Main Differences Between Artisanal and Industrial Cachaça

There are literally hundreds of cachaça labels in Brazil. If you have tried cachaça before, then chances are that it was an industrial cachaça. Artisanal cachaças are much harder to find outside of Brazil and yet I mention them here all the time. In this article, I will list the top 7 differences between an industrial and an artisanal cachaça. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have a better understanding of some other articles, where I have mentioned “handmade” or artisanal cachaça labels.

Artisanal Cachaça

  1. Produced in small quantities (on average 200,000 liters/year)
  2. Made from manually selected and harvested sugarcane, without the use of burning techniques.
  3. Fermented with wild or selected yeasts. No chemical additions. Fermentation period of 24 to 36 hours.
  4. Distillation in batches, in copper stills, which favors the formation of important congeners for adding aromas and flavors to cachaça.
  5. Separation of undesirable fractions (“head” and “tail”) to extract the “heart: the noble part of quality artisanal cachaça.
  6. Aged in different types of wood.
  7. Complex aroma and flavor profile.

Industrial Cachaça

  1. Produced in large quantities (millions of liters / year)
  2. Made with sugarcane grown in large areas and harvested by machines. It is common practice to burn the sugarcane crop before the harvesting.
  3. Use of chemicals, such as amonium sulphate, and antibiotics. fermentation period of 8 to 16 hours.
  4. Continuous distillation in stainless steel columns.
  5. There is no separation of the “head”, the “heart”, and the “tail”. We can say that the cachaça comes out of distillation without the undesirable fractions.
  6. Usually not aged, and when aged, caramel color is added to give it a yellow hue.
  7. It is a standardized and controlled product, but loses in sensory complexity.