Murtagh and Associates provide a complete service
in alcohol-production consultancy, from initial technical and economic
feasibility studies, through plant design and equipment selection, to
commissioning, staff training and product marketing.
Murtagh and Associates undertake short-term assignments
on increasing plant efficiencies and capacities, improving alcohol-product
quality, providing expert-witness testimony, and consulting on litigation.
Murtagh and Associates also provide on-going contract
consulting services adapted to meet the particular needs of distillery
managements. These services include periodic site visits, preparation
of detailed reports on recommendations for improvements, together with
year-round technical support, answering questions and supplying information
by telephone, fax or e-mail.
John Murtagh died on January
The ethanol industry has lost a great expert. May he rest in peace.
John E. Murtagh
Ph.D., M.Sc., F.A.I.C., F.I.C.I., C.Chem.
John is an independent consultant in alcohol production,
with extensive experience in many countries around the world.
He currently consults for clients in Europe, North,
Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Australasia,
in the beverage, industrial and fuel-alcohol industries. His recent and
current assignments include the relocation of distilleries, the establishment
of new production plants, and the conversion of fuel-alcohol plants to
produce high-quality neutral spirit for vodka and other purposes. As as
result of his assistance, several of his clients are producing some of
the purest neutral spirit in the world. In 1995, he edited "The Alcohol
Textbook" for Nottingham University Press, and contributed chapters
on molasses, neutral spirits and rum. In 1997, he completed the compilation
and editing of the "Worldwide Directory of Distilleries", which
was also published by Nottingham University Press.
Other recent and current consulting assignments include
solving fermentation and distillation problems, correcting equipment-design
faults, conducting production-plant feasibility studies, project development,
staff training, plant start-ups, performance testing, serving as an expert
witness and conducting industry-privatization studies for foreign governments.
Since 1990, he has been an arbitrator on the National Commercial Panel
of the American Arbitration Association.
John began his career with the House of Seagram, in
1959, and served in Jamaica, Quebec, New Brunswick and Montreal, Canada,
managing whisky, rum and industrial-alcohol distilleries. After two years
as a manager in Seagram's Research and Development Department in Montreal,
he returned to the University of Wales to complete a Ph.D. study on grain-alcohol
Since establishing his independent consultancy practice
in 1972, John's experiences have covered many more facets of alcohol production,
and he is now acknowledged internationally as a leading expert in the
In the early 1970's, while based in Ireland, he consulted
for clients in Europe and Asia on the production of alcohol from various
raw materials. One assignment led to his engagement as manager of Iran
Beverages of Tehran, for a two-year period. There, he controlled a beverage
and industrial-alcohol distillery, producing Smirnoff Vodka, Gilbey's
Gin and other international brands under license. He was responsible for
greatly increasing capacity and overall performance, until the plant was
closed by religious authorities after the Iranian revolution.
Since 1979 John has been retained as a consultant
to Carbery Distillers Ltd. of Ireland, on the development and operation
of their process for the fermentation of cheese whey, to produce very-high-quality
neutral spirit for beverage and industrial uses. He has also been responsible
for the commissioning of three whey-alcohol plants for Carbery licensees
in New Zealand and the U.S., and continues to visit and assist these plants.
Now based in the U.S., John has become very familiar
with most of the U.S. fuel-alcohol plants. In 1982, he conducted a detailed
critical analysis of many of the medium-size plants, to identify problem
areas, and to give appropriate advice on necessary action. He was retained
in 1985 by the State of New Mexico, and in 1987 by the State of Louisiana,
to examine all the fuel-alcohol plants in those states, to compile data
for economic-impact studies.
In 1987, John was asked to update and expand the plant
details in a U.S. nationwide directory of fuel-alcohol plants. As a result
of this assignment he has become very knowledgeable on sources of redundant
equipment and he has served as consultant for a major auction company,
on the sale of more than thirty fuel-alcohol plants and whiskey distilleries.
From 1982 to 1997, John was a guest lecturer at an
annual Alcohol School in Kentucky, covering subjects such as the production
of neutral spirit and rum. He has also served as Chairman of the World
Ethanol Conference in London, since its inception in 1998.