Chiller, Boiler Replacement ‘Impresses’ at Distillery Retrofit

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A truly unique kind of vodka – one that’s growing quickly in popularity – makes its way through the distilling process flanked by Viega products along the way.

At Black Eyed Distilling Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, owners Todd Gregory and Scott Billings make BLK EYE Vodka. It’s as it sounds, a specialty vodka made with black-eyed peas and corn, sourced completely from Texas. Just a year into the business and the distillery is already winning awards.

Gregory and Billings purchased the distillery from another owner but knew that upon taking over, the building needed to be retrofitted. The basics of the plumbing were in place, but they had to replace a chiller, a boiler and add a blending tank with a cooling jacket. They also needed a new air compressor and air lines.

The duo had plumbing experience, so they planned to do much of the work themselves, which led Gregory to ask a contractor he knew, Randy Pair of O’Grady Plumbing, if he had a pipe threader they could borrow. Pair told him he had a “better deal” and put him in touch with a Viega rep.

“He showed us the fittings and had a loaner set of tools we could use to retrofit. We started using Viega and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is incredible!’” Gregory said. “It allowed us to do the retrofitting ourselves as we got the pipe in. We would install and build what we needed to do to fit the particular equipment and it was quick and easy to use the tools.” Gregory and Billings called on Pair now and then to help advise or lend a hand, making sure they were using the right types of fittings for all the different lines they were running, including ProPress for chilled water, steam, water and compressed air lines in the distillery. They also used MegaPressG for natural gas lines.

“I pointed them in the direction of Viega because I knew it would be the best choice for them,” Pair said. “Threading didn’t make any sense for them. Press is a lot cleaner and then they wouldn’t be putting oil in the system. It was just all around a better process for them.”

“If Randy had loaned me that pipe threader, we might still be working on it!” Gregory said laughing. “I don’t even know how to describe Viega. It was amazing for us.”

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