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smoogdog

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smoogdog last won the day on December 29 2015

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About smoogdog

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    Active Contributor

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    whitegecko.hawaii

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Kunia, Hawaii
  • Interests
    Sugar cane farming, ethnobotany, agricultural rum, sales, marketing, technology.

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  1. Paid Yelp

    I concur on the Yelp thing. We have a full 3 months of data and the click are way up, but it has not translated into increased tasting room visits.
  2. Frozen Cane Juice

    St. George ships freshly cut cane into their distillery and crushes it on site. A refrigerated 40 foot container will do the trick, but it will be pricey. If you keep the cane on ice for a week, I think you will have a perfectly good agricole style ferment.
  3. Rhum Agricole/Cachaca Yeast?

    If you aren't using fresh cane juice, I don't think you will get the classic vegetal notes you want no matter what yeast you pick. I tried about 10 different ones before deciding to go with a wild strain that was isolated locally. None of the commercial yeasts I found gave that big agricole nose.
  4. Principal reason why distilleries fail ?

    Agree with most of what is said above. The big issue I see killing many distilleries now is simply the sheer number of us out there. Differentiating is tough when there are so many "craft" options now. The problem is compounded as I think the new players coming in are much better capitalized than the early adopters who bootstrapped to success. I think the days of the successful bootstrap distillery have passed. My DSP completed in August 2012. I worked at my business plan for a good two years before that, and had to start a farm to grow cane concurrently. We are only now approaching a positive cash flow. Marketing is also much more important than most startups know. I said to myself when I started that my marketing budget should be at least 5x my capital expenses in the first 3 years. Looking back, I would say that is accurate on the low end. It is so easy to buy shiny machines and cool equipment, but most distilleries have a "if I build it, they will come" mentality and those days are just over, in my opinion. Make something awesome and market the heck out of it. Put in the crazy hours, and forgo any salary for the foreseeable future. Only quit your day job if you can do this with no income. That is another big killer to distilleries. On a positive note, I truly believe all the work that went into starting my business will pay off well. If I had it to do over again, I would still do it, but I would do it much differently. I would say I started both undercapitalized and over-expensed. Don't do it that way
  5. Unfermentables and Ending Gravity

    Just curious what natural unrefined sugar is, exactly.
  6. Just curious, why aren't any of you with the Black Swan barrels doing a second fill on them?
  7. Fermentation Tank size

    Long delay here, but I have never had a ferment go bad because of high temps in Hawaii. We have a proprietary local yeast that came from this tropical environment. Something like an EC-1118 makes really nice rum and it has great heat tolerance, too. We just like the flavor our wild yeast gives us, but there are plenty of options out there.
  8. Fermentation Tank size

    I do not agitate during fermentation. The action of the ferment itself is robust.
  9. Fermentation Tank size

    I ferment in 500 gallon stainless tanks without a jacket now. I started with 230 gallon Apollo Flextank fermenters, but they are a major pain to clean (I have bunches of them if anyone in Hawaii wants one). The heat in the larger tank is no greater and the last run was brilliant. Ferment was complete and the tank is much easier to clean since it has a CIP. My still is generally charged to 500 gallons, so I use 500 gallon fermenters. Keep it simple when you can.
  10. Shipping Direct to Consumers - any state

    FedEx was a super easy setup for us, and they have no issues shipping spirits. We just filled out the forms and they sent us all the required labels. One of the easiest things we've done at the distillery. You might be dealing with a PA issue.
  11. Wow! This is just about the most beautiful setup I have ever seen.
  12. Finishing a pair of stills

    Nice!
  13. Hoga 500 L copper pot still

    I guess this means you have your new still operational. Why not just keep it in the new tasting room as an attraction?
  14. Direct shipping to Colorado customer

    There are 13 states that directly prohibit the shipment of spirits. Colorado is not one of them, I am nearly sure. This is an ongoing issue that will have to be handle at the high court level (again and again). States really can't stop interstate commerce like this. I know they want their taxes, but it violates a pretty fundamental constitutional rule. Maybe Dave Flintstone can chime in on this. He seems to understand all of this better than most. In the end, I think caution is required. All States have their own rules. To some extent, we craft distillers have to work together to push the envelope and allow fairness in the marketplace. If you can buy beer and wine online, you should be able to buy spirits in any State.
  15. Tamper Proof Cork Labels

    They are a core element of my branding. Pain in the butt to put on until I can get the machine from Italy that will automate a lot of my labeling. Euro parity is making it tempting, but need more cash flow!
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