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is 400 sqft enough?

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Hi Guys-

I have a great location with plenty of foot traffic right on a lake front. The only problem is that its only 400 sgft. Does any body think this is even worth going after? I do plan on aging, but I will rent a warehouse for that.

Thanks

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It might be enough for a remote tasting room or boutique resale location, check you state laws. I think you will find that 400 sq ft is well below adequate space that is needed for a safe and profitable distillery. We are in the TTB permitting process and our facility is 3200sq feet. We originally thought we were in too large of a space, but when you figure in the following that we were placing in the distillery, space fills up quickly.

  • Tasting room (a good deal of profit depending on the restrictions in your state. We will be able to sell 3000 gallons for on premises consumption and (2) .750 bottles per month for off premises consumption)
  • (2) 100 gallon stills
  • (3) 250 gallon fermentation tanks
  • Steam boiler
  • RO process water tank
  • bottling
  • labeling
  • office for record keeping
  • pallets of bottles, grain, or NGS (if thats you thing). The space fills up pretty quickly.

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Unless you plan on being a nano-sized operation and staying that way, no. I consider us quite small and we have a 2,000 sq ft production area, another 2,800 sq ft in storage for bottles, cases, unused barrels, grain, etc, a 1,000 sq ft retail space, and then our aging warehouse that's in a separate building. I do realize we have some room to grow, but I also see the limitations in our setup and how if you plan to try to make any amount of real money you'll be extremely strapped for space.

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I believe that there have been others who have started this small. Kings County Distillery in New York comes to mind. If memory serves, they started off in 300-400 sq.ft. Now they're shacked up in a pretty cool looking old building with plenty of room and a couple bad ass Scottish pot stills running like mad to keep up with demand.

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Not impossible if distillery only, and barrel, grain, and bottle storage off site, and still (hence fermenters) are small (<60 gallon). But that gives you no space for sales room, which CAN NOT be in the bonded premise. I presume because you note the foot traffic, this will be your sales location. Can't discuss remote tasting room possibility, because you did not indicate which state you are in (state permit governs this).

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Simply stated, no. Maybe you could add on another 400 feet of space for an office and handicapped accessible bathroom that you could shut off from the main room, then you would have enough space for a basic start up as long as you have another bonded container on site to store your liquor in. Another main concern of a start up distillery is waste water. What do you plan to do with the tails when your distill is complete? You cannot simply put them into the water that fronts your property or you will face very stiff penalties from the EPA. (Tito's paid $50k for ground water contamination so I can only imagine what the fine would be for a lake.) Another consideration is your acreage. If you are successful, you will need to grow rapidly, best to start with several acres. Best wishes.

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We're currently going into a 2340 square foot space and it's right about the ideal size for us and we'll only be able to produce 4800 cases out of this space.

1422 sq. ft. warehouse area for the bonded space.

918 sq. ft. front area for tasting room, bathroom, and office.

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