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  1. 1 point
    Thank you. I'm glad you found the web site helpful. We like to be an open book about everything especially, our prices. Concerning steam verses electric, steam is almost always the best way to go, especially in a state like CA. 200 gallon ultra pro vodka still: 200,000 BTUs of low pressure steam boiler output per hr. Agitator & VFD drive -10 amps at 220v single phase condenser cooling: input temp 53°F, output temp 125°F, max flow = 2gpm 400 gallon mash tun: 400,000 BTUs of low pressure steam boiler output per hr Agitator and VFD drive 25 amps at 220v single phase crash cooling = input temp 45°F output temp 95°F average, flow rate 9gpm max, cooling time 35 minutes Four 400 gallon fermenters: cooling= 10,000 btus per day for all fermenters 20 gpm mash pump with cart Jabsco 20 GPM Flexible Impeller Pump: Specifications: • Motor and head are close-coupled drive with no belts or gear reducers for increased power and reliability over the belt-driven heads • Precision cast head manufactured from 316 stainless steel • Variable speed controls in a NEMA 4 enclosure with local speed control, start/stop, forward/reverse • 30’ power cord • Speeds up to 1800 RPM • 1.5” TC inlet and outlet ports • Either pipe can be used for suction or discharge • 30 PSI maximum output pressure • Mounted on a custom stainless-steel cart • All components in contact with liquid being pumped are AISI 3216 Stainless Steel • Sanitary mechanical seal • Requires single phase 230 volt breaker of a 10 amp capacity or 3 phase 240 volt breaker of a 10 amp capacity. Liquid outlet pressure: 30 PSI Max Liquid Flow Rate: 20 GPM Pump head material: 316 Stainless Steel Liquid Inlet/Outlet Port Size: 1.5” Tri Clamp Electrical specs for 20 GPM Mash Pump 220 Volts Single phase or 3 Phase 1.5 HP 2.4 AMP Continuous Duty Cycle Replacement impeller, part # 8981-0002 G70C ATEX Kalrez® Air Operated Diaphragm PumpThese little Explosion Proof Alcohol Pumps are the best for high proof beverage alcohol. All of the wetted parts are completely ethanol resistant. Please see the information below from the manufacturers web site.The Model G70C is designed to be the ultimate in performance and reliability. Our robust design combines innovative features and relentless testing to offer a pump that has a long, trouble free service life. The pump incorporates all the great features and benefits you expect with Flojet products and now it’s fitted with Kalrez®. The uniquely designed shuttle valve check valves, and its high performance capabilities have been combined to accomplish the ultimate in compact air operated double diaphragm pump technology. The Model G57C Pump can supply up to 5 GPM (18.9 /min.). A Air Regulator is used to control the flow rate (sold separately).Model No.: G70C SeriesATEX approvedExclusively from FlojetChemical resistant Kalrez® DiaphragmsCapable of Air or CO2 drive pressures up to 100PSI (2.2cfm)Robust Design with durable integral mountingPatented Shuttle Valve eliminates stallingCapable of passing solids up to 3.2mm diameter easily with large clog-free Check ValvesCorrosion Resistant materials capable of handling a wide range of chemicalsEase of Installation with all quick disconnect portsFlow Rate 5 (gpm)18.9 (lpm)Air Supply Pressure 20 - 100 (psi)1.4 - 6.9 (bar)Temperature Range 120 (°F)48.9 (°C)Self Priming Up to 15ft (4.5m).Port(s) Air Inlet & Outlet 1.4"(6.3mm);liquid Inlet & Outlet 3/8"(10-13mm) or or 1/2"(12.7mm) ;Weight 0.54 (kg)1.2 (lb) Rite 85 S 18Hp Low Pressure Steam Boiler. Electrical: 110v 15 amp breaker Fuel: Natural gas or propane
  2. 1 point
    Concerning stills: None of our electric stills operate off of 110v single phase. Our 100 gallon standard series still has a 22kW heating system that draws 91.67 amps at 240v single phase and of course it requires a 115 amp fused disconnect or breaker as per the NEC. A 125 Amp breaker or fused disconnect is allowable. The agitator draws around 5 amps but the VFD drive will draw another 3 amps when wired in single phase out 3 phase. We have sold some large single phase stills with the largest being 300 gallons becouse the customer did not have access to 3 phase power or natural gas. We do 208v, 220v, 230v,240v,480v heating systems in single and 3 phase. All of our electric heating systems use single phase 240v elements for single and 3 phase power, except for the 480v systems which have 480v single phase elements. In general, it is my recommendation that a small distillery have at least a 200 amp 240v 3 phase system, if they are running electric stills. Medium and large distilleries should have a steam boiler to fire their stills and mash tuns. In that situation a 200 amp 3 phase electrical system is fine but a 200 amp single phase system will work with our agitators and pumps and be more than enough. All of our agitators and pumps have 3 phase motors, however the VFDs will convert the single phase power to 3 phase power.
  3. 1 point
    The Average Residence built in modern times will have a 200 AMP 1PH service. I would not want to run commercial on less than 400A-3PH, and again it depends on your loads. While you may need an Electricians assistance to properly fill out a load sheet for your space, this process is an education. It requires you be very detailed on everything that is going to be run or could be run with the existing plan down to the watt. Its a Painstaking affair. It requires nameplate data on everything in order for the calcs to be accurate. There are averages and rules of thumb for certain types of loads. Service upgrades can be expensive, and modern requirements are much more on the POCO end of things than they were in the past, and they want the customer to absorb much of that cost. Even having been in HVACR-Electrical systems work for 30 years, the task is still not fun for a large property and I have done it more than once.
