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  • Robert Hubble
    Trid, Thanks for the great trip report. Next trip I make to the Portland area to visit grandkids, I have to take the tour. I have a question, though. As an
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 11, 2007
      Trid,

      Thanks for the great trip report. Next trip I make to the Portland area to
      visit grandkids, I have to take the tour.

      I have a question, though. As an amateur craftsman, what did you think of
      the quality of Clear Creek's products? My only experience with them is a
      bottle of blue plum brandy (they didn't call it slivovitz then, but that's
      why I bought it) that I got maybe ten years ago, and was kind of ambivalent
      about. As an Oregon chauvinist, I want to see them become a howling success,
      but it sounds like I need to visit them and personally see for myself.

      You speak of them using a peated malt from Scotland, and I wonder if it's
      the Munton's I use. If so, there is NO good reason they shouldn't be capable
      of making a great scotch.

      Did you get achance to look at McMenimin's Edgefield location, and the
      distillation operation there?

      So many questions....I may be forced to go there and drink. Sigh.

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller





      From: Trid <triddlywinks@...>
      Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Distillers] Clear Creek Distillery
      Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 20:04:46 -0700 (PDT)

      I had the privilege of taking a tour of the Clear Creek Distillery in
      Portland,
      Oregon two weeks ago. WOW! I say this mostly because of the amazing
      hospitality and friendliness. Obviously the first question I had was "May I
      take photos?" The answer was yes without any hesitation. The tour guide
      (Tom,
      I *think* was his name...I always trip up on the simple ones) was "the new
      guy"
      who was substituting for the regular guide. He had about a year and a half
      under his belt. The office area was about the only place separate from the
      rest of the distillery. The rest was all one common area...fermenters along
      the back, stills in the middle, shelves and such up front, bottling area to
      one
      side...pretty simple. The fermenters were big stainless tanks...nothing
      unique. They essentially ground whole pears via the pump they used to get
      the
      pulp into the fermenters and the rest is pretty routine.
      They have 4 Holstein Eau de vie stills and he gave a quick rundown on how
      they
      worked. I bit my tongue when he described how the bubble cap plates worked
      (not to mention that I have a little bit of a problem with a 6 plate column
      being called a "pot" still...again, kept my mouth shut). Snapped pictures
      all
      along the way. The only other separated room is on the farthest side from
      the
      office. That would be their barrel room. They keep it cool and moist in
      there. Apparently keeping the temperature low (low 60's (f)) and the
      humidity
      high is what they are happy with in terms of how the spirit works with the
      oak.
      Almost all their barrels are used.[1] The new ones are of white oak from
      Oregon.
      At the end we got to sample their full range of products (yes, *full*) and
      repeat tastings if you asked. The Douglas Fir Eau de vie appealed to SWMBO,
      so
      she got a bottle. They had various grappas and brandies and liqueurs and
      cordials...we got to taste them ALL...I had to cut myself off because I was
      driving. We walked out of there "only" spending about $125 or so. Their
      tour
      is free, but they definitely don't have to twist anybody's arm to purchase
      "souvenirs."
      They also have a signature single malt whisky, but is sells faster than they
      can make it.

      At the end of the tour, he asked if there were any questions. I said "are
      you
      hiring?"

      Here are my photos: [2]
      http://triddlywinks.multiply.com/photos/album/9

      ...and their website.
      http://www.clearcreekdistillery.com/index.php

      Trid
      -longing to go back...I *absolutely* recommend this tour if you ever find
      yourself in Portland!!!

      [1] What was funny was that Tom was hired originally because he's a
      carpenter
      by trade...his "in" was that he could recondition their barrels. He's
      essentially the in-house cooper...in addition to all the other "new guy"
      type
      duties :)
      [2] I'll add captions here and there over time...I *just* uploaded the
      whole
      bunch so I wouldn't forget. Please feel free to ask me anything about them.





      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

      _________________________________________________________________
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    • Trid
      ... I recommend it...even for no other reason than to peer into a commercial still and think to yourself I can do that myself. It s rather fun seeing the
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 11, 2007
        --- Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...> wrote:

        > Trid,
        >
        > Thanks for the great trip report. Next trip I make to the Portland area to
        > visit grandkids, I have to take the tour.

        I recommend it...even for no other reason than to peer into a commercial still
        and think to yourself "I can do that myself." It's rather fun seeing the
        things we do on a much larger scale and realizing that the scale is about the
        only separation.

        > I have a question, though. As an amateur craftsman, what did you think of
        > the quality of Clear Creek's products? My only experience with them is a
        > bottle of blue plum brandy (they didn't call it slivovitz then, but that's
        > why I bought it) that I got maybe ten years ago, and was kind of ambivalent
        > about. As an Oregon chauvinist, I want to see them become a howling success,
        > but it sounds like I need to visit them and personally see for myself.

