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  2. Subbing out production

    The only viable start really small option I saw was the one I am pursuing. Like you I am close to NYC (relatively), so I focus my efforts on farmers markets sales. It opens the p and l to success on the small scale, and allows a chance to build capital to grow as funds allow. if operations are covered via retail sales, any small distribution you get is all money in hand. of course to do that you really do have to be small. I have a 100 gallon still in a 450 square foot building. I have a self built mash ton and chiller. I can only ferment three batches a week, one spirit run. I cook corn in the still I put in about 50 hrs a week to make that work. Its tight, and its a pain. And there are all kinds of inefficiencies in time due to my low investment. But my rent I super super low, and I am well under 100k invested start to now. Not bad since I sold my first cases last weekend. I wouldn't start a different way given my unique situation, but starting small leads to all kinds of headaches and time sinks. so, you really really gotta love making it, and then you also need to love trucking your butt to the city every week and giving the elevator speech hundreds of times a day with the same enthusiasm to people who may or may not dig what you are doing. it also helps if your spouse is awesome, cause you are gonna need some help with logistics and paperwork at a minimum, and you cant afford to pay anyone. also note that my farmers market requires me not only to distill it myself, I also have to be the one that mills it, AND grows it just to be eligible to sell it there. so yeah, its a lot.
  3. Off hearts to trails ratio

    The higher OG & ABV both stress the yeast and make the yeast produce more congeners. You could also try changing yeast strain, adding/increasing nutrients, lowering fermentation temp, incremental feeding. Lots of variables to sort out.
  4. Off hearts to trails ratio

    It can be. Yeast is more stressed which can cause off flavors. We pay for sugars, so in the end it really doesn't matter how much you use from a cost point of view. Use more sugar, get more product, use less, get less. The difference can be use less, get a better product so more usable product while spending less for sugar. You might have to do more runs or run a bigger system to get the same amount of product, but it will be better.
  5. Off hearts to trails ratio

    Understood. Cheers.
  6. Off hearts to trails ratio

    So higher ABV in the wash is actually detrimental? That seems counter intuitive. Can you elaborate?
  7. Off hearts to trails ratio

    or run less power...
  8. Off hearts to trails ratio

    I'll give that a go, though I am then no longer really doing a pot distillation.
  9. Off hearts to trails ratio

    I found that the fermentation process has a greater impact of the tails fraction than the distillation process (garbage in garbage out). If your wash ABV is over 10% that might be the root cause.
  10. Good afternoon, We are weeks away from getting our MLCC license, and have been learning/trial and error/testing for 6 months or so. We are at the point where we would like to consult/contract some help from a master distiller to show us how we could be getting better yields with our equipment and processes.. Located in the Grand Rapids, MI area. Email me at zack@blackowldistillery.com if you are interested in helping us out! Cheers! Zack Van Dyke
  11. Off hearts to trails ratio

    More plates, especially if you are going to complete the run without the dephlegmator. You are getting separation for the heads cut, but you are smearing your hearts into your tails.
  12. More efficient solution for filling, corking, labeling?

    While I have not got there yet, I can see it coming. Have you considered preprinting bottles? That removes one step although it requires more inventory, but if volume is up, not as much of an issue. The other time consuming issue for me is the cap strip. For high volume I am considering a printed sleeve or even a screw top. Both would remove another operation in the proces.
  13. Point of Sale System

