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Sator Square Distillery

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Everything posted by Sator Square Distillery

  1. Shipping

    I'm navigating the same thing with FedEx. PITA. Like a lot of people I didn't know how lengthy the process was to get it done. Luckily I have a friend who has an alcohol shipping license that was willing to ship out some of my samples to competitions until my account gets activated.
  2. Difficulty with COLA Label Approval

    My label as submitted reads Marc Brandy with XXX flavor. The problem seems to be that on my formula I used the word "pomace". I did that because yes, I fermented grape pomace and then distilled said pomace wine into a Marc/Pomace Brandy. The specialist doesn't seem to understand that "Marc" and "Pomace" is interchangeable. Very annoying. I think I'm just going to submit a second formula that only has the word Marc in it and then resubmit the same label. It would be quicker then trying to get the specialist to read their own manual I guess.
  3. Difficulty with COLA Label Approval

    I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to speak to a human being at the TTB COLA Distilled Spirits label department. I submitted a label about a month ago for a Marc Brandy. Since it's flavored, I had to first submit a formula. In my formula I describe the end product as a pomace brandy, as I have made it with 100% wine grape pomace. On my label I wanted it to be identified as a Marc Brandy. I figured this is no problem because in Chapter 4, on page 4-7 of the TTB's class and type designation manual, it reads: POMACE BRANDY OR MARC BRANDY “Pomace Brandy” or “Marc Brandy” is grape pomace or marc brandy. Other types of pomace or marc brandy must be further identified, e.g., “Apple Pomace Brandy,” “Pear Marc Brandy” Clearly, by the TTB's definition pomace brandy and Marc brandy are interchangeable terms. Either of these terms applies to my brandy. My TTB specialist has sent it back to me twice asking me to have my label redone as a pomace brandy. I cannot reach anyone at the TTB as no one answers the phone there. I have left numerous messages and no one has called me back, and I've sent emails asking for help clarifying my label. Does anyone know of any way to reach a person there?
  4. Possible Mash Infection, Need Help

    Grinding your grain, particularly a great deal of it, in the same room you ferment has the potential to cause problems. It's not necessarily something that you could easily mitigate just by a cleaning regime as all that fine particulate gets airborne. It doesn't mean it has anything to do with the problem at hand even if they're doing that (which they may not be). But if he's working with his customer to take a hard look at their operation, it's just a good idea to be as comprehensive as possible. I would think that would be fairly obvious, but what do I know.
  5. Possible Mash Infection, Need Help

    A lot of great information here. I learned some new and helpful things here myself. Looks like it's been zeroed in on as the problem, but I didn't see it mentioned anywhere whether they're grinding their grain in the same room they ferment. I'd advise doing that in a separate room or outside if possible. Worth considering in addition to everything else.
  6. Organic distilled spirits means exactly what?

    I don't want to throw a wrench in here, but organic does not mean pesticide or "chemical" free. It can mean that only certified organic pesticides or fungicides were used in production. There may be some environmental benefit to sourcing only "organic" ingredients, and I'll leave that for people to decide for themselves. But to be clear, organically grown food can be (and usually is) treated with pesticides and fungicides -- just organic ones.
  7. Hello from south central PA!

    Welcome and cheers from SE PA. I am a very very (very) small producer here. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions I might be able to help you with.
  8. Federal Excise Tax and my thoughts

    Pay down some debt and invest in more equipment. I don't imagine a lot of price reduction going on. This is a gift to producers to help them out, not to consumers that are already paying for products they want.
  9. Odin on Gin

    Hi Odin- Wouldn't "multi-shot" technically be compounding? If one is distilling a concentrated gin for the purposes of diluting it into GNS, how would that be different than adding concentrated gin essence to GNS (ie. compounding) to make a compound gin? Is it just the scale of the process that is different?
  10. BLOOM in bottle???

    If you're 100% certain that the bottles themselves are defective, you may be able to reasonably return them if you purchased them via a business credit card. All vendors that use payment processors have to comply with the terms of refunds, exchanges and returns of that processor. If you're not getting any answers from the vendor you could call your credit card company and file a dispute for defective goods.
  11. Hello from Tasmania.

    Glad to see you here!
  12. Apple Brandy Cuts

    I'm actually running a very small test batch of apple brandy off of cider at the moment. First time here also. There's a much larger heads cut than I've had to make before, which is exactly what I've heard. The volume of heads may depend on a lot of variables such as varietal of apple, yeast used, ferment temp or phase of the moon for all I know. But it's easily twice as much heads as I'm used to accounting for. I'll be interested in hearing thoughts on the subject myself.
  13. Anyone running a Dragon Still?

