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  1. 7 points
    Slippery slope. More information than anyone probably wants or cares about. I like weighing and can't fathom doing anything other by weight. Spirits by volume? You are wasting your time and are highly inaccurate. The scale probably doesn't need to be NTEP, but it should be. Non-NTEP scales generally can't be calibrated, and the TTB wants your measuring equipment calibrated. Given this is used for tax determination, it could be arguable that this is a value exchange and NTEP should apply. Dunbar probably has a good handle on this. NTEP scales are typically higher quality than non-NTEP scales. It doesn't mean a non-NTEP scale isn't good, it can be better than an NTEP scale, but generally, NTEP is there for a reason. Generally you don't make a junk NTEP scale, but lots of people make junk non-NTEP scales. Non-NTEP scales are typically sold based on readability - the display accuracy, the number of digits on the scale display. However, you need to realize that showing more numbers on the display doesn't mean the scale is accurate to the digit of the display. This is a massive misconception. Just because the display shows it, don't mean it's so. You could make a 1000 pound scale with a display that reads 999.99 - but it doesn't mean that the scale is accurate to 0.01 pounds. In fact, you have no idea at all if the scale is accurate to that level, because there are no rules to mandate that it is. The numbers after the decimal point could be complete nonsense. You think it's highly accurate because it shows more numbers, but that ain't the case. That's where NTEP comes in. Among other things, NTEP defines the number of "DIVISIONS" that the scale is capable of accurately resolving. Legal for Trade means that the the display accuracy is equal to the accuracy that is defined by the division in one of these classes. NTEP also means that the scale is independently verified to read accurately across a range of voltages, temperatures, and other operating conditions. NTEP CLASS I - 100,000 Divisions and UP (Precision Laboratory Use) NTEP CLASS II - 10,000 to 100,000 Divisions (Lab Use, Precious Metals, etc) NTEP CLASS III - 1,000 to 10,000 Divisions (Commercial legal for trade) Accuracy/Readability = Maximum weight / Divisions So, you can have an NTEP Class 3 scale, 1,000 pounds, with 1,000 divisions. The display should read 0000 (1000/1000 = 1). Nothing after the decimal point. You would assume it is accurate to the pound only. You can also have an NTEP Class 3 scale, 1,000 pounds, with 10,000 divisions. The display should read 0000.0, and the scale will increment in .1 pound steps. 0000.1, 0000.2, 0000.3. You would assume that it is accurate to a tenth of a pound. So what's the difference? The 10,000 division NTEP scale is going to be more expensive than the 1,000 division NTEP scale. What makes scales more expensive than others? Not the total weight capacity, no no no. It's the divisions. The more divisions a scale can accurately measure, the more complex the circuity, the higher tech the load cells, the tighter the manufacturing tolerances, the more substantial the frame needs to be, and the more expensive the scale. That all said, the scale used for a specific operation needs to be suitable for that operation. Lets say you are proofing 50 pounds of 120proof spirit to 80 proof for bottling, that's going to be 28.154 pounds of water for a total final blend volume of 78.154 pounds. If you have a 5000 pound NTEP pallet scale with a 1 pound accuracy, your display weight of 78 pounds is everything from 77.5 pounds to 78.4 pounds. So you add water until your display reads 78 pounds. In proof terms, it means you are anywhere from 79.7 proof to 80.4 proof, you'll have no idea unless you gauge again. If you read 80.4 - you'll need to slowly keep adding water and gauging, over and over, in little steps. A waste of time. If you read 79.7 proof. Sorry to hear it, hope you have more spirit on hand to raise the proof, which you'll need to do slowly, re-mixing and gauging every time. Now, if you had a 150 pound scale with an accuracy of 0.05lb (NTEP Class III - 3000 Divisions, actually LESS ACCURATE THAN THE 5000lb Scale). You would add water to 78.15 pounds. If proof terms, you are going to be better than 79.95 to 80.05. Do you gauge again? Of course you do. But you'll be dead on, no fiddling around with trying to add an unmeasurable amount of water or spirit (proofing by trial and error). I just hope someone bothers to get this far and at least got some bit of useless trivia knowledge out of this. That said, EVERYTHING BY WEIGHT, NO OTHER WEIGH ... err WAY.
