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Everything posted by fstmatt

  1. fstmatt

    TN vs GA?

    Sorry - If you are referring to my original question, I only have experience in New Mexico where the local governing made licensing very challenging. Since I have some flexibility where the new facility would be located, I would love to make it easy on myself
  2. fstmatt

    TN vs GA?

    Fortunately we are already working with distributors in both states. What I really want to know is what is it like working with the state level bureaucrats. Where I am from the working with state or local can be challenging.
  3. fstmatt

    TN vs GA?

    Right now we are in the exploratory phase of opening a production facility in the southeast, and I am looking at some options in north GA or south TN area. So I'm curious, what is people's experiences dealing with these respective state ABCs? Specifically I would like to know what licensing is like, how it is working with the state agencies. Cost appears to be similar. I do not need (or want) a taproom, so how the state handles these does not bother me.
  4. We switched over to Black Water recently. The relatively new make bourbon is taking on an amazing flavor and we haven't had any issues with leakage.
  5. https://www.google.com/search?q=ice+machine+black+mold&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS771US771&oq=ice+machine+black&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.2590j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 . What we found to be the most cost effective is to burn the ice once a week and then spray down everything with sani. And learn how to tear down the machine for a deep clean because it will go down when you least want it to.
  6. We use PointOS - which is a pretty robust POS software solution. One of the most important points to me is that it is a local system, not cloud based. One thing that always confused me about the iPad options out there is the monthly fees - PointOS is $500 once. Even the cheaper options cost that every year?!? We use this for drinks and merchandise only, but it can be used for a full kitchen or server/bartender stations with a second printer. Also handles our timeclock which is convenient. It also can be installed onto any PC hardware. We have large POS style computers at one location, but a cheap touchscreen laptop at the other. PointOS integrates directly with vantiv/mercury for payment processing, but you can use any payment processor you want which is nice. The only other system we considered was square because it didn't have monthly fees, but we found the reporting to be severely lacking and the use of tabs to clumsy (but we still keep a square reader around for backup, not to mention festivals). Not to hijack, but I still wonder what is the attraction to the monthly fee based systems?
  7. Sent you a PM. Might be able to help out.
  8. We've gone through this exercise several times recently with a couple new tasting rooms. Get larger than you think! https://www.webstaurantstore.com/guide/525/types-of-ice-machines.html This is a good place to start - two things to keep in mind: 1 - the stated ice production is under ideal conditions. Cool air and cool water. You will never make the stated amount. 2 - The storage capacity. The costco unit will only store 20lb of ice at a time. That's 2 bags of ice from the grocery store. Without knowing anything about your business model, but we need a lot more business than that to pay the bills. If the $2,000 makes you uncomfortable (and i get that...) you can most likely find a local company that leases equipment. Typically they take care of maintenance, installation, and emergency repairs for $100 - $200 a month. We used this option in the past because of cash flow, but you can quickly see that within a year you've paid for that brand new unit. (except that you have to maintain it, which as stated is a PITA). Having had to run to the 7-11 in the middle of a shift for bags of ice, take my word that you want as large as you can.
  9. @Max_thibodeaux, I've posted in an different section as to the attention Mark from Race Labeling gives to his customers. I simply can't say it enough, you won't find a better product and certainly not without better support than with a Race Labeler.
  10. Surprisingly not that painful unless someone (my kids) kick the stitches directly. Not that I've experienced that. Every night this week... Just a antidote as to how great Race Labeling is to work with: I cut my hand last Friday, spoke with Mark on Tuesday (showed him my prototype), and he expects to have a working model ready by Monday. I'll post it when it's ready, but I can't endorse Race enough.
  11. As if i could have planned this incident, but on Friday I had a bottle shatter while inserting a t-top. 25 stitches and entirely too much wasted time in the ER. I just stopped by Race Labeling Concepts with my plywood concept to have them build a prototype corker. The labeling machines that Race builds are amazing, so I'm anxious to see what they come up with. The accident itself was presumably due to a bottle having micro defects. I've capped thousands of bottles by this point, so nothing I did was out of the ordinary. But if 0.001% of the bottles had a similar defect, we're still exposing ourselves to entirely too much risk.
  12. Here's a prototype manual corker I put together. Works as a proof of concept, but would be better off if it were machined and assembled with something better than titebond II. The block on the lower right pushes the t-top into the opening where it rests on top of the bottle. The plunger pops it into place. I've talked with Race Label a little bit about putting together a production model. If there is interest I'll pursue it further.
  13. fstmatt

    TIB Bottles?

