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Hello from Ohio

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Hi all,

Seeing as how my business partner and I just gave the green light to the lawyers to get the LLC paperwork filed, I guess now is the time to do introductions.

We're starting a distillery in Southeast Ohio. I'm coming into this from a (successful) background in entrepreneurship, having co-founded an ISP fifteen years ago that's still running. At the moment I'm finishing up a PhD, and I've come to realize I don't really like academia nearly as much as I thought I would. On the other hand, the degree process has given me both theoretical and hands-on experience in microbiology, process control, chemistry and chemical engineering, and more stats than I'd ever cared to learn. I've also got some side experience in metal working. I've always had a fascination with the distillation process and once I realized it was possible to do this on a batch, craft scale, and produce and market a quality product which I can be proud of, I was sold on the idea, so here I am.

I wanted to get started a few years back, but frankly, I needed a business partner. I eventually found one, Nellie, who happens to have most of the skills I lack (design, logistics, and a ridiculously sensitive nose). Between the two of us we have enough marketing and sales experience to get us going, though, we'll no doubt need to bring in qualified people at some point.

Right now we're, learning, getting the business plan together, looking into facilities, and running the numbers. We're going for funding starting mid spring to summer, but we have some investors in mind already, and we're hoping to limit our debt and avoid having to deal with the SEC (I dealt with them on the last company and it wasn't much fun). The scale of operations will depend upon our funding, of course. I've got some ideas with respect to production flexibility, modular equipment design, process control, automation, and energy efficiency / waste heat recovery which I want to pursue. We're currently looking into the feasibility of designing and/or constructing some of our own equipment; even with the hassles it might be in our financial interest, and the code office at least has been warm to the idea.

My wife, who has been through the startup roller coaster ride with me before, doesn't think we're completely bonkers. That's the best endorsement I can think of!

Anyway, nice to meet everyone, and with any luck we'll throw the switch in the summer of 2012!

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Sounds interesting.

Quite a few people leaving academia for distilling... I guess, it's been said that academia drives you to drink.

It does do that, yes! Researchers drink like fish.

It seems like a lot of people are setting up operations now. But I see our competition as the majors, not each other; I'm betting that there's still room at the high end for well-made products.

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HI ya'll

yes I'm the other half of this team. I have an equally diverse and bizarre set of Qualifications: Degree in Biology, 5 years as a nurse in renal critical care (and yes I can diagnose some diseases by smell), A couple of years doing graphic design for the Bell South Yellow Pages and a couple theater and musical groups. Currently I am a costume designer for the local theater.

So what about any of this qualifies me to start a distillery?

not really sure. A lifelong passion for sensory experience, A gourmet cook for a grandmother, A wall of cook books, and the ability to combine tastes without actually doing it? my dreams have scents and flavors. And I can formulate flavors for someone else, and include flavors I don't like. (the aforementioned ridiculously sensitive nose. It's like perfect pitch not always a good thing).

oh and the other qualification... a strong head for Alcohol.

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