  2. 3 points
    Can you tell I like scales yet? Every distillery should have 3 scales. Yes, get out your pocket book, you should have 3 scales: Scale #1 - Sized for the maximum amount of spirit you deal with in Production. Scale #2 - Sized for the maximum amount of spirit you produce in Processing. Scale #3 - Sized to check weight a filled bottle for verifying filling accuracy in Bottling. If you deal with similar weights on a day to day basis in Production and Processing, than the same scale would suffice. But if you are working with totes of GNS in Processing (needing a max capacity of at least 2000lb), and producing 50 pounds of distillate at a time out of your still, you probably want two different scales. What is a good accuracy when dealing with a tote is not a good accuracy when trying to proof 50 pounds of distillate. If you deal with small volumes in production and processing (under 10 wine gallons), keep in mind 19.186 above, this will all but GUARANTEE you need three scales, since you will not find a high capacity scale with enough divisions to accurate read to the hundredth place. Generally, this kind of scale is going to be under 100 pounds maximum capacity. The third scale is for checking your bottle fill accuracy, and it is going to need to be accurate to the gram. We use a 2kg x 1g scale which works perfectly for us (750ml is our largest bottle, and the glass is a little bit over 900 grams), but you are going to need to know your bottle glass weight and volume to determine if 2kg is sufficient or not. You weigh a bottle, tare it, fill it, then check against the table. Allowable fill variation is pretty wide, so 1g accuracy is enough. You can find inexpensive high quality scales for this, and it is significantly easier than attempting to verify bottle fill volumetrically. You can find my bottle verification check weight chart here for 375 and 750ml:
  3. 3 points
    Meanwhile, late a night Glen broods about his future.... Hmmm. What can I do to make a living? Let’s see. Gotta be nine to five and the pay has got to be great... Jeez, that means I’ll have to get an actual job! That sucks. Wouldn’t want to waste my days working. Hmmm. anything else? Wait! I know, I’ll start my own business! Let’s see... Be my own boss. Do what I like... Sounds perfect. But, what kinda business could I start? Corner store? Na. Too boring. Gas station. No, cars are going outta style. Amway? Possibly... Hey! I like to drink! I know how to make some moonshine - I know! I’ll start a distillery! That’s a great idea. I can’t wait to get started! How hard could it be? Hmm, How much money is in the old investment account? I’ll clean that out first as my seed money. I’ve made millions in the TV biz, so that should be OK... Type. Type. Type. Hmmmm. Type. Type. ‘Your balance in your investment account is: $437.94.” ...Or not. OK let’s see what’s in the ‘ol current account. Type. Type. Type. $103. 54 Alright then, my working capital $541.48. Although, once I subtract the mortgage, car and other essential living expenses, that should leave me with about $-6547.96 in my account. Good times. Good times. Well, that doesn’t look too good. Oh well, no worries. Let’s do some research here and see about what’s up with getting this off the ground. Let’s see... I’ll just surf over to alibaba here. Hey look! I can get a still for 2K USD. Gee that doesn't sound too bad... I could build a whole distillery for the price of a used pick up truck. Cool. Although, it does seem a little too good to be true, I wonder what the catch is? Perhaps some more research is required... Five months later... Man I wish I hadn’t written this business plan, it sure is depressing. No matter how I push the numbers around, it looks like it going to cost way more than a pick up truck, new or used by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Shit. Hey what’s this? I need to rezone my property before I do anything else? Eight months later... Man, am I ever gonna get through this process? Sigh. Fucking neighbors. Why did I decide to start a distillery again? Could someone please remind me? Fame, fortune, lifestyle, great whisky, a better gin... you were looking for something different to do, remember? Oh yeah, right. Thanks. Without question, alcohol is a business of patience. So, clearly, the question is, considering the daunting odds why would you bother? Also with more distilleries going out of business and a crowded market, doesn’t that make it harder? Consider the story of two competing coffee companies I know. This is a true story unfolding even as I write. They both started at the same time. They both bought the same equipment and they both were equally geographically challenged. Company One struggled from the beginning because almost immediately they felt overwhelmed by the market and they always felt they weren't making money and ultimately, they had missed the coffee boom. Eventually, they sold their coffee machine and their company and went in a different direction. Meanwhile Company Two, clearly understood that in the modern era, something like coffee would never pass today’s tough food guidelines and, even better - was an addictive substance. Also, who the hell