        I had to re-think a lot of my assumptions on the quality of my product vs. that
        of a commercial distillery. I have become a little beaten in the context that
        what I'm putting out seems to be on the light end of the flavor range and a
        little harsh. In comparison, I'm reassessing my own quality...especially in
        light of the prestige and awards bestowed upon Clear Creek. In as much as
        they've been in business for 25+ years and had to move to a significantly
        larger facility, I'd say they've grown to be quite a success as far as I can
        tell.

        > You speak of them using a peated malt from Scotland, and I wonder if it's
        > the Munton's I use. If so, there is NO good reason they shouldn't be capable
        > of making a great scotch.

        I wasn't able to glean any specifics about the peated malt...in fact, what I
        mentioned was all I know, obtained from their promotional propaganda. Given
        that they've doubled their capacity since its introduction *and* that it's aged
        a minimum of 3 years *and* they've sold out of this year's stock, I'm inclined
        to believe that it is a rather impressive concoction. Kudos to them!

        > Did you get a chance to look at McMenimin's Edgefield location, and the
        > distillation operation there?

        Never made it out as far as Edgefield...only got as far East as Ladds Addition
        (gorgeous neighborhood) so SWMBO could visit the Hat Museum (SWMBO is a
        milliner, so I had to indulge her crafty leanings, too). I *did* manage to
        catch up with an already started tour of the Rogue distillery, but I'll put
        that in another post...alas, no photos :( A few of us managed to head south
        for a few hours to Dundee and the Erath winery for some tasting. It's amazing
        how the weekend, even a long one (Thurs thru Mon) seems to zip right on by.

        > So many questions....I may be forced to go there and drink. Sigh.

        Indeed, just as I was "forced* :)

        > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

        Trid
        -just simple
      • Robert Hubble
        Hi again, Trid Ok, you ve got me hooked. I m going to be in Portland next weekend, and I m trying to drag my son and son-in-law to Clear Creek. They are both
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 12, 2007
          Hi again, Trid

          Ok, you've got me hooked. I'm going to be in Portland next weekend, and I'm
          trying to drag my son and son-in-law to Clear Creek. They are both brewers
          and serious tasters, so it should be great fun.



          >From: Trid <triddlywinks@...>
          >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: Re: [Distillers] (unknown)
          >Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 20:49:01 -0700 (PDT)
          >
          >--- Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
          >
          > > Trid,
          > >
          > > Thanks for the great trip report. Next trip I make to the Portland area
          >to
          > > visit grandkids, I have to take the tour.
          >
          >I recommend it...even for no other reason than to peer into a commercial
          >still
          >and think to yourself "I can do that myself." It's rather fun seeing the
          >things we do on a much larger scale and realizing that the scale is about
          >the
          >only separation.
          >
          > > I have a question, though. As an amateur craftsman, what did you think
          >of
          > > the quality of Clear Creek's products? My only experience with them is a
          > > bottle of blue plum brandy (they didn't call it slivovitz then, but
          >that's
          > > why I bought it) that I got maybe ten years ago, and was kind of
          >ambivalent
          > > about. As an Oregon chauvinist, I want to see them become a howling
          >success,
          > > but it sounds like I need to visit them and personally see for myself.
          >
          >I had to re-think a lot of my assumptions on the quality of my product vs.
          >that
          >of a commercial distillery. I have become a little beaten in the context
          >that
          >what I'm putting out seems to be on the light end of the flavor range and a
          >little harsh. In comparison, I'm reassessing my own quality...especially
          >in
          >light of the prestige and awards bestowed upon Clear Creek. In as much as
          >they've been in business for 25+ years and had to move to a significantly
          >larger facility, I'd say they've grown to be quite a success as far as I
          >can
          >tell.

          ... and you're thinking, but are too bashful to say it, that your quality
          can be every bit as good as theirs, with a bit of work, or study, or time,
          or maybe it's better NOW? I'm just guessing about you, but that's about
          where I am, and after tasting a bunch my stuff, it's time to go out and
          taste a bunch of theirs. I can't help but learn a lot.

          I always thought I was light on flavor, too, but long on smoothness, all of
          which I attributed to my ~60cm x 25mm unpacked copper column with its
          tendency toward a bit of "incidental" reflux. I'm slowly finding ways of
          deaing with flavor intensity, so I think I'll just live with the design I've
          got, at least until I'm provem wrong.
          >
          > > You speak of them using a peated malt from Scotland, and I wonder if
          >it's
          > > the Munton's I use. If so, there is NO good reason they shouldn't be
          >capable
          > > of making a great scotch.
          >
          >I wasn't able to glean any specifics about the peated malt...in fact, what
          >I
          >mentioned was all I know, obtained from their promotional propaganda.
          >Given
          >that they've doubled their capacity since its introduction *and* that it's
          >aged
          >a minimum of 3 years *and* they've sold out of this year's stock, I'm
          >inclined
          >to believe that it is a rather impressive concoction. Kudos to them!

