Mini-distilleries, Why not?

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Lord_Pfaffin
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Mini-distilleries, Why not?

Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:15 am

Seeing the rash of successful micro or tiny local breweries, could the same concept be applied to whisky? It is my understanding that, across the apple country of France, local farms make and sell their own calvados. The Swiss have thier Swissky, and in Germany many small distilleries have thier own celebrated brands, St. Moritzer Single Malt, for instance. Perhaps the size of Edradour maybe. Aren't they releasing a peaty version soon? That maybe another thread altogether, hmmm.
Maybe it's time the antiquated laws were changed, it might prove to be very interesting.
Ardaíonn ár ngrá muid féin níos airde i gcónaí!

lexkraai
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:09 am

Is already happening in Scotland: Loch Ewe hopes to be up and running by the end of the year (is what 'Highland John' told me). Check out http://www.hotelaultbea.co.uk/ for more details.

Cheers, Lex

Jeroen Kloppenburg
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:45 am

But werent laws changed quickly after to prevent more of such microdistilleries to open doors? Size of the stills specifically?

lexkraai
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:36 am

That's what I heard as well, but I don't have solid confirmation.

Cheers, Lex

Mr Fjeld
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:21 pm

Isn't "farm distilleries" the closest thing to a "micro distillery" ?
....was only thinking of Kilchoman a soon to be finished distillery.

Skål!
Christian

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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:06 pm

The original still size laws were intended to prevent the distiller from being mobile and evading the excise man. Mere possession of a small still was construed as intent to evade taxation.

I immediately thought of Kilchoman, also, as a sort of farm distillery. The obvious problem with this sort of thing is the lag time from production to bottling--legally at least three years, as a practical matter considerably longer, whereas the brewer can get his product out in a matter of weeks. The new company needs big bucks behind it to tide it over. Some get by by marketing other products--Blackwoods is selling vodka, for example, and they haven't even built their distillery yet.

The calvados distilleries I visited would be considered very small by Scottish standards, using recycled cognac stills (see below) in the Pays d'Auge and eau-de-vie stills elsewhere. It's a bit closer to a farmhouse model than in Scotland, and the product is typically younger than Scotch, but I don't have the impression that it can be done commercially by your average farmer. I did have a sample from a local farmer near Pont-l’Evêque, offered to me by a waiter at a local restaurant, but I was given to believe that it was illicit--apparently there's quite a bit of that. (It was young, about 70%, and pretty damn good!) For all I know there is a fair amount of black market calvados being bought and sold.

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Aidan
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Postby Aidan » Fri Apr 15, 2005 6:40 pm

I would love to set up a small scale distillery producing pure pot still Irish whiskey with oats in the mash. Of course, I can't afford to do it, but I wonder how much it would cost to finance a very small scale distillery.

Arran was selling a 20 something yr old blend while it was being established. Could you sell the first spirit as something else other than whiskey while some stock is maturing. A grain vodka, maybe, to get the kids interested...

Jeroen Kloppenburg
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Fri Apr 15, 2005 6:51 pm

Aidan wrote:Could you sell the first spirit as something else other than whiskey while some stock is maturing. A grain vodka, maybe, to get the kids interested...


I've had a miniature of 1yr old Aran spirit... So I guess you can even sell that ;)

Isnt Blackwood making the likes of vodka etc to bridge the gap untill the first whisky is matured too?

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Spirit of Islay
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:03 pm

Don't forget the Daftmill Distillery in Fife , soon to come on line .
Slainté
Gordon

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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:28 pm

Isnt Blackwood making the likes of vodka etc to bridge the gap untill the first whisky is matured too?


Vodka and gin. Where it's being made is not specified on their website, but it can't be in Shetland, as they haven't built their distillery yet.

Crispy Critter
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Postby Crispy Critter » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:22 pm

There are some small-scale distilleries in the US as well, such as Anchor (Old Potrero) and St. George.

Anchor is also a microbrewer as well, and St. George makes eaux-de-vie as well as whiskey.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:25 pm

No wonder I have 640 posts after five months...I can understand Jeroen skipping over my babbling, but you'd think I would remember what I posted five hours ago.

Hey, did you know that Blackwoods hasn't built their distillery yet?

Lord_Pfaffin
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:48 pm

Aidan:
Start-up a micro-brewery to finance the distillery. If the brew were exceptional is would create interest in the spirits to follow.
Crispy Critter wrote:There are some small-scale distilleries in the US as well, such as Anchor (Old Potrero) and St. George.
Anchor is also a microbrewer as well, and St. George makes eaux-de-vie as well as whiskey.

Alas, with that many irons in the fire you'd never have time for a glass or three. :lol:

Aidan
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Postby Aidan » Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:22 am

Lord_Pfaffin wrote:Aidan:
Start-up a micro-brewery to finance the distillery. If the brew were exceptional is would create interest in the spirits to follow.
Crispy Critter wrote:There are some small-scale distilleries in the US as well, such as Anchor (Old Potrero) and St. George.
Anchor is also a microbrewer as well, and St. George makes eaux-de-vie as well as whiskey.

Alas, with that many irons in the fire you'd never have time for a glass or three. :lol:


What I need is some people with more money than sense to finance the venture. I could make some kind of car fuel to start off with, or maybe a cheap aftershave...

Jeroen Kloppenburg wrote:
Aidan wrote:Could you sell the first spirit as something else other than whiskey while some stock is maturing. A grain vodka, maybe, to get the kids interested...


I've had a miniature of 1yr old Aran spirit... So I guess you can even sell that ;)

Isnt Blackwood making the likes of vodka etc to bridge the gap untill the first whisky is matured too?


Jeroen - when I read that first, I thought it said "Aidan spirit". I have tasted a few unmatured whiskeys in distilleries and tastings and thought they were quite nice. Actually, the Glenmorangie spirit was nicer than the 10 yr old...

Lord_Pfaffin
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:36 am

Well there you go Aidan; every where i look i see a plethora of people with more money that brains. Should be as easy as a two-inch putt. Let us know how you make out, should be a slam dunk.

Admiral
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Postby Admiral » Sat Apr 16, 2005 11:41 pm

THe original Australian distillery, (the Lark Distillery) supplements its whisky production with other spirits like gins, liqueurs, etc, which can be sold quickly without the lag time for whisky maturation.

Cheers,
Admiral

Lord_Pfaffin
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Mon Apr 18, 2005 2:23 am

Out of basements and small garages in Toronto's large Italian community comes some very fine grappas. I have no idea at what the %abv. is of these very young spirits. but these tasty head-bangers will do you in after just a couple of ounces.
I once tasted a home-made Croation grappa that was thick and oily, with a nose more pungent than Nuefie "screech", and it seemed to be far more potent. I guess if you wanted to get blotto-ed in under ten minutes some of the stuff would do just fine.
It's a shame it takes so long to make good whiskey.


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