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Bartletts Distillery of Texas

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Hello fellow distillers and distillers to be. My name is Van and I've just started this journey on opening my own craft distillery in Texas, just north of Houston. I've not ever worked in the spirits industry, but I do believe that I'm going into this with my eyes wide open.

I spent 20 years in the Oil and Gas industry as a degreed and licensed Mechanical Engineer before succumbing to the recent fall in oil prices. I've always been a hands-on type person, spending time on a variety of arts: oil well drilling, cooking, butchery, mechanic, welder, scuba diver, computer programming, electronics, home remodeling, woodworking, etc. Suffice it to say, if I can put my hands on it, I can probably master it.

I've done a lot of "research" with information from this and other forums about making spirits, both all grain whiskey / bourbon, and rum from molasses and/or sugar. I figure I have a basic handle on how to produce something that is drinkable, enjoyable, and sellable.

I also have a firm understanding on the role of the Federal Government (TTB) in our industry. It is very similar to the role of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) for offshore drilling. We only operate at their approval. If we don't appreciate their role...and their power, then we may as well not even get started in this industry.

I've been planning on this adventure for over two years. I've developed a strategy (business plan, regulatory plan, facilities plan, marketing plan, sales plan, etc.) But these things continue to evolve as I gather more information. I have the luxury of being able to open this business while maintaining my current full-time job. I also have the support of my wife and friends who will help in this endeavor.

I have just obtained my business license: Bartletts Distillery, LLC which I'll operate with a PO Box address as I gather information and finish my startup plans. My timeline is something like this: now through September: finish plans. September 2016 through January 2017, rent facility, order equipment, apply for licenses, conduct build-out, obtain license. January 2017, start production. March 2017, first sales.

Thanks to everyone who has provided valuable information on this and other sites. I would not have been able to even get to this point without such a supportive community. I also look forward to being part of this community and helping others with what I've learned (and will learn)


Van Brackin

President, Bartletts Distillery

bartlettsdistillery.com (don't make fun of my website, I'm still working on it.)

p.s. I WILL be attending the conference next week in San Diego. :)

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Good luck on your journey!

If I can help with you cooling equipment budgeting, let me know- from turnkey chilled water system with reservoir & pumps to split systems where you can fill in tank and pumps matching to the chiller.

I also have options for the chiller to operate in heat recovery or heat pump modes, if that is something you are investigating.

Give me a shout anytime on the phone.


Mike Gronski

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Hey Van,

Nice to meet you on line. There is a lot of helpful folks out here, this is the best site for learning and exploring Craft Distilling in my opinion.

If and when you are ready to talk about bottles, let me know and I will be happy to help you with that. Also I have 30 years plus experience in the printing


Cheers and Good Luck to you!

Carol Phillips

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Welcome Van and best of luck! Seems like you're well prepared to enter the business, you cannot do too much planning. Good luck on your timeframes, I will say though that my timeline for securing a building, getting permits, ordering equipment, and doing the build out will end up being about 18 months and that was with a relatively friendly city government supporting our endeavor!

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