would drink bitter bean juice? They clearly realized, the key to success was to simply sell a (or their idea of) a better bitter bean juice. Simple really. They were recently bought out for 214 million dollars. All of this in a terribly over saturated North American coffee market dominated by big brands. The moral of the story is whether or not you are rich or bootstrapping - the eager distiller should not be scared by the idea that they’ve missed the boat. There are billions of people in the world. Nobody can produce enough of anything edible to meet demand. The trick is, can you produce something people want? Why do they want it? It it better? A cleverer story? Geographical placement? In the case of the coffee companies, a geographically bad location made (well one of them anyway) work harder to get their ‘better’ products out and as a result, built a wider market faster. I’ve found that by going through the rezoning process, an interesting thing happened. People began to follow the story as it periodically appeared in the local newspaper. People were both for and against it. Everywhere we went people would ask us about it. Eventually, we realized this was the very market we were seeking to create. We now have a clear sense of how much product we might sell when we open the doors. In fact, I can’t believe how much people are interested in alcohol. And of course, I’ve realized I’m woefully underfunded and under equipped. Good times. ‘Course you knew that. And really, so did I after checked the accounts at the beginning. So if everything is so hard and jaw droppingly expensive and difficult to achieve and make a profit, why proceed? Because, here in BC Canada (at least for now), you can make a profit in this business if you work at it. As really in any business, if you are financially prudent, run a tight ship and ultimately, make sales. But more importantly, because others won’t. They’ll dream. They’ll make some home made hootch. And, they’ll happily tell you how to run your place better. But they won’t have it in them to actually run the gauntlet and take the risk. Yet, with over a billion people in North America alone there will never be enough brewers, wine makers or distillers. Those who do make it through and can build their customer base always have the potential to do well. As my old fishing skipper told me as advice when I was young: “Sell something people want more of.” Empty bank accounts and no plan B? Awesome. Count me in. Glen.
  4. 2 points
    Very interesting find here. Some good points and I would have to agree with the side that says there is plenty of room for growth. The way I see it, is this is a changing industry as growth continues. No offense, but if you are sing an end near, then you have already given up. I get it, people are afraid of change, but change is constant and an opportunity to do things different with added knowledge. Time for people to embrace change and evolve with the business. The same thing happened in the craft beer segment and that is exactly why I am here. Rather than opening another brewery and trying to adapt with the saturation I saw a chance to get into and industry that is years behind craft beer. Most distilleries before me have focused on the mass production and distribution model. I have decided to follow the craft beer model (as mentioned before) and go with a tasting room forward and innovative model. Were are slated to open by the end of the year and have a 2500 sqft tasting room with another 3000sqft outdoor "drink garden". Our production will be based on laughter with clean/closed fermentation and 1 stripping still and 2 spirits stills, one for botanical and one for flavor positive starches. We will produce about 30 different labels a year, some seasonal and one-offs. All small bath on a 10bbl brewhouse yielding about 60 gallons per batch. Intentions are to sell as much in-house and whatever is left over to liquor stores. Rather than trying to flood all liquor stores we will have a product that will only be on certain liquor store shelf's who are brand loyal ensuring that our product has proper pull-through. One comment I found interesting was the 1000g for beer at $8 a glass. In my area its more like $7 a glass, but non the less that is about $56,000 on a 1000g batch. On the same 1000g system with a 10% yield you get $170 $68,000 assuming you sell a 1.5 oz shot for $8. Now get your yields up to 20% and sell your drink for $10 (comps in my area) you get $170k. Sounds pretty good, right. I might be a little ambitious, but I've been in the beer industry long enough to know that if you work hard and produce a quality product for a local market building a loyal brand all while being innovative, then you will be successful. I am not afraid one bit at all and I am excited to be a part of the upswing of a budding industry.
  5. 2 points
    None of the above. Silk is right, testing before permitting is a felony. Assuming you know that, I'd take a serious look at this: https://www.distillery-equipment.com/45 gallon Still.htm Jacketted, modular, and can add an agitator...
  6. 2 points
    buy the flavoring and be done. don't be a super hero..... make money, don't waste time.
