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Get your Federal Permit? How long did it take?

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Sorry Justin,  I waited as long as I could but finally had to get my application escalated else I would have had to close my doors before I could even open them.  I've been paying a monthly lease on a facility and am starting to get into a budget crunch.  I was hoping to have my permit last December. 

I Started my application on 7/21/2016.  They accepted my application on 8/9/2016.  I am working with them now to finalize a few minor issues and hopefully I will have my permit before the end of the week.

 

John Baker

Cats Eye Distillery

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How did you get your application escalated? I didn't think they would do that unless they were outside their normal processing estimates, which it doesn't look like they are now. But good for you if you can get yourself started. I'm not in a huge hurry. I'm setting up in a building on my family's vineyard and they're not charging me any rent, which I know is a very very big deal to not have that expense without production.

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I had Trump sign an executive order for me.  My distillery plans are GREAT again! LOL!.

Actually, I asked a state senator if they could help out.  I hated to do it because if everybody did it they could not help out the people who really needed to do it.  I think there was some postings on this a few pages back.(?)

After my previous post I received notice from the TTB that that my application had been approved!  Now on to the next task,,, State approval.

(I wonder if I can talk Donald into lowering the Federal Excise Tax from 35% to 15%?  Wouldn't that be GREAT??)

 

Good luck with your distillery.  Hope all goes well for you.

John

 

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Just got an officer to look at my application yesterday. I applied on 8/5/16, and he's asked for a few corrections (no big deal) and made a request to fence in my DSP that's located in a garage bay in the woods about 1/4 mile down a gravel driveway on about 100 acres of farmland off a rural route. It's on agricultural zoned property (AG-1), and there's a residence on the farm about 100 feet away, so I guess that's their concern, but there was nothing in the regs about that. Hopefully putting a fence on the plans lets this gets approved? I'll keep you posted.

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There is something in the regulations and there is also something in the law.  

  • Sec. 19.52  Restrictions on location of plants.  A person who intends to establish a distilled spirits plant may not locate it in any of the following places: (a) In any residence, shed, yard, or enclosure connected to a residence ...
  • 26 USC 5178 (b) - No distilled spirits plant for the production of distilled spirits shall be located in any dwelling house, in any shed, yard, or inclosure connected with any dwelling house, or on board any vessel or boat, or on premises where beer or wine is made or produced, or liquors of any description are retailed, or on premises where any other business is carried on (except when authorized under subsection (b)).

There are some not so subtle differences between the regulation and law, but TTB gets to interpret the law - it's their job to do that - and its interpretation is the regulation.  

Once upon a time, TTB visited the premises before approval, but no longer, and could see with human eyes the residence sitting next to the DSP.  They no longer do and there is no question in the application that requires you to disclose the fact that the DSP you propose is located in yard that contains a residence.  That is a flaw in TTB's regulatory scheme.  So I suspect that some DSP's get approved without consideration of the location because TTB does not know.  Others get approved after full disclosure.  Those rest on safe grounds.  

The "connected to" phrase is the key to approval.  At one time TTB preached that locating on the same tract of land created the connection, per se, case closed.  As recently as a year ago there was a specialist at the NRC who proclaimed that approval was not allowed.  I had fought that battle already and gotten approvals, so he's wrong. I don't know if others did too, but TTB will now approve DSP premises on the same tract of land, provided you establish that it is not connected to the residence within the meaning of Section 5178.  

TTB does not have rules, at least any that they make public.  They say they will determine this on a case by case basis and as much as I hate case by case, that seems proper here.  They state distance is one consideration, but it is only one.  If you build a DSP on the same tract of land, you roll the dice, unless you get TTB's approval first.  I think the odds in the dice roll are becoming more and more in your favor as we push the envelope on what it means to be "connected to a residence," but there are limits.

Attachment is at one end of the scale and location five miles away is at the other.  Somewhere between them is an undefined line, which is a lot closer to attached than to five miles, but nevertheless will exist in the case by case world, but where that line falls will vary by the habitual use and other considerations.  If you want to approach TTB about this, embrace the term "curtilage." It is the passage from no to yes.  "Yard" is the wand we wave.  "Yard" has legal meaning.  A fence can, but need not, provide a division that sets the "yard" off from the rest of the property.  Establishing a clear division between the portion of the property that is within the curtilage of the residence, which includes, but may not be limited to the "yard," and the portion that is not within the curtilage, then establishing that the  proposed DSP is located on the right side of that line, is the hurdle you must clear.  

Beyond these general comments, everything becomes cases specific. 

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Thank you very much for your thoughtful input. I may have pulled the same specialists that gave you a hard time.

I will do whatever they ask me to do to get this approved. If that means putting up a fence, I'll definitely do that even if all it does is keep out the deer that wander through the woods. My parents are in their 60s, so I gather their fence climbing days are over.

I guess I was just surprised since I assumed that the statues were interpreted literally. The word "in" means in. Not near, not close by, not within a certain number of feet. "in" means "in". Otherwise, I believed the statute would have been written differently to include those other words. The word "connected" also has literally meaning that I understand very well from local building ordinances. There is no way my local fire marshal or building inspector would argue that my DSP is connected to my parent's house 100 feet away in absence of a physical connection. But I guess that was my mistake is thinking that these statutes were always regarded literally.

