Cachaça: artisanal versus industrial

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Cachaça: artisanal versus industrial

Ok, we now know that cachaça is not actually a rum – because another distillation process – and it is purer than rum, because it is made from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice (rum is made from sugar cane syrup or molasses). But what’s so special about artisanal cachaça? At a glance:

Cachaça: artisanal versus industrial



Is made in small quantities (about 200,000 liters per year).

Is produced in large quantities (millions of liters per year).

No chemical additives. Fermentation with wild or natural yeasts.

Chemical additives such as ammonium sulfate (fertilizers) and antibiotics.

Small sugarcane plantations where the best sugar cane is selected. Manually driven processes. No fire techniques to harvest the sugar cane.

Large sugar cane plantations where everything is harvested mechanically at the same time.

The sugar cane fields are burned in order to burn away the ‘useless’ material (straw, leaves and tops).

Fermentation period of 24 to 36 hours.

Fermentation period of 8 to 16 hours.

Distillation in several batches in copper kettles.

Continuous distillation in stainless steel columns.

Separating cabeça (head), coração (heart) e cauda (tail) of the distillation. Only the best and purest of the distillate – the heart – is used.

No separation in distillate, everything is used.

Matured in different types of wood.

Usually not matured. The few aged industrial cachaças are artificially [caramel] colored.

Complex aroma and flavor profile.

A standard product with superficial flavor profiles.

To create this article we used information from a publication in 2014 by Mapa da Cachaça.


Mapa da Cachaça

The Cachaça Company


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