    Shopkeep has worked well for us, with a couple glitches. We use it for both cocktail bar service and retail package sales. It allows each product to have different taxes and allowed discounts. What it does not do is allow a volume or flat per piece excise tax to be included in addition to a percentage tax, which is inconvenient for us, because our county charges one that needs to be called out separately. Most don't have this problem. It is most affordable if you use their offered credit card processing, which we found competitive with what we were using at the start with them (National) and others we priced. You must use an iPad. You can use more than one, but each has a monthly charge, which is a pain when you may wish to use another unit just for the occasional event or during busy days. So, we use a Square in parallel for off-site events. I think Shopkeep leaves money on the table not offering a way to have a unit running that is not a full regular use register. It was as little as $50/mo, but now it is $70/mo.
  14. I've never seen that company but I am really interested. $23k isn't bad at all considering what it does. https://cda-usa.com/our-products/labelling-machines/wine-beer-and-spirits/auto/regionale/ One item that we have spent some money on for increasing our bottling speeds are rotary accumulation tables. If you don't have enough staff for every step of the process the rotary tables reduce the amount of time one spends switching back and forth, or moving bottles down a table. They cost roughly 3 grand each and take up a lot of room but have also saved us a lot of time. Sonny, is there any thing about that CDA machine which you do not like?
  15. Today
  16. Off hearts to trails ratio

    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I ran 2 strip runs with a non plated pot still run. I then ran a finishing (spirits) run from what I collected. In the spirit run I ran 2 plates with a deflegmator. I used the reflux to compress the heads and to allow ester formation. Once I turned the coolant to the deflegmater off I did not turn it on again. Essentially completing the spirit run with an alembic style process. I expected to have around 5-10% heads, 70% hearts and about 20-25% tails. I ended up with 60% tails (stopping at 74%). I'm wondering what went wrong. Did I not collect deep enough?
  17. We really found that the slowest part of the bottling process was the labeling, so that is what we addressed first. We have really increased our bottling throughput by adding a CDA labeler. The labeler first applies the bottle capsule closure that is then shrinked in the heat tunnel, the label is then printed on (sequential bottle number and lot number) then the front and back labels are applied. While not cheap ($23K) it is much much better and faster than hand rolling each label on even with a semi-auto single bottle labeler. As we continue to grow we will add an auto rinser/sparger, filler and capper to the lineup.
  18. Pumps

    We have a very similar operation, and use a pump with very similar stats to yours. Except our maximum particle size is a little smaller at 1/4", and our diaphragms are Teflon/Santoprene, and we move 180gal at a time. It works great for us. I'm curious if you can actually use a solely Santopene diaphragm if you are moving hot stillage, but I'd leave that up to the technical people at your pump dealer.
  19. Got Our DSP

    Congrats! and have to ask- how long did it take?
  20. Without going full blown automated system for packaging... has anyone here advanced to a packaging solution beyond the complete hands-on approach of hand placing bottles in the filler... filling... inserting bartops... rolling on labels... applying closures? Our current method of bottling is slow enough that we foresee problems as we begin to up our volumes of spirit to be packaged -but- we're not going so big that it makes sense to drop 50-100k for a full blown packaging robot. There must be a sensible solution somewhere in between... has anyone found it? Recommendations?
  21. Off hearts to trails ratio

    If you are going to run two plates as a one and done you will need to adjust the deflegmater to provide some reflux. Two plates alone with no reflux won't be clean enough for a single run. I have not run 4 plates, but I do know people who run like you did as second run. Running that way is essentially a two run with pot still. The deflegmater is just used to compress the heads.
  22. Got Our DSP

    congrats to ya! now the real fun begins
  23. Plastic vs Stainless tanks

    Here is the doc I drew up to school our marshal on the codes. He is a volunteer in our small community so didn't really read up on the codes. Fire Codes and Ethanol.docx
  24. Plastic vs Stainless tanks

    This is a good table that I used in negotiations with the fire marshal, BUT keep in mind that this is a table of ethanol by WEIGHT, not VOLUME. The numbers change a little between alcohol by weight and volume, quick converter at http://www.probrewer.com/tools/percent-alcohol-conversion-calculator/. Example, 50% abv = 39% by weight.
  25. Got Our DSP

    Congrats !!!!!!!
  26. boiler

    pete would you happen to have a pic of how you fitted your oil burner to your wood boiler .
  27. Off hearts to trails ratio

    Do you intend to do 2 runs? this stripping run then a spirit run? If this is the first run, you called it low wines run, then I suggest you don't do any cuts. Do them on the spirit run only. With only 2 plates treat it like an alembic pot still.
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