  4. 1 point
    Depends on what your model/plan is, but I'm guessing that won't be enough. We have a 1,600 amp service for our distillery building, which is currently overkill. I was curious what our usage was at the moment, so I went to check. We are charging a forklift, operating 1 pump, our crossflow filter (which is a high-load), boiler & air compressor were cycling, and the still agitator were going. Plus lights, computers, etc we were at 235 amps. When we are cooking I have another 4 or so motors between 2 and 10 HP running. 3-phase is really nice to have for pumps and agitators... We run a 250 gallon Vendome, 500 gallon cooker, a couple 5 hp pumps, and some smaller stills with no electric.
  5. 1 point
    I have done this almost exactly on a fuel rectifier for shits and giggles. The main issue we had was stabilizing both columns. We held them both in 100% reflux until we had reached equilibrium between the 2 in terms of temperatures. We had to run depghs at different rates to keep Flow consistent but it did work. Was tricky. Didn't save us much time given the problems we had with equalizing proof and flow rates.
  6. 1 point
  7. 1 point
    Between the FM, chief electrician and planning department, they insisted we have a high hazard building designation. So that meant every electrical outlet was going to cost us a grand and look ugly to boot. Not so good for the look of the tasting room. And, they wanted everything drywalled up the wazoo, including covering our super cool and exceedingly expensive overhead massive timbers. After much wrangling we convinced them to allow us to create a 2 hour firewall between the distilling area and the tasting room, so that in the event of a fire, the patrons in the tasting room would have time time flee. Our tasting room is tiny. We could have a massive fire and still hang out in the tasting room talking about it. Eventually, everyone would saunter away.... Anyway that allowed us to trick out the tasting room normally and save the timbers. However, in the back, we weren't so lucky - we had to install the super expensive explosion proof outlets - so, predictably, we only installed a couple and they were very inconvenient to use. So now we have a bunch of extension cords. Dumb fucks. I pointed that out to the three players after words and they all just shrugged. At least I had met the requirements.
  8. 1 point
    Sort of true. Any locality might have the FM limiting their scope. But state law usually gives the authority to the local FM to do more if they choose to, and bear responsibility if the required things are not done. And they can choose to exercise that authority later, and again, you are left in the lurch. So it is not even enough if the policy is supposedly fine now: that happened not long ago in the city of Chicago, when they realized after the first few distilleries were already in place that the FM were not sufficiently conservative with regards to local code. Effectively, rules changed on the fly. So, for example, in the case you suggest, if the FM leaves it to zoning/building, and they say its okay, and later during a compliance inspection the FM realizes that something is not being addressed (and that info can come from anywhere), they call you out of compliance, and require you to address the issue or shut down, do matter what zoning/building said. At least, in most states, that is how the authority is structured. Gee, you get that happening all the time anyway: two years in, FM does an inspection, says probably good idea you add another fire extinguisher here, alarm there. You gotta do it.
  9. 1 point
    Depends on the community. The FM in one local city was the long-pole [he dealt with other industrial flammable production]. In the next city over [also a lot of industrial flammables] FM said they only do compliance inspections and it's totally up to zoning/building.
  10. 1 point
    I've been down this path with a couple properties. Part of zoning is about what the authority wants to allow for the community, and so a microbrewery model is good starting point. The extra safety/fire code issues are the main difference. DON'T offer extra information nor open new topics, but be prepared to address objections with information. Be prepared to give a high level non-technical glossy overview, then let them drive. Some topics/objection you should be ready to address: How do you plan to dispose of solid waste ? What is your sewerage waste like (BOD, quantities , temperatures) ? If you mill 'process' or 'crush' grain on-site then the dust can be explosive fire code applies. [argue similar to brewery] How much high proof alcohol and at what proof will you have on premises ? There is a difference in the code for 'process' vs 'storage' tanks, so your receivers & mixing tanks, bottling tank are 'process'. Storage tanks & Barrels are 'storage' and wooden barrels have a special status that exempts them from NFPA fire code but not building code. My county is quite prickly about "above ground storage & process" 25ft set-off from property boundaries unless you have exceptional fire-walls. If you are going to store more than a few barrels-worth you'll run into MAQ(maximum allowable quantity) restrictions that will push you to fire containment areas, sprinklers and perhaps an expensive H-3 classification. Vertical stacking of non-exempt storage like pallets of filled bottles, might be a trigger issue. Still over-pressure venting & barrel storage ventilation reqs might be discussed. So be prepared to describ theTalk to your architect/code-guy before hand, AND let them field the code compliance questions. With a tasting room and you could see questions related to local/state code, serving reqs, and proximity to churches, schools, community or rehab centers. It's not really part of the zoning agenda, but you'll want to note the value to the community, economic activity; drawing customers to the area, possible providing some jobs. Observe the 'vibe' of the proceedings. You will get hard questions, but if you come away with the clear impression that they don't want a distillery then it's best to find another location. They can run your biz into the ground with enforcement issues.
  11. 1 point
    When we were going through a similar process we wound up agreeing to all kinds of things way too early. Keep good notes, nod knowingly and don't agree to any conditions up front. If you have to go through a re-zoning process anyway - you want to make sure you have negotiating room and things to trade later for when all those previously keen neighbours suddenly turn against you.
  12. 1 point
    If you search on the letters AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdication) on this forum you will find a significant amount of discussion on what they might want to talk about. The other guy that you would want in a second meeting if the planning commission and the building inspector give you positive vibes is the Fire Marshall.
