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Glenlyon last won the day on July 11

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  1. Chitosan. However, a problem we are encountering with the fining is now we have sediment on the bottom of the tank. Of course with the tanks being stainless, it's hard to see inside to avoid sucking up the sediment - this tends to leave product on the table. So, the jury is still out.
  2. We use those filters - not so good with fine particulate matter. We've taken to fining some of our spirits to get that nice bright look.
  3. We did a Blackberry Vodka this summer and had colour stability problems right to the end. Red is a very difficult colour to work with. Any ideas (that are as natural as possible), would be well received.
  4. Adding sugar to grapes to enhance fermentation is called chaptilzation and is sometime used by home wine makers dealing with poor quality fruit. Professional winemakers and distillers would never use the technique and any spirits derived from it would not be - really - anything other than some mediocre spirit. You should really be directing your questions to the forum on Homedistiller.org which is more open to this kind of exploration.
  5. I apologize if I was sounding negative. I tend to think very practically. Urban Distilleries in Kelowna does a 5 day workshop. I've taken it, it's not bad. Also, the Sons of Vancouver Distillery in Vancouver offers a 5 day version that is smaller in class size and very hands on. Quite good I'm told. We spent five years developing our distillery concept. Two years thinking about it seriously and then roughly two and a half years to get the zoning, licenses, build the distillery, etc. We've been open now for about a year and a half. We love the lifestyle and find it very satisfying and we get lots of local enthusiasm. It is important to mention - your spouse has to be in 100%. If she isn't - that's going to be hard to reconcile as this work is very all encompassing.
  6. Collection of random thoughts... Note: My comments pertain to small a farm based distillery, not a mid - large urban enterprise. I love the farm distillery lifestyle. The commute to work in the morning is a 2 minute saunter past the chicken yard, coffee in hand. Very idyllic. But, it also cost me a million bucks. As a customer, when you arrive that's what you see. And, you immediately begin to imagine yourself in such a situation. That is what I'm selling - a fantasy of what could be... if only... So, as you contemplate the idea of building your own distillery, the first question you need to ask yourself, are you up for building, presenting and sustaining that or a similar/unique image/idea? For many years? Next. As a farm operation, traffic is going to be a problem one way or another. Not enough or too much, either way, issues will abound - but the sad fact is - no matter what your business plan says, you will never sell enough bottles through your tasting room to sustain an operation. Therefore, you need to be very clear about how you are going to move your product. Next. Even if you have a great product - your clients will always opt for the liquor store 90% of the time for the cheap stuff. So, you are catering to a very small market and you have to know how to nurture it carefully. To that end, there is an old adage in this business - "Win Your Backyard." This is incredibly important advice and the distilleries that fail to heed it are often very sorry, when upstarts like us start biting their ankles. This is an extremely competitive business. Sure people are the best of buds, but they will soon sour on you when you knock them off the local store/restaurant shelf. The other key point you need to consider is - Do you understand what an alcohol company is? Trick question. Answer: Its a marketing company that sells alcohol. If you don't understand marketing inside out and back to front, you are at a disadvantage. And finally, how are your taste buds? If you are not producing quality over quantity in a farmgate environment you won't attract the loyalty you'll need in the dark winter months. And finally, my consultant was quite surprised when I mentioned my impending long weekend bottle sales - (in the many hundreds) - he pointed out that a lot of distilleries although surviving, are not thriving like we are. This is a tough, expensive business - so make sure you are well armed before going into battle.
  7. I run a farm based distillery - think carefully before making the leap and review some of the posts about things to look for when starting up.
  8. The actual cooling 'vessel' as it were is a large pond out behind the distillery - probably a little bigger than a average swimming pool. It ebbs and flows with the seasons - right now is about halfway dried up, but in another month it will be full again. The actual coolant (the water/heads) is about 20 gallons - although I am planning to increase that amount. With the automatic pump, the water circulates at about 200L per hour. It is not particularly cool overall, as the system is in heavy use all of the time. I think the last time I checked, (when not cooling) it was around 8 - 10 C and when in use it can get up to about 16 C.
  9. We started out at about 30% but there is an automatic pressure tank that tops up the system in the event there is a spillage. Every once and a while if changing a condenser or something, you might loose a little here and there - so, what the actual proof is today, I don't know, maybe around 20 - 25%. I was planning to do a full system maintenance in January and I'll probably flush it out and refill it with fresh coolant then.
  10. We do this for our cooling fluid (methanol & water), which runs continually through a closed loop. The coolant is cooled by a trip through a large pond behind the distillery. Works great. Although we have reached it's limits.
  11. Hi Paul, Thanks for your post. I've run several successful businesses over the last thirty years and I've never been scammed before. So, I blame being overworked and not paying attention - my own fault. However, these things can have a ripple effect. For example, we were on the cusp of opening talks with you about building us a new Ultra pro whiskey still/mash tun but, now those plans are on hold. Sigh, maybe next year.
  12. Although, I hate to admit this - we were recently the victims of a scam. It was very well done, so be aware. Here is what to look for... Email query comes in asking as to the cost of your product. Just like any number of other requests. You go back and forth politely and after some discussion the client decides to buy a slightly larger order. Not huge, but big enough that you have to have to think about shipping. Say 10 cases of vodka. Good sale, you're enthused and so far, the discussions have been very normal and straight forward. You work out the cost of the booze and figure out the shipping. So far so good. You tell the client the costs, they are happy to pay. All's well so far. You send the client an invoice and they pay via credit card. Cool, you're happy, you've been paid. Then the scammer phones and expresses concern about the shipping company finding their location because its hard to find. They suggest an alternative shipping company who has done business with them before. OK. Sure. But, here's the scam - the new shipping wants to be paid up front before they will schedule a delivery date. The scammer phones back - now they need the product right away. Well, seeing as you've already been paid, you pay the shipping costs as requested. Then - the scammer strikes - they cancel the order through the credit card company! Wait a minute, weren't you already paid? Actually, it turns out you were never paid because of the way the credit card system works. There is lag time between when the CC company says they got the payment vs when the payment was registered. Therefore, there is a period of time where neither party has the cash and that what the fucking scammers are playing on. Now that you know of the existence of the scam, keep an eye open. Although they probably change their names, watch out for Bernard, Hitoshi or James as client email inquiry names. Cheers, All.
  13. Yes, there are a lot of flavour compounds in that remaining 5%. You can continue to get rid of them through charcoal filtration if you want something completely neutral. The quality of your mash is of great importance if you are making your own base alcohol because that's where the individual character of your product comes from. The better the mash, the better the finished product, 'cuz is hard to get rid of off flavours once you've created 'em.
  14. Thank you for your insight. It's interesting to know what drives people to get into and then out of this, rather eclectic business.
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