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About cestrin

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    Tempe, AZ

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  1. I get where the OP is coming from. We made almost all of our equipment from scratch which has saved us money and none of us rely on income from the distillery as our primary source of income. We pay the bartenders and our part-time distiller. I tell people all the time that this is not a glamorous industry and I think they tend to get it. We are very slowly ramping up to be able to pay the bills and let the business act as such without having to ante up. After almost two years we are finally seeing word of mouth spread. We are also fortunate that we are in Tempe (Phoenix) and have one of the largest metro populations in the US to get customers from. It's not an easy business for sure and we make all of our products from scratch. At any rate, we are very sensitive to marketing and Groupon has actually done us a lot of good. We set out to grow organically and have (mostly) been able to do so.
  2. We made our own controls as well. Most everything we do is manual except for automatic shut-offs. It's hard to automate things like cuts as it is dependent on taste and varies with how well the mash went.
  3. We sell used 20 gallon barrels for $150 and 15 gallon barrels for $125 around Phoenix and people happily pay it. Anything with 'bourbon-barrel aged' in front of it sells for a premium right now.
  4. We currently use calcium carbonate for raising the pH of our mash and stillage. What do y'all use as pH raising agents?
  5. Hello everyone, I am a partner at a distillery in Tempe, AZ and we've had our distilling license since Nov. 2016. We have had vodka since January, our unaged bourbon and rum since early April, and our gin since late May. People who come into our distillery really like our products and we are on the sales trail and self-distributing. After 3 months or so of pushing we're in 6 restaurants/bars and a handful of liquor stores. I wanted to ask how long it took for other distilleries to break momentum and start making a name for themselves. One thing that we know is we don't have a whiskey ready (bourbon soon and a smoked whiskey bottling in early September) and we keep saying, "we'll take off when we get our aged spirits". We're going to continue pushing sales and I was looking to see what it took for others to really break into the bar/restaurant scene in their area. What marketing worked, what hasn't? We don't want to assume that it'll be easier getting sales with whiskeys (although it may be) so we will keep pushing. Just want to know if we're an anomaly and how long it took others to gain momentum.
  6. Thanks for the replays! So our losses are closer to 10% per run. We use heating elements in the wash so we have more losses than someone using a steam jacket or other less-invasive method. This is also based on the draft of our Stills as we can't get the stillage under the elements out as alcohol so we have a higher loss. This probably accounts for more loss than 'average'. We have a 100 gallon and a 50 gallon still that we made so we are a small operation (we have very high spirit quality). We'd like to make all our products from grain so we're trying to avoid GNS like the plague. Maybe we need to make a more efficient still or use a steam-heated still. This is just more expensive to make.
  7. Jeffw, the point would be because we like gin and want to make it. We prefer to not use GNS as all of our other products don't use it. I agree with the large still comment and unfortunately our largest still (right now) is 100 gallons (we made our own). Our next still will be larger. Anyway, asking because we want to make all our products from grain.
  8. We are making a rye from grain in a direct heat still (heating elements in the liquid) and the rye is burning during stripping runs. I assume this is from the starches in the rye as the wort is fairly sticky. This happened on the second stripping run last time and the entire batch was scrapped as it tasted smiley. Has anyone else run into this and been able to run the wort off with direct heat?
  9. We're currently making our gin from scratch and are having a hard time of making business sense of it. Based on our calculations we will be making a profit of $3 - $5 per bottle once we move to a distribution model (we're currently self-distributing). Since we have to perform 3 runs of the gin (stripping, spirit, and botanical run) it takes a lot of time and leads to quite a bit of waste (we lose 10 - 20% every run). How do others who make gin from grain (NOT GNS) make this work financially?
  10. glisade, Thank you for the explanation! It all makes sense now...
  11. Actually, one more follow-on question: I just watched the video produced by the TTB for Distilling Spirits for Proofing - it varies significantly from the written procedure. They say to rinse the collecting flask with 50ml extra water, but don't explain how this addition doesn't alter the proof of the spirits! Anybody have an explanation for this, or suggestions for how to properly distill for proofing?
  12. Thanks everyone! We're going to order a lab still, we thought maybe there'd be some math we could do and realized the still IS how to do it!
  13. Let me be more specific, we back sweeten with brown sugar after distillation.
  14. How do you take into account sugar added to rum into the final proof? We barrel-finished our rum and are trying to get it to 80 proof and know that sugar will decrease the perceived proof of the rum.
  15. I posted this in the technique discussion, I'll try it here: We distilled our gin mash 2 months ago and have been playing around with our botanical formula. We had a great gin and as of last weekend it tasted great. This weekend I poured it in our tasting room and it tastes awful. The botanicals got super harsh and it tastes like the base got spicy. This happened to one bottle of our vodka in the past. Has anyone experienced this before? What was the issue and how did you fix it? We think it might be the botanicals oxidizing with the air... Thanks! The consistent ingredient between our vodka and gin is our wheat (both 50% of mash bill).
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