  13. 1 point
    Back to the OP's post, spill control, drainage, and containment all refer to the International Fire Code where barrels are exempt. So, if you are storing in barrels, you should not be mandated to have any of the listed safeguards. But, as it has been said many times before, this is up to your AHJ. If he thinks you need them, you need them. With regards to your question on a list of site requirements, this code review document should be helpful, This is a code review for a classification change from F-1 to H-3. Although this references mostly Ohio Building Code the numbers should correspond directly to IBC and your local code. Preliminary Code Review to Convert Existing Malt House F-1/S-1 to H-3 Existing Building Use Group H-3 - Distillery and spirit storage Table 307.1(1) – Spirits at 50% alcohol or less is a 1C flammable liquid and requires an H-3 use group when the MAQ of 120 gal x 2 = 240 gal is in use or storage is exceeded. OBC 414 – Hazardous Materials 414.1.3 – Report required to be submitted to AHJ describing max quantities and types of hazardous materials to be in-use or stored 414.3 Ventilation – Mechanical ventilation required. 1 CFM/SF continuous in areas or spaces where flammable vapors may be emitted due to processing, use, handling or storage. Make up air likely required. 414.5.1 – Explosion control is not required per OBC Table 414.5.1 – 1C not listed. 414.5.2 – Standby power may be required for the continuous ventilation. This would be exempt if the 1C flammable liquid is stored in containers not exceeding 6.5 gal. IFC 2704.2.1 – Spill control needed if storage is in individual vessels of more than 55 gals. The barrels are smaller than 55 gal so no spill control needed. IFC 2704.2.2 – Secondary containment is not required. OBC – 415 Detailed requirements for H Groups 415.3 – Fire Alarm monitoring of sprinkler riser. Existing, complies. 415.4 – Automatic sprinkler. Design should be review for the change of use/occupancy. 415.5.1 – Emergency alarm. Local manual alarm outside of egress from a storage area is required. 415.6 – Greater than 25% of the perimeter wall is exterior wall, Complies. 415.6.1 – Group H minimum fire separation distance. OBC Table 602 – Exterior wall fire-resistance rating based on fire separation distance. 26’ separation distance to the east and west property lines requires a 1 HR exterior wall rating for an H use group. OBC CH 5 – Building area. Existing building area is 13,246SF is less than Table 506.2 14,000SF for a IIB, H-3. Complies without open perimeter or sprinkler area increases. OBC 706 – Fire walls. A 2 HR rated fire wall exists between the 5B (combustible) B-use office and the 2B (non-combustible) F-1/S-1 to separate building construction type. Table 706.4 requires a 3 HR rated fire wall for an H-3 use group.
  14. 1 point
    Amaro By Brad Thomas Larson
  15. 1 point
    The only one who can tell you what you need is the AHJ (authority having jurisdication) Once you present to the building inspector and/or fire inspector what you intend to do, they will tell you what you need to meet code. This is neither a TTB nor State requirement, this has to do with building codes and fire codes and the AHJ's interpretation.
  16. 1 point
    I just reviewed this thread from the beginning and harkening back to business school, there is certainly enough material here for your to build a compelling case for any banker. Also, my advice is only probably only relevant for people who are considering distilleries that produce 100,000 litres or less - anything bigger than that is out of my league. Let me finish with a final thought or two. First, this just happened to me... So, the other day I show up to a market. I'm late, only 30 or so minutes to opening. To my dismay I see a competitor has already set up their booth in a superior spot and I find I'm relegated to a tight corner and a measly 6' table. Bummer. Worse yet, their booth looks great. Lots of branded swag. Company colours well utilized. A good selection of ancillary products. I have to admit, I was a bit thrown. Our table was a white table cloth some christmas lights a few rocks and our bottles. Soon the market opened... The market was spotty, the crowds ebbed and flowed - yet, the entire time we had people milling around our table and buying our bottles. Across the way, our would-be competitors looked on in horror - only making a few sales. In that five hour period, we grossed over $3k and I doubt they broke $250. The moral of the story is - no matter how rosy you create your plan to support your idea - your real mission is to build your audience, create loyalty and close sales. The way to do that is to create a great customer experience. Selling your booze should simply be a souvenir of that experience. Because I paid for my entire operation as I built it with no outside cash and because I started small and worked up. When I finally did approach the bank for a line of credit so I could buy some new equipment, they couldn't give me money fast enough - they barely looked at the books. All they looked at was the monthly revenues. The real beauty of this business that they pointed out, no accounts receivable and no accounts payable and six digit monthly revenues. The perfect business. I'm looking forward to next year with great enthusiasm!
  17. 1 point
    Wait you mean something made by Corson wasn't made correctly? Thats a shocker!!!
  18. 1 point
    My other mixers work fine. I will be selling most major brands of mixers, that are applicable, not just Brawn. I'm doing the same with pumps, safety valves etc. I want my customers to have lots of options, at better prices than my competitors, apples to apples. We have the deepest sanitary parts catalog in the distilling equipment industry. I currently supply parts to other still and brewery equipment manufacturers as well as food processing equipment and winery equipment manufacturers. If you need quality parts at the best prices let me know. Since you build equipment. I can will give you wholesale pricing on whatever you need.