  7. 2 points
    While much of what Joseph says is, and always was, true (operating capital management, marketing 101), I don't buy the bubble argument for one second. People have been saying the same thing about craft brewing for 20 years. It's still growing in volume nearly 13% year on year. Spirits are just getting started. Millennials re-wrote the markets for craft beer and wine, and they're about to do the same for spirits. They don't have the age statement bias of their parents. They're not afraid of trying new things (would you or I have ever tried a cinnamon whiskey - bleah!) They also crave experiences. So, putting capital into your location and tasting room may be FAR wiser than into name-brand copper in your stillhouse. There's also the international markets that are clamoring to experience US craft spirits. Know what an ounce of Stranahan's goes for in NL? 25€ The tired old shelf space argument never ceases to crack me up. Do you honestly mean to tell me your local liquor store had 10-12 beer coolers back in the 80s? Liquor stores are in the business of selling booze. If there's a market, THEY'LL MAKE SPACE. There's this absurdly tiny liquor store on my way home from work. Not even 500 sq ft. They are incredibly convenient though. I stopped in looking for my go-to beer (Trumer Pils) about a year ago. Of course they didn't carry it. I just mentioned to the owner that I was looking for Trumer. He said "I'll have it here next Tuesday". Now he didn't know me from Adam, but you know what? He somehow made space. Trumer Pils is always there and I pick up a six every week. 250 types of brown spirits? LOL. Have a look at the wine isle and imagine yourself in THAT market. Oh, and they're thriving. Sure, there will be some craft distillery closures. The days of "if I make it, they will come" are over. For every closure though, there will be 2+ more opening. And some of those will actually have a clue about marketing. FFS, High West just cashed out for $160M, selling whiskey they didn't even make!
  8. 2 points
    You know what, all of you have over stepped the line. I would never call someone else a "scammer" or "scam". I am a very much real person, and very much upset. I know I post all over the place on ADI, deal with it, and stop crying. But you know what it is the the best way in the world to get my name out there, and it is free as compared to other advertising that I do. I know it is annoying but I bet everyone has heard of me and that is what I'm going for. I am in the line of work to never shut my still down, keeping the still on is how we all make our money, isn't it? I think ADI is a great place to meet and help out people all the time. I have made several stills for people I have met via ADI forums. Not to mention all the hours I have spent on the phone using my own time helping people out with there problems. For those I have helped out you know how I help. Let me give you some facts. 2 years ago in Iowa my Distillery "Dehner Distillery llc" was 2nd from the last in production and sales. Only selling about 200 cases (9L each) a year. Now because I added more products, and do contract distilling, private labeling and other distilling stuff, I will be #1 in Iowa by the end of the year, if I am not all ready! I am moving to a building that is about 10 times bigger than the one I am in currently. NOW, in a month alone I make a little over 1700 proof gallons of rum (and it is getting ready to just about double), 1060 proof gallons of vodka, and about 650 proof gallons of 151p. To be honest I probably make more rum than anyone in a 1000 miles radius of me. I send product all over the United States. All of you that posted about me being a scam should apologize. If not so be it. Anyone have any problems call anytime! 515-559-4879 Take Care: Joseph Dehner
  9. 2 points
    I assume you are referring to general distillery trade waste, not from the sinks and bathrooms. We operate in a rural area also and initially we had to truck all our trade waste off for external disposal, at great cost. We now treat the waste on-site. No septic, or air assisted bio-cycle system will cope with distillery trade waste for three reasons; The pH is way too low THE BOD is too high (typical of boiled waste) The amount of residual alcohol is often too high in 'small' distilleries (we often dump our stillage at 2% residual alcohol, as its too expensive to strip-out the remainder) We established an on-site treatment system FOR THE TRADE WASTE ONLY (all sink and bathroom effluent is treated in a standard AWT septic system) comprising of three 10kl concrete tanks. The waste is transfered on a batch basis from one to the other, and then finally sprayed out onto rural pastures. The tanks work as follows; Tank 1 takes the raw waste, and holds until we have about 10kl, we then pH adjust to 7.2 with Calcium Carbonate. Residual chlorine is resolved with H2O2. BOD is measured, as well as copper, lead and N2 levels (local EPA requirement). Calcium Carbonate dissolves very slowly so we need to recirculate this tank for about 24 hours Tank 2 has a pump over aeration system that fixes the BOD and dissolved O2 levels, this again takes about 24 hours of circulation. Bentonite is added in the last hour of aeration just before transfer to tank 3. Tank 3 is the settling tank, we settle the sludge for 24 hours, the clear water is then fed by pump to an open field for irrigation. The sludge is drained monthly, and dumped onto open compost mounds. This system has been working flawlessly for 2 years and has proved very cheap to operate.
