Distillation is an age-old technology for dissecting liquid mixtures into their constituent parts by heating, vaporizing and condensing back down into liquid form. Distillation relies on different compounds’ boiling points to extract alcohol from other less volatile components in a mixture – thus making alcoholic beverages easy to distinguish from water and less-volatile components of mixtures.
Breweries and wineries have typically employed traditional means for deacoholizing their final product – either adding water to lower its alcohol levels, or using heat to evaporate out any lingering volatile aromatic compounds – but now there’s another, gentler approach: vacuum distillation.
Vacuuming allows distillation at lower temperatures, saving energy while protecting delicate aromas that may otherwise be altered by high heat exposure.
Vacuum distillation allows for the separation of Methanol (CH3OH) from Ethanol (ethanol) and other aromatic molecules found in vapor. Methanol can be harmful and lead to blindness if consumed, so it is essential that this toxic gas be removed during distillation for disposal as waste.
Though vacuum distillation technology is still relatively young, initial results look promising. Breweries and wineries may utilize it to produce alcohols with higher purity levels that could provide consumers with unique offerings that set themselves apart from competitors.