from barrel all the way to bottle.

You can read in more detail about Clonakilty's process and story here.

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Challenges

Clonakilty Distillery faced a series of operational challenges with its previous system that affected both their overall efficiency and traceability. The distillery relied heavily on paper forms and manual data entry. As a family-owned distillery they experienced difficulties managing their production processes across different sites and products. This resulted in inefficient record-keeping, making it tricky to trace specific batches or identify the contents of casks as staff had to sift through numerous forms. Often, data had to be transferred from paper to spreadsheets, processes like these are often prone to errors and inefficiencies.

Traceability difficulties

✘ Heavy reliance on paper-based forms

✘ Struggling to trace specific batches

✘ Higher chances of human error

Inefficient data management

✘ Inability to easily determine the contents of each cask

✘ Difficulty locating specific bottling details due to manual record searches

Solutions

Use case 1: Electronic Batch Records (EBR)

With Opvia's EBR, distillers now use digital templates for step-by-step guidance, while real-time quality checks enable immediate corrections. Automated documentation ensures that batch data is properly stored, reducing waste, errors, and maintaining consistent product quality throughout production.

Digital templates: distillers use templates to run through each production step.

Quality checks integration: Real-time QA checks for immediate corrections.

Automated documentation: Digital storage of batch data, from the specific casks used to the final bottling.

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Use case 2: Inventory Management System

Clonakilty Distillery's integrated bottling and packaging system streamlines production by linking each batch to specific packaging materials, ensuring accurate allocation. Automated stock deduction minimises errors and saves time, while real-time inventory tracking enables proactive management for optimal stock levels and replenishment.

Real-time inventory tracking: monitoring stock levels, from raw materials in casks to packaging supplies.

Automated material deduction: automatically adjusts packaging stock as products are bottled.

Integrated bottling & packaging: each product is linked in a cask to specific packaging materials

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Use case 3: quality management system & document control

Opvia's QMS digitises records for immediate tracking, enables mobile data entry, and provides enhanced analytics for quality trends. This enables improved collaboration, time-saving automated workflows, and better quality control.

Audit readiness: easily auditable, accessible & organised documents.

Document management: Centralised digital platform for managing quality documents, procedures & compliance records.

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Want to learn more?

Download the full case study PDF to read Clonakilty Distillery upgrade story.

Automating 40% of Clonakilty's Distillery Process & Improving Traceability
Automating 40% of Clonakilty's Distillery Process & Improving Traceability

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