          Yup, I REALLY want to try some of that, to see how far they've taken the
          quality issue. I'm convinced that every professional distillery consciously
          makes the choice at the start: more profitable and live with quality
          compromises, OR do it right for quality, as I'm certain they KNOW how to do,
          and take the profitability hit.
          >
          > > Did you get a chance to look at McMenimin's Edgefield location, and the
          > > distillation operation there?
          >
          >Never made it out as far as Edgefield...only got as far East as Ladds
          >Addition
          >(gorgeous neighborhood) so SWMBO could visit the Hat Museum (SWMBO is a
          >milliner, so I had to indulge her crafty leanings, too). I *did* manage to
          >catch up with an already started tour of the Rogue distillery, but I'll put

          I just looked Rogue up; as a kid I worked about 2 blocks from there. I'll
          have to try that, too.

          >that in another post...alas, no photos :( A few of us managed to head
          >south
          >for a few hours to Dundee and the Erath winery for some tasting. It's
          >amazing
          >how the weekend, even a long one (Thurs thru Mon) seems to zip right on by.
          >
          As a wine drinker, I evidently have the taste of a Philistine, but my son
          and daughter drag us down the valley (to the general Dundee area) to taste
          good wines, and it's great fun and great wine, although I can't agree with
          them on ALL the wines.

          > > So many questions....I may be forced to go there and drink. Sigh.
          >
          >Indeed, just as I was "forced* :)
          >
          > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
          >
          >Trid
          >-just simple

          I'll post MY trip report after this weekend, if it works out.

          Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

          _________________________________________________________________
          Get a preview of Live Earth, the hottest event this summer - only on MSN
          http://liveearth.msn.com?source=msntaglineliveearthhm
        • Trid
          ... Right nifty...I can t wait to get your perspective on it. I had dragged SWMBO and 6 other friends along for the Clear Creek tour. Some of them professed
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 12, 2007
            --- Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...> wrote:

            > Hi again, Trid
            >
            > Ok, you've got me hooked. I'm going to be in Portland next weekend, and I'm
            > trying to drag my son and son-in-law to Clear Creek. They are both brewers
            > and serious tasters, so it should be great fun.

            Right nifty...I can't wait to get your perspective on it. I had dragged SWMBO
            and 6 other friends along for the Clear Creek tour. Some of them professed to
            not be fond of spirits in favor of wine instead. At the end of the tour, they
            were quite impressed with the process and with the products...yet more have
            come to the dark side :)

            > >Given
            > >that they've doubled their capacity since its introduction *and* that it's
            > >aged
            > >a minimum of 3 years *and* they've sold out of this year's stock, I'm
            > >inclined
            > >to believe that it is a rather impressive concoction. Kudos to them!
            >
            > Yup, I REALLY want to try some of that, to see how far they've taken the
            > quality issue. I'm convinced that every professional distillery consciously
            > makes the choice at the start: more profitable and live with quality
            > compromises, OR do it right for quality, as I'm certain they KNOW how to do,
            > and take the profitability hit.

            Indeed. Unfortunately they didn't have any available even for tasting.
            According to the literature, they compare it to an Islay...almost akin to
            Lagauvulin. I would have imagined that it would require more than just peated
            malt to get that quality...sea air, peat-filtered spring water, yadda, yadda,
            yadda...

            > > > Did you get a chance to look at McMenimin's Edgefield location, and the
            > > > distillation operation there?
            > >
            > >Never made it out as far as Edgefield...only got as far East as Ladds
            > >Addition

            Any chance you might be able to pick up where I dropped the ball with
            McMenamin's distillery?

            > I just looked Rogue up; as a kid I worked about 2 blocks from there. I'll
            > have to try that, too.

            I only just discovered that the Flanders St brewpub location is just their
            little rig. They also have their "house of spirits" in Newport. At least that
            leaves more to do upon my next visit :)

            > As a wine drinker, I evidently have the taste of a Philistine, but my son
            > and daughter drag us down the valley (to the general Dundee area) to taste
            > good wines, and it's great fun and great wine, although I can't agree with
            > them on ALL the wines.

            Erath had some really nice Pinot Noirs...and an oddly dry
            Gewurtztrasomethingorother. Nothing really reached out and grabbed me...but
            then I lean towards "meatier" reds like cabs and zins.

            > I'll post MY trip report after this weekend, if it works out.

            Can't wait!
            Trid
            -getting the bug to do this legit
          • Harry
            ... ?????????? You REALLY wanna be under-the-thumb regs-wise? We amateurs can do how so-ever we please regarding R&D. Not so in legal- land. The
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 12, 2007
              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
              >
              > Can't wait!
              > Trid
              > -getting the bug to do this legit
              >


              ?????????? You REALLY wanna be under-the-thumb regs-wise? We
              amateurs can do how so-ever we please regarding R&D. Not so in legal-
              land. The powers-that-be require microscopic control and
              documentation of all stages of an end product. As an amateur, you
              only have to please yourself!, and you can add-delete-modify your
              product however you see fit.