    I've got some SD parts on my modular system. They're well made and work great. They ship fast and stand behind their products. If you have a question they're right on top of it. I would definitely recommend them to anyone.
  14. Spirit Still Cooling System

    You'd need a very very large holding tank if you're not using some method to dissipate the heat. Like a swimming pool. If you don't have a lot of space to work with, a chilling system might work for you and there are vendors here that would be happy to help you out. You could also circulate your hot water to preheat your mash, or run it through radiators to heat your shop in the winter. All that heat cost money, and if there's a way to put it to good use you should do it. My still is very small compared to most businesses here, but my method works. I pump a glycol solution from a tank to the condensers, then outside through the wall to the side of the building, through a radiator which has an industrial fan blasting through it, then back into the tank. I can run my still all day long without any coolant issues, and there's no reason it can't be scaled up to larger radiators and fans, or multiples with more pumps if I need more. Find what works for you.
  15. Gin Fragrance

    What everyone else said is totally correct. I've had good results using Angelica root as a fixative in my gin.
  16. Pomace Brandy required labeling statement

    I have a question about labeling regarding pomace brandy that may have come up for some of your before. I understand that if you're aging it for less than 2 years, that a statement of age is required on the label. But if it isn't aged at all, would it simply be considered a grappa instead, and not require any statement of age? I want to label our bottle as a pomace or marc brandy, not a grappa. The guidance is somewhat vague to my reading. What is the appropriate labeling on an unaged pomace brandy?
  17. Pomace Brandy required labeling statement

    Thank you for the clarity. I appreciate it.
  18. Gin Cloudiness

    Can you explain a little more about your method? At what ABV is it louching? Rather than time consuming filtering, I'd try adding your neutral proofed to your target ABV until it clears up. Going forward you should look at your botanical bill and consider backing it off a bit, or perhaps macerating for less time. It'll take some investigating to zero in on the problem.
  19. NGS guys in your Guild?

    I feel like there's plenty of room for everyone. So long as someone isn't claiming to be producing something they're not, I don't see any problem. I'm just getting started myself, and I'll be using grapes that we grow ourselves on our own vineyard. It can't get more straight from the field to the bottle. I would have no issues at all being part of a diverse group that includes those that grow their own product, source it and buy it to mash and ferment themselves or straight up purchase GNS, redistill or infuse or whatever. There's a lot of creative processes out there, and it's my view that we can all benefit from sharing what we've learned with each other.
  20. File under "marketing"

    I'm not an attorney. But as I understand it, it's not easy to get a patent for a recipe. You'd have to demonstrate that your process is both "novel" and "non-obvious". I would think that a sour mash recipe is probably both of those things. But what do I know.
  21. Distillery Location

    What I think is clear is that each TTB officer reviewing these DSP applications may process them differently. My officer had a big problem with my DSP being located on the same property parcel as a residence. I had to show that the land was actually zoned agricultural, and not residential. I also had to install a fence to create a physical barrier between the DSP and the residence located 100 yards away. He sent me an email with an intention to deny my application because it was located on the same parcel as a residence prior to me showing him the supporting documents. My experience may not be typical. But its a good idea to be fully over-prepared to respond to these sorts of demands if they come up. Better to have that preparation ready and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
  22. Distillery Location

    The TTB will assume that you've complied with all state and local laws and permits. It's really up to the local municipality as to how easy or hard it will be to locate your DSP there. They generally will want you zoned industrial since it's technically manufacturing, but variances are often given out. Don't forget that zoning variances usually take input from locals at an open hearing, so it pays to go around and be friendly ahead of time. So it totally depends on how cooperative the locals are and that varies to both ends of the extremes. Even if there's nothing legally a local municipality can do to deny you, they can always have the fire marshal put the thumbscrews to you and make it very expensive on you so you go away. Hopefully you have it easy in that regard. Best of luck
  23. Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    Does anyone have any experience with vinyl gaskets? I've found them rated as G (good) resistance to ethanol, but as stated above some of these lists do not have the same ratings.
  24. Bottles, labels, closures

    I'm starting up my small craft distillery this year. I've taken a look at a couple companies offering bottles, labels and closure but I'd like to see more options before I make final decisions. If anyone here would send samples or catalogues, please PM me for our address. Thanks Justin Sator Square Distillery
  25. Read this if you are new to commercial distilling

    Very good advice that I think still holds up since it was posted. I'm just about ready to get started producing here. I'm waiting on a final approval from the PA LCB since I was given prior approval. I ran into the specific issue with the TTB regarding the presence of a residence on the property. The TTB officer assigned to my application initially was going to deny it, and quoted this regulation here: 26 US Code 5178 - Premises of Distilled Spirits Plants. Section B: (B) No distilled spirits plant for the production of distilled spirits shall be located in any dwelling house, in any shed, yard, or inclosure connected with any dwelling house, or on board any vessel or boat, or on premises where beer or wine is made or produced, or liquors of any description are retailed, or on premises where any other business is carried on (except when authorized under subsection (b)) The TTB has very broad authority to define what the word "connected" and "premises" means. I was told that they can consider anything located on the same parcel of land to be "connected" to the same "premises", even without any sort of physical connection between the buildings on that land. I know that is counter-intuitive to common sense, but you're dealing with the federal government. They hold the cards. Our property is zoned AG-1, protected agricultural, not residential. So once we established that fact we were able to compromise with a fence separating the home located on the parcel from the DSP. I believe the zoning of our property made the difference between approval and denial, and our willingness to do whatever it took to meet them halfway. If your property is zoned residential I would not expect it to get approved by the TTB. Your local municipality would likely have a problem with that too, but YMMV. My advice to anyone in a similar situation is to NOT ARGUE with the TTB officer. They have the authority to deny your application, or approve it on a case by case basis as they see it. Even if they're not right they are still right. Finding a way to compromise is going to be a lot less expensive than hiring a lawyer.