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Everything posted by Patio29Dadio

  1. Patio29Dadio

    Insurance for start ups...

    I dealt (I hope past tense) with the same thing and seem to have mitigated it with a resume and long list of training and related experience. Also included the resume of an experienced consultant that would be engaged as needed. I am purchasing my equipment from Paul Hall and I would assume that I could have worked out something where he would provide a letter to say that he and his distiller provide ongoing support and trouble-shooting to their customers as needed. Insurance underwriters are risk-averse by nature, and like most people they are more fearful of what they don't know. Just think about ways you can strengthen your story. For me, I have run another good sized small business for the last 12 years and have a lot of other related work experience that, along with a list of about a dozen training courses including a week long intensive hands-on stint at Dry Fly (not cheap but worth every penny if you ask me), seem to settle them down.
  2. Patio29Dadio

    truck to grain/feed bin auger

    These guys do it all... https://www.flexicon.com/index.html
  3. Patio29Dadio

    Ultimate New Distillery Guide

    Here are a few additional categories you can consider: Training - spend several months to a year visiting other distilleries and learning. Join ADI and go to the conferences. Consider taking distillery operations classes, brewing science, etc. Anything and everything you can afford and have the time to do. It is amazing how I would visit a place and learn so many new things. You don't know what you don't know. And mistakes in understanding can cost a great deal. Business plan including brand design / business concept. Keep in mind that this is a business, not a hobby (unless you are made of money and like to spend it)... before you start dreaming about making stuff you need to develop a vision for the business. What is it that you want the brand to target as customers. What is the theme you think means something to you and that you can make a compelling story around. You will need to connect your logo and product packaging design to this concept. This is where I recommend a person spends a good several months or a year working on. Make sure you get the ideas out there and live with them in your head before going off and throwing down a lot of cash. Shoot holes in them. Ask trusted advisors and friends what they think. Finally, become 100% committed to the ideas and then move on to make it happen. One that goes along with planning and facility is "engineering". In addition to a floor-plan that may or may not require an architect, you may need engineers. I needed a plumbing engineer, and electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer and a structural engineer. Again it will depend on where you are located. In terms of facility selection and engineering, the source of tank/still heat and cooling could be a big learning project for you... you might need a consultant to help with that if you don't have any experience. Finding a suitable facility probably justifies a larger discussion. In most places in the US, for a craft distillery, that is a very challenging task. Beer and wine are much easier because they are not making an explosive product. It took us 1.5 years vetting six different properties in three different surrounding towns before we found one that would work. And then 10 months of work to get it to open (we are 8.5 months into that project... not open yet). For each property, I had to engage my architect, engineers and developer to help answer the question "is it feasible?". The city staff are also needed. For one place that we thought would work, turned out that the water main was on the other side of a busy road and it would have cost another $100k+ to connect to it. The city records were wrong and only one of the city employees remembered this point. You will likely have a lot of that type of headache. Another is money. If this is a startup it will be next to impossible to get loans. Think savings including retirement, home equity and maybe investors. Don't think of starting this endeavor unless you can see clear of at least $1M before your would break even (assuming you own the building or well rent)... and probably a lot more depending where you live. And keep your day job if possible. Then there is legal. You might be able to do this all yourself, but you probably need an attorney... and absolutely if you have investors or a complex business entity-structure and/or partnership. TTB and ABC can be navigated if you are smart and persistent; but it is good to have an attorney that knows the liquor business in your rolodex for questions. Insurance... a BIG topic. Get a really good agent... you will need one. Just a few things off the top of my head.
  4. Patio29Dadio

    Ultimate New Distillery Guide

    Well done. I have some feedback. I will get back to you soon.
  5. Patio29Dadio

    Low wines - Do you use the whisky column?

    Does your still have a helmet of any type? Any reflux outside of the whiskey column? Stripping runs should be hot and fast. You are just "stripping" as much avb as possible... not worrying about cuts or plates and adjustments.... but you will need some reflux. Lastly, if you bypass the columns you will have less column cleaning to do. But vapor contact with copper in the stripping run might make a better end spirit. I would try it both ways and see what you think comes out better.
  6. Patio29Dadio

    Mitigate against the risk of fire and explosion

    You can purchase the DISCUS Recommended Fire Protection Practices for Distilled Spirits Beverage Factory document to start. https://www.distilledspirits.org/the-recommended-fire-code-protection-practices-for-distilled-spirits-beverage-facilities/
  7. Patio29Dadio