              Perhaps we should concentrate on lobbying for recognition of the hobby
              as a legit endeavour. Then we'll be able to share our creations
              without the red tape (or the paranoia).

              Just my 2 cents. Feel free to disregard.


              Slainte!
              regards Harry
            • Trid
              ... Believe it or not, I m rather inclined to venture into this as a business. Particularly after seeing Rogue s setup. I honestly believe that if they can
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 12, 2007
                --- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:

                > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > Can't wait!
                > > Trid
                > > -getting the bug to do this legit

                > ?????????? You REALLY wanna be under-the-thumb regs-wise? We
                > amateurs can do how so-ever we please regarding R&D. Not so in legal-
                > land. The powers-that-be require microscopic control and
                > documentation of all stages of an end product. As an amateur, you
                > only have to please yourself!, and you can add-delete-modify your
                > product however you see fit.

                Believe it or not, I'm rather inclined to venture into this as a business.
                Particularly after seeing Rogue's setup. I honestly believe that "if they can
                do it, why can't I?"
                Reading the stories of a number of the smaller guys out there (at least as it
                applies in the US), as long as the tax is paid on the proof-gallons of ethanol,
                the experimentation has been pretty free-flowing. I'm disinclined to believe
                otherwise considering that there had to be some sort of R&D that wasn't so
                red-tape hampered that Rogue was able to concoct their spruce gin.
                Take for instance:
                http://www.newdealdistillery.com/story.html
                or even:
                http://www.bardenay.com/menu_story.html
                ...and:
                http://tinyurl.com/3a3sv7

                Honestly, what are they doing that we're not capable of? The willingness to
                jump through all those hoops and plunk down the fees? I've often looked at
                someone who is running a successful business and asked myself: "They're no
                smarter than I am, what are they doing that I'm not?"

                > Perhaps we should concentrate on lobbying for recognition of the hobby
                > as a legit endeavour. Then we'll be able to share our creations
                > without the red tape (or the paranoia).

                There is that, too. I don't think the two have to be opposed. Besides, if
                we've taken to this hobby where it's not allowed by Big Brother and yet do it
                anyway, who's to say that the behind-the-scenes experimentation and kitchen
                chemistry isn't still going to be occurring?
                Besides, I suck at recording my recipes and procedures...perhaps a little bit
                of a mandate might be what I need to keep things in order :)

                As for sharing...I don't see where any of the legal mumbo jumbo prevents us
                from sharing ideas, recipes, trial and error (particularly the embarrassing
                errors) and lessons learned.

                > Just my 2 cents. Feel free to disregard.

                Believe me, your two cents are quite worthwhile and I'll not disregard them
                casually...and not now, either. If everybody had a common, lockstep opinion,
                the perspective would be skewed one way and leave openings for some nasty
                curveballs. I would much prefer an opposing or at least differing opinion to
                whatever I can come up with to help keep the perspective from being one-sided.
                If it falls apart under criticism, then it very well may not be such a good
                idea after all.

                If I can (at least for myself) come up with a satisfactory solution to all the
                worst-case "what-ifs" then I may be on to something. If I can't, then perhaps
                plan-b or abandonment may be the order of business. I'm not above being proven
                wrong.

                Trid
                -gimme your worst :)
              • Harry
                ... I m not above being proven ... Or me. :) And I do agree in principle with your philosophy. I KNOW we can make booze at least on a par, if not superior, to
                Message 7 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
                  I'm not above being proven
                  > wrong.
                  >
                  > Trid



                  Or me. :)
                  And I do agree in principle with your philosophy. I KNOW we can
                  make booze at least on a par, if not superior, to most of the swill
                  out there. But I just have misgivings when authority gets involved
                  and lays down all those very narrow guidelines. "Ya can't do this,
                  ya can't do that". That type of thing. A wise fellow once said to
                  me "What is a camel?" "I dunno", I said. He said, "It's a
                  racehorse designed by a committee". Get the picture?

                  Anyways, I wish you luck if you do try it for real. :)

                  Slainte!
                  regards Harry
                • Trid
                  ... I know...and I ve been daunted in the past when I ran head-on into the mire of legal-ese. The one drawback of differing state regulations is that what one
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                    --- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:

                    > And I do agree in principle with your philosophy. I KNOW we can
                    > make booze at least on a par, if not superior, to most of the swill
                    > out there. But I just have misgivings when authority gets involved
                    > and lays down all those very narrow guidelines. "Ya can't do this,
                    > ya can't do that". That type of thing.

