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Everything posted by brentondouglas

  1. brentondouglas

    Considering starting small, what am I too naive about?

    I started pretty much the same way you described in your original post. Weekend warrior. Very small operation (400 sq ft.). Very DIY. Bootstrapped, out of my own pocket. I worked a full time job for my first 3 years of business planning, renting space, buildout, permitting, and product development. The most money I had in my savings account at one time was about $22k. Luckily I was able to gradually scale down my shifts at my job as my distillery started to cash flow and grow and I was able to start paying myself. I dedicated all my spare time and money into this thing for 3 years before I was able to really take the plunge and distill full time. It was a difficult 3 years. Broken relationships. No vacations. No going out to eat. No spending money on anything but life essentials. But I didn't know any other way to do it. And, in the end, I pulled it off. Now, I've been distilling full-time for 5 years and I have 2 happy full-time employees. We're growing wholesomely, naturally, and without any outside investment whatsoever. And (kicks myself in the face) we stupidly have never opened a tasting room. I'm not saying the way I did it was the best or most graceful. But it is possible. And if this is the way you visualize it being possible for yourself, by all means, get started ASAP! Let everyone else follow the typical business plan and make another distillery eerily similar to so many others. Let your struggles help build your character and define your story. You don't need all the expensive equipment to make good product. Keep your overhead and investment in equipment minimized and plan on spending all your free time and spare money on this for years. You won't sleep much. Build the most basic and utilitarian "tasting room' as you possibly can. A tasting room is a great way to quickly generate cash flow. And ability to self distribute is amazing! Not only are your margins much better, but you can build tons of value into your distribution network. Survival = Success. Take the plunge!
  2. brentondouglas

    Case Sales Database

    For instance, I just downloaded a public report from OLCC which documents: 1. the exact number of bottles sold in Oregon of every SKU of every distilled spirit product for the years 2016 and 2017 2. the total dollars sold in Oregon of each distilled spirit SKU for the years 2016 and 2017 It's interesting stuff. Some of the micro brands that are perceived as "successful" sell surprisingly low numbers. It helps me realize that micro distillers are totally wasting their psychic energy by feeling "competition" amongst each other. If only we could sell 1% of what Smirnoff coconut flavored vodka sells........
  3. brentondouglas

    Case Sales Database

    The state of Oregon makes information on alcohol sales public
  4. Self-distribution rights are healthy for the industry. Not a perfect bill, but Illinois is working on it. Any support shown for self-distribution rights is appreciated. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=2286&GAID=14&DocTypeID=SB&SessionID=91&GA=100
  5. brentondouglas

    New tax reform

    Sliding scale up to 100,000 PG is still my strong preference. And I reject the idea that a sliding scale is "too complicated" for anyone who has the capabilities to start and operate a DSP. I would hope that we all do everything we can to make sure small 1-person distilleries can start up and survive. Our "craft" market's appeal depends on a viable industry that offers variety and offers radical little distilleries making radical little products. I would prefer to not see a "craft" market full of distilleries skirting the 100,000 gal. line. Those distilleries would likely appear and function very similarly to each other and likely make our industry too boring to appeal to the next generation.........Right? ....Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but we can still improve upon this idea of lower excise taxes.
  6. brentondouglas

    Still Quality vs Price

    Side note: There is no need to take stock in awards. Most brands have won awards and gotten gold medals. In general, the more awards a brand wins simply proves how many competitions they enter - not how good the product is. The entire tasting competition industry feeds off of distillers' insecurities and desire to be recognized. It's all not too dissimilar from how kindergarten teachers give all their students a gold star at some point throughout the school year.
  7. We have one workhorse of a burr grinder for sale. We used this thing for grinding gin botanicals for 2 years. Made by Bunn-O-Matic (legendary in their own right) originally as a coffee grinder. Easy to adjust the coarseness of grind. Hopper holds roughly 2 gallons volume. Customizations / Upgrades: 1. Replaced burrs (used for 6mo. with new burrs) 2. Industrial switch for motor 3. All unnecessary hardware has been stripped off This grinder is perfect for start-ups and R&D. $100 + shipping
  8. brentondouglas

    Burr Grinder - herbs, spices, coffee, body parts, etc.

