I’m curious about their still setup, as they have a pot still and two eight-plate rectification columns. And an infuser (far right, stainless steel). The setup provides a decent vodka, but probably not a world-class one. They can make anything and everything else under the sun, though.
And yes, with the same ethos I wanted to bring (and that Dry Fly does, noted above). Source your grains locally, mash from scratch, and sell a great product. You’ll notice they talk about taking a very narrow cut, which I addressed above. I’m sure (and I hope) they’re repurposing the rest of the run into a mixed whiskey run.
No, it’s not automatic. But it was the least of my worries.
Distribution is its own special nightmare. I live in a three-tier state, with producers, distributors, and retailers.
I was confident for several reasons. First, we’d met with one of the state’s three distributors, and they were keenly interested. Second, we were setting up in or near a fair-sized city that is completely into organics, local production, and local business. Third, one of my best friend’s family owns a farm winery, are close to the other area vitners, and are active in state politics/legislation. And all of the vitners I’ve met are keen to produce their own port (which requires a distillery), and a personal relationship (even if once or twice removed) really helps to facilitate that. Fourth, I’m semi-active and well known in the local brewer’s guild, several members of which either own liquor stores or are their primary buyers. In short, I knew I’d have two or three of the most popular liquor stores in town pushing my product.
If you start off modestly, a potential customer base of 100,000 is more than enough to keep the business afloat. Time, rep, and sales will facilitate expansion.
So… relationships. I had (have) relationships with a distribution company, many of the local vitners, most of the local brewers, and one of the two distillers extant in the state.