  19. 1 point
    The first thing I want to lay out is that in no way, shape or form do I consider myself a know it all. But due to some recent postings on this forum, and just people who have approached me in my local area about opening a distillery, I figure I'll do us all a favor and throw down some info based on my experiences over the past few years. Take them for what they are. If you disagree, feel free to post. If you want to open your own distillery, this is what I suggest. In my case, I don't come from money and didn't have the opportunity/ability to get a bunch of well-endowed folks to throw down a shipload of cash. I got a bank loan and used my personal funds that I had set aside during my time in the military. I won't go very far into how much I had, but the total allowed me to do some work on our site to set it up (those figures will obviously vary based on your individual circumstances), get some bargain equipment (total was about 20K) and then make it all work with almost daily trips to LOWE's (not being paid by them) over several months. So, if you have 500,000 dollars or more and don't need to start seeing a return for quite a while, then more power to you. But if you're on a limited budget and enjoy working 18 hour days, here's what I did: ***IMPORTANT STARTING NOTE: In 2007 (when I started to work on our business plan) there were very few options out there as far as educational opportunities for those interested in smaller scale distilling aside from books, the internet, and visiting working operations. However, there are now many, many options ranging from 1 or 2-day courses that may cost a few hundred dollars all the way up to full blown internships that are in the thousands. Case in point, I personally hold a 1-day workshop a few times a year (Camp Distillery, info on our website at www.mbrdistillery.com, and we fill up several weeks in advance). We specifically do this to help those seriously thinking about getting into the business that don't have a full week to spend on a course. I don't do it for the money, I do it because I literally have individuals wanting to stop by and meet with me on the matter at least every 2 weeks and I just honestly don't have time to entertain that many people for free. I can obviously vouch for our course that I teach, as I have had nothing but positive responses on the quality of instruction from those that have attended. Before you do get knee deep in a business plan, look into AT LEAST a one or two day workshop and attend it. The few hundred dollars you'll spend will save you either 1. At least tens of thousands of dollars in avoided mistakes or 2. You'll learn that getting into this business may not be for you BEFORE you start spending too much time and money. The longer I'm in this business, the more I honestly believe that there's really nothing quite like it, even beer and wine are usually very different from the spirits business both on the production and marketing sides. Plus, the amount of regulation and taxes we, as small-scale operations, pay is like the NFL compared to college or high school football. 1. Make yourself a REALISTIC business plan, then make several alternates in case you can't do it the way you want. I had plans A, B and C. I ended up going with plan C due to lack of funding. If you don't know accounting, teach yourself or find someone that can produce good financials for you if you're going to present things to either the bank or investors (or even just yourself). However, even if you have someone else produce them, you or they need to be able to explain them in detail if you're going to ask anyone for cash. Those two items (business plan and financials) are your foundation. You need to live and breath them and know them left, right, up and down. Working on those were pretty much my only hobby while I still had a day job, I spent the better part of 18 months on mine and it paid off because my numbers were almost dead on, and that was quite impressive when the bank or investors were trying to take me seriously about the business. 2. Start researching the art of distilling. Get books, go on sites, talk to other distillers, but don't expect to learn how to distill by reading. If getting hands on experience means visiting several distilleries, see below. Go to TTB.GOV and start reading, the regs are there. You can't know the regs well enough. I'm not lying when I say that I go on that site probably once a week or more to lookup info or just to go over things to ensure that they're fresh in my mind. When you get licensed and you produce a product, you are swearing under law that you are making that specific product according to the federal (and your state) regs. Your state may have some additional regs (mine does) that add to the federal regs, look them up as well. In essence, you are getting into a socialized business. It doesn't matter how much money you make (even if it isn't enough to keep the lights on), if you sell product, you pay the man. In most cases you have to "ask" the fed govt for permission to do certain things and, even if they're wrong, they're right. You can argue with them all you want, but you could be heading down a slippery slope to do so. IMHO, the only way that I would ever challenge the feds is if they were TRULY mistaken about something and (hopefully) I really won't upset anyone. In most businesses you don't have to ask the govt permission to make a product a certain way, to increase your production amount, or to change the setup of your facilities. In this business you do. 3. Go visit SEVERAL distilleries in different states. When you do so, call ahead and make an appointment to meet with the actual distiller and/or manager. Take into account my initial statement about time with regards to those individuals. If they're busy, just take note of their setup during your visit. But, in general, get in and get out and realize that they're not there to be your personal consultant for 2 hours or more. In total, I toured about 20 craft distilleries prior to making the first move to get ours going. Different states have different licensing requirements and different distilleries will have different techniques. During those visits I also met several people that I can call (or they can call me) if I have a question about something. I won't mention some of the guys that have helped me out and probably will still call (maybe they don't want the publicity cause I'm sure they're as busy as me), but they have helped make our business to some degree (FYI, I still owe most of them a free bottle or two and a whole lot of appreciation). I would also add that it helps to go talk to folks that aren't across the street (and preferably are a state or two away) because common sense will tell you that they won't really see you as a direct threat to their business. I'm not saying not to tour any nearby locations, but I didn't spend too much time questioning them about too many things because they may see me as direct competition, particularly for their local distribution business. My biggest trip included a tour of 9 craft distilleries, lasted 5 days, was several thousand miles of driving, went from KY to NY and cost me a grand total of 500 dollars in gas, budget hotels, and food (pack an ice chest to really save). That being said, I do have a Honda Civic that gets 40 mpg on the highway. Also, there are the distilling workshops and the ADI conferences, but I still recommend you hit as many small-scale craft distilleries as possible to broaden your understanding of the business and to get as many points of view as possible. Even if you go to a workshop with several distillers there, it's not the same as seeing them at their location with their equipment and in full business mode. The small-scale distilling industry isn't near as well-developed as the wine-making or brewing business, you'll see some very interesting things at different operations. 