Jump to content
ADI Forums
Ben

What class/workshop?

Recommended Posts

What class and or workshop would you recommend to someone getting started? I've found a few, but don't know which are good and which ones aren't so good. The last thing I wanted to do is learn bad techniques early on. Thanks for any advice.

-Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What class and or workshop would you recommend to someone getting started? I've found a few, but don't know which are good and which ones aren't so good. The last thing I wanted to do is learn bad techniques early on. Thanks for any advice.

-Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We at Downslope Distilling offer a two day class in Denver, Colorado - We have had 3 classes to date and everyone has been happy with our hands on approach. Please go to www.downslopedistiliing.com for more info. The workshop is two days at a cost of $250 (includes materials).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ben, have you done a "Search" on this subject. There are several threads that exhust the subject

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ben, have you done a "Search" on this subject. There are several threads that exhust the subject

Hi Bob,

Yes I have, but based on the PM's I've received I'm glad I still posted. It's understandable that some folks don't feel comfortable posting their bad experiences.

Thanks,

Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ben. I understand the tactic now. I'm glad you got the PM's and hope they help you out.

Too bad though, that there is not open conversation (which I now know why you asked)because that way only helps to perpetuate the existing workshops that may not deliver what they promise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone has an opinion on the workshops run by Kothe I'd love to hear it, on the forum or PM. I'm mostly interested in the sensory evaluation elements of a workshop, and my fear is that it may be a big sales pitch for their products or possibly just not applicable if using a different style still. Would it be valuable for someone who doesn't plan to use one of their stills?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the wish not to share their bad experiences but hopefully you can sum up some of their information of what they found good or lacking in various classes. I'm also looking into the workshops and this would be useful information. I'm not sure if an anonymous roundup would be welcome here or not.

Hi Bob,

Yes I have, but based on the PM's I've received I'm glad I still posted. It's understandable that some folks don't feel comfortable posting their bad experiences.

Thanks,

Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What class and or workshop would you recommend to someone getting started? I've found a few, but don't know which are good and which ones aren't so good. The last thing I wanted to do is learn bad techniques early on. Thanks for any advice.

-Ben

Ben,

Can you share what you found out?

Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone has an opinion on the workshops run by Kothe I'd love to hear it, on the forum or PM. I'm mostly interested in the sensory evaluation elements of a workshop, and my fear is that it may be a big sales pitch for their products or possibly just not applicable if using a different style still. Would it be valuable for someone who doesn't plan to use one of their stills?

The one day we reserve for the sensory seminar, I don't think the name Kothe even gets mentioned. People are plenty busy keeping up with Dr. Hagmann.

Unfortunately, we are probably doing the last sensory seminar in May - at least for a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd highly recommend the 2 day class offered by Downslope. In addition to giving you a good reason to visit Colorado, Mitch and Andy are a wealth of information and can lend invaluable insight to all things craft distilling. Downslope runs a really interesting operation — If you were to attend, I'm confident that you'd pick a good bit more than you might expect from a two day class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have attended both the two day Distilling 101 class offered by Bavarian-Holstein and the four day session offered by Kothe (in that order, separated by about 6 months of self study), and got a lot out of both. Of course, both are run by folks interested in selling you a large distillation system, so they tend to miss discussing the high cost of starting up a small distillery with that sort of expensive setup, so the class in Denver would be a good alternative.

The B-H class had a nice, short tasting introduction which was not intended to teach but rather to introduce you to the difficulties of this almost magic subject. The Kothe class had Klaus Hagmann (who is an amazing resource, get to know him if you can) running an entire day of tasting, which left my head spinning both from an ethanol overdose as well as an information overdose. When I talked with him last, it sounds like they will split the tasting up into smaller doses, which is a good thing. The Kothe class, having a lot more time, included subjects like marketing, dealing with distribution channels, insurance, obtaining a bond, and a presentation by their local TTB rep. Very helpful when you get further along in your education.

One thing lacking from these fairly inexpensive classes is a real experience running the whole process yourself. You can go to Dry Fly in Spokane and get a real immersion, for a very high price. I think even better would be if you can find someone reasonably close (I was lucky in finding a guy 5 miles from my home who was just starting up, and welcomed an extra set of hands and eyes) who will allow you to shadow them for a week, you will learn a ton from the experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to the Carl/MSU class and thought it was worth my time but as MarkR mentioned above, nothing really prepares you for "running the whole process yourself." It's a shit pile (redneck term) of time, effort, and money in this business.

I also attended the Dry Fly class. It was expensive and has gotten more expensive. However, the money I saved while discussing equipment and processes with these guys more than paid for the class and all of my expenses while there. Those guys remain good friends to this day and have been a valuable resource for our business. I'm sure it was the best money I spent prior to opening our doors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a question of what you can afford in terms of time and $$s.

It was my experience that every course I attended had within it some important element/s that the others somehow missed out on. Many times the content of the courses directly contradicted "facts" I had been taught elsewhere. There is also a fair amount of "selling" going on at each of the courses, be it of still equipment, or barrels, or insurance, or glass/corrugated, etc. but it is rarely too much.

It is difficult to say what the "best" course is as they are all very different, and it depends what you are wanting to learn; distillation, fermentation, business skills/plans, marketing, sales, TTB regs, tasting, etc, etc. some of the courses claim to be for beginners, but without at least a basic knowledge distillation they are sometimes way above some people's heads.

As some folk have already said, the most useful "course" I did was to spend several days at a distillery getting some hands on knowledge and being able to talk directly to a distiller without 30 other people trying to get their attention.

However, I only did that once i had attended several "theoretical" classes to understand what the process what all about.

Another fantastic thing that came out of it all was meeting like-minded entrepreneurs on the same road, some of which have become firm friends and the collaboration between us for information and advice has been invaluable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to announce that we are doing our next week long workshop in Kent, WA September 12 to the 16. We will be on the campus of Green River Community College at their Kent facility. Our hands on training will take place at Sidetrack Distillery nearby courtesy of David and Larry, owners and attendees to our September 2010 workshop. Please check out www.artisancraftdistilling.com for workshop details, trainers,and Sidetrack Distillery pictures.

Cheers!

Allan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×