  10. 1 point
    For example, nice smaller Cole Parmer water bath, perfectly suitable - $655 https://www.coleparmer.com/i/economical-poly-bath-5-5-liters-110v-60-hz/3906410 Looks like the same one, brand new, surplus on ebay - $79.00 + Shipping. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cole-Parmer-39064-10-115V-5-5L-Cap-Utility-Water-Bath-/232206538959?epid=2136105879&hash=item36109698cf:g:ZDsAAOSwq1JZJaTd Bet if you offered this guy $60 for it ($100 shipped) - he'd take it. Saved you $500. I take payment in beer.
  11. 1 point
    Talk with @Mead he may be able to help ya out.
  12. 1 point
    Another bump for Dave. He handled our first DSP and will handle our move when we need that done. As far as the state. It all depends. Some let you do stuff ahead of time some don't. Whatever they say goes.
  13. 1 point
    Here is a TTB video that shows how to figure the weight of solids in 100ml. https://www.ttb.gov/media/2014-09-19-proofing-sec4-mds_CCSub.mp4
  14. 1 point
    Call up one of the suggestions above, buy a NTEP scale - not because you need NTEP, but because you want the quality associated with it, and the confidence of knowing you can trust it. If you can spring for it, go 1000lb x 0.2lb - as it will give you a little bit more accuracy when working with smaller volumes. Just keep in mind 19.186 - which means you can't weigh 10 wine gallons or less on the 1000lb x 0.2lb (or 0.5lb) scale. §19.186 Package scales. Proprietors must ensure that scales used to weigh packages are tested at least every 6 months and whenever they are adjusted or repaired. However, if a scale is not used during a 6-month period, it is only necessary to test the scale prior to its next use. Scales used to weigh packages that hold 10 wine gallons or less must indicate weight in ounces or hundredths of a pound. And keep in mind the definition of package: Package. A cask or barrel or similar wooden container, or a drum or similar metal container.
  15. 1 point
    Perhaps what we actually need are more small distilleries. If people have a local distillery they are stoked on, and a connection will the people who run it, then they will seek out new distilleries when they they travel or as they open. Especially if they can go there and try a flight of there products without dropping 20-80$ just to try it. Think we have a lot to learn from the craft beer model, and cooperation between distilleries. It doesn't work if everyone is trying to take away business from everyone else.
  16. 1 point
    After maceration, rack and filter with a coarse (10, 20, 50 micron depending on solid load), allow the spirit to rest for several days (highly dependent on your recipe). I'd suggest starting at 2 weeks and work your way down bc re-filtering a finished product is a PITA . If you have the ability to cold crash (drop the temperature of the liquid but not necessarily chill filtering which tends to be even lower temp), do so. Rack the liquid and filter through pads (some need to be soaked in citric acid before use). I'm assuming this is a smaller batch so you could try using a buon vino super jet ($300) before graduating to a bigger plate n frame ($3000). Let it rest, do your final proof reduction and filter again. Use an inline (cartridge) filter on your way to bottling. If you aren't filtering to at least 5 micron you'll have issues. There's a difference between nominal and absolute rated filters as well - look out for that. Another option is to frost your bottle and explain that sedimentation exists because your product wasn't born in a lab... unfortunately though, customers are still scared by this - thanks corporate America.
