Help Wanted:

Business seeks a “go getter” to set the tone and pace of the company.

Duties include but not limited to:

Long hours

Sleepless nights

All decision making and problems are on your shoulders

In charge of everything from production demands, floor mopping to wrangling cats (re: personnel)

Building something from nothing

Wages and compensation:

            Applicant will pay company to perform job for first 3-5 years (or longer)

            Applicant can take occasional day off at will

            No health care

            No security

Constant uncertainty

Happiness

 

Does anyone want this job? If you want to start your own business you are applying for this job. Make sure you pay attention to the last bit of compensation.

Today’s topic is about happiness.

If you asked me, a few years ago, would I like to own my own business? Of course I would have said, “Yes!” If you had asked me would I wanted the above job? I would have said, “Oh hell NO!” The funny thing is that they’re the same thing.

It has been said before and it is worth repeating, “It is the journey not the destination” If you look at the destination and the total effort involved, of course, you will tend be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.

Look at any high end performance. They make it look so easy that you say to yourself, “I can do that!” but when you try to do it you find out that it is above your abilities, you get frustrated and most people quit with the “Sour Grapes ” attitude. Of course it’s above your abilities! You don’t watch someone play a video game, think that it looks fun and try it, for the first time, on the final level. Is it any wonder that you got blown away?

In that way, life is like a video game. You work your way through the levels, acquiring knowledge and skills, and you will eventually get to the top level and beat the game but it takes time and effort. What about cheats? Even in life; sometimes you will get some insider info that can help you gain a bit of an edge. It can be strategic information or it can be that you know someone who can give you a leg up. It’s funny; in a game that’s called cheating. In life it’s called getting ahead (although you can cheat in life, but you can also go to jail for it too or worse).

I guess this is a long way of saying that things aren’t always what they seem. Most people see the end product and they want a part of it. What they don’t see is the long, often very hard, road to that end goal. At that point the end goal, once reached, is tempered by experience.

Look at the people who win the big lottery. Most of them have declared bankruptcy and are worse off than they were before they won it. Wasn’t it supposed to answer all of their problems? If you learn to be happy with what you have now, then when you do hit it big you will have a much better perspective on things. I believe the quote is “No matter where you go, there you are”. If you think that “things” will make you happy then when you get them you will still be unhappy because there are always other “things” to get.

--Christopher M Neumann

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

I was reminded, recently, that events are just events and that it isn’t until later (sometimes much later) that we can truly label them as either good or bad.

An example:

Quite a few years ago I thought I was suffering from a really nasty sinus infection. I was waking up nauseous, I threw up, and I had this massive pressure build up in my forehead. I was getting ready to go to the hospital when I passed out behind the wheel of my truck, luckily still in “park”. When I came to I was being loaded into an ambulance. I protested and the next thing I remember was coming to in the ER. They took an MRI and found a “mass” in my head. The next thing I know I am waking up in the ICU ward, I have 2 tubes sticking out of my head and I am feeling pretty good.

Sometime later, my doctor visits me and tells me that I have a fibroid cyst (not cancerous) in my head at the top of my spine and that it is preventing the fluid from exiting my head, thus the pressure buildup, and that the tubes inserted into my head are relieving that pressure, as long as I stay level with the bags of light pink fluid the tubes are going into.

My thoughts are:

I didn’t know that brain fluid was light pink and I think it’s funny that the ICU is using a level as a medical instrument. Well KISS.

Around this time my wife is emailing everyone we know to tell them what has happened and as a few friends are discussing my symptoms, one realizes that she is having the same symptoms. She goes to her doctor and discovers that she has a mass in her head too, unfortunately it is cancerous and she ends up losing a large peach sized scoop of her brains (her description).

 

So why do I mention this? If I look only at my issue I could lament how bad the situation was and I could whine about, “Why Me?”. If I look at the bigger picture I can draw a connection to my friend discovering her head issue because of me discovering mine. She would have eventually discovered that she had brain cancer but it would have probably been too late.

If you ask me why I had to go through my experience? So my friend could discover her cancer and still be alive today.