4. Get your site (and if you don't know yet, YOU CAN'T HAVE A FEDERALLY LICENSED DISTILLERY AT YOUR HOUSE without a property subdivision of some sort, this ain't a winery or brewery kids, the law is gonna tax you and tax you again, they don't want you makin stuff in your basement), refer to CFR Title 27, Part 19, Subpart F, 19.131. And, just for some fun, go lookup the federal tax rate on spirits compared to wine and beer, it's about three times as much, and that's not even taking into account that small-scale wineries & brewers pay a fraction of that 1/3. Now, back to the whole distilling at home thing, you can subdivide property, put up a fence, or tell the feds that you have a "force field" separating the "house" from the "distillery" to get around that. But, BOTTOM LINE, you MUST GET FEDERAL APPROVAL FROM THE TTB, go talk to them because they only give that appproval on a case by case basis and don't expect them to snap to and give you an answer overnight. Furthermore, you have to deal with local zoning first and foremost because the feds WILL ask you about that. For all planning, I recommend you start locally, then go state-level, then federal. The feds EXPECT that you are in complete compliance with all local and state regs and will ask you about it when they interview you. Bare in mind that your location is one of your biggest factors that will allow your business to be successful. First thing is that the environment (city vs. country) will make a huge difference in the local requirements that can add tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars difference to your startup cost. Second, state (and even local) laws will determine if you can sell your products from your gift shop/tasting room. You make up to three times the profit when you sell a bottle from your gift shop vs. to a distributor. Finally, if you are off the beaten path, how many folks will venture to come and see you? All of those factors are important to consider for your location, so setting up shop in one state that may allow tastings and product sale out of your facility vs. another state where you can only sell t-shirts can make the difference between needing to sell 500 cases or 2500 cases your first year. 5. Once you have a place that you can legally set up and is zoned appropriately and the townsfolk won't come at you with pitchforks and torches, set it up for distilling. What does that mean? Well, either you can hire a consultant (there are many out there) or you can do it yourself. We have started with some pretty bare bones stuff and when we are able to move along, we'll buy (or make) the "nice" equipment. Cost is up to you on all of this, but you are going to need at least SOME money, more power to you if you can make your own equipment. 6. Once your equipment is in place and your site is ready, send in your federal paperwork (the feds require that your equipment is in place prior to licensing). Again, if you have money, you can hire someone to do this part for you. The paperwork itself isn't rocket surgery. But, if you mess it up, it very likely can slow things down. For example, I had something on our permit changed, it took 3 months to add two words on our already existing permit. Plan for a 3-6 month wait, hope for less of course. I can't tell you about your state requirements, that's up to you to figure out cause each state does it their own way. 7. Once you're licensed, make some hooch and sell it (probably to a distributor, or the state if you're in a "control state"), and start beating feet to get it on shelves. If you're not a natural or can't play the part of salesman/diplomat, find someone who can do a good job for you. Even if you can start up your operation on a very, very slim budget, you're going to need a few bucks for this part. I would plan for at least six months of not selling jack through distributors. These distributors manage many, many products and you are just one piece of their usually very large pie. You're going to have to make an effort to build a quality relationship with these guys and work around their schedules. Anything that seems like it should be easy with them WILL NOT BE. If you happen to be setting up on a location that will garner loads of tourist traffic, that's always a plus. But, even then, you're going to have do some sort of marketing (may not cost you a bunch of money, but some of it will) to get the word out that "there's a local distill'ry here" (so come and visit so we can keep the lights on). During this entire process you also need to keep your lights on at home on. In my case I have a wife that kept her day job for our first 4 years of business, so we were able to support ourselves with her income alone until the business could afford to pay us. When you start producing product, you need enough cash to run your business and your home expenses for six months or more. Basic business expenses will include but are not limited to the following: lease/rent, insurance, utilities, payroll (if applicable), raw material costs (grain, molasses/sugar, yeast/nutrients, packaging, etc.), MARKETING (everything from signs and ads to travel brochures for nearby locations), EXCISE TAXES for product that you sell, items for your gift shop (if you have one), and some buffer for the honorable Mr. Murphy (he WILL pay you a visit at least once in your first few months, so be ready to throw some cash down for when he comes). A very realistic rule of thumb is to take your budget and cut it in half. Use half for your facility and equipment, then the other half for your initial production costs and unappropriated costs. But I'd say that advice is still marginal at best. Finally, another important thing to think about is your workforce. I was the only full-time employee for our operation for our first 2 years. I served as distiller, bottler, tasting bartender, cashier, tour guide, sales rep (on the road to stores/on premises accts), accountant, handyman, groundskeeper, and whatever else needs to get done. Until we were able to begin hiring full-time employees, we had friends and family help us out with many different things. I'm sure that this experience is somewhat normal for many small businesses, but it seemed to take a while before we were able to truly afford standard employees. Again, this is just my experience, but that's something to think about. NOTE: This forum has a wealth of information, so do other forums when it comes to techniques (homedistiller.org). I recommend that you read through it and others extensively prior to posting and, when you post, attack a single issue at a time. Don't ask something like, "How do you distill???" or "how do I start a distillery?" Look through the postings, get Bill's book (not being paid for that either), and any other references prior to posting. But, bottom line, be specific when you post so people don't have to write a book IF they do decide to respond. If you don't get much feedback, bank on the fact that you asked a question that already has an answer on the forum. If you really, really don't know anything about distilling or setting up a distillery, refer to steps 1-3. But, just because you can make a product, does not mean you can run a business that profits from that product. I know quite a few folks who can do some good things that they could turn into a business, but they don't want to or can't start a new business for whatever reason. Even when I was the only employee, I spent 75% of my work time NOT MAKING HOOCH. In most cases you are going to have to work at it to make some cash. But, know this, no matter what, the feds (and your state) WILL PROFIT IMMEDIATELY, but that does not mean that you will. From idea to an actual working distillery making hooch, my timeline lasted about 3 years. We're now beginning our 5th year in business and we have 6 full-time employees (including myself), and 6 part-time employees. I still drive a Honda Civic, but I work for MB Roland (consequently that's my wife's maiden name ). Good luck and I hope this serves as a good reference and starting point for those who need guidance on this topic.
  20. 0 points
    Can't provide any better estimate than your advisor, who I presume had detailed information on the operation of your still, etc. Cooling will dominate, but it varies so much based on efficiencies of the design of the still.
  21. 0 points
    Hi, I'm Jim from Liberty Pole Spirits near Pittsburgh, we've worked with Geoff extensively over the past several years. He is a great resource and has a well thought out program to help businesses grow. We highly recommend him. Geoff has worked hard to learn the business side of distilling. Besides working with us I know he's also sat down with prominent figures in the Kentucky distilling landscape.
