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city_stiller

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  1. Tons of helpful info, thank you. Good to know that there are not any glaring legal flaws with the idea! I'll check out the statement of production registration details. That sounds like it could be a bit tricky. I do agree that the distillery space and ambiance would have a huge impact on the feel of the experience of distilling. It could go from feeling like hiding in a shed making corn likker or it could feel like a highly luxe and classy endeavour of gentlemen. Something that could attract the C-suite of a business for a team-building activity rather than frat guys looking to make a ton of hooch.
  2. Well I guess I am now aware of apple brandy being produced in WA. My point was that I think that market is less crowded and I have a good "in." Heritage is doing something similar, but at the end the customers are still just taking home the normal product that heritage produces, not a product that they have played a major role in producing (grain bill, distillation technique, aging style, etc.) It is good to know that similar offerings are well received though.
  3. After becoming fully established, I think you are absolutely correct. This would be something that would likely be phased out if the distillery became a success with much higher production. This would be more of a "help getting off the ground" idea to fund the beginning of the distillery. As far as waiting for the aging, I think I would leave that in the hands of the consumer. They take the white dog and the barrel home, they age it until they are happy. Based on what I have read (read: experimented) with, a whisky can become fully fledged after as little as 4 months in a very small barrel.
  4. Tom thanks for digging that up for me, really helpful to know the complications involved with volunteer labor. After reading the article I think that a workshop is the way to go, good idea Southernhighlander. All actual labor would be performed by legitimate employees, the only thing customers would do would be "observational". More of a learning experience rather than a lifting sacks of barley or labeling bottles.
  5. I'll try to find that article, thanks. In terms of employees, I imagine beginning with only myself and possibly a partner. Very small scale. I actually recently attended a "bottling party" hosted by Copperworks Distillery in Seattle. A group of volunteers came and helped label and fill bottles for a couple hours in exchange for tours and tastings. I might reach out to them to see what hurdles they had to overcome to be able to do that. For real batches of non-custom products, the work would be done without "helpers."
  6. Funny you should mentions Gibbs, my /friend/ has used their 5 gallon barrels and is very happy with them.
  7. Ill have to look into that! I think most people would hesitate to drop that kinda cash, but as a super-micro startup, I think it would be profitable (especially in terms of marketing) to go as low as a gallon or two at the start. I'd imagine it would be a cool thing for a group of people (maybe a bachelor party) to go make the whiskey that you could then serve at your wedding or something. I think I could have a decently high markup for the experience of the thing as well, besides just the cost of the whiskey. the trouble would be finding the right price though, high enough to cover costs, but low enough to be attractive as an "experience" The lower quantity batches could also be made on a much smaller and cheaper to operate still, maybe 26 gallons
  8. Hi all, first post here. So, my idea is to start a distillery which would allow customers to come in and create custom whiskies or other distilled products. The customer could help create a semi-custom mash bill, and "help" in the distillery during mashing and/or distillation. They would leave with an aging vessel of their choice, likely an oak barrel somewhere between 1 and 5 gallons, and leave with their product bottled in 1.75L (maximum legal container size as far as I am aware) containers to put into their barrel to age on their own. I live in Washington state, which does not have a three tier distribution law, and would allow me to sell limitless (I think) quantities to customers at the distillery, in the non-bonded "tasting room" area. I am fairly sure that legally, this would check out. I don't think there would be any issue with customers being around "helping" during the process, but maybe some of you have more info on this. Washington has a large market for "bourgie" products and experiences, and I think a unique offering like this would allow my starting costs to remain fairly small, while still bringing in income during the stage when most distilleries are aging product. I would of course be making product to age simultaneously. I have a close friend who owns a cidery/winery, and would be willing to partner with me to create apple/grape brandy as well, which would be another semi-unique offering, Ias I am not aware of anyone making Washington apple brandy. In addition, I have a...friend who has been home distilling and getting to understand the science and processes required for creation of tasty products. My question to all you experienced artisan distillers is mainly this: is this anywhere near a feasible idea? This endeavor would likely start with a less than 100 gallon still, and mainly be a weeknight/weekend operation at the start. Am I missing some glaring flaw in my plan? What are your thoughts? Thanks for reading, and spending the time to help a newbie!
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