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  1. Hey all, I had a question about applying to formulas online. We have a re-distilled gin formula that has been approved for FONL and we think we have a very good gin. However, since we are being held up by some local issues and have the time we were thinking of doing some experimentation to see if we could make it even better. My question is can we submit an alternative recipe through FONL for the same product. For example if we have something called "The Best Damn Gin" approved as the brand name can we submit another formula for "The Best Damn Gin 2.0" and amend our COLA to correlate to it if we are approved. For clarification, we are not in production yet so we aren't trying to change the flavor of a product already on the market.
  2. Hey William, Good on you with the due diligence, seeing more and more distilleries coming on board without looking at the enormous capital you have to front-load into a distillery. In terms of a bottle supplier, there are dozens of local glass suppliers all over the country. Most states have bulk container suppliers warehouse a ton of glass that isn't particularly unique but can get most products you want in stock. Best way to look at their customer service is to talk to other distilleries, wineries, breweries or food manufacturers and ask them whom they use and whom they like. Just a piece of advice through, most of these are middlemen and although they have better customer service than any of the large manufacturers (Bruni, OI, etc) they will charge you a premium for warehousing and transporting product. We purchased ours directly from the manufacturer and paid almost 40% less than what a middleman would charge. If you have the space for storage and the capital I would recommend buying a large order direct and storing it at your facility. In terms of a labeler, going with a round bottle is definitely going to be the cheapest. From hand operated to fully automated, roll labelers are going to run you anywhere from 20-40% less than a tamp applicator for a square bottle. If you want a truly unique bottle that falls somewhere in between (ours we have lovingly called a sqround bottle) you will probably be hand labeling for a while. There are options out there for automating custom bottles but they are ridiculously expensive (100-120k). All depends on your marketing strategy and how much you want to spend on cost of goods sold.
  3. Anderson Grain Group is a cost-effective option for organic corn. They ship all over the country and they have one of the cheapest cost per-ton I have found. http://www.andersonsgrain.com/index.cfm?show=10&mid=136 Definitely not as interesting as part of your story as buying local, but for a lot of places (like us in Maryland) there just aren't many options for local, food-grade, organic corn that can be purchased consistently in bulk. A longer term solution would be to approach farmers (organic or not) and see if they can contract some fields for your use for the future. Most farmers are thrilled to have their grains used for distilling spirits although it takes 3 or 4 years for a farm to be certified organic if they aren't already.
  4. We are switching our botanical infusion from a macerated gin to a vapor infused gin and are working through the baseline quantities of what we will need. Our recipe previously had about 11 pounds of botanicals macerated in a little over 100 gallons of 20 percent neutral spirits and distilled through a 500 liter pot still. We are now going to be distilling on a 1000 liter pot and will be distilling using a vapor basket rather than bathtubing it. Our basket can't even fit the 11 pounds unless you really jam it in and I don't want to risk blocking the condenser. I was looking through conversions and before I start throwing away money running some tests I wanted to see if anyone else had any basic conversions they recommend when converting botanical amounts from maceration to vapor basket. It sounds like you need less botanicals from vapor infusing, but I have heard that some essential oils don't get picked up as well in the basket. I would prefer to run the still full to reduce in utility costs but if it doesn't translate well then we might have to run smaller amounts. Any advice or opinions would help. Thanks guys.
  5. Thanks for the info Blue Star, i bet the taste profile of the 4th round gin is insane. It sounds like its time to run some experiments...
  6. Hey Josh. We are planning on modifying the bottle guides a bit using a rigid foam pad we cut to fit the bottle exactly. Probably will add some time, but will cut down on any mislabeling. I will follow up here with pictures and let you know how it works, once we get it all set up.
  7. Wow, thanks Copperworks that is incredibly detailed and helpful. So cool to hear about reusing a barrel 5 times, I bet the flavor on that Elysian beer was unreal. We will continue the experimentation and let you know how it turns out.
  8. I was wondering if anyone out there has tried to make any barrel-rested/oaked/aged gin? As both a whiskey and gin lover I really like some of the products out there (Corsair, Smooth Ambler, Waterloo). The trend seems to be expanding over the last year or two and we are about to do some test runs. However we are a small scale distillery and don't really have the overhead to be experimenting with a ton of our base product. I was wondering what barrels people are using. It looks like the larger brands are all over the map in terms of using new casks as well as used bourbon, rum, sweet and red wine barrels. I realize that it all depends on the taste profile we are aiming for but it would be nice to know if anyone has tried something that has not worked. Also what proof are people aging their gin at? Any dilution necessary?Size of barrels and time aged? Any advise would be appreciated, have experience aging out our whiskeys but these oaked gins are brand new to me.
  9. Thanks Denher, I will get at you in a bit about a Race. We had looked at the Primara AP550 which is what I think you are referring to. It claims to work with tapered edges, although all the demo videos I have been able to find only have it with perfectly square bottles. Anyone using this that can attest to its ability to do "sqround" bottles? Video of the AP550:
  10. Josh, we have heard from another distiller using our bottle that they range between $4-5,000 a pop. Probably an unnecessary expense for us at this time, but great to keep in mind as you scale up. Feel free to DM me and I can fill you in on the RACE.
  11. Thanks for the advice Brenton. We will check that out and I am sure we will put in the time to become proficient with the RACE. Pete, for your information we are using just a front and back label that don't cross any of the corners on the bottle. We have talked to a few other distillers using these types of bottles and they mentioned that they had some trouble doing any wrap around with the tapered edges. For anyone else reading this post, we found an automated machine as well. Although it is out of our price range, most Tamp style of label applicators can work with these bottles. Here is a link to a model that we know works with the Bruni Contessa: http://www.take-a-label.com/tal-3100t/ Anyone else with this problem, feel free to PM me and I can fill you in on how these work for us.
  12. Hey All, We are using a "sqround" bottle, which is to say a square bottle with tapered edges and rounded faces. Unfortunately that means our bottle does not work with hand operated, square or round labeling machines. Here is the technical specs of the bottle http://www.bruniglass.com/assets/Uploads/pdf/17291D1.pdf We are using the Bruni Contessa and I believe AAC has a similar one in the Milan. I have heard that the 105 Race RLTC SP might work but didn't have the best reviews. We are fine hand labeling until we can afford an automated line, but if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them. Cheers.
  13. Thanks Lenny, great lead!
  14. Thanks Skaalvenn, just talked to them. Any other ones I should keep an eye out for?
  15. Has anyone had any experience with alternative fixatives. We are playing around with an American Aromatic Gin and I was hoping to use something other than the traditional fixatives (Angelica and Orris) to secure flavor. Anyone have any suggestions of botanicals they have tried?
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