Inventing the IntelliTank

Inventing a new product isn’t easy, nor cheap! After years of touring countless wineries across the globe and getting backroom tours of their facilities, nearly a decade of making wine in my garage winery, and even writing a book on building The Homebuilt Winery, I felt the need to help folks replace all those fragile glass carboys and demijohns from their wineries and breweries with a professional grade vessel that will stand up to the rigors of commercial use and generations of garagiste winemakers alike.

Years of research went into determining just the right materials for the most versatile small format tank on the market today.  Like Goldilocks sampling the bear’s porridge, we looked at lots of options:  stainless steel was too expensive; blow-molded plastic was too thin; but rotomolded High Density Polyethylene was JUST RIGHT!  

Now, equipped with a basic concept we set out to craft the list of functions that these new tanks would provide the fervent fermenters our customers would become.  The basic elements of this list are 

  • A tapered top to reduce head space as the tank fills
  • A forward leaning spout to allow access to the top of the tank while another tank is stacked closely above
  • A bottom racking port option
  • The ability to withstand up to 20” of hg of vacuum pressure so winemakers can degas their wines and vacuum rack from one IntelliTank to another
  • The ability to withstand up to 30 PSI of positive pressure to allow beer and wine makers to force carbonate their beverages right in the tanks
  • A spout that would allow for vacuum racking and pressurizing the tanks and keeping them attached to an inert gas cylinder
  • An attachment system that would provide industry standard connections to a winery and brewery’s existing equipment as well as improving the garagiste and home brewer’s equipment 
  • An assembly that would provide wineries and restaurants to utilize the tanks for wine-on-tap and breweries to use them for replacement options for expensive beer kegs.
  • And, oh, they had to be SEXY as well! I wanted to experience a thrill every time I opened the tank room door and saw my lovely elixir being swaddled by this HDPE and stainless steel armor.

With my list in hand, I sought out an industrial engineering firm that could create my vision on paper and draft the blueprints for manufacturing.  After a week of sketching and computer rendering, we had some interesting shapes to look at and discuss.

Next up, flushing out the final designs…  Stay tuned! 


Steve Hughes
Steve Hughes

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