I hear everyone hear, I do. I feel that every single distillery is not the same. Yes, we have a lot of the common problems. But no 2 distilleries are truly the same. We each have demons we are fighting. It may be in the form of not the right equipment, or to small of a space or, or no paper towels on the towel holder. We all are different. Each of us has an idea of a business model. How we work our distilleries is up each and every one of us. It is not for one to judge another.
I am sorry, I have been around the block a couple times and I can tell you on certain product 99.99% of the public does not care where it comes from. It is about how much it cost, and does it taste good?... Craft is just not for everyone. When I first started I was Hard Core Craft, I was the hardest of hard core. But there was a point when I about went out of business, and at that point I broke. I had to decide if I wanted to stay in business or do something else. I love this industry more than anything in the world (but for my family). I choose to stay in it but I had to change up my plan. I went in to contract bottling and have never looked back. What started out as $28,000 (yes, thats what I started with) has boomed into what I have today. We have our own line of spirts and provide bulk and contract bottling for people all over the USA, along with a equipment building division. We have developed new never seen before technology with the help of Iowa State University to process & treat our GNS vodka, rums, creams, and our bourbons & rye to some of the best in the world. My clients range from small MOM and POP distilleries, to the BIG BOYS. I am so very proud to do what I do. I found my niche in this market and I am running with it. Also, there has been hundreds of people call me to ask question about all most anything to do with a distillery. I try take time out of my busy day to help out a person in need because I was there at one time or another. I may not be hard core craft but I am still a nice guy.
To say "Craft is not a commodity" is a statement I would agree and disagree with. It is very easily a commodity in the since that anyone can put it on there bottle and some how it demands a higher price point or better quality standard. On the other hand "craft" becomes something that is perceived only by those doing this crafty thing, what ever that is. Example, treating GNS, or bourbon in a special way now makes that product "CRAFTED" by all definition. I may not have made the vodka, I did make the vodka better, and that is a craft in its self.
I think one must decide for them selves what craft is. If craft is not just ordering GNS, and custom processing it, then a grain to glass distillery thats semi automated is not either, right? If a distillery does not grow there own grain, or build there own barrels is it only half craft? I think everyone offers a little craft somehow. Where? At what point does hands on or hands off become or not become craft. I think to me it is a skill set not a process. Example, I craft my GNS. You craft your whiskey, not process. Example 2, I craft the stills I build, not process.
I have a feeling this is like throwing gas on a fire, but thats what is great about all this. Just like the quote "Never ask a question you don't want the answer to."
I wish everyone a good day.