                    I know...and I've been daunted in the past when I ran head-on into the mire of
                    legal-ese. The one drawback of differing state regulations is that what one
                    observes happening in one state may not fly in another. Of the 90+
                    microdistilleries in the US, 10 or more are in the state of Oregon...now I'm
                    starting to see why and how. I agree with the hesitation to prostrate oneself
                    before the powers that be in order to engage in what we love, but I'm
                    rationalizing it as a sacrifice in order to be able to share it beyond the
                    secret nips in darkened corners...though I admit that a little cloak-n-dagger
                    is fun :)

                    > A wise fellow once said to
                    > me "What is a camel?" "I dunno", I said. He said, "It's a
                    > racehorse designed by a committee". Get the picture?

                    Indeed...not unlike:
                    http://www.robelle.com/library/smugbook/tree.gif

                    > Anyways, I wish you luck if you do try it for real. :)

                    I'm not expecting instant, nor even expeditious results...and I'm certain that
                    I'll need all the luck I can get!

                    Trid
                    -it's amazing how well legal documents work for insomnia that doesn't respond
                    to powerful drugs ;)
                  • Robert Thomas
                    Hi Trid, Quite apart from the red tape and legalese, have you got a business plan? Or at the very least a cost analysis (even on a per bottle level)? I imagine
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                      Hi Trid,
                      Quite apart from the red tape and legalese, have you got a business
                      plan? Or at the very least a cost analysis (even on a per bottle
                      level)?
                      I imagine the situation is very similar to microbrewing (with the big
                      difference being that people drink more beer than spirits and that
                      buying a bottle of a new beer to try hits the wallet a lot less heavily
                      than buying a bottle of some new boutique spirits!).

                      There will be a break-even point. Being honest with yourself (and any
                      backers) about where this is, and where your sales levels will sit
                      above this (hopefully!) is crucial.

                      Good luck
                      Rob.


                      Cheers,
                      Rob.



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                    • mike karnowski
                      as someone who was a home distiller for years and now find myself in charge of a real distillery I say don t be intimidated by it. Like you say, as long as you
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                        as someone who was a home distiller for years and now find myself in charge of a real distillery I say don't be intimidated by it. Like you say, as long as you fill out the paperwork and pay the taxes and permits small distilleries are basically ignored by the feds. There are no limits on experimentation. There are a few things I have learned about opening a craft distillery (all these opinions are about U.S. distilleries, things may be different elsewhere):
                         
                        -at the last American Distillers Institute conference there were dozens of aspiring distillery owners and only a handful of actual operating distilleries, most of the people aspiring to own their own distillery seemed to be middle aged professionals going through a midlife crisis, they hate their jobs and like the IDEA of starting a distillery, many have no distilling experience. The distilleries that are up and running are usually not making any money, they are either a side project of a brewery (Rogue, Dogfish Head, Anchor) or else buying bulk grain alcohol from ADM and flavoring it and rebottling it. Of course there are some exceptions, but not many.
                         
                        -The main thing to remember is that making a good product is not enough, getting a good distributor (impossible unless you are in a state that allows self distribution), getting shelf space, marketing, advertising, sales, promotions...all that non distilling stuff is at least 75% of the game and that's where is starts getting expensive. Sure you can get a small warehouse and make some great gin or rum and do it fairly cheaply but once you start to hire a full time sales staff and start buying ad space all of a sudden the numbers start looking ..not so good.
                         
                        - at the ADI conference the owner of Pritchard's rum (tiny distillery) admitted he had put 1.4 million $ into his distillery over the last 10 years and is just now in the black, the distillery I work at is still not in the black after 13 years.
                         
                        -so my advice is thus, it's easy and fairly cheap to start up a artisanal distillery...just don't quit your day job.      cheers,   -Mike


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                      • Trid
                        ... Working on it. There s no way I could get going self-funded, and nobody with a head on their shoulders would look twice at me without some kind of solid
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                          --- Robert Thomas <whosbrewing@...> wrote:

                          > Hi Trid,
                          > Quite apart from the red tape and legalese, have you got a business
                          > plan? Or at the very least a cost analysis (even on a per bottle
                          > level)?

                          Working on it. There's no way I could get going self-funded, and nobody with a
                          head on their shoulders would look twice at me without some kind of solid plan
                          and reasonable analysis.

                          > I imagine the situation is very similar to microbrewing (with the big
                          > difference being that people drink more beer than spirits and that
                          > buying a bottle of a new beer to try hits the wallet a lot less heavily
                          > than buying a bottle of some new boutique spirits!).

                          I did a *rough* guesstimate on product cost. I'm ballparking about 250 gallons
                          of wash would yield a barrel of spirit. Out of 50 gallons of spirit comes
                          250(ish) bottles.
                          Out of 250 gallons of beer comes 2000 pints. The difference is the extra
                          energy, time, and equipment to turn beer into spirit.

                          > There will be a break-even point. Being honest with yourself (and any
                          > backers) about where this is, and where your sales levels will sit
                          > above this (hopefully!) is crucial.