  22. 0 points
  23. 0 points
    The interesting thing about terpenes in cannabis is that now it is believed that they control the high in some way. THC has a great deal less affect without any terpenes. No one knows why yet, but they do seem to control the effects of THC in several different ways. The different ways being different psychactive effects and therefore different medical effects. Also, you can distill terpenes from ethanol after washing, however there are issues with that. The taste and smell of terpenes from ethanol extraction are nasty. The best way to distill off the terpenes is to use steam as the solvent and an oil water separator at the output of the final condenser. Steam distilled terpenes retain their wonderful taste and smell. Also cannabis has lost of different terpenes among the different strains. Sour Diesel gives you sour and diesel fuel flavors and smell while the Cat Piss strain smells just like cat piss. The Super Skunk strain smells like a skunk in a big way. Some hemp strains smell like orange or lemon while others smell like cherries. The fact that humans have a very well developed endocannabinoid system, tells us that humans have been using the plant for thousands of years. The medical benefits of the plant are extraordinary, and of course, overall, cannabis is much safer than drinking ethanol. I hope that someday THC can be added to spirits but I think that it's going to be a while. I like IPAs that are infused with hemp terpenes and I think that will continue to be a trend. It might be interesting to produce a distilled spirit that has been infused with hemp terpenes.
  24. 0 points
    Differentiators are good, they help you stand out from other similar products and give people a reason to believe they might like you more than others (because an award says that others liked yours more than others). So I think you're smart to lean into any award you receive. And remember you can just say award winning and leave it at that with a reference to the organization. People can ask or look up what exact award you received but at the end of the day that spirit is an award winning spirit and beat out others to be able to say that. In terms of proof that this is a good idea, here's an anecdote from my 12 years leading marketing for a few brands at a fortune 500 company. We did a ton of market research over the years on seals of approval and certification logos, etc... What we found is that even if consumers have no idea what that seal means or who the organization is who gave it out they are more likely to buy the product with an icon or multiple icons than one with none. While this research wasn't in the alcohol category I think the same logic is likely to hold here...especially since everyone understands what medals and awards are, much more so than seals and certifications. Congratulations on even having this dilemma in the first place...it's a good problem to have!
  25. 0 points
    You've misunderstood, you can remain F-1 by adding sprinklers and this will take you to 240 gallons. If you search on the term "MAQ" on this forum you will find significant discussion. H-3 will require much more in your build out but than you will have no MAQ.
  26. 0 points
    Cage and Son Type D.pdf 494595999_600Lmodular.pdf
  27. 0 points
    GRAVITY...siphon to SS Vessel.
  28. 0 points
    We've been using this little pump for years! https://www.tcwequipment.com/products/flojet-g70-explosion-proof-air-diaphragm-pump
  29. 0 points
    @Canuckwoods all of the major spirit and wine competitions in the world award medals based on their own internal quality metric which means if a 100 spirits were entered into a category and base on their quality 100 could receive gold medals or none could receive medals. However, the Great American Beer Festival and their subsidiary competitions use a 1-2-3 model so that no matter how many entries in a category they only award 1 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze.
  30. 0 points
    take the medal and put it to use. Talk it up. Very few consumers of buyers are aware of how a competition works and that medal regardless of color to most people is a sign that the spirits are good.
  31. 0 points
    You are off by a factor of two. Sucrose is a disaccharide, so 1mol of sucrose produces 4 mol of EtOH and 4 mol CO2. You won't see much sucrose from malt, instead you'll end up with mostly maltose (another di-sacch) or glucose (a mono-sacch) if you use enzymes. Yes, an efficient operation really can get >400LA from a metric tonne of grains tho' I more often see such high figures associated with corn rather than malt. 405 LA * (789 g/LA) / (46.07 g/mol EtOH) = 6936 mol EtOH 6936 mol EtOH requires the fermentation of 3468 mol of monosaccharide (2 EtOH/monosacch) or 1734 mol of disaccharide (4 EtOH/disacch) 3468 mol glucose * (180.156 g/mol glucose) = 624787g = 0.625 metric tonnes of glucose 1734 mol of disacc * 342.3 g/mol disacch) = 593554g = 0.594 metric tonnes of disaccharide. [[ note the mass difference in sugar mass is just the mass of water needed to hydrolyse the dissach, iow 0.594 mton of maltose + 1734 mol water => 0.625 mton monosacch hexose sugars]] The yeast consume ~3% of available carbon primarily for their mannose cell walls, so you'd need to extract (0.625 / 0.97) = 64.4% of the malt mass as glucose to obtain the 405LA/m.tonne. Too mathy ? A rule of thumb, for most grains and high extraction methods, 3kg of grist => 1kg of EtOH, 1kg of CO2 and 1kg of waste
  32. 0 points
    Is it bad to say I want to hug it? If that just ain't the cutest darn thing. If I had a spare $15k, I'd buy that in a SECOND.
  33. 0 points
    Certainly not upset. Just think your conclusions might be overreaching, and could be wrong in specific cases. We have experimented with 5, 8, 10, 15, 23, 30 gallon barrels, all chars, all toasts, different modifications (traditional, honeycomb, sliced, etc.). We also use 53g traditional in all chars. Our experience is that it VERY much depends on the barrel type, not just the size, as well as the type of spirit being aged. Even confining to whiskies, we found quite a difference in optimal choice for use of smaller barrels with malt barley, malt rye, and bourbon. With bourbon, it matters what the mash bill is. I would agree that using 5g (or smaller) is a real challenge for almost everything, although we have done so. For high-corn bourbon, we found 10g better than 15g or 23g, and definitely they will over oak in a short period of time. For this size, we particularly like the honeycomb, with very light char and good toast, for maximum vanillin extraction in a short time. You CAN age through the over-oak period with a 10g or smaller barrel, but we found 2+ years necessary, and the extreme angel-share loss and concentrated extractives made these less interesting to drink on their own than to blend with larger barrels. For malt barley, would agree that 15g is a better minimum, but that also reflects the need to age 2+ years. Our preference in that case has been a light char, while using the same size for malt rye we preferred a heavy char and found 1+ years could work. The barrel we found the LEAST interesting was the 30g. We did not see much difference from using a 53g (not surprising, the difference in surface-to-volume ratio is very small). But something close to this size would have been traditional in the first part of the 19th century, and there is no reason to eschew it. We had used Barrel Mill in the past, particularly 15g & 30g, but lately have been using Black Swan exclusively for the small barrels, in part because Barrel Mill no longer makes one of the chars we found worked best for one of our whiskies, and Black Swan was more flexible with regard to special toasts and chars. But otherwise, we found Barrel Mill to produce barrels of high quality and good value. We agree that small barrels can be very interesting for aging in used barrels. This is particularly so when the barrels have only been used for short period aging, the quality of the spirit in the second use has some of the character more associated with aging in new char. One of our whiskies and a couple of our gins definitely owe their lauded flavor profile to that, we think. We also found them a good choice for aging brandy and are doing our first rum tests now. Not really looking to argue against @Silk City Distillers observations, I think it is great to make their experience available to others here. I just wanted to add our own experience, especially where it might vary to some degree from others.
