April 06, 2000
Olive Oil can be stored in containers as mundane as plastic or as indestructible as stainless steel. Metallic drums lined with epoxy resins resist light and impart little flavor however resin coatings can peel after several years, exposing metal surfaces which impart off odors and flavors. Most large producers feel that the newer plastic drums are excellent for long term storage and are inexpensive but unattractive. Glass is an excellent storage container if it is tinted to exclude light but is not practical for bulk storage. Stainless steel is much better and is considered one of the best storage methods, but has been considered expensive. Custom stainless steel tanks fabricated domestically can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Imported standard sized containers are now fairly reasonable. The Olive Oil Source is currently importing stainless steel tanks from Italy for those who like the look, durability and keeping characteristics. The tanks are specifically made for olive oil in the Imperia region. 500 liter tanks with conical bottoms, welded steel legs, 2 stainless ball valves, a site glass to determine oil level and a floating air-tight lid (see containers). 1000 liter tanks end up being 67 inches tall. 2000 liter tanks are also available. The floating lid has an inner-tube type gasket which can be inflated to exclude air. As the oil level drops, the top drops too, keeping oxygen out. Tanks without floating lids can be filled with nitrogen or inert gas to exclude oxygen. Tanks can be ordered with extra access hatches for easier cleaning. Flat bottom tanks are considerably cheaper than the conicals. A Florentine swirl finish adds 6% to the price. Stainless Fusti are also available in a variety of sizes from 5 to 100 liters with airtight lids and stainless spigots. These look something like milk cans with handles on the top and are highly polished. Some producers are offering their oil in the smaller fusti or are allowing retail locations to refill the customer's empty bottles out of the larger ones. This encourages brand loyalty and makes buying oil an event.