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Eud

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  1. Eud

    reusing feints

    I read what Odin wrote over at Home Distiller. How long do you let it sit at 17% before siphoning out the middle bits?
  2. Eud

    Starting out with a smaller still

    I bet he's saying you should look for something that tastes good because it would be going right into your bottle with the stuff you distilled and already know tastes good. Otherwise you're just going to have to run that through something that cleans it up and then are losing the point of the shortcut.
  3. If you have the time, can you elaborate on this a bit? It's basically what I would want to do, and would enjoy getting set up, but I'm not sure where I should point my outside the box thinking. I guess I wouldn't need the bond because of the small quantities I'd be making, and I could get a federal DSP if I met the other requirements and had a legit commercial location with a lease? Is that right? If that's the case you may be getting an order from me sooner rather than later. 😎 I've made a distiller friend here locally and am going up this weekend to talk about the business. I took up her time at a farmers market a month ago, and I've done so much reading on this forum and others that I was able to talk shop with her a bit even though I haven't done it. They are starting to see some success on equipment about the size that I first posted about in the original post, but exactly what some predicted would happen to me has happened to them. Her husband's entire life, like 20 hours per day, is running that 100L spirit still in order to keep up with production on their 6 products. Victims of their success.
  4. Sweet. One day I hope to make you drive a trailer full of equipment to my place too. 😎
  5. Eud

    Maryland DSP question and comments

    Seems like you could contact the Maryland Distillers Guild who will surely know. https://marylandspirits.org/ Edgardo at Twin Valley in Montgomery County had an article written about them that references a state law that allows self distribution for much less. I don't have the direct reference to law, but here's the article: https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/dine/new-distillery-law-expected-to-expand-craft-spirits-market-in-montgomery-county/ He basically credits his own lobbying to get the various laws changed in addition to different zoning for artisan distillers that lets them set up in lighter industrial areas. I think he's right. He's a go-getter. I think he has a login here at ADI forums, so you might ping him too. It doesn't look like he's been here for a while, but his name is @Chefedgardo
  6. Eud

    Macerating and distilling with Plates

    Seems like if you put all those botanicals in your column or in the boiler with plates you will have to do a lot of cleaning to get all of that flavor and aroma out of there unless you have a dedicated column.
  7. Eud

    Citric vs. Sulfuric Acid For Rum Production

    Interesting, I guess that makes sense. I had imagined the pH crash was mostly from CO2 production, but had no evidence.
  8. Eud

