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Mash

After 5 years and Broke

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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.

 

 

 

 

MIss Dana 2.JPG

Miss Dana.JPG

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Thanks for sharing your experience.  Your situation sounds fairly typical, and your final words are probably quite accurate. Your lessons and experience, while accurate, will likely not be heeded by the next wave.    Best of luck in your next adventure.

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@MashI know you said no questions, so please don't feel you need to answer, but #11 intrigues me.  Unless taxes weren't being paid for spirits removed from bond, $33k seems like a really high number for your operation.  I live in fear of screwing something up and not even realizing it until too late.

P.S. I've enjoyed reading your story over the past few years.  Thank you.

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19 hours ago, bierling said:

@MashI know you said no questions, so please don't feel you need to answer, but #11 intrigues me.  Unless taxes weren't being paid for spirits removed from bond, $33k seems like a really high number for your operation.  I live in fear of screwing something up and not even realizing it until too late.

P.S. I've enjoyed reading your story over the past few years.  Thank you.

I saw this and freaked! What went wrong here?

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2 hours ago, Michaelangelo said:

I saw this and freaked! What went wrong here?

Would never try to speak to the circumstance mentioned above, but with regards to what went wrong on the TTB side... I'm going to assume that you've never spoken to a distillery that's been audited by the TTB? If records are not impeccably kept to the exact level of compliance that is expected from the TTB, you could absolutely expect to get hit with $ owed. We attempt to mitigate the risk of effing up something significant by running software from Distillery Solutions.

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It took a lot of intestinal fortitude to write about your closing. Please send me your information so I can send you something.

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21 hours ago, Lenny said:

Would never try to speak to the circumstance mentioned above, but with regards to what went wrong on the TTB side... I'm going to assume that you've never spoken to a distillery that's been audited by the TTB? If records are not impeccably kept to the exact level of compliance that is expected from the TTB, you could absolutely expect to get hit with $ owed. We attempt to mitigate the risk of effing up something significant by running software from Distillery Solutions.

Very true Lenny but $33k is a lot of non compliance.  Is this a fine on top of missed tax payments?  Is it all missed tax payments, that's over 2400 pg's that weren't tax paid. This is actually pretty frightening.

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I think number 9   " Distribution in 8 states by tiny distributors and we don't have the resources to market, thus no re-orders."  can have a direct impact on the un paid taxes.   Look at it this way.   You start selling into multiple states, Every one of those state will want a pallet to get started with sales and as we know taxes are due even if your distribution has not payed you for the product.  Its pretty easy to send it out on a 30 day invoice and have the distributor be 90 out on payment.  So your paying all your cogs and overhead every day to send product out, and then have to pay taxes on top of it.   If you don't have enough capital to hold out until those payments state coming back in you can get behind the 8 ball pretty quickly. 

But dunno what really happened just thoughts. 

 

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For those that are so concerned over the tax issue, remember, penalties, interest (in my case was not a lot),and  non-compliance issues have a huge impact on the bill. It is neither my desire, nor intent to discuss the details of the issues. Most of which I had no idea of and yes I read CFR-27, many times. Hire a compliance person, the details are overwhelming and the TTB  will provide more that one answer to the same question. If you would like to experience the dramatic effect, apply for a building permit in Florida. 

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Mash, I would like to say that I am very sorry that you had to go through all of your hardships and the ups and downs. If feel it takes a very big man to tell a story as you did. I think very highly of you and always will. You are welcome at my place anytime. I truly wish great things for you in any new adventures.

Thanks &

Take care.

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How much are you asking for this still? is it steam or electric? if steam is their a boiler for it?

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2 hours ago, Georgeous said:

How much are you asking for this still? is it steam or electric? if steam is their a boiler for it?

check the other thread for details..

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The still is listed at $28,900. It is electric, direct fire, or steam injection. The injection system is $3200, and never been used. It is electric and direct fire. I paid $3800 for it.

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I guess I don't know what the difference with steam injection vs steam boiler is? Does the injection create the steam?

 

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Steam injection is using live steam from your boiler an injecting it into the still to heat it.  No condensate return is required with this, but your boiler would have to be sized to handle the makeup water needed to produce that much steam.  The other option of heating with steam is to circulate steam through the jacket.  This will require a condensate return back to the boiler.  A little more expensive to setup, but less expensive to operate.

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ok, thanks for that explanation, so either way you still need a boiler I see.

thanks

 

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Only if you require steam for other equipment. 

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