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Just now got my email saying I could post....Yippee :) !

Hailing from central NC, and a hearty "Hello" to all...I've only been reading here for a couple of days, and as I have a kinda unique situation, I figured I'd toss it out in my introduction.

I have a friend that owns a succesful bar and has now opened a restaurant next door. He has approached me with this question: "what would it take to start making our own vodka"?

He has someone that just returned from Europe, having been sent there by his grandfather to learn the art of glassblowing. The grandfather's idea is to sell "homemade" vodka in hand-blown bottles...and the grandfather will be bankrolling it (without having to go to the bank: that is the unique part!).

I still have to do more homework to put together a bullet list of the paperwork required (local/state/fed), but am stuck as to the "general" equipment cost/size. I've found Kothe, Carl, and Holstein, stills but wondered if there are others or advantages of one verses the other, and planning to start as small as practical...so I thought I'd gather some info before contacting anyone for a quote.

Any and all comments appreciated!

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Hand blown bottles are probably not a good idea, at least at the very beginning. You will have to weigh each bottle individually, both before and after filling, to ensure your fill is compliant with CFR 27.

You'll have plenty to do just making the vodka.

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Yeah, Jedd beat me to it RE the hand blown bottles. It sure sounds like a nice idea, but besides the strict tolerances the gov allows with fill volumes, have you considered the real cost to you, the resulting shelf price, the production capacity of whoever is blowing the glass, and how you intend on closing the bottle (cork, stopper, etc)?

Personally, RE glass, it costs us more than the Federal excise tax per unit of our "assembly", and we use a stock bottle from Bruni. I could not even imagine what the cost would be if each bottle took the time of a real person to create one-at-a-time, nor do i believe that the consumer is willing to pay that added expense. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't use my money to find out...

I think there might be a russian vodka out there that comes in a fancy hand-blown style bottle. I can't remember the brand, but it was a square-ish bottle that resembled yeagermiester, and had these decorative glass "curls" up and down the sides of the bottle. I remember it mostly because on the shelf of 5 bottles, the 4 behind the front placement were wrapped in a "protective" corrugated sleeve. The sleeve was there to protect the curls, but hid the brand and pretty looking bottle from view. on top of that, it wasn't working and there was a small bits of glass that had broken off despite the wrapping. I will try and find a picture and post if I can. Anyone else come across this brand? Would be an interesting model to study and then avoid mistakes/amplify successes, but honestly I don't think they are around any more....

Best of luck,


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I own a glass blowing studio and have been in business many years. I think it will be cost prohibitive to produce hand blown glass. That much cost just can not be passed on with this market. I cant speak to regulations.

A friend tried to make hand blown wine bottles once. He sold a few of them to high end restaurants. I think they re-bottled for serving. He could not get any interest even with all the local wineries around here.

How much vodka do you intend to produce? I can build you a vodka still and will throw in a pair of hand blown drinking goblets.

Good luck.


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Thanks for the feedback folks...

This whole idea started with the glass-blowing fellow and his grandfather, and the grandfather's desire to get an idea of what the startup costs would be. The grandfather recently sold a family business for close to the GDP of a mid-sized country (I do not know them personally, but am very familiar with the company). I am self-employed and would not be going about this the same way if it was my venture...major kudos to those of you that have done this on your own!!!

Scott, thanks for the offer...I have sent you a PM w/ my phone number, as I'd really like to talk to you about the still...

eta: Hey, Scott...I see you are online...check your PM's!

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