klattig

NGS guys in your Guild?

9 posts in this topic

I'm wondering if any Guilds out there differentiate between 'distillers' who are buying NGS or pre-aged barrels, then bottling & claiming to be a 'craft distiller'.  We're proud to produce grain-to-bottle, and feel that the 'craft distiller' label (and therefore entry into a Guild) should be reserved for those who are actually practicing the craft.  Our state Guild doesn't seem to care.

Thoughts?

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Klattig

What about those distilleries that do both GNS and grain to bottle?  For example: I know of several distilleries that make Bourban and Whiskey from scratch, but they make thier Vodka and sometimes Gin  by redistilling GNS.  Some Whiskey distilleries look at Vodka as a nuetral sprirt, nuetral of flavor and smell, so they see no problem making it from GNS.  Also, it is my understanding that it is very common for Gin to be made from GNS in Europe.  Also, you have some craft distilleries that do grain to bottle, but that also do blending.  Blending is a craft all to itself.  Look at Crown Royal as an example.  Many very good blended Whiskeys also have GNS in them, to add smoothness.  So, how would you label a distillery that produces, Bourban, Whiskey, Brandy and Rum from scratch while also  producing Vodka and Gin by redistilling GNS?  Also what about a distillery that blends 2 or 3 of the whiskeys that they produce from scratch, with GNS to make a really great blended Whiskey? Would you keep them from entering the guild evan though some or most of their products are produced from scratch?  Producing several different, very good spirits is normally a much better plan for marketting, than producing only one perticular spirit.  The craft breweries have done that for years with great success.  Personally, I would have a real problem with a guild keeping someone out becouse they produce Vodka from GNS while producing other spirits from scratch.  Also, I think that blending is just another tool in the craft distillers tool chest and I believe that blending is a true craft. 

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Klattig,

The couple of guilds I've sat in on do not care. That is not necessarily a bad thing, NGS is useful in a ton of ways like Southernhighlander has pointed out. The purpose of (most) guilds is to strengthen local businesses(distilleries) and to have a larger voice when it comes to production/distribution laws that the big guys don't have to worry about. Pretty much local guys vs. InBev, not so much shaming production facilities for their techniques. You can be proud of what you do and still work with other distilleries to fight the big guys, even if they don't adhere to your production standards.

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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.

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As per Mark Twain there are 3 types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. 

The problem with using NGS  is when companies lie about it, and when they are challenged, they claim that statistically it's ok, because other people do it to.

i personally don't have any problem with someone using NGS. What I have a problem with is when they market it as "Hand made with local ingredients" when the only local ingredient is the water they add to it, so it doesn't blow up their still when they warm it up, to legal claim "distilled by". 

So statistically speaking, I don't care if they join a guild, but they better not compare their Mr. Bubble NGS to a craft spirit, becuase that's a "damn lie."

 

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I appreciate the considered feedback on this topic.  These seem like valid points to me; perhaps I'm getting too deep in my own world.    As Roger noted, I guess that as long as people are honest about the source of their product, and still take a craftman's pride in whatever process they use to make it, they should be welcome.

Thanks for the responses!

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Roger,

 

I agree with you 100%.  If a person makes Vodka from GNS and they put on the bottle that it was hand crafted in a pot still that is a damn lie.  They are lying to their customers.  

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25 minutes ago, Southernhighlander said:

Roger,

 

I agree with you 100%.  If a person makes Vodka from GNS and they put on the bottle that it was hand crafted in a pot still that is a damn lie.  They are lying to their customers.  

Paul - as you well know, it's not easy for a independent craft distiller to make a good Vodka in house, even with great equipment like the column you designed for us. It took us literally months to perfect everything from fermentation, through stripping process, through re-strip, through Azetrope, through chill filtration, through chill reduction, and on, and on.... All the way to a gold medal in a real "non -honey boo boo" NY competition.

It would be a lot easier to just buy it in 250 gallon totes for 44 cents a bottle, but we refuse to lie to our customers by using the smallest legal font of "100% NGS" alongside the giant font "Hand Crafted".

 

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Congratulations on the gold medal!  That's fantastic.  I know that you are a perfectionist, so it doesn't surprise me any.  I'm sure that there will be many awards to come.

 I don't think that re-distillers of Vodka from GNS should put hand crafted or craft or anything like that on the bottle.  If the bottle says hand crafted or craft vodka or anything of that nature then it should be required that it was made from scratch.   

On the other hand, if they want to re-distill a vodka from GNS and call it White Swan Vodka with the small 100% GNS label and no craft labeling what so ever,  I don't have a problem with that.  If a distillery makes a GNS Vodka and a Whiskey from scratch I still think that they can be a craft distillery, but they should not say that they make a craft vodka because that would be a lie.  I think that we are talking basic ethics here. 

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