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Patio29Dadio last won the day on July 5

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About Patio29Dadio

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  1. I got a Race Label machine and it works well enough, but it takes some practice and it is slllllloooooowwwww at one bottle at a time with front and back labels. So I put my design brain and carpentry skills to work and came up with the jig below. Two of them back to back and the labeling is no longer the bottleneck (pun intended) with our semi-automated bottling line. Now my bottling elves can help without needing practice on the Race Label machine. This jig will keep us going until we need a fully automated line. The bottle is a 750ML Tennessee. Let me know if you are interested in a brand new Race Label machine all set up and ready to go. I suggest it for a single label application, or if you don't have the carpentry skills to make a jig.
  2. We have a new DMA35 with the glass meter and it seems to be spot on within its tolerances. We use it for everything... density, proof, brix. After every use we pull in several pumps of RO water to clean out the glass senor/meter. We use it for production and then switch to certified hydrometers and thermometers in a graduated cylinder for proofing before bottling. Frankly, I cannot justify the price of the bench-top Anton Paar density meter and alcoizer. And I like the proofing process with the certified glass pieces and the TTB proofing tables. I trust my hands and eyes more than I do a complex and expensive machine.
  3. Sorry. I did not explain well enough. We have, right outside the tasting room the employee bathroom and then the bottling area which has an ice maker, triple-sink with drainboards, dishwasher, etc. We have a bathroom in the tasting room too. We just purposely did not put any plumbing into the main area of the tasting room area as we were making the case it was a simple tasting room and not a bar. The county said it does not matter... we are a bar by classification and thus need all the equipment required in a bar..., but at the minimum a hand-wash sink. But they compromised in the end...
  4. From my experience, I recommend 2 part epoxy and then 2 part aliphatic urethane over that. You can just do the 2-part aliphatic urethane. Both will require concrete grinding to take off the top surface so that the paints will stick. I did epoxy only and it gets very blotchy with alcohol on it... and you end up with a lot of alcohol on it. 2 part aliphatic is better at not getting blotchy from spills, but it is a thinner finish and you can more easily get scratches and goudges that get to the bare concrete and then peel over time. The other idea is a 1-part urethane concrete sealer (after grinding the concrete well to open the pores) and then a 2-part aliphatic urethane as a top coat. Basically the 2-part are better products because of durability, but straight epoxy only can get splotchy with spills. I used a 1-part epoxy paint in our bottling area, and a commercial floor wax, and it is holding up very well, but we don’t drive the forklift on it very often. I did a 2-part urethane sealer in the areas where the forklift spends a lot of time. That is working very well. The concrete grinding was a pain in the ass though. We had 70 year old floors that were stained from the decades of industrial use, and it seemed like we were grinding for months.
  5. Does anyone with a California Craft Distillery tasting room have any experience with their county health department putting them in a category of "food facility" (basically a restaurant as any retail bar license must also serve food) instead of allowing the same exemptions provided brewery and winery tasting rooms? My county is basically saying that I cannot operate a tasting room unless I am in full compliance with food facility rules which includes a great number of things... some of which we luckily have... but others that we would have to install. And example is specific NSF certified underbar equipment (like handwashing stations) in our tasting room... a tasting room that has no plumbing. I think they are nuts and taking a lazy-ass and onerous position. The 2011 health code changes exempted beer and wine tasting rooms but distillery tasting rooms were only allowed in CA beginning 2015... with some enhancements in 2017. You would think that any half-brained bureaucrat would understand the spirit (pun not intended) and intent of the 2011 code as applied to craft distillery tasting rooms... especially since they are more restricted than beer of wine for what they can serve (1.5 oz per person per day). I have determined that every government employee in the state is committed to making it more difficult to start and run a business in the state. UPDATE... well the inspector came out and was actually quite a nice guy and made some onsite decisions in my favor. And thus I am left with confirmation that is generally the system that is problematic not the people.
  6. SF Herb. My neighbor and landlord. Great products and great service.
  7. Roger - is that a screw-press dewatering system?
  8. 3 cubic yards and about $9k new with freight. That should handle up to a 700 gallon batch. It is a self-dumping hopper. We allow the grain to drain overnight and then take it out back to dump it into bins or a trailer that we will eventually use to have picked up or take to ranches for animal feed, but for now take it to the dump compost area. If I had a farm, I would just make a big compost pile on my land.
  9. It is amazing how simple adjustments can salvage an otherwise failed solution. Just slowing down the pump and spreading out the discharge over a wider area and we are dewatering without much trouble. https://youtu.be/Ap969PXSqfc
  10. Agree with Glenlyon. We are pretty much using the protocol recommended by our enzyme sales guy. My recommendation is for you to do the same. Explain your grain bill, your batch size and your final product you are making, and they should have lots of information to optimize your results. Sales of their enzymes require their customers are happy with their results so they generally are very on point. We are running a 26 gallon mash of 70% corn and getting 19-20 brix at pitch, and 4 days later we are sitting at 2 brix. So 10% mash. Just what we want.
