Paul Tomaszewski

Read this if you are new to commercial distilling

28 posts in this topic

This is such useful advice - I'm in the process of setting up a distillery in the UK so am currently scouting for suitable locations ahead of applying for various licences. I'm still hoping to do this on the side of a part-time job to make sure I still have a steady income for the time being.

If you could go back and give yourself some advice when you first started out, what would it be? Are there any pitfalls I should watch out for?

 

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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.
 

 

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