    Tuesday Morning Insurance Tidbit - Second Opinion

    Thanks InsuranceMan 2.0. I am waiting for a quote from my agent and will reach out to you for a competitive quote.
  8. Patio29Dadio

    Pass through distribution

    Sounds like a great idea. Don't know how and why ABC would have a problem with it. It would seem that the paperwork trail would work. Frankly I don't even see where the problem is. You can contact a retailer, you just cannot sell to them directly nor can you give them anything of value other than a very small sample. Frankly2, isn't it the case with most distribution agreements that you the distiller are going to have to do the marketing... the distributor won't do it until and unless you are big. Something like this is good for the startup where there are local retailers that want the local product, but the DSP does not yet have a big enough presence or following to attract a good distributor deal.
  9. Patio29Dadio

    Forking Forklift Questions

    Good points InsuranceMan. I am going with my own LPS forklift. The landlord and I agreed that it would be good to have two in the building.
  10. Patio29Dadio

    Forking Forklift Questions

    So, I am stuck in analysis paralysis for selecting a pneumatic or cushion tire forklift. I think I am going with a newer model propane 5000 lb fork (we have lots of air circulation and I think that I don't want to deal with batteries and the charger, etc.). Interested in opinions on THAT choice I am making... propane over battery. Another tenant in my building wants to partner with us as he needs a fork infrequently and would rather not have one taking up space in his unit when he does not use it. We have 8k sq ft in the building and the barrel room is long and narrow (17' x 75'). We have some other semi-tight spaces in the main tank/production room. I am thinking that we will need another type of small lift for this barrel room given the lack of clearance (maybe a pallet jack will work to pull out the racks to be accessed by the forklift straight on)... so it might not play into the forklift selection in any case. The building is 48" above grade with a common loading dock on the side of the building with a forklift corridor. We have a 10% grade asphalt ramp in the back with only room for bobtail trucks. The back yard space will be used for moving our waste products out to be picked up by ranchers for feed and for waste removal. The flat space at the bottom of the ramp is hard-packed road-base gravel. It is also likely that periodically we will need to drive around the side of the building on this gravel "driveway" to load and unload tractor trailers that cannot reach the back yard, and cannot connect to the common loading dock (it is a bit tight... especially if and when we have customers parked in the lot). The trade-off is the larger size (10" longer plus 12% greater turning radius) of the pneumatic tire forklift vs the cushion tire forklift... and the mitigation of concern about the less frequent need to drive in gravel and also the use of the 10% grade ramp being problematic for a cushion (solid) tire forklift. Someone told me that a cushion tire will put ruts in asphalt over time, so that also has me concerned going up and down the ramp. Any thoughts and advice from those of you with distillery forklift operation and selection experience would be welcome!
  11. Patio29Dadio

    Botanical storage best practice?

    Just order enough that it does not go stale and buy more from my friend Tyson at S.F. Herb. He moves a lot of product and so it is usually very fresh. He ships very fast. http://www.sfherb.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxrTAv_6J3gIVgX5-Ch0KjAyxEAAYASAAEgIDgvD_BwE
  12. Patio29Dadio


    I am considering a 3 cubic yard self-dumping de-watering hopper for stillage liquid-grain separation. That will hold the contents of two 300G stripping runs. My plan is to fill it and leave it to drain over-night. The next morning dump the grain waste into hoppers for a farmer to pick up. Then rinse and repeat. Anybody use a similar method? How do you think that would compare to a process using a hydrosieve instead? I assume that fines from grain-on stillage will clog this hydrosieve.
  13. Patio29Dadio

    Blending spirit tank specification

    How I am planning to cover this... 1250 L Letina forklift-able tank that is open with a variable fill lid. Clamp on small pneumatic agitator. Proof by weight. Pump to closed tank for resting. Test proof before bottling. Pump back to forklift-able tank, adjust for proof by weight if necessary, lift tank for gravity feed bottling or barrel-filling.
  14. Patio29Dadio

    5 Gallon Barrels

    Texas Gold - I emailed you. Let me know what is up. Thanks
  15. Patio29Dadio

    Boiler Installation Costs

    So, I just got my quote for the steam boiler installation. The boiler is a 1.4M BTUh Rite low pressure system and the quote for all the hardware was about $45k. The installation quote came in at $85k. It is not a complicated installation. Anyone out there have a comment on this? I think the boiler company is smoking rope. They are reputable, but really?
  16. Patio29Dadio