  11. We inspected the top of the 2000+ lb supersack and of course paid attention to the milling process... but our process is a bit closed (for dust containment) and thus did not see what was in the middle and bottom. But this isn't musty... it is a subtle rancid smell. I have the grain supplier coming out and will let him get a wiff of those low wines and tell me what he thinks. I am really convinced that there was a very decomposed rodent in the middle of the grain that we missed. The hammer mill would have made it impossible to detect at the back end.
  12. We have about 100 gallons of low wines from a recent run that has a weird... almost foul... odor. Almost like a rodent died months ago... very subtle but off-putting. But then the next wiff smells like good corn-based low wines. We previously noticed a similar "dead rodent lite" smell around the grain super sacks. We could not find a source and getting closer to the sacks it would smell completely of grain and not of anything bad. But walking by a certain area of the storage area it would hit. We looked everywhere and could not find a thing. The ferment was weird... had some more yellow oily substance on the edges of the grist cap. The ferment got a bit hot... close to 100F. Forgot to put water in the fermenter tank jacket overnight the first night. Thinking about just tossing it, but also wondering if I am hyper-sensitive and almost imagining that we milled a dead rodent that was mixed in the grain sack. Or we had too hot of a ferment and produced some bad compounds. Also thinking about doing a finishing run to see if it clears up, but afraid of corrupting the still. Thoughts?
  13. Using neoprene impellers and food-grade silicone spray. Not running dry. Not reversing when hot. Letting mash cool to at least 140 before moving. All of this and we have had the same impeller for about a week now.
  14. I need to quit typing advise instead of advice!
  15. You have asked a question that I have thought about writing a book to answer. Having started a few small businesses in my life, this has proven to be the most complex. There are endless details and problems to solve, and there is a very small community available to help (although most in the community are very generous in giving advice, etc.). Investor capture work is worth a chapter of two. Start very early in your business plan process and you will spend a lot of time with little results... but those results are generally more valuable as initial capital is the hardest to come by. However, it will also be more costly capital as you will need to give away more ownership to attract the investor at that point (all you have are ideas on paper without any proof you can actually execute on a plan). There are three types of investors: 1 - those that know you and like you and want to help you. 2 - Those that want to play a role in the business. 3 - Those that will only invest based on anticipated probability of a certain level of ROI. #1 should be your first target early. One idea there is to come up with an offering but include a convertible shareholder note vehicle. Let's say Uncle Joe likes you and wants to help. He has a bit of savings he isn't afraid of losing, and more that he would invest if he has some security behind it. One idea is to have Uncle Joe buy-in with some, and then maybe does a convertible note for some of the equipment where he holds title to the equipment. The payments for the equipment can be deferred, but interests accumulates. At some date in the future the principle and interest would be payable to Joe, or he can chose to convert some or all of it to shares in the business. If the business is not doing well, then Joe can take his equipment and sell it to at least partially recover his losses. However if the business is doing well, it can secure a loan to pay off what Joe is owned, and use the equipment for collateral, or Joe can convert all or some of what he is owed into ownership shares. #2 is a partner. Be careful. It is like getting married without the benefit of sleeping together. #3 is the hard one. Be careful here too. Read about Balcones. Better to push this off into the future when you are open and have some proof of concept that you can pour and sell. Note that if you are not an attorney, and you will have investors, you will need to hire an attorney. I will not tell you how much I have spent on attorneys because it makes me cry. The sequencing of steps will look like a mess, and there are many irreconcilable conflicts that you just have to deal with. For example, my building official wanted county health department sign off before he issued the C of O and the county health department wanted the C of O before they would do any inspection. You just have to negotiate your way to some successful conclusion. You will need an address and floor-plan and list of equipment before you can get TTB approval and state approval. I know of one distillery where the owner leased a very small facility to store all his equipment and supplies he was going to use for his final address, and used that smaller address to get his TTB and state approval for his DSP, and then did some DSP-to-DSP transfers of spirit in barrels that aged in this small warehouse space while he worked on finding and building his final space. He submitted and was approved for the changes, and when he finally opened he had 4-year old whiskey to sell on day one. Very smart! That was not me. The very first thing you need is a fully fleshed out business plan. This is very important as it contains all the big picture thinking that answers a lot of the questions for what steps are needed and in what sequence. You need to put a number of hours into just sitting down and thinking and writing it down. You need to think about how big of an operation and how much you think you can sell, and capture all the money in and money out flows in projected financial reports. I have a 6-year cash flow spreadsheet backed by all the assumptions about costs of good sold and sales that updates everything when I make a change. That way I can play with the assumptions as I develop a better confidence and understanding in how the business will operate. Frankly, you should never talk to any investor without having done this first. I will open this next month. It has been over 4 years since I first sat down to start writing the plan, and three years since I started paying for things related to this business. I will have my first sales revenue in July 2019. My last bit of advice.... making beer is a lot easier and quicker.
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