                          Indeed...and I'd rather project worst-case and come out better than projected,
                          while at the same time not project something bleak looking and therefore
                          unappetizing to any would-be contributors. Right now the sales part is the
                          biggest and most conspicuous unknown that I feel like I'm facing.

                          > Good luck
                          > Rob.

                          I will definitely need it, thanks :)

                          Trid
                          -baby steps for now
                        • Trid
                          ... In the few fleeting moments I had to talk with the fellow at Rogue, he recommended ADI as a place to start and network as well as learn. It s actually a
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                            --- mike karnowski <djpotpie@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > -at the last American Distillers Institute conference there were dozens of
                            > aspiring distillery owners and only a handful of actual operating
                            > distilleries, most of the people aspiring to own their own distillery seemed
                            > to be middle aged professionals going through a midlife crisis, they hate
                            > their jobs and like the IDEA of starting a distillery, many have no
                            > distilling experience. The distilleries that are up and running are usually
                            > not making any money, they are either a side project of a brewery (Rogue,
                            > Dogfish Head, Anchor) or else buying bulk grain alcohol from ADM and
                            > flavoring it and rebottling it. Of course there are some exceptions, but not
                            > many.

                            In the few fleeting moments I had to talk with the fellow at Rogue, he
                            recommended ADI as a place to start and network as well as learn. It's
                            actually a little encouraging to know that there's a lower signal to noise
                            ratio in terms of who shows up to who actually "walks the walk" as it were.
                            Besides, I'd like to get in on the racket *before* my midlife crisis.

                            > -The main thing to remember is that making a good product is not enough,
                            > getting a good distributor (impossible unless you are in a state that allows
                            > self distribution), getting shelf space, marketing, advertising, sales,
                            > promotions...all that non distilling stuff is at least 75% of the game and
                            > that's where is starts getting expensive. Sure you can get a small warehouse
                            > and make some great gin or rum and do it fairly cheaply but once you start to
                            > hire a full time sales staff and start buying ad space all of a sudden the
                            > numbers start looking ..not so good.

                            Understood...and from what I've been getting from my late nights scouring the
                            state laws, it looks like I'm going to have to go through a distributor...that
                            is, unless I happen to own a cruise line or theme park (some goofy twists in
                            there).

                            > - at the ADI conference the owner of Pritchard's rum (tiny distillery)
                            > admitted he had put 1.4 million $ into his distillery over the last 10 years
                            > and is just now in the black, the distillery I work at is still not in the
                            > black after 13 years.

                            I guess if one can be in the black after pumping $1.4M into it, it can safely
                            be said that he got >$1.4M out of it...could be worse. Though, as in diet
                            commercials, the fine print at the bottom of your screen reads "Results are not
                            typical."

                            > -so my advice is thus, it's easy and fairly cheap to start up a artisanal
                            > distillery...just don't quit your day job. cheers, -Mike

                            I'm definitely on the same page there! I still have a lot of homework to do
                            and pavement to pound before I can think about my first (legit) wash.
                            Meanwhile, in between stripping runs, the day job, SWMBO, and the rest that
                            life throws at me, I'll keep chipping away at it.

                            Trid
                            -grimly reminded of tunnel in "The Shawshank Redemption"
                          • nwd044
                            Trid, I agree with Mike. The gov t and the TTB can be intimidating. But with research and due diligence you can break down the barriers and see the process
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                              Trid,
                              I agree with Mike. The gov't and the TTB can be intimidating. But with
                              research and due diligence you can break down the barriers and see the
                              process really isn't that bad. I started a vodka brand in Oregon four
                              years ago. An old college friend and I decided to hire a local
                              producer to make it. We created the label and started selling and
                              marketing. A slow go without cash. But it has been a lot of fun.

                              Recently I've turned my old barn on my property into a "distillery".
                              Convincing the feds to issue a DSP at my personal residence was a
                              challenge, but not impossible. We have been making our own products
                              since Feb. Even more fun. Though we are a simple processor and
                              bottler, as we import 95% grain alcohol from the midwest. A couple
                              bottles from our first batch won a bronze medal at the San Francisco
                              Wine and Spirits Competition.

                              I am now shopping for a rig. Deciding on whether to buy or build. And
                              have a dilemma.... Once I start distilling myself, then I HAVE to
                              distill and that takes a great deal of time. Be careful turning your
                              hobby into a job. The pressure builds.

                              The feds really don't get too involved. They really just want their
                              tax revenue and don't pay too much attention to the little guys.
                              Though there is a rumor that the TTB is inspecting all Oregon
                              distilleries. But I believe this process is to help educate not enforce.

                              As for distribution... there are 16 controlled states in the US. These
                              can be a blessing for the small producers. As most of them distribute
                              as well. One shipping point and they do the rest. In addition, if you
                              can convince the state agencies to carry your products, they actually
                              create a spot on the shelf for you. Not a cheap task in other states
                              as the distributors really only focus on the guys that make them money.