    Haven't looked at CFR this morning, but looking at form 5110.28 Processing Report Line 32 under Part II, Finished Product Column (b) (Bottled) would suggest it is possible to TIB prior to tax determination.
  14. http://www.fedex.com/us/freight/rulestariff/prohibited_articles.html FedEx will only ship spirits to another licensed facility (wholesaler, distributor, dsp, etc). Only wine can be shipped directly to consumer. I know there are lots of distilleries doing it, and supposedly some are doing it on the up and up. But every conversation we've had with the carriers has been a dead end.
  15. Not to mention you must convince one of the standard carriers to authorize you to ship alcohol. We've been unsuccessful so far.
  16. Some manufactures will have an engineer on staff that can help answer the question. We ended up with a 100 gallon tank, but we're given uneducated suggestions ranging from 10,000 gallons (really) to "why do you need a tank?". Also, there is nothing special about the tank, so one could be added if the system is getting dogged down. If you call your manufacturer, these are the questions they will ask: what is the temp you are starting with, what temp are trying to get to, how quickly, and how much total. Try calling Whaley Chillers. They were very helpful with me and have a lot of different configurations available.
  17. fstmatt

    Whiskey barrels

    It looks like we may have a few extra oak barrels in mid January, anywhere from 4 to 8 new oak bourbon barrels. If you are interested in purchasing, send me a pm and I'll get you more information. Thanks Matt Distillery 365 Albuquerque, NM
  18. That's the same one we have. Operates as promised!
  19. We picked whichever one had the longest 0% introductory rate. Free 18 month loan!
  20. I sent you a PM about Fred. Again, I highly recommend him.
  21. Thanks Brian. I didn't want those breweries thinking they could run the neighborhood
  22. Hello everyone, I think I am far enough along to (finally) officially introduce myself. Hi, I'm Matt. My group is opening Distillery 365 in Albuquerque, NM with an anticipated opening in the Spring of 2015. I've hovered for awhile now, and appreciate the information everyone has shared and the sense of community we have as distillers - a genuine thank you to everyone. Cheers, Matt
  23. Contact Fred at Prime USA scales 858-484-8000. He specializes in used legal for trade scales and hooked us up with a scale that was very reasonable. As far as measuring volume directly, I can't help you much. My quick read 27CFR30.36 suggests that spirits volume must be measured by weight unless you are dealing with denatured spirits. Matt
  24. James, How about using Alibaba? You all have much more experience than I working with Chinese producers, and the obvious concerns regarding quality are certainly valid. But a quick search turns up several suppliers. I dunno, just a thought. Also, regarding wood supplies. I can go down to my local lumber supplier and get plenty of American white oak, for pretty cheap even. What I can't do (and I've tried) is but a barrel together. Geometrically, it's a relatively simple problem. But practically, those coopers have some skills. Instead of trying to figure out how to make money in craft that is hard to do and hard to learn, perhaps we could inject funds into an existing smaller cooperage to increase their production, with the understanding that the investors get rights to X number of barrels per year? (P.S. - Towerguy, I've had the same conspiracy thought. Kinda like what the big brewers tried to do to Sam Adams by buying up all the hops in the 80's. We'd be remiss to think the big players won't do what they can to keep up out of the market)
  25. Tobert, We used Accion as our lender. They specialize in smaller (<$100,000) loans for startups. I see that you are in CA: https://us.accion.org/accion-near-you/california They require you 100% collateralize the loan, with either personal or business assets. And it basically amounts to a personal loan, as you must personally guarantee the money. The loan rates are pretty steep (8-10%), but their model is to serve as a bridge until you can qualify for a bank loan. Their is no penalty to buy off the loan or transfer it when you can. The New Mexico branch has been awesome to work with. They offer classes and workshops and lots of networking opportunities, and pride themselves on having a ridiculously low default rate because they try to help their customers as much as possible. Matt Distillery 365 Albuquerque, NM
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