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Paul Tomaszewski

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Paul Tomaszewski last won the day on March 9

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About Paul Tomaszewski

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    http://www.mbrdistillery.com

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    Pembroke, KY
  1. Insurance for Distillery

    Gents, there's just too many variables on your individual operation, location, NAICS classification, production amount, cost of equipment and/or product storage, safety measures in place, and we're not even getting into employees. It could literally be $500/month or $5000 (of course you'd have to be relatively big and/or in a very risky classification setting). Just like anything else for your estimation, take as much information that you know, then make a well-educated guess your unknowns, and get a quote. You are going to know those possible numbers better than anyone, plus it will do you good to get something established with an insurance entity and keep up a dialogue with them. They may help you along the way in making certain determinations that can help drive your insurance costs down, particularly with things like sprinkler systems, maybe a fire hose hookup, etc.
  2. Time line for opening

    Once you have a suitable site, think 1-2 years until you have approved products (labels) that you can sell. I've heard of shorter and longer, but that time frame seems to be the general trend.
  3. Start Up Volume - Production/Distribution/Onsite Sales

    I can see the control state issue on the case size. We're in 10 markets and 6 packs seem to be preferred and very much appreciated by both distributors and retailers. However, researching your target market(s) is obviously always your best bet.
  4. Mash - Thickness/Temp

    Your grain ratio doesn't seem to be much of a problem, but your malt should go in at high 140's, low 150's F. Your enzymes aren't going to convert very well, if at all, when you start getting higher than 175 F or so. No matter what, you're well above optimal conversion temp. Try adding corn and rye as you normally do, then put in your malt at 150 F. The amount of malt you're using seems to be more than sufficient, I think it's more the enzymes not liking the temp. FYI, you can also get liquid enzymes that can help thin your mash at a higher temp when you put in your corn/rye and/or to help convert your starches. You can also throw in a handful of malt to "pre malt" or even "post malt" once the corn & rye are in. There's also liquid enzymes you can get to help break down the beta glucanase from your rye. On a separate note, get you some brewing books and study up on the different grains, their makeup, what's in them, how to best cook them. And then there's enzymes, learn them, love them.
  5. Start Up Volume - Production/Distribution/Onsite Sales

    Unfortunately this is a tough thing to nail down. As far as sales goes, it really is relative to your individual situation and products. As a rule of thumb, unless you're in a sure bet tourist area that sees many, many folks come in (a good example not too far from you would be "a little place called Aspen"). But, all kidding aside, plan for a relatively small number of cases to be sold out of your tasting room, your 50 of each is probably a safe amount. Past that it really depends on your regional/state market, who your distributor is, how much you do to help out your distributor/marketing your brand, etc. I've spoken to many folks in the business and numbers are all over the place. Some folks you think are selling thousands and thousands of cases/yr aren't, and others you've never heard of are churning out 10-20K cases/yr. So many things are just relative to your individual circumstances. You should be able to reasonably double your sales your first few years as you are just getting established and your sales for your first year or two are likely to be nothing in the grand scheme of things. The one nugget I can give you and anyone else reading this is that you need to remove a case of 12-750ml from your vocabulary. ANY craft distiller starting out should be selling cases in the form of 6 x 750ml bottles. When you start selling 10K+ cases/yr you can start flirting with the idea of selling 12 packs. Otherwise your distributor(s), buyers, and sales folks will all thank you if you go with 6 packs.
  6. FEB 17th Camp Distillery

    We've set FEB 17th, 2014 as our next "Camp Distillery" date. This course is basically two days in one when it comes to the amount of subject matters covered and quality of content. We stick to a one-day course from 6am - 5pm due largely to overwhelming end of course feedback. The first half of the course covers mainly grain mash/whiskey/moonshine production, the second half is mainly govt regs, govt reports, licensing, product planning, marketing, distillery planning/budgeting. This course is laid out in true military precision (designed by a former Army officer), we always improve the course after each date. More information can be found on our website at http://mbrdistillery...Distillery.html. Our January course filled up a few weeks ago and this one will likely be filled up by the end of the year. We'll only hold one or two more after this course until next fall due to the weather (it's easier to heat a distillery than it is to cool one). Call me for more information, (270) 640-7744.
  7. Insurance for Distillery

    Cincinnati Insurance Company, there may be brokers/agencies that offer them in your area. They've recently developed a "turn-key" (for lack of a better phrase) program for craft distilleries.
  8. Who Should Build My Still?

