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Brothers Vilgalys Spirits

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  1. We hold a DSP but purchase bulk alcohol to make our booze (we have a line of liqueurs). As such we're not looking for a 'distiller' but still someone interested in producing high-proof flavored spirits. We are hiring an entry-level operations assistant to assist with production, bottling, cleaning, occasionally running tours & bottle sales, and many other needs. The right candidate will be someone enthusiastic to learn more about the industry and able to work unsupervised and sometimes doing repetitive tasks. You will be working with the owner-employee (myself) and one other sales rep. We are still a small start-up, so pay will be hourly and full-time with no benefits. Equity might be available for the right candidate. We are located in Durham, NC. Full job description is here on our website: https://brothersvilgalys.com/jobs/ email jobs@brothersvilgalys.com with your stuff
  2. We purchase NGS to make liqueurs. We saved a lot of money starting out this way. Not just the costs of a still, fermenters, mash tanks, etc but the space taken up costs extra square footage costs extra rent. And NGS is not very expensive, so it's not as if there's a huge amount of savings on the cost of materials given the time & energy needed to distill it yourself. With that said, you'd want to think about the story you'll be telling to your customers. There's a gazillion vodkas out there. Why is yours going to be "special" if you're just using NGS you bought? Why should they purchase your stuff when the macro brands are still going to be cheaper, or there's another dozen "pot stilled artisan magic" brands next to it? It does sound like the space you've got is ideal to work with (especially if you own it already). But if the story about your brand is "it's local," and it turns out not to really be local, your consumers are going to be disappointed. There's plenty of ways to market vodka, but that's also a crazy-competitive category. Maybe you could make a big deal about your water source?
  3. This might trigger the local health department getting involved if you're re-using containers. Having worked in restaurants and dealt with that, I really don't think think it'd be worth the hassle whatever the small cost savings might be.
  4. In our case, we zeroed in via trial and error with the lab still, but now always blend by weighing everything. Our base alcohol is 190 proof GNS. Like others, we calculate the sugar as simple displacement but take contraction into account for alcohol & water mixtures. Would definitely be using Alcodens if it could estimate ABV% w/ sugar (or honey, juice concentrate, etc).
  5. We also use a Corona Mill (also just learned that's what those are called). I don't need our stuff super-finely ground so we've removed the outer plate, and use a drill to power it. Before that I had a metal tortilla press, but this works a lot better.
  6. http://www.freundcontainer.com/ Has glass 50 ml and caps, no minimums. If you're going to do them for real (shelves), would definitely suggest plastic bottles since they're cheaper and more durable.
  7. We broker our own stuff, but other NC folks use the larger brokers. The main thing the big guys can get you is access to their distributors out of state, but they will not go out of their way to market an unknown product for you. For my own stuff, I don't see why I should be giving away 10-15% of our wholesale cost just to get in with Southern / RNDC / etc. Ultimately if you're selling well in NC you can find distributors outside the state anyway. You will need the wholesale permit from the TTB listing the ABC warehouse as a location anyway, regardless of whether you broker your own stuff or not.
  8. It refers to proof gallons of bottled product that you've shipped out that month (hence withdrawn, and covered by your withdrawals bond), and which you've paid the excise tax for. I really suggest you study up on all the forms and record keeping requirements if you're asking this question, no offense meant. Good luck!
  9. The Paulson closures are described on our last invoice as "T-Top 22.5mm Beige Shank w/Dark Brown 36mm x 10mm Cap" Tapi was "Wood 33/34x14 stain and tumble varnish top with a 23mm Sugero Replica synthetic shank" although we've not ordered from them for a while.
  10. We've used corks from Tapi and Paulson Supply, both of them fit pretty well. Haven't noticed any 'slippage' of corks like you're describing. Paulson Supply is, for the sort we're using, a better price though they have a longer lead time to ship.
  11. As a UCSB alum, this is definitely exciting! Best of luck with your start up.
  12. Facebook and other social media stuff can be very useful, but they're not a good way to reach brand-new customers. Rather, they're a very good tool for building a community / staying in touch with established customers. Any time you are paying for "likes" or twitter "followers", those will essentially be fraudulent accounts, or even if there are eyeballs on the other side of the screen, they have no interaction with your brand besides clicking on a thing. Basically buying likes is paying for the "impression" of an already-popular brand. That's okay for a blog that just makes money on ads and clicks, but as liquor sales go, a gazillion likes doesn't mean as much as having a community that actually wants to read / see what you're posting. So when you post a picture of a new cocktail, you want Joe McCustomer who sees it to already have a bottle of your stuff on his home bar. If he was brand new, your booze was just another thing he saw on facebook once. Here's what I understand about facebook's display algorithms: The faster a thing gets "liked" from when it was first posted, the more screen displays it gets going forward. So the only thing that matters is posting something your followers actually want to see (and share). A few general things I've found that help: 1. Pictures get more attention than just words. 2. Having real content / news / substance matters, as does the usual rules of social media (don't overshare, don't post unrelated memes, don't ever invite anyone to play a game, ever). 3. Post good stuff in the early afternoon when everyone in a 9-5 is just getting back from lunch / starting to waste away the rest of the day. Really big stuff you can post earlier. 4. Actual paid promotions are useful if you have "big news" to share (like a new state or a new product), because that will quickly pump it to all your existing followers and more, but the message still needs to be one focused on your current customer base. Anyway, that's only my own POV, I hope it's helpful.
  13. Boxes are almost always cheapest from whatever local packaging companies are near you. Cardboard is very cheap to make, so all the cost is in transportation. You may also be able to get away with re-using the dividers from the 12 packs if you tear them in half.
  14. Just wondered if there's anyone out there with experience using an Infrared Spectrometer to determine alcohol content, and what their experiences are. I don't have a chemistry background myself, but am just aware that this is possible. We made a honey liqueur so density-meters don't really help. We currently proof using a glass lab still and hydrometer. It's both time consuming and a bit error prone. I know that Anton-Paar offers these, but is anyone using a cheaper off-the-shelf generic device from another company? I assume you'd just need something that can read the right IR spectrum (3500-3200 cm-1) Also I'm aware that the TTB has their own list of approved stuff, I just want something that can be used quickly and later checked against our lab still / hydrometer.
  15. Stainless would be $$$. Have seen both steel drums lined with food-grade enamel inside, and HDPE drums which our current supplier uses.
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