    Boiler Installation Costs

    Largest boiler vendor in the state. They handle all sizes and scopes. I think you are probably correct. They are cherry-picking the high-paying jobs and over-bidding. Have four other bids underway. Wish me luck!
  17. Patio29Dadio

    CA Tasting Room 1.5oz Limit

    Thanks Cris. I will be active once I get over the hump of opening the business for my nearly 4-year project. I understand the lift here... the work required to change minds when there is a lot of resistance from the big boys. I appreciate the work to date. You, Jim, Timo and others have absolutely moved the regs forward to being more reasonable with respect to what beer and wine can do. Hopefully we can keep plugging away making incremental progress.
  18. Patio29Dadio

    Boiler Installation Costs

    Take a look at the equipment and installation quotes and let me know your thoughts. Redacted Rite 150SG Boiler Equipment Quote.pdf Redacted Rite 150SG Boiler Installation Quote.pdf
  19. Patio29Dadio

    Boiler Installation Costs

    $150 per hour is the rate quoted for this CA job. Over 450 man hours of work at that rate. It just does not seem right from my perspective. I don't have an argument with the rate so much as the number of hours. That was my budget expectation... $35-$45k installation of the 1.2MM BTU Rite. My space is open and the run from the boiler to the tanks is straight. Below is a 3D rendering of the setup (water tanks have since changed, but not the general layout). It is about 50' from the steam boiler location to the furthest still tank boiler. The space between is for phase-2 growth equipment. The boiler is sized to cover phase-1 and phase-2. I envisioned a straight run of 4" steam pipe over the rafter trusses (about 13' off the ground) with straight T connections down to each piece of equipment. Seemed a pretty easy install without a lot of fitting required. However, seismic requirements are such that this is more complicated and it might make more sense to run the steam pipe header along the wall under the rafters and over the planned copper water lines. I am getting advise on all that. I have four other steam boiler vendors working on quotes with a request to help find some economy.
  20. Patio29Dadio

    Boiler Installation Costs

    Got four additional competitive big requests going. I will see if this is an abnormality or a common malady! A total of $131K for an installed 35 HP steam boiler is about twice what I expected. One of the vendors offers and option on skids that should save all the worry about incorrect setup, etc. They also say they will do the plan and coordinate with other contractors to help the client save on installation. Now I just hope that their boiler hardware isn't significantly more expensive.
  21. Patio29Dadio

    Boiler Installation Costs

    Yeah. I think that is the deal here. A bit of gouging because business is good. $45k for all the boiler parts (condensate return, burner, water softener, etc.) less the piping and stack. $86k for the installation. They did not break down the quote well enough, but it looks like about $16k for materials and the rest is labor. They are C4 certified and bill at $150 per hour. $70k @ 150 per hour = 466 man hours. The site is open and clear with straight 20' stack to the roof and the steam pipe run is straight overhead about 60' to the last piece of equipment on the run. Electrical and gas stubs already installed. I was expecting to be shocked with an installation bid equal to the boiler cost... not double!
  22. Patio29Dadio

    My experience with Corson Distilling

    I traveled to their location and met the owners and toured the facility. I liked the story... American manufacturing/fabrication... and pricing. My opinion was that other options were over-priced. But I learned of the problems before I pulled the trigger on a purchase, and thankfully am now with an equipment vendor I can trust. It is sad where they have ended up. But I see a lesson for everyone. For a business to be successful it needs a whole bunch of things to go right. The slide downhill can be steep and slippery, and thus it is good advice to keep everything focused on the slow and steady uphill climb. And the most important component to that climb is to take good care of your customers and your employees (just another type of customer). It seems to me that Corson might have weathered their early design and manufacturing problems (likely caused by too aggressive growth) if they had done this. However, their brand reputation has really suffered and may never recover.
  23. Patio29Dadio

    Forking Forklift Questions

    Thanks for the assist here. Did not think to read the OSHA regs. Now I am educated and my forklift reps are looking for LPS, EE and EX-rated lifts.
  24. Patio29Dadio

    Forking Forklift Questions

    Thanks. I will look into that, although I don't think the electric forklifts are explosion proof, and so I don't understand how that can be a reg requirement. Frankly, I would be more concerned with a big electric charge around the stills than I would an "internal" combustion engine... but I need to check it out from a reg perspective. Is your hard tire, or air-filled tires?
  25. Let me know how to get in touch to ask some questions. I have interest.