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A Few Nano-DSP Startup Q's


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Hi folks, new to posting in the forum, though I've been lurking for quite a while... It's been so helpful so far, thank you!

Anyway, I'm in the early/middle stages of starting a DSP focused on herbal spirits here in Maine, and have a few questions for folks as we really start to ramp up the pre-production work. Some pertinent info: We're going to predominantly be purchasing NGS to make amaro, aquavit, and uncategorizable / lesser known old-world-inspired stuff. (I know that makes us not actually a distillery, but I hope you'll still have us here.) We'll be operating on a tiny scale to begin, will have an attached tasting room, and are in a fairly well-trafficked tourist spot. Right now we've put together a business plan with a couple years of (speculative, conservative) financial projections, we're working out the details of the lease with a landlord, and have secured a loan from a local development bureau and a little additional $ from family/friends to cover payments until income starts coming in.

First--- we are planning to eventually move on to doing secondary distillations : absinthe, gin, etc. Does anyone have thoughts about if it makes more sense to apply for the proper distillery license off the bat, even if we won't be distilling anything initially (and potentially for 2-3 years)? Or if we should apply for the 'blending' DSP license, and then alter/upgrade it when we're ready to distill? I imagine the latter option might help us get up and running a little bit more quickly, but that's just speculation.

Second--- looking for a little clarity about the concept of "premises" in terms of our bond. I know that we can't be in the same building as a residence, and that we can't operate in the same premises as another business. Does that mean we can't be in the same building as another business, or just that we can't occupy the same space? We're hoping to be on the first floor of a Main St building that has a counseling practice on the second floor, with its own separate entrance and no passage back and forth. Is that kosher? Along the same lines, we're  hoping to include the basement in our bond for storage/aging, but one must walk through the (non-bonded) tasting room and outside, on the sidewalk, to the back of the building to access the basement. It's a pain, I know, but will that pass muster legally?

Lastly (for now)--- Can anyone point me towards either safety regs or sources for storage of high-proof spirits? I've heard informally that a certain grade of steel tank is necessary to transfer into once we receive a tote, but not sure if that is only above a certain volume of material/ sq footage of the space.

Thanks so much in advance :) Hopefully this isn't re-hashing old info elsewhere on the forum.

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2 hours ago, Hang_Luce said:

First--- we are planning to eventually move on to doing secondary distillations - Does anyone have thoughts about if it makes more sense to apply for the proper distillery license off the bat, even if we won't be distilling anything initially (and potentially for 2-3 years)? Or if we should apply for the 'blending' DSP license, and then alter/upgrade it when we're ready to distill? I imagine the latter option might help us get up and running a little bit more quickly, but that's just speculation.

The "blending DDP license" from the federal standpoint is a basic permit as a warehouseman who rectifies and bottles.  From the registration standpoint, it is a someone who storages and processes (redistillation of existing spirits to "manufacture" gin, vodka, or similar products is a processing, not a production operation.  But anyone who stores or processes operates a distilled spirts plants.  To qualify to distill, you must possess a still.  It can be a small still.  Any still intended for use in distilling spirts does the trick.  The only advantage to qualifying as a person who produces distilled spirits is it will allow you to experiment with the production of spirits from a mash.  Let your business plan be your guide, but be sure that Maine will allow you to be a craft distiller, operate a tasting room, etc.  if you are not producing the spirits.  I don't know the answer to that.

Second--- looking for a little clarity about the concept of "premises" in terms of our bond. I know that we can't be in the same building as a residence, and that we can't operate in the same premises as another business. Does that mean we can't be in the same building as another business, or just that we can't occupy the same space?

We're hoping to be on the first floor of a Main St building that has a counseling practice on the second floor, with its own separate entrance and no passage back and forth. Is that kosher?

YES

Along the same lines, we're  hoping to include the basement in our bond for storage/aging, but one must walk through the (non-bonded) tasting room and outside, on the sidewalk, to the back of the building to access the basement. It's a pain, I know, but will that pass muster legally?

Legally it is discontinuous DSP premises.  That is allowed.  TTB has recently denied at least one application to estblish DSP premises in an area that has no access other than through the tasting room.  Before anyone starts yelling, but there are lots of ....  The specialist questioned it, someone hired me to comment, I made any argument you are likely to think if, the attorney for the company sent the response, the specialist sent it to Regulations and Rulings, and they said no.  Will they always question that?  Probably not, but if they do they have a considered precident for denying the application, which can send you scurring for some way to open another door or break the lease.

2 hours ago, Hang_Luce said:

Lastly (for now)--- Can anyone point me towards either safety regs or sources for storage of high-proof spirits? I've heard informally that a certain grade of steel tank is necessary to transfer into once we receive a tote, but not sure if that is only above a certain volume of material/ sq footage of the space.

I don't know the answer that the local authorities will give.  TTB allows you to store spirits in the container in which you received them in bond, but you need a way to gauge them (determine the number of proof gallons in the container if you do not use it all at one time).  A package scale works for that.

 

2 hours ago, Hang_Luce said:

Thanks so much in advance :) Hopefully this isn't re-hashing old info elsewhere on the forum.

 

 

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