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For those of you who may follow what I say here, I've not been active lately.  Most simply put, I burned out.   I've decided to retire, but will continue to answer questions on the forums as a thank you for the opportunity you guys gave me to have a consulting business.  I appreciate that and have tried to return that favor in this forum. 

I'm referring my business to another person and am providing her with a backstop in the case someone throws her a curve ball.  I'm referring to her because I think she will put your best interests first.  I've tried to do that.

I'm going to help her for a time. If you have issues that you want to discuss directly with me, I will probably continue to do some work on complicated stuff, especially if it requires some sense of institutional or regulatory history to get it framed in a way that we can give TTB a reason to say "yes" instead of the often easier "no."  We try to do the heavy lifting necessary to get that done.  If I agree to take something on, it will be on ad hoc basis.  So  if you want help, ask.  I can always tell you why you don't need me - people often don't - or why someone else can help you just as well as I can, so I'd prefer to just sit.  But if I think you need my knowledge (I've been at this for 50 years and have learned a thing or two) , I'll probably agree to give it a go.   

That is about as close to advertising as I've ever come in my time on forums.   Forgive me if it tramples on some policies of which I'm not aware :-).         

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Thanks for everything and happy retirement!

I wouldn’t be in this business or where I’m at with the business without this forum and some of your posts. THANK YOU!


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I needed Dave's help with another distillery and it was the best advice I could have had..and it wasn't even regulations related! His knowledge is invaluable. Enjoy your retirement!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/29/2021 at 12:34 PM, BuffaloBink said:

I feel privileged having access to your knowledge posted among this community. 

Your contributions will be missed.

Can we ask who you are referring your future work to?

Enjoy retirement!!!

If anyone needs help, let me know and I'll make referrals as appropriate. 

I'm not openly endorsing anyone here and I do intend to take on issues that require, or might benefit from, a sense of the institutional history behind the regulations or positions that TTB adopts. 

One of those issues is the rulemaking around the meaning of the term "other than bottling" in the provisions that establish eligibility for the reduced rate of tax.  I'm holding onto that sort of thing because I understand, in ways that few probably do, how changes in the tax code in 1980 resulted in the three accounts (production, storage, and processing) in which you now account for your operations.  In brief, there is no reason in law that certain operations, like barrel aging, need to be treated differently from others, say what was known as rectification before the term was stripped out of part 19.  A whiskey acquires its identity by storage in oak just as surely as a cordial acquires its identity by the addition of sugar and flavors.   That raises the question, why would one be considered a storage operation for purposes of determining the appropriate tax rate and the other be considered a processing operation for the same purpose?   

If you look, with a critical eye, at the history of the the whiskey standards, you will see that most of those standards were driven by different segments of the industry trying to gain an economic advantage over other segments.  It is not a pure tale of protecting the consumer.,  Far from it.  The interests of the consumer have generally been the least considered issue when the government has established standards of identity.  Because of the law, consumer protection is the banner under which those with other objectives advance, but consumer interest has not been the driving force.

I suspect that is true with the "other than bottling" provision as well.  Someone lobbied for that.  Who was that someone and what arguments did they make?  Why did Congress not make that provision applicable until 2022?  What was the lobbying behind that delay? 

If any of you know that, send me a personal message and I'll follow up on the issue.  This is a pro bono effort.

Because the law passed as a part of a large package, I find no record of congressional intent.  I'll wager dollars to donuts few who voted for it had the least bit of knowledge about what they were passing or the consequences it would have for many small DSPs who seek cash flow to sustain fledgling operations.  Was the intent to take an iron bar to the knees of those who source product?  Inquiring minds want to know that because it makes arguing in favor of liberalized "processing" operations more effective.   And yes, because I have had so many clients who rely on initially sourcing product, that is an argument I want to make. 



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