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A Holler Out from a Missouri Ozark Holler.

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For 18 years my partner and I operated soley as a production winery, Peaceful Bend Vineyard, until a fire destroyed the original historic winery building late November 2016. The new facility was completed and open to the public by the Spring of 2018, adding beer production and a commercial kitchen to the mix. During the March 2020 quarantine, with lots of spare time on my hands, I discovered that parts of our 1 barrel Stout electric brewery could be converted into a pot still with just a few extra stainless fittings that were already in the cellar. After nearly 3 years of trials, we have now recently received the federal DSP permit, including label and formula approvals,  and are currently in the final phase of research and development, and looking forward to production.

First thing I distilled was a wine that I made specifically to distill. (I make this distinction because it should be noted that there was no sulfites added to the wine, and there was only very limited sulfite present after distillation). I had 2 buckets of concentrated grape juice that had oxidized on me. It was 68 Brix, so biologically stable, but I had no way to keep it refrigerated and consequently it turned brown. Didn't smell bad; kinda prunish, raisinish. I hydrated to 24 Brix, and fermented dry. The distilled results were quite pleasing, which had me looking for more material to ferment. I had some other bulk wine available, but the sulfite content of the production wine made for some unpleasant aromas for first run batches.

The real turning point was doing the math on the profit potential. It takes over 3 bottles of wine to make one bottle of brandy, so for me that math doesn't work. 

The math of Rum seems to work well, plus the materials are readily available.  

I'm here to learn more about the ins and outs of operating a distillery, and perhaps make some connections.



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26 minutes ago, jocko said:

Welcome.  I'm at a similar timeline.  Buildout underway. Still, boiler, fermenters, chiller, etc all waiting to be installed as soon as sloped floor is epoxied. 

I hope your floor has better sloped than mine! 

(old Irish saying)

and thanks for the welcome. This forum seems like a wonderful resource of experience and knowledge.

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Yes. Search the old threads.  There's tons of info there.  I usually do it via Google because the search function here seems prretty weak.  I just go to Google and search "adiforums" as the first word then the topic I am interested in. 

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Yes, making brandy is financially very challenging. If you have a winery there are many alternative feed stocks that you can distill like lees, pomace, hard press, etc but it is still a lot of work. 

Depending on what you are distilling (like brandy, rum, or whiskey) you are going to want to get copper into the vapor path in some fashion. 

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