    Sold. Thanks very much.
  9. brentondouglas

    Burr Grinder - herbs, spices, coffee, body parts, etc.

    Blackheart, you can use zip code 60613 for estimating shipping. I can only use UPS. Thanks!
  10. brentondouglas

    Bag Filter Housing

    Made by Pentair 1.5" pipe inlet/outlet inlet pressure gauge model: 156237 serial: 112249-1 Used only a few times pressure gauge will be removed and separately packed before shipping $250 + shipping For another $25 we will include the (2) 1.5"TC x 1.5"male pipe fittings.
  11. brentondouglas

    Bag Filter Housing

    Sold. Thanks!
  12. brentondouglas


    kkbodine, would you mind elaborating on issues relating to permits required? (eg. winery vs. dsp)
  13. brentondouglas

    CDA R1000 Labeler Brand New Ready for Delivery

    I'm interested. They have technicians in the USA? I would need to verify this would work with my bottles. Do you have a contact I could reach out to? -Thanks
  14. brentondouglas

    Labeler Source for Square Bottles with Tapered Edges

    We use this machine for a label that wraps around one corner. Basically, the machine helps get the label started properly and we then use our fingers to press the label around the corner. It's all about getting perfect initial contact between the label and the glass. Again, getting quick and consistent results from this machine is a skill the user has to develop. But the learning curve is relatively short compared to most things involved in operating a distillery.
  15. brentondouglas

    Labeler Source for Square Bottles with Tapered Edges

    I'm confident that you could use the Race RLTC SP. While operating the labeler very quickly is a skill that has to be developed, you should have it dialed in after a few days of working with it.
  16. I have extra 750's and 1L's. 28mm screw top. Sold by the pallet. Samples can be sent for $5 (this weed's out the non-serious folks) Current stock: Approx. 5000 1L's (60 cs/pallet) Approx. 2700 750's (75 cs/pallet) Thanks!
  17. brentondouglas

    700ml bottle suppliers

    Ditto. I'm also looking for 500mL options.
  18. brentondouglas

    Award contests and spirit shows

    I like the overall sentiment on this topic! Don't be a whore at the awards competitions gangbang HA!!!!!!!!!!
  19. brentondouglas

    New venture in Oak Park, IL

    I agree with bluestar. Self-financing is the way to go.
  20. brentondouglas

    1000 - 1500 gal. spirits storage tank

    I'm in the market for a new or used spirits storage tank. I'd like to find something under 104 in. tall. 1000 - 1500 gal. Thanks, B
  21. brentondouglas

    New lawsuit against the 5th Dimension Inc (Tito's)

    I really like Tito's vodka. I like it for many reasons. But I do NOT believe my admiration for Tito's should encourage me look the other way on this issue. I consider Tito's to be a huge flagship of the industry. They are a major source of inspiration to new distillers and they have a major influence on the industry. They are leaders. Shouldn't they use their influence to help progress the industry in a positive way? Should they be focused on adding integrity and value into industry? Should they NOT be teaching the new distillers that it's best to see how far you can stretch the truth? I believe, as leaders, Tito's has a moral and ethical obligation to set a good example. Furthermore, I think the market would react positively. And if Tito's can be considered "hand made" then I don't know any tangible object that is sold in commerce that could not be considered "hand made." For the sake of the industry's graceful growth and to maintain a healthy relationship with it's consumers, it might be time for the big boy's to start acting like men and lead by example.
  22. brentondouglas

    Plate and Frame Filter

    Looking for used plate filter offering 1.4 sq. meter or more. Thanks!
  23. I have some glass overstock for sale. SQUARE with ROUNDED CORNERS - 750mL & 1L 28mm screw cap finish 750mL & 1L - all 12 bottles per case 1L = 60 cases per pallet 750mL = 128 cases per pallet $1 per bottle + freight. I can arrange freight if needed. please feel free to email me for photos, etc: brenton.engel@gmail.com Thanks!
  24. Redmitty, please email me for photos.
  25. brentondouglas

    Interest in Continuous Stills?

    Jim, I really appreciate all the work you're doing. There is absolutely nothing un-crafty about innovation. I've tasted your stuff. B