  17. 1 point
    Yes, we make custom molds for $10K with MOQ's of 5,000. No strings attached. Mexico is covered by NAFTA, so there are no duties to worry about, just freight. We currently have multiple projects in Hawaii. I bet I even have some freight estimates I can find. At 5,000 run quantities we are in the mid $2 range depending upon design. Do you label during fill, or should we also look at artwork and quote decoration? Once we have the design and can create a packaging specification, then pallet configuration, we can figure out how to optimize the container. A 750ml in a 12 pack reshipper would be about 15,000 in a full 40 foot shipping container, so 5,000 means we might want to look at a 20 foot container rate, plus upping the order size a bit to max out the 20 foot. Very close to our factory is also the Stopper supplier, TAPI. Maybe we can consolidate with them to save costs too. I am sure they can bring their corks to us before we seal the container. I am a firm believer in sealed containers door to door. When is a good time to speak? Brooke 860-350-5485
  18. 1 point
    I don't know who is selling you the still (Corson?), but I believe that they are giving you incorrect info. From my experiance Silk City is correct "a boiler is a boiler". If you want to go electric without all of the hassle or aditional cost of a boiler and if you have not already made your down payment for the still, we can sell you a jacketed 250 gallon still with a built in electric heating system. Our built in electric heating system is a little more efficiant than an electrically fired boiler, becouse you do not have the heat loss that boiler plumbing has, however a natural gas boiler will save you around $5.00 to $8.00 per run on that size still, depending on how much your electric costs per kw. We also sell Rite propane and natural gas fired low pressure steam boilers, if you are interested. paul@distillery-equipment.com 417-778-6100
  19. 1 point
    This is not the case, a boiler is a boiler.
  20. 1 point
    This subject was discussed in Unfortunately that thread got a bit messy with some irrelevant side-issues causing a bit of bickering and hair-splitting. Basically the situation is that the diameter of the column and the size of the pot are determined by different factors, so there is no fixed ratio between them. The column diameter is mainly determined by the vapor velocity up the column. In a small R&D column of around 2" diameter the vapor velocity will be in the region of 6 to 10 inches per second, but on a large vodka column of say 10 ft diameter you can get vapor velocities of 6 to 10 feet per second. So the column diameter is determined by the rate at which you want to run. In a pot still the pot size is determined by the heating method and the size of the batch you are working with. Let us imagine your fermenters produce 100 gallons per batch. You will probably want a pot of around 150 gallons to be able to boil this safely. If you want to process this in 12 hours you will need a column roughly double the diameter (4 x the area) than if you want to process it in 48 hours. And of course you need to put heat into the pot at 4x the rate for the 12 hour scenario. Distillers generally want to be able to process a batch in 8 to 12 hours (one shift) so it turns out that in practice there is an approximately consistent ratio between the pot size and the column diameter (or more correctly the column cross sectional area) but this is a coincidence - as explained above there are different drivers in determining the pot and column sizes.
  21. 1 point
    All spirits improved from resting, even white spirits, because there are chemicals which break down, oxidize or react with other chemicals which are distilled over from the mash. The effect is more noticeable if you are making spirits with wide cuts, such as unoaked rums or eaux de vie. It's not uncommon for French and German distilleries to age white fruit spirits for several years after distillation.
  22. 1 point
    So you're saying there should be some little used equipment coming to market soon
  23. 1 point
    Hi CaptnKB, I'm a bit embarrassed about how long it is taking me to get this done. The bits that have been completed can be seen at http://www.katmarsoftware.com/alcodenslq.htm but since then I have been working on what Todd (Palmetto Coast) origninally asked above, i.e. how to do the actual blending calculations. I found it very hard to put together a mechanistic formula that I could use in the computer to tackle the wide range of blending options that are possible. With whiskey or vodka you have only alcohol and water to contend with, but although liqueurs only have two more ingredients (flavoring and sugar) the complexity grows by much more than just the doubling in components. But this week brought me my Eureka moment and I believe I have solved all the math and logic problems and now it is simply a case of putting it all together. One aspect that I have not resolved yet is the range of proofs I need to deal with. Although it seems rare for a liqueur to contain more than 90 proof, some of the ingredients may contain higher proofs than that. I have posted a question regarding the proof of spirits used in making fruit infusions and if you can help with that please see my post at http://adiforums.com/index.php?/topic/7617-spirit-strength-for-fruit-infusion/
  24. 1 point
    How about a little Monday photo diversion... I was lucky enough to get out on the river some over the last month, Pearl checking out... The Bald Eagle that picked this fish out of the river right next to us! I went to Paonia and picked some fresh organic cascade hops a few weeks ago for a couple of fun projects that I am working on! OSHA approved? We finally got to the point where self distribution was to much so this month we officially have a Colorado Distributor! Enjoy the end of summer! Cheers, P.T.
  25. 1 point
    Folks: Sorry about the odd spacing in the post above, evidently this forum does not react to standard formatting attempts! Eric Watson President AlBevCon, LLC


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