Technical Hooch

Technical Hooch

One of the most annoying aspects of craft distilling is how so many people who enjoy what a label makes have no idea exactly how much actual craft there is to it. The blending of science and art is unreal. There is still a large segment of whiskey drinkers out there that believe a distillery is only a scaled-up version of a still set up some toothless redneck hiding in the hills has going. They’re thinking of bathtub gin and moonshine that makes people go blind and not quality spirits. As we know, the distilling process and running a distillery is more like a chemistry lab at CERN.

Craft Financing

Craft Financing

Starting any new business is a daunting task, and hats off to the brave souls that do. Every industry or business has its own set of challenges to overcome when starting up, but craft distilleries offer a few unique hurdles all their own. Most of these come down to one thing. Money.

Rebirth of a Distillery

Rebirth of a Distillery

Whiskey was considered a universal medicine by many folks. And, there was even a science to drinking while working in the fields. Drink enough not to feel like the sun is burning you alive while not getting so drunk you cut off your foot. To keep up with this demand, there were a lot of people making a lot of liquor. Then prohibition came along and pretended that this considerable demand didn't exist.

5 Must Have Apps for Your Distillery

5 Must Have Apps for Your Distillery

Running a craft distillery tends to be like giving a rabid cat a bath in the middle of a tornado. Most of them are run on rather slim margins, and even if they are deep in the black, it isn’t like they are overflowing with personnel. The big, corporate distilleries have foreign investors throwing millions into their stock. Craft guys and gals have their dreams and lots of coffee. That is why they need to take every edge they can get, and productivity apps can be exactly that.

Big Data and Hooch

Big Data and Hooch

So, you think you know your customers? I am confident that you do, and in a lot of ways to boot. The smart distilleries did their research, found their niche, and focus on their target market with an eye at branching out to other related markets.

Hooch Trends So Far 2018

Hooch Trends So Far 2018

Trends in the distilling industry can be an odd thing sometimes since it involves trying to see the future. Most industries have it easy. If plaid suddenly becomes a huge fashion hit, clothing manufacturers only need to order more plaid cloth. Even when it isn’t cheap or easy for a given industry to switch tracks, they can usually do so in a short amount of time.

Themed Distilleries

Themed Distilleries

Every business must stand out if it wants to be successful. This is in addition to working hard and having a product that people want. One standard way craft distilleries put themselves apart from the competition is through sheer quality. But the thing is, quality stops being a standout feature when every other craft distiller can rightfully claim the same thing. This desire to stand out has given rise to unique blends and infusions, which are great. That said, these are usually single product specific. As amazing as one bottle of uniquely blended or infused spirit may be, it doesn’t help all the other products that aren’t it fly off the shelves.

Regionalization of Your Whiskey

Regionalization of Your Whiskey

There is a reason that we have no single "American" whiskey or spirit. It's too big of a place. Sure, we have bourbon which is unique from a place in America, but not from the whole of America in general. Why? Kentucky is larger than Scotland by close to ten thousand square miles. And like Scotland is different from Spain, Kentucky is different from Minnesota or California. So are the liquors produced in these different places. And now many craft distilleries and states themselves are embracing these differences.

Hooch Apps

Hooch Apps

Everyone has a smartphone, whether they like it or not, and businesses taking advantage of this new fixture of life is nothing new. I’m not just talking about Facebook taking all your data and doing unspeakable horrors to it either. I remember seeing a trucker struggling with an iPhone a few years back, and after striking up a conversation with him, I came to learn it wasn’t his.

Craft Distilling--Still Growing

Craft Distilling--Still Growing

It wasn’t that many years ago that a few brave individuals looked at the liquor industry and thought, “I can do it better!” Talk about a daunting task. Wanting to create a better bottle of whiskey, rum, or bourbon in a market that was both glutted and controlled by industry giants with their mega distilleries that filled liquor store shelves with endless gallons of mediocre spirits must have looked like a fool's errand to most people. In the end, quality not only won out, but it also became a significant player in the distilling industry to the point that all the big boys are shaking in their Underroos. Craft distilling is doing better than just good, as the 2017 Craft Spirits Data Project shows.

The Benefit of Hitting the Trade Shows

The Benefit of Hitting the Trade Shows

One common question going through the minds of people who have never attended a trade show is if it’s worth it? The flight or long drive, the cost of rooms, food, and often the price just to get in the door at a venue can climb into the thousands of dollars before you know it. And that’s before grabbing souvenirs for the kids or factoring in the cost of being away from the office. After all, won’t every distillery be posting all the cool things they have planned on Twitter and Instagram while live streaming it on Facebook? Probably so, but catching up on a few social media shares the next day is a poor substitute for being there in person.

Must Attend Trade Shows of 2018

Must Attend Trade Shows of 2018

With 2018 winding up to be a big year for craft distillers, its time to start prepping for the conventions. Any distillery who has been doing this for a while knows how important these little get-togethers can be. This is where the best and the worst ideas (i.e., see the mistakes by the competition and avoid them) all come together for everyone to see.