                              But just because a bottle is on the shelf it doesn't mean the consumer
                              will pick it up. That takes good a good public relations team.

                              So - unless you are really going to invest everything you have (Time
                              and Money) Don't quit your day job and make sure it stays fun.

                              FYI - 3rd Annual Great American Distillers Festival, put on by Rogue
                              Distillery and the newly created Oregon Distiller's Guild. August 25th
                              and 26th in Portland OR. The hope to have a small rig up for
                              demonstration, seminars on distilling topics, and a trade show with
                              many distilleries products to show off.

                              Cory

                              Long time eavesdropper, first time poster. Thanks to you all for
                              sharing your wealth of knowledge.



                              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, mike karnowski <djpotpie@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > as someone who was a home distiller for years and now find myself in
                              charge of a real distillery I say don't be intimidated by it. Like you
                              say, as long as you fill out the paperwork and pay the taxes and
                              permits small distilleries are basically ignored by the feds. There
                              are no limits on experimentation. There are a few things I have
                              learned about opening a craft distillery (all these opinions are about
                              U.S. distilleries, things may be different elsewhere):
                              >
                              > -at the last American Distillers Institute conference there were
                              dozens of aspiring distillery owners and only a handful of actual
                              operating distilleries, most of the people aspiring to own their own
                              distillery seemed to be middle aged professionals going through a
                              midlife crisis, they hate their jobs and like the IDEA of starting a
                              distillery, many have no distilling experience. The distilleries that
                              are up and running are usually not making any money, they are either a
                              side project of a brewery (Rogue, Dogfish Head, Anchor) or else buying
                              bulk grain alcohol from ADM and flavoring it and rebottling it. Of
                              course there are some exceptions, but not many.
                              >
                              > -The main thing to remember is that making a good product is not
                              enough, getting a good distributor (impossible unless you are in a
                              state that allows self distribution), getting shelf space, marketing,
                              advertising, sales, promotions...all that non distilling stuff is at
                              least 75% of the game and that's where is starts getting expensive.
                              Sure you can get a small warehouse and make some great gin or rum and
                              do it fairly cheaply but once you start to hire a full time sales
                              staff and start buying ad space all of a sudden the numbers start
                              looking ..not so good.
                              >
                              > - at the ADI conference the owner of Pritchard's rum (tiny
                              distillery) admitted he had put 1.4 million $ into his distillery over
                              the last 10 years and is just now in the black, the distillery I work
                              at is still not in the black after 13 years.
                              >
                              > -so my advice is thus, it's easy and fairly cheap to start up a
                              artisanal distillery...just don't quit your day job. cheers, -Mike
                              >
                              >
                              > ---------------------------------
                              > You snooze, you lose. Get messages ASAP with AutoCheck
                              > in the all-new Yahoo! Mail Beta.
                              >
                            • Robert Hubble
                              Cory, Comments inline ... As a confirmed Retired Old Fart (ROF for those that need TLA s), I have absolutely no desire to turn a great avocation into another
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jun 13, 2007
                                Cory,

                                Comments inline


                                >From: "nwd044" <czonich@...>
                                >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                >Subject: [Distillers] Re: Going legit
                                >Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 15:49:05 -0000
                                >
                                >Trid,
                                >I agree with Mike. The gov't and the TTB can be intimidating. But with
                                >research and due diligence you can break down the barriers and see the
                                >process really isn't that bad. I started a vodka brand in Oregon four
                                >years ago. An old college friend and I decided to hire a local
                                >producer to make it. We created the label and started selling and
                                >marketing. A slow go without cash. But it has been a lot of fun.
                                >
                                ---snip----

                                >I am now shopping for a rig. Deciding on whether to buy or build. And
                                >have a dilemma.... Once I start distilling myself, then I HAVE to
                                >distill and that takes a great deal of time. Be careful turning your
                                >hobby into a job. The pressure builds.

                                As a confirmed Retired Old Fart (ROF for those that need TLA's), I
                                have absolutely no desire to turn a great avocation into another
                                business, with the attendant wetnursing and sleepless nights.
                                >
                                ----snip--->
                                >As for distribution... there are 16 controlled states in the US. These
                                >can be a blessing for the small producers. As most of them distribute
                                >as well. One shipping point and they do the rest. In addition, if you
                                >can convince the state agencies to carry your products, they actually
                                >create a spot on the shelf for you. Not a cheap task in other states
                                >as the distributors really only focus on the guys that make them money.

                                I never thought I'd hear the Oregon Liquor Control Commission spoken of
                                kindly. Oh, well, ill wind and all that.
                                >
                                ----snip---->
                                >FYI - 3rd Annual Great American Distillers Festival, put on by Rogue
                                >Distillery and the newly created Oregon Distiller's Guild. August 25th
                                >and 26th in Portland OR. The hope to have a small rig up for
                                >demonstration, seminars on distilling topics, and a trade show with
                                >many distilleries products to show off.

