How A Moonshine Distiller Found The Right Supplier

By Kinnek Community  |  April 21, 2017

After a bottle filler purchase from a random Google search went awry, Ben Murphy of Murphy’s Law Distillery landed a new supplier & machine that allowed his business to grow sizably within a year -- even reaching international markets. How do you choose the best supplier? What can go wrong? Is moonshine even legal?


“It was a faulty filler, a piece of junk,” Ben said.

Months later, as he looked out across the palettes stacked up in his warehouse, Ben Murphy of Murphy’s Law Distillery in Canada would remember that distant afternoon when he and his brother drove to Toronto.

They had been seeking a bottle filler. Their purchase ended up being an unsound machine, forcing them to stop production. How did this craft moonshine distillery turn things around to find the ideal supplier?


Bringing White Lightning Indoors

Ben first opened Canada’s first moonshine-only craft distillery a year and a half ago. Moonshine -- also known as white liquor, white lightning, hooch, homebrew, white whiskey -- got its name from merchants who would illegally take to the backwoods at night and craft it beneath the light of the moon. Nowadays, legal production is definitely on the rise in the beverage industry. But moonshine will always carry a slightly illicit connotation.

Ben was drawn to moonshine’s rebellious undertones. He liked the idea of moving moonshine “indoors” from the backwoods. “I wanted to cook it up on a kitchen burner with neat new recipes,” he said. He bottles his moonshine in mason jars as an homage to moonshine's homemade history.

After first learning the ins and outs of distilling moonshine while living in the Southern U.S., Ben founded Murphy’s Law in Elmira, Ontario. A month and a half into business, Ben needed a bottle filler. His purchasing quest happened through a simple Google search -- “bottle fillers Ontario.” He bought a single-nozzle filler at a decent price from a seller in downtown Toronto that seemed reputable. “Everything looked legit,” he said.


A Production Nightmare: Bottle Filling Gone Wrong

However, when production began, the machine wasn't putting the right amount of liquid in each bottle. Ben quickly saw that the bottle filler wasn’t able to fill properly based on the viscosity of his product. It would warm up and process the fluid faster, creating significant quantity errors. “We were losing a ton of product, failing lab exams, and failing quality assurance,” Ben stated. Basically, a production nightmare.

Ben realized that he couldn’t use just any old filler -- he needed to find a machine that could accommodate for the nuances of distilling and for moonshine’s variable viscosity. In his first pass, he had made too broad of a search, not realizing that he needed a more specialized product. He had also made a decision without researching industry reputations or gathering feedback from other businesses. Supplier quality assurance was a factor he hadn’t taken into account.

Murphy’s Law was way behind in production and needed to reinstate a new plan.


Murphy’s Law Gets The Shine Back in Its Moon

Googling recommenced, this time in a more scrupulous manner. Ben found Kinnek and used it to refine his search for a bottle filler that would be suitable for distilling specifically. “Kinnek was the best thing ever, because it compares and collects quotes together, telling you which pieces are similar and who is jacking the price up and who isn’t.”

He also realized that if he invested enough money up front for a larger filler, he could acquire equipment that would last longer. When he got his quotes back, Ben talked to some suppliers by phone. He was happiest with XPressFill. Their product was in a medium price range, they took the time to really explain things, and they were willing to accommodate him right away. XPressFill also had a great rating on Kinnek, bolstering Ben’s confidence about the purchase.

“Our units are designed for the smaller producer, artisan, craftsman, or someone just getting started, regardless of the industry. They have to be simple to use and efficient at the same time. That’s the design criteria,” Rod Silver at XPressFill informed us. XPressFill is a U.S.-based  company with a team of 5 people that prides itself on its custom bottle filling machines and excellent customer service.

Rod added: “We’re located in San Luis Obispo, California, which is known as the happiest city in the U.S., so naturally that filters into our products.”


Not Your Average Apple Pie

Ben chose a 4-nozzle filler from XPressFill that allowed him to fill 8 bottles per minute, yielding hundreds of bottles per day. XPressFill then tested the machine with water to ensure that it would fill consistently within 1 ml.

Including testing and shipping, Ben received his filler in two short weeks. Ben and his brother Sullivan started production within an hour of the machine’s arrival and were able to produce upwards of 840 bottles that day without any trouble, consistently filling their mason jars at the level they wanted.

Within the first 3 months of purchase, Ben had palette loads shipping to Alberta and British Columbia in Eastern Canada. They now produce ten moonshines: Apple Pie, Peach Pie, White Lightin', cherry bomb, candy cane, caramel, Moondance, maple, firewater and sweet tea.

The Apple Pie Moonshine won the New York International Spirit Competition bronze medal, and Murphy’s Law was the 2016 Canadian Moonshine Distillery of the Year. They’re

hitting Eastern Canada, updating all of their equipment, and even going abroad to reach markets in Japan through a partnership with another local brewery.


Fill Yourself In Even More

Ben’s story shows that picking the best supplier and bottle filling machine isn’t always easy. When it works out well, though, it can be a key element in a beverage business’ success.

For more useful information about bottle fillers, check out Kinnek’s Bottle Filler Handbook and the Bottle Filler Glossary, in which we pass on our direct insight and data from thousands of bottle filler requests as well as a collection of key terms you need to know to talk with suppliers.


Download our Bottle Filling Handbook »


Check out Murphy’s Law Distillery »


Get connected with Xpress Fill »



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