  34. 0 points
    From the conclusion above: Don't forget about the small barrel maturation curve, it goes like this: 1. Young harsh distillate. 2. Tastes faintly like whiskey. 3. OH MY GOD ITS OVER-OAKED. 4. Wow, that's really good, I now realize that #2 tastes terrible. 5. Ah christ, now it's really over-oaked. 6. Garbage. Many pull at # 2, on the upswing of the extraction curve. I feel this is incorrect, misleading. You generally see these as products aged 6-8 months in 10 gallon. What you get it extraction products and color without maturation products. Bitter/Dry Tannin is on the upswing, peaking in # 3. But, it's not until these have some time to oxidize/react, settle down, allow the vanillin/syringealdehyde to come through. For us, # 4 is 12-14 months in a 10 gallon. # 5 if about 15-16 months. You may have some luck "rescuing" #5 by dumping into stainless tanks with plenty of headspace and letting it sit for a few more months. You will never "rescue" #6, it's not even suitable for blending. Or just bite the bullet and push to 15/25/30g sizes.
  35. 0 points
    Win the backyard is my thought. My distributor is statewide, but I want them to focus on a radius around my city so I can control tastings and events. As odd as it sounds I do not want them selling in the whole state yet. I don't have hard facts to back anything up for my argument. My theory is the further I get out of my city the less relevant my label becomes until I reach a scale that makes sense to move beyond my borders.
  36. 0 points
    Wow, my company iStill has been shortlisted for Icon of Gin Brand for 2020! If you enjoy my posts on gin, and find them helpful, please check out the link. If you could do me the courtesy of putting us on position number one, that would be greatly appreciated! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IoG_2020_Voting Regards, Odin.
  37. 0 points
    Proof would need to be fairly low to be concerned about sterile filtration to prevent spoilage, but have heard of some microbes that can remain dormant in higher proofs, so ok - it's a factor. Sub micron has more to do with light scattering as it passes through the bottle. It presents more as a kind of very light opaque haze than as visible floating particulate. Not talking about floc, clouds, etc. I've seen this with carbon filtration, where the spirit on the shelf has a kind of gray tinge, due to sub-micron carbon particulate. Murky maybe? I can pick it out pretty easy when I'm looking for it, especially in a bright store, with lots of bottles side-by-side for comparison. To me, visually, sub-micron has a kind of sparkle to it.
  38. 0 points
    When you receive the barrel, you enter it in storage inventory at the stated proof gallons. When you dump the barrel, you gauge the proof gallons and record the loss. You then account for the loss on the monthly storage report. Tax liability is created when the final product is withdrawn from bond and you only owe for what is actually withdrawn. Be sure to document everything so that your records support the claimed losses.
  39. 0 points
    Where are you located? In addition to what's said about: Putting in simple flow meters for the depleg and condenser controls can be very helpful in roughing out how manual controls need to be set. Similarly putting a hash mark on a dial and affixing a print-out clockface or compass rose behind can be helpful in aligning your 'turn to 2'oclock' compared to other staff. Even if you plan to be grain-to-glass, buy a 55 gal drum of gns and do several practice runs with it until you can reliably hit your target proofs and understand the cooling needs and settings for the column (the gns could be used for sanitizer/cleaning/etc afterwards).
  40. 0 points
    You say your barrels leak like crazy at the start. Are you driving the hoops tighter before filling? I often fill very dry barrels and they occasionally seep for a short time but I tighten the hoops first. They will sometimes drive down another inch or so.
  41. 0 points
    Transpiration is the process of whiskey moving in and out of the wood, or even through the wood. This process occurs in a regular barrel by virtue of the osmotic pressure changing from the changing temperature and humidity on the outside of the stave relative to the inside for the whiskey-filled barrel. If you have free floating staves or wood inside the liquid, you don't have this effect. To some degree, you might try to artificially replicate this effect by pressurizing and de-pressuring the whiskey in the barrel; there is a US craft distillery who does this for their "fast aged" whiskey, although again, they have not accelerated aging, but transpiration and thus extraction. Aging is aging, you don't accelerate by temperature swings, but elevated temperatures will increase the reactions of aging compared to lowered temperatures, although all the different chemical processes do NOT change their rates of reaction to the same degree with a change in temperature. In fact, some reactions can change by orders of magnitude with temperature, and others almost not at all! Many people unfamiliar with the science of barrel aging will confuse aging, extraction, and transpiration. The transpiration affects both extraction and "filtration", the latter in the case of charred barrels. It can also cause a concentration in the solutes with longer aging (so-called "angel share" effect). Hence, why using a sealed non-oak container with oak adjuncts inside is NOT the same as using an oak barrel as far as transpiration. The UV treatment methods are currently patented. We have not tried them ourselves. This is an example of an expensive technology that could be used to do a rapid "aging", because it will increase the speed of some of the aging reactions without having to overly elevate the temperature. However, it will not necessarily be exactly the same result, because photo-induced chemistries will increase at rates different from those from changing temperature, and which reactions increase is different, so the result is different from long aging. Sound and ultrasound can increase extraction. Ultrasound can maybe increase some chemical reactions (photoacoustic chemistry), although I have not seen evidence of a good result for this. Oxygenation by itself is actually a potential problem, unless balanced with appropriate technologies to use the oxygen in reactions normally associated with aging, like esterification. In any case, I am not arguing you can't throw all the technology plus the kitchen sink at the problem to get something comparable to longer aging in shorter time. You might well be able to, but it probably will be expensive to do, and may not taste exactly the same, and is not aging in any case, and the TTB won't let you call it that. Aging occurs, according to the TTB, in OAK BARRELS, and means length of time, legally. Period. And the flavor profile from long aging is complicated, and affected by many environmental factors, so replicating it with other technologies is a challenge. In the end, you make your whiskey, you properly label it, you tell the consumer (hopefully) what you did, and they like or not and pay you accordingly! FYI, I am a retired physicist who spent 40+ years studying photochemical-induced organic reactions, among other things, and so this colors my perspective.