My experience also taught me a few things; the most important of which is that I have an amazing wife and that I am not ready to check out, yet.

So, events are just events and whether they are “good “or “bad” depends on one’s outlook on life. How we react to and what we do with the experience is what matters.

 

--Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

A warning: We are talking about high proof Spirits here not beer or wine, which have a lower alcohol content and a much larger number of participant businesses, thus a larger political influence.

So, you have jumped through the government hoops (federal and local), you have your finances in order, you have your equipment and you are making your Spirits.

Now what?

The first thing is to get your Spirits in a given states liquor stores. This means getting a distributor for said state or getting into the state run warehouse. The problem is that there are 50 different states and it would seem 50 different rules (I won’t talk about foreign distribution here).

There are basically two types of state distribution models:

Control States- These are states where the state government controls the distribution of the alcohol (and in some cases the stores themselves). See http://www.nabca.org/States/States.aspx for a list of control states.

(Go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_beverage_control_state for a lot more information on control states)

To be able to sell your product in these control states; you must pass a jurying in process (usually held once or twice a year) and you must meet certain quotas or risk being de-listed from said state.

If you are a distillery in a control state you are (usually) automatically listed with the state, although a minimum sales quota may still apply.

3-Tier States- These are states that use a state licensed distributor, at the wholesale level, to distribute alcohol to state licensed businesses. (See the above link to see if you are in a control state or not). Your distributor will probably also have quotas that you will need to meet in order for them to keep you listed with them.

(It’s all about making money folks)

With all the new micro-distilleries coming on line, getting a distributor seems to be getting harder. Persistence is the key. Sometimes working with a distributor outside the main channels can work but you do need to be careful.

The next thing you will need to decide is how aggressively you want to grow.

Quite frankly this is usually a matter of how much money you want to put into advertising and competitions.

This reminds me of the old joke; how do you make a small fortune with a winery? Start with a large fortune.

The same can apply for a distillery. As you grow you will also need to keep up with demand. If you can’t keep up with demand you had better have a product people are willing to wait for.

I am a fan of being more conservative. On the other hand you can be too conservative. You will have to cross that bridge when you come to it.

 -Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

When I go to a liquor store to do a tasting I get feedback from the agents and the employees. It’s actually more like they tell me stories about different people coming in to do tastings for different companies. They are always amazed that I come in ready to work. I am dressed well and I have brought everything I need to conduct my tasting (except for the small trash can that I keep forgetting). I am amazed at some of the stories that they tell me.

At one store, I was told, the person conducting the tasting was verbally abusing a customer because the customer didn’t like the spirits they were offered. This included following the customer around the store yelling at them.

Wow!

So here are some tips (In no particular order of importance) for anyone who will ever be showing a product, it doesn’t even have to be alcohol related.

1.    Know your product:

There are times when a company hires “Spokespeople” to showcase their products. These people, generally, have no connection to the company and may have never heard of the product they are showcasing. If you ever find yourself in this situation; do yourself, the store and potential customers a favor; read up on the product. Because I will guarantee that some customers will know way more than you do about what you are showing or they will have heard “things” about a product and will want some information. Either know the answer or tell the truth and say that you don’t know. Trying to BS an answer will only show your ignorance and make you look like the fool.

On the other hand if it is your product then you should have all the answers as it pertains to your product and a general knowledge of the product category.   (However, even though I make Vivacity Spirits Fine Vodka and have a general knowledge of all things Vodka. That does not make me the repository of the entire world’s vodka knowledge)

There are occasions when an “expert” comes in and starts to tell you things about your product and you can barely follow what they are talking about. In this case, I find that it is much easier to just agree with them because they obviously know more than you do and they will prove it by asking you a question so arcane or confusing that you can’t answer it (most times because they have mixed information from different Spirits or are just plain wrong).

Sometimes they are very knowledgeable. These people are fun to talk to.

2. Be prepared:

This is pertinent for the person who is showing their own product(s). Bring everything you need to conduct business. The less the store has to take care of you the better you are generally received and the more professional you come off.