    Citric vs. Sulfuric Acid For Rum Production

    On Home Distiller they usually try to avoid the rum ferment pH from crashing so they don't add too much acid at the beginning. Maybe just a little to make the initial yeast happy, but the pH is going to be dropping anyway. Even if only from dissolved CO2. Usually they're putting in a buffer, calcium carbonate or just oyster shells. They're not "pros" but they do have a lot of experience and the ability to do a lot of low cost experimentation. This guy used a slab of marble with humorous results: https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=65703&p=7478337#p7478320
  9. It kind of sounds like the only way to get into the business is to vastly underestimate the cost and time until it's too late and you're already committed. If you figure out the actual costs ahead of time you'd never do it. 😎
  10. Wow, that's quite a story. I applaud your persistence in getting this off the ground and hope you are successful. On the advice to hire Dave, I've seen enough of his posts while lurking around these forums for a while that at least that part seems like a no-brainer.
  11. I haven't done distilling as a hobbyist. I've brewed beer as a hobbyist and can predict that I would enjoy distilling because the hobbies I enjoy also involved lots of learning, experimenting, and cool gear to acquire, build, and learn how to use. If it was legal to distill small amounts for personal consumption I'd likely just do that and be satisfied.
  12. So it sounds like you have a very friendly landlord and it took 2 years for you to start breaking even on your little distillery with a built-in weekend crowd? That's sobering.
  13. We are allowed to do tastings, self distribute, and on-premises sales, but are not allowed to serve cocktails, so it would look more challenging for us to be in the black from that point of view, but we are in an area that has a lot of high-income people out and about and $35+ bottles of craft spirits (assuming we can make a good one) doesn't seem like too abnormal of an impulse buy here. We'd definitely want to start much bigger if we were using distribution. I'd tried working out the math on that, and it doesn't work out at all with all of the fixed costs to start it as an "expensive hobby" sized operation to send $12 bottles into a distributor. For the aged whiskey portion of what we'd sell I was including pricing for the smaller end of barrels from The Barrel Mill because they make pricing available online, and I figured other manufacturers would be around there.
  14. It will take me a while to digest, but I'm glad for the feedback. I hadn't counted in the monthly accounting and brewery software, internet, etc. I'd been figuring on around $5k/yr marketing since we'd be starting small and staying pretty local, and I'd guessed around $3k/yr for utilities and the same for insurance. You're right that it only sort of works because there is no labor cost in there. On the small stills I'd be doing all electric jacketed, no steam. Bluefish, I'd be doing stripping on a 100G and spirit runs on a 26, so it would be fewer runs per month than 10, but your point is still a good one. I had been thinking looking at around $25/bottle for vodka/rum, $35 for aged rye/bourbon, $30 for gin. So I was assuming less than $35 because I'd left out some costs you guys pointed out. I'm kind of stunned that both of you were able to hit so close to the bottle cost I was kind of assuming without me saying it. It at least gives me confidence that I was doing the math approximately right on net income = sale price - (raw ingredients + taxes + monthly expenses). Anyway, very good points. The initial equipment cost doesn't triple as the size goes from 100 to 300 gallons. It just makes sense to start with a bigger one especially if I am already planning not to spend every minute there to start. Thanks very much for the advice.
  15. My wife and I are interested in starting a small distillery and scaling up if it works out and we enjoy it. It's a common tale, I know. I've been interested in distilling for a long time as a homebrewer and a big whiskey and rum appreciator, but want to go legit rather than moonshine at home. Both of us have good jobs which we'd keep and would do the first year or more of planning and licensing as a shared activity. We would be targeting tasting sales and farmers markets to cover the bills and are in a state/county where we can self distribute and where there's only one "competitor" who is a good guy with a good operation that I don't want to step on. We'd be no risk to him anyway for years because he has years of head start and is a real hustler. I've been doing the math for setting up a small distillery by browsing the products at ADE with a 400L mash tun/stripping still, a 100L spirits still, some IBC totes for fermentation, some steel drums for collecting, some aging barrels, etc., and assuming we'd do about 2 runs per month once we're in operation to start, so 24 batches of low wines run through our 100L still each year with a mix of gin, vodka, rum, clear whiskey, rye, bourbon. We have a relationship that could get us a nice space of around 1000 sq ft for $2000/mo where there is a lot of foot traffic all the time, especially on weekends. We don't know about zoning or fire inspection or anything like that yet which could make that spot moot, but it sure would be fun if it worked out. On startup costs, it seems like we'd be looking at around $20k for a 100G mashtun/still and a 26G moonshine still from Affordable Distillery Equipment plus freight. Then factor in $24k in rent for the year before production. Beyond that we'd probably have some trades work that needed to be done like electrical, plumbing, carpentry of around $10k (we don't need a fancy place), and another $10k in pumps, grain mills, small chiller, etc. So that's $65k in costs plus legal costs (my guess for that was around $5000 but I could be way off base) for getting installed, incorporated, and permitted. My optimistic guess adding that up is around $70k for first year startup costs before distilling a drop. Then we'd be running 24 batches of low wines from our 26G spirits still in a year which I calculated would end up with around 2000 bottles of product at the end of the year at 80 proof. After subtracting ingredients, excise tax, sales tax, rent, utilities, insurance, and some marketing I calculate that we'd be about $10k in the black just doing it every other weekend. Of course this would go down each time a batch goes bad or a piece of equipment breaks, so we could easily end up in the red that first year on that schedule. It's not a recipe to get rich at that scale, but hopefully something to enjoy with the possibility of it being an income source down the line. I can see why the general advice is that starting small is not a winner's game. Scale up plans would be to basically increase by a factor of 4, so the 100G would end up getting a column and being our spirits still and we'd buy a 400G stripping still and go from there. Maybe in a new location which we'd be watching out for the whole time. Am I way off base for thinking this sounds possible if we can swing the startup costs and don't need it paid back for a while?
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