                                Do you know where that festival will be held? Aside from in Portland?
                                >
                                >Cory
                                >
                                >Long time eavesdropper, first time poster. Thanks to you all for
                                >sharing your wealth of knowledge.

                                It is to be fervently hoped that you'll share some of your wealth as well.
                                Thanks for the input.


                                Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

                                _________________________________________________________________
                                Make every IM count. Download Messenger and join the i�m Initiative now.
                                It�s free. http://im.live.com/messenger/im/home/?source=TAGHM_June07
                              • nwd044
                                My experience is in sales, marketing, branding and compliance. I hope to jump into distilling this winter and take my newbie lumps. Though those lumps should
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jun 14, 2007
                                  My experience is in sales, marketing, branding and compliance. I hope
                                  to jump into distilling this winter and take my newbie lumps. Though
                                  those lumps should be less burdensome by searching the history here...

                                  The Great American Distiller's Festival will be held at the Gerding
                                  Theater, a wonderful reconditioned old armory building that is great
                                  for these types of events. When more info is published, I'll pass it on.

                                  Cory





                                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Hubble" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Cory,
                                  >
                                  > Comments inline
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > >From: "nwd044" <czonich@...>
                                  > >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                  > >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                  > >Subject: [Distillers] Re: Going legit
                                  > >Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 15:49:05 -0000
                                  > >
                                  > >Trid,
                                  > >I agree with Mike. The gov't and the TTB can be intimidating. But with
                                  > >research and due diligence you can break down the barriers and see the
                                  > >process really isn't that bad. I started a vodka brand in Oregon four
                                  > >years ago. An old college friend and I decided to hire a local
                                  > >producer to make it. We created the label and started selling and
                                  > >marketing. A slow go without cash. But it has been a lot of fun.
                                  > >
                                  > ---snip----
                                  >
                                  > >I am now shopping for a rig. Deciding on whether to buy or build. And
                                  > >have a dilemma.... Once I start distilling myself, then I HAVE to
                                  > >distill and that takes a great deal of time. Be careful turning your
                                  > >hobby into a job. The pressure builds.
                                  >
                                  > As a confirmed Retired Old Fart (ROF for those that need TLA's), I
                                  > have absolutely no desire to turn a great avocation into another
                                  > business, with the attendant wetnursing and sleepless nights.
                                  > >
                                  > ----snip--->
                                  > >As for distribution... there are 16 controlled states in the US. These
                                  > >can be a blessing for the small producers. As most of them distribute
                                  > >as well. One shipping point and they do the rest. In addition, if you
                                  > >can convince the state agencies to carry your products, they actually
                                  > >create a spot on the shelf for you. Not a cheap task in other states
                                  > >as the distributors really only focus on the guys that make them money.
                                  >
                                  > I never thought I'd hear the Oregon Liquor Control Commission spoken of
                                  > kindly. Oh, well, ill wind and all that.
                                  > >
                                  > ----snip---->
                                  > >FYI - 3rd Annual Great American Distillers Festival, put on by Rogue
                                  > >Distillery and the newly created Oregon Distiller's Guild. August 25th
                                  > >and 26th in Portland OR. The hope to have a small rig up for
                                  > >demonstration, seminars on distilling topics, and a trade show with
                                  > >many distilleries products to show off.
                                  >
                                  > Do you know where that festival will be held? Aside from in Portland?
                                  > >
                                  > >Cory
                                  > >
                                  > >Long time eavesdropper, first time poster. Thanks to you all for
                                  > >sharing your wealth of knowledge.
                                  >
                                  > It is to be fervently hoped that you'll share some of your wealth as
                                  well.
                                  > Thanks for the input.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
                                  >
                                  > _________________________________________________________________
                                  > Make every IM count. Download Messenger and join the i'm Initiative
                                  now.
                                  > It's free. http://im.live.com/messenger/im/home/?source=TAGHM_June07
                                  >
                                • Robert Hubble
                                  Thanks Cory, I appreciate that. Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller ... _________________________________________________________________ Get a preview of Live
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jun 15, 2007
                                    Thanks Cory,

                                    I appreciate that.



                                    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller





                                    >From: "nwd044" <czonich@...>
                                    >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                    >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                    >Subject: [Distillers] Re: Going legit
                                    >Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 18:04:33 -0000
                                    >
                                    >My experience is in sales, marketing, branding and compliance. I hope
                                    >to jump into distilling this winter and take my newbie lumps. Though
                                    >those lumps should be less burdensome by searching the history here...
                                    >
                                    >The Great American Distiller's Festival will be held at the Gerding
                                    >Theater, a wonderful reconditioned old armory building that is great
                                    >for these types of events. When more info is published, I'll pass it on.
                                    >
                                    >Cory
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    -----snip-----

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