    I think a good way to think about asking any question on this forum is to treat it like a call in radio show. Sometimes a simple, "how do you do X?" or "do you see any point in Y?" are easy to ask questions with pretty black and white answers. On the other hand, asking a question that is tied to many specific individual business needs/desires, to include your budget, is a bit tougher to just give a blanket answer. I'm not saying no on can answer your question, but I will say that no one can answer your question better than you.
  9. Chilling your mash

    Call Jesse Lupo at Trident Stills, he has the best thing I've heard of going for grain-in-mash heat exchangers (www.tridentstills.com).
  10. Developing distilling skills

    Someone may correct me here, but my understanding on getting an experimental dsp is that it's basically the exact same (bond & all other regs required), except that your dsp says "experimental" on the permit. I actually had a discussion with a former TTB official about this years ago and their advice was "get the regular permit and just don't sell anything if you're not ready to produce for that purpsose." You only pay taxes on what leaves your DSP (translation, is sold). Otherwise, books and the internet and visit some other places.
  11. is 400 sqft enough?

    Unless you plan on being a nano-sized operation and staying that way, no. I consider us quite small and we have a 2,000 sq ft production area, another 2,800 sq ft in storage for bottles, cases, unused barrels, grain, etc, a 1,000 sq ft retail space, and then our aging warehouse that's in a separate building. I do realize we have some room to grow, but I also see the limitations in our setup and how if you plan to try to make any amount of real money you'll be extremely strapped for space.
  12. Product testing

    For federal compliance/verification purposes, you should send your product(s) to a TTB-certified lab. You can try to find one in your local area and ask them if they are certified. I'm in Kentucky, I recommend Brewing & Distilling Analytical Services in Lexington (www.alcbevtesting.com).
  13. We have set another date for our "Camp Distillery" course - January 27th, 2014. Our NOV course was fully booked 3 months out, so I do recommend you register as soon as possible. Camp Distillery - A one-day, all-inclusive course on whiskey/moonshine production (to include hands-on application), regulations, building/planning process, equipment requirements, licensing, monthly reports, marketing/distribution, and some retail instruction. Applicable for those interested in the business or if you are in the process of setting up. The class is limited to 15 attendees, cost/person is $350, $400 for registration after DEC 1st (but there probably won't be any). We have given this course for 2 years and continue to improve it with each offering based on previous course feedback, as well as with our rapidly-evolving industry. Past attendees resoundingly give us positive feedback on the quality of the instruction/information provided and that they appreciate it all being contained in a single day. The course starts at 6:30am and wraps up at around 5-5:30pm, CST, breakfast & lunch provided. We are located in Western Kentucky, one mile off I-24, Nashville International Airport is an easy 55-min drive away. More information on the course, as well as registration information, can be found at http://mbrdistillery.com/Camp_Distillery.html. We only offer the course a few times each year and put a lot of effort into it to make it as professional and user-friendly for all in attendance. I do anticipate this course filling up before the end of the year as we have had several folks inquire about it already. If you have any questions at all, call me (Paul) at 270-640-7744.
  14. Hyrometer Calibration question....

    Bottom line is to ensure that they are "IRS Certified" hydrometers. If they are IRS certified, they'll have individual serial numbers & an actual certificate of calibration that comes with them. I get mine from www.novatech-usa.com (not being paid by them, but they are very good as I have received broken hydrometers before and they have gladly replaced them free of charge).
  15. Bottling Proof for Liqueurs

    We have always operated by the premise that 22% abv or higher is antiseptic, therefore covering ourself when it comes to bottling, shipping, etc. However, I've seen various liqueurs out there that are bottled at lower proofs than that. Does anyone know how low is too low for bottling proof for liqueur-type products? Also, if you do drop to a certain abv/proof, is there certain shipping conditions to take into account? Thanks much for any information.
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