New Years Resolutions for Distilleries

New Years Resolutions for Distilleries

As we languish in the midst of the Christmas hangover (not a literal hangover, but the quiet after the storm of family, road trips to see them, and all the wrapping paper and toys scattered on the floor), we look into the future. Or at least a week away into New Year’s Day. That magical day, for some reason, where we reevaluate our life decisions and get inspired to make permanent and drastic changes that last almost until the end of January. That’s when gym memberships spike. It’s the typical “New year. New me.” B.S. we roll our eyes at when that one friend we have says they are going to change.

Distillery Tour Bucket List--Mackmyra Distillery

Distillery Tour Bucket List--Mackmyra Distillery

When it comes to making whiskey, there are several places you can mention which will automatically paint a vivid picture of how it is connected to whiskey production. The big ones that come to mind are Scotland, where we get Scotch. After that, we can imagine small town Kentucky and old-fashioned distilleries that used to be there. We can’t forget bootleggers in the various hills and mountains of Tennessee, Arkansas, or wherever a still could be hidden from revenuers. This isn’t even taking into consideration the new era of craft breweries that combine old style techniques and a modern spirit, like those all throughout Washington State. There are lots of places that can spring to mind.

Distillery Tour Bucket List--Suntory-Hakushu-Distillery

Distillery Tour Bucket List--Suntory-Hakushu-Distillery

Travel is something that is on the top of everyone’s wish and bucket lists. It doesn't matter where, people want to see new things and have a few different once in a lifetime experience. It could be the old romantic finally booking that flight to Paris or the retired couple loading up the RV and visiting every state in the US where wheels can get them. For us though, it would be hitting some of the best and most fantastic distilleries in the world. My first stop on my wish list that I would hope to visit for real someday is Suntory Hakushu Distillery in beautiful Yamanashi, Japan.

Patriotic Toasts for Your Distillery to Share During July 4th Fireworks

Patriotic Toasts for Your Distillery to Share During July 4th Fireworks

So, we are coming up on another Fourth of July and are getting ready to celebrate the birth of our great nation, during one of the most divided periods in history. There really isn’t anything that is going to change that anytime soon. People are entrenched on their side and are unwilling to give an inch to the opposition under any circumstances. Arguing with friends, family, and neighbors at the backyard bar-b-que isn’t going to win over any minds, and will only ruin what could be a perfectly good evening with fine spirits and amazing food topped off with some dazzling fireworks.

A Guide to Answering Questions on Distillery Tours

A Guide to Answering Questions on Distillery Tours

Beware the gatekeeper mentality in yourself and anyone working in your distillery. What is the gatekeeper mentality you ask? This is when people who know lots about a certain subject are dismissive and condescending to newbies who ask a lot of basic questions. This was a huge problem in the geek community when things like superhero movies brought new people and non-traditional geeks into the fold of all things nerdy. Hipsters have also taken this up and applied it to everything they do.

Choosing the Right Distillery Software

Choosing the Right Distillery Software

There’s a good chance that, if you happen to be a distillery owner or are part of the management team of one, google has slipped several ads for distillery software into the webpages you visit. There are a ton of choices out there, but just like the liquor industry, there are the top-shelf accounting software suites and the bottom of the barrel rotgut some companies churn out to turn a quick buck. There’s a good chance that, if you happen to be a distillery owner or are part of the management team of one, google has slipped several ads for distillery software into the webpages you visit. There are a ton of choices out there, but just like the liquor industry, there are the top-shelf accounting software suites and the bottom of the barrel rotgut some companies churn out to turn a quick buck.

Advantages of Distillery Software

Advantages of Distillery Software

Owning and operating a distillery requires a lot of working capital and resources, and not just in terms of money. It takes a good deal of time, along with a unique level of expertise, to make the liquor. Then it needs to be marketed and gotten to your vendors, which requires even more experts handling the business side of things. There are also a ton of rules and regulations a distillery must adhere to while doing all of this. Keeping track of it all is a daunting task.

Whiskey Econ 101

Whiskey Econ 101

One of the big questions lots of people asks when they get that first idea about opening a distillery is, “How is the hard liquor market doing?” They probably already heard enough that it’s doing well, but how well? Is it just the big boys raking in the cash or can a small independent operator make a good living?

Finding the Perfect Distillery Solution Supplier

Finding the Perfect Distillery Solution Supplier

One thing about the distillery industry is that nothing ever stays the same. As soon as a new bunch of politicians get elected, there comes the new and/or changed laws and regulations – usually right after we just got used to the old ones. There also seems to be a new trend popping up every other week, for better or worse. And new markets emerge along with other distilleries trying to do the same thing you are.

5 Habits of Successful Distillery Owners

5 Habits of Successful Distillery Owners

It takes more than big dreams and good recipes to run a successful distillery. Just because it’s a passion doesn’t mean that it isn’t a business that needs all the usual attention a business requires. It takes a lot to make a distillery successful. Going in willy-nilly and hoping things spontaneously work out is a sure way to failure. Some industry veterans will give any budding distillery owner tons of advice - some good, some more of an entertaining anecdote. It’s a great way to learn. If you don’t get a chance to talk to one of these gurus, here are five things to keep in mind if you want your distillery to be a success.