  42. 0 points
    Check out the book "Amaro" by Brad Parsons. Pretty good place to start
  43. 0 points
    To Louch or not to Louch, that's the question! Thanks tbagnulo! Onwards with louched gins! I visited a distillery once that had a wide array of products. Most of them bottled at 40%. Only their gin was bottled at higher strength. I asked the master distiller why? He said - and taking a look I could see it - that even at the higher ABV of 45%, his gin was on the verge of becoming cloudy (or "louchy" as the word seems to be). Would he go any lower in ABV, the gin would turn almost white. I asked him what he thought the solution was. He told me that he had talked to two gin experts. One advised him to cut his herbs bill in half. Use like only 50% of the total herbs bill he had used before. The second one told him to buy a chill filter and filter the haze out. The second solution I really don't like, because it takes away essential oils AKA taste. And anyone who tells you that chill filtering doesn't ... well, let them chill filter their whiskey for 10 times only to find out it starts to taste pretty much like a vodka! The first solution of using less herbs, isn't good either. It relies on the assumption that a louched gin is bad. I feel it isn't. A louched gin is a great indication you got over huge amounts of tasty oils. And that was the goal right? To create a big tasting gin. So how do we solve the louch? Easy, dilute some neutral / gns to the same percentage as the louched gin, and add a portion. There will be a moment (75:25, 66:34, 50:50, etc.) when all of a sudden the louch lifts. In a second, maybe two. You now have the gin with the most taste possible. And if you think it is too big in taste? Dilute it. Bottom line? A louched gin gives you a balpark. A starting point that makes it easy to create great tasting gin with the same flavor profile over and over again. And you can always dilute a big taste gin to a lighter one, but not the other way around. Next post: on boiler vs. vapor infused gins. Regards, Odin. PS: Here's a movie on me making gin. With lots of info on how to do it! Here it is:
  44. 0 points
    Interesting and helpful. Thanks for the post. Good to see how others approach things.
  45. 0 points
    Eureka! We finally passed the COLAs. I was able to elevate the review to a manager and had them talk with formulation about the requirements for the SoC. It appears COLA agents often times take the suggested SoC from the formula approval as gospel and require it to be exact when it doesn't have to be. I was able to modify the SoC to drop the artificially colored and replace it with a list of herbs we used. This is far more amicable on our end for obvious reasons.
  46. 0 points
    Facing some similar issues here with our chokecherry liqueur. We've been able to successfully filter down to 30 microns (in a ghetto cartridge filter setup) but when we try to run it through our plate filter at 27 microns, we get hopelessly plugged up. A very thin slime of what I assume are colloids coats the filter sheets not allowing anything by? We've tried going down to 20 and 15 microns in our cartridge setup but gum those up pretty quick. Picked up some ultazyme clarification enzyme, but will this not work with alcohol present? Not much settles out in a bottle and the mouth feel of the liqueur is good, so is 30 micron sufficient filtering for a liqueur? Sorry to hijack, Brothers, but seemed like a similar problem. Thanks
  47. 0 points
    I make the same spirit up here in MA, and have the same problems. I think the root of it is from the orange/lemon zest - if you get too much of the 'white' it increases the pectins. I've tried a variety of pump methods with little luck - my last attempt was with a vacuum pump, but the filters get gummed up very quickly. The only thing I've found to work reliably is the same thing you're working with, gravity and time. I've thought of building a low-speed centrifuge (basically a bicycle wheel with a motor with some number of ~gal containers either suspended from or mounted on the rim. I'm also looking at possible ways of reducing the potential for pectin, though I'm not sure what those are. Also reducing the process to three steps; (1) making the spice reduction and filtering separately, (2) heating the honey and filtering separately, (3) and finally blending. So far changing the process hasn't made much difference, I always end up with the goop in the bottom. An alternate approach would be to just continue running the way you are, but save the goop (analogous to the 'Queen's Share' in rum making) from contiguous runs which would sit for a much longer period and would likely be the basis for a 'premium' krup. I'd love to talk to you more about what you guys are up do in Durham... we're just getting started up here. Pepi Petas (Pepi) Avizonis, Ph.D. Dirty Water Distillery Plymouth, MA
  48. 0 points
    Not a whole lot of volume (right now). I'm blending in 30 gallon batches, and after decanting we've got about 5 gallons of sediment and pectins at the bottom. The plastic plate-filter most definitely did not work, even with a pump pushing it. Under pressure, the pectins turn into a colloidal gel and bind together, and pretty much nothing gets through. Don't know if a wider micron filter would make a difference, it seems like the pectin spreads over everything and just sticks there. I can look into bag filters though, may as well. Thanks! Still need to try the centrifuge option. That or I could try pectic enzymes, but those won't work if there's already alcohol in the solution, meaning I'd have to cool my reduction, pitch the enzymes, wait, then heat it up again.
  49. 0 points
    Try a bag filter with a pump. Don't know the volume your doing, but there are some inexpensive plastic housings and micron bags available. I assume your at home filtration through coffee filters, etc. was gravity based. A pump and housing will make a world of difference.
  50. -1 points
    I'm good. Thanks for the offer.
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