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A member asked me to elaborate on my going out of business. It's the same story that you hear every day. Money. To go beyond the hobbyist stage, the business requires intensive capital. Capital I didn't have nor could get. AMS was on the verge of breaking out but with circumstances and events beyond my control we (I) failed. Problems: (In my case are as follows) 1. Lack of experience in the liquor industry. 2. Not knowing what you don't know, that you don't know to even ask about. 3 State ABC system. Just because you read the state laws, over and over, it never mentioned "Dry County" and you can't sell your product on site. 4. State ABC system. Because you are a Farm Distillery, you can in fact sell your product on site in a dry county. ABC didn't know that as the law fell in between being told "I can't and I can". 5. Get lobbied by the Town to have "Moonshine" on Main Street, spent $35,000 on a new store and tasting room. 6. Federal Government: Tasting room and "Non-contiguous" approval took 9 months.We had already moved to the downtown location. I mean how long could it possibly take; 30 to 45 days? 7. State ABC: Great you have your DSP approval for downtown, but we are rewriting the book on tasting rooms and distillery stores. Wait time: 12 months. Can you believe this Bull $hit? 8. Broke and struggling. 9. Distribution in 8 states by tiny distributors and we don't have the resources to market, thus no re-orders. 10. Awarded $100,000 grant to move and create a destination distillery. April of 2016, (no performance agreement), June 2016 Big Announcement by the Governor in July. (Still no performance agreement). 11 TTB audit- Owe $33,000 in taxes. 12. Grant. Governor can't make it, so another delegation will come make the announcement in August,. (still no performance agreement) 13 Grant: August 4th, sorry we can't make it the Governor needs his plane and we can't drive 5 hours one way. (Still no performance Agreement!!!!) 14 Grant: End of of September, TA DA big announcement, "AMS will invest $1.9 million dollars into capital improvements for our community and jobs!" WTF, $1.9 million dollars .....in what??? (Still no freaking performance agreement) 15 New CEO quits because the Grant is so Fu*%ED up. 16. Grant: No performance agreement until November 25. The dead line for the disbursement is November 30th or you don't get it. The state based the agreement on completely false numbers, I sent two revisions, March and May. They, ....someone... choose to use the wrong numbers so someone can get a gold star. We didn't sign it, as it was knowingly wrong to agree to something that is totally unrealistic. 17 All the while I begged the Managing Members to come up with a plan.......nope....."Good Luck Mash, you'll figure it out.". Asked the Membership to help with the taxes, so we can restart...out of 70 members 2 sent money. But a crap load complaints were the norm. 18. Put it up for sale. 19. Sell the assets and move on. ( didn't mention the stress and two different week long hospital stays due to the stress.) (Nor the National and International TV shows, 4 documentaries, and numerous write up about AMS across the US and Canada." If there one "Constant",... I've shared my story ,however it will not make one bit of difference to someone who wants a distillery. Hell, you can save a half million dollars, five years of work by buying what I started. You won't, so follow your dreams and the best of luck. OH....one final request, please no questions, I am really over it, by and large few, if any would listen.
I recently introduced myself to this forum as a nascent distiller and a full-time marketer and offered an invitation to discuss marketing plans with forum members. The response has been great and I'm helping to develop some plans of action. I'm wondering if some of you in the "older guard" would be willing to offer stories of what works/what flops with regard to marketing your product lines and your distilleries. I'm not asking for trade secrets or anything here, just an overview of marketing ideas that have proven successful for you. And a few war stories might help to pepper the mix... I also understand, all too well, that what works for one business may not work for another. I've read the threads, with some amusement, about promotional giveaways such as branded golf balls that some see as a great branding vehicle while others see them as a complete waste of time and resources. Let me reiterate, I'm not trying to "borrow" secrets. I'm hoping this thread can become a teaching tool for those in the early phases of developing a marketing plan, saving them time and money on wasted or misguided efforts. I'm also hoping, of course, that I can save my clients the same. Carl