That's just my view, which doesn't mean anything in regards to license approval of course. Ironically, I thought I would get more trouble from the local township and state licensing, which have all given me the green light already.

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Well, I'm over 60 and had to climb a damned fence to catch my dog, a Shih Tzu, who are notorious wanders and so, like TTB, required a fence.  The issue with TTB is not keeping people from scaling.  It is establishing a demarcation between an area where a resident has a reasonable expectation of privacy and an area where the resident does not.  If an area is within the domain where the resident has a reasonable expectation of privacy, then warrantless entry could be restricted under the 4th Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search.  TTB does not want to have to get warrants to enter, and although the IRC gives them unfettered right of entry at any time of the day or night [see Section 19.11 and 26 USC 5203(b)], they do not want to cloud that authority with constitutional issues.  Or, at least, that is my reading of the situation, absent any statement from TTB on the matter.  

I doubt the TTB specialist will, or maybe even can, articulate that position, and I can't justify it by reference to the legislative history of Section 5178, since the law dates back to the mid 1800's, but it makes complete sense within the regulatory scheme.  That, of course, doesn't make my reading right!  

 

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Got the approval today, after about a week of waiting on the corrections and haggling on the fence. That's a 8/5/16 date my app was received and a 2/15/17 approval date, all said and done. Already have the PA LCB and local approval, so it's all full ahead here.

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Any updates from anyone out there?  We've had our application in since Sept 19, 2016 with not the first phone call from the TTB.  Contacted my Congressman last week to ask for his help in pushing this through, but still nothing.  Awfully frustrating paying rent and utilities for over six months and the biggest hurdle to starting your business is the very entity we will be paying outrageous taxes to.   We are at 28 weeks and counting.  They will have us dead on the vine.

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Hunker down and get absolutely everything you can done before hand.  We ran into a similar situation on the state approvals side, and it was a serious burden.  The capital we burned would have easily paid for a significant amount of inventory build or additional equipment.  C'est la vie.  In retrospect we could have, and should have, gotten more done in the interim period.  Make the best of the situation by ensuring you have absolutely everything buttoned up so that when you get your paperwork, you are in production and out selling that day.

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I second what Silk City said. We ended up much in the same boat. Our permit took 7.5 months for them to even look at it... we were repeatedly told "We'll get to it when we get to it" <paraphrased> 1 small revision and less than 2 weeks to get it actually approved. But we were so worried while we were waiting that we didn't do much work because we are leasing our space. 

We also waited to do our state submittal until we got Fed approval. That took from August to the end of December. Then the county Health Department which has taken from December until... today. (Being first in the county isn't something I'd want to do again....)

We thought we'd be open by Thanksgiving. We opened two weeks ago. 

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Oh we went full bore on getting our building ready that we are also renting.  About the only thing we have left to do is get the base in for our bar and that portion is done.  The contractors will be finishing up the boiler, plumbing and electrical next week.  Got a couple minor things to tweak on the labels on our first products and they will be ready to submit for COLA as soon as the DSP comes through.  Our state application is in.  Ohio will work on your state application without having your federal in hand (wish we would have known that a little sooner).  We were anticipating another month or so for the state permit after getting our federal.  Hopefully this is now not quite so long.  Been paying rent and utilities for 9 months now with just a few t-shirt sales to offset it all.

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Welcome to the club Killbuck Creek - I'm pretty sure most of us have that same experience of 6-12 months of making lease/mortgage payments on our distilleries before we could open the doors.  Look on the bright side, that barrier to entry will make it harder for someone else to open up right down the road from you in the very near future! ;)  Cheers and I hope you hear something from TTB very soon!!!

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No clue. We were surprised as well. From reading all the posts in this thread over the last year or so, we were expecting to not hear anything til this summer.  

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That's really sad because in early January I contacted the TTB because we were starting to get a little long in the tooth on our application.  I was assured that applications were being handled in the order they were received.

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Are the applications handled by different TTB offices based on region? What region are you in?

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Ohio.  Was told by TTB that when they restructured first of the year that the agents are back to doing one type of permit.  Who was your's?

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My application took 45 days. Would have been sooner but the regs for filling out the  bond changed just after I submitted & I needed it reworked. Anyway, I established a contact there just by emailing & calling the same agent with questions. She was very helpful and pretty much hand carried my app, requested to review it for her super & bam, done.

My DSP is also on residential property, was told it needed to be 50ft minimum from structure & also fenced. 

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Killbuck, you've already submitted to the state, yes? As soon as you're federally permitted you can begin making liquor. Feds control production, state controls sale. Also ask your inspector about the provisions for excise tax reduction from 40% to 8%. You can apply it to anything except whiskey.

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May 16th 2015. Aproved July 1st 2015. At the time the average processing time was around 130 days give or take. I posted earlier on this same post about that time.

Have you talked to your state inspector, Elaine or Cheryl?

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