    I try to be a low needs taster.

For the person not directly associated with the business, you will need to have the store give you everything. Help them help you.

3. Interact with the customers:

Does that sound silly?

I had one store manager tell me they had a “Model” showing some spirits and every time someone approached the table she would turn away from them and face into a corner.

 Ok, again, Wow!

 Not only should you be interacting with the customers (when I am conducting a tasting, I consider myself an employee of the store. I sample them on my products and try to direct them to the things they are looking for) I interact with the employees and the manager as well. Who do you think is going to recommend your product when you are not there? This does not mean you have to suck up to them, it just means be professional and courteous.

If, however, you are returning to the same stores you should also learn the names of the employees, it’s a nice touch.

 

4. Be Professional and Courteous:

One of the stores pet peeves, I am often told, is the person who comes in dressed like they just got back from a month long camping trip and are generally asses to everyone. They argue about everything and when they are not engaged with a customer they are playing on their phone (which makes them not engaged with the customers).

 

Confession: I too have been on my phone at a tasting. I keep it on in case of emergencies and because I post my tastings on Instagram. If someone approaches the table the phone immediately goes away and when I am done with my post then the phone goes away for good until I am done with the tasting.

In my opinion being dressed appropriately (meaning clean and with a company logo) is very important.

 

5. Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover:

How often have we looked at someone and made a snap judgement?

The other day I tasted at a liquor store and two gentlemen, who I was pretty sure were homeless, were sampling my wares. They tasted my Traditional Rum, raved about it and announced that it was Pina Coladas for the evening and purchased a bottle.

Never assume who you think will purchase what you are promoting. Be polite to everyone and treat them all the same.

6. Have Fun:

This goes along with engaging with the customers and employees. Have fun, make jokes. It’s OK to bust their chops, a little. That way everyone is in a good mood and it also helps the time go faster.

7. Have Thick Skin:

This goes along with #1: Know your product, but don’t attach your self-worth to it. No matter how good your product is, there are people out there who will not care for it (I’m being nice here. Some will expound on how crappy they feel your product is).

I was conducting a tasting and I had just sold about 17 bottles of our Fine Vodka when a gentleman tried my Spirit and proclaimed, “I hope you don’t have stock in this company” Ouch! But a little less so because of the previous bottle sales. Now-a-days rejection is somewhat expected but it can still be a tiny dagger in my heart.

 

            --Christopher M Neumann

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

As Casey Neistat (https://www.youtube.com/user/caseyneistat) said (and I’m paraphrasing) “Ideas mean nothing it’s action that counts.” So when people (good meaning people) try our Spirits and then say to me “What you need to make is…” I feel they are being lazy (and I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way). What I hear them telling me is, “I have an idea, that I think is cool, but I don’t want to put any effort into it. You make it, because I might think about buying it, if you made it”.

Note: The reason I listen to these comments is that every once in a great while someone does come up with a really good idea (The saying goes: Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while)

Please understand, I make distilled Spirits; if I have an idea that I think is worth something (say an app) I tell my programmer friend “What you need to make is…” and he, bless his patient heart, listens to me (because he also believes in the above note) and then will ask me questions about the idea that then becomes obvious, I haven’t thought the idea through. Here I thought I was lying gold at his feet, for something I thought was cool ( and that I might buy, if he made it). What I was really laying at his feet was worth, maybe, $50 (if he was really lucky and after a ton of hard work).

If you think you really have an idea that is worth a million dollars why would you give it away? On the other hand, if you made a small sample of something (let’s say a Gin) and asked me for my opinion; I would be much more inclined to give you feed back and maybe even offer you some suggestions as to how you could market it. If it was the most amazing gin I had ever tasted I would tell you so and then we might have a serious talk.

Would I want to make it for myself? No thank you our product lineup is full, but if you wanted us to make it for you (see previous post on contract distilling) we might be able to help you. Again, why would you want to give away something, possibly, worth that much money?

This reminds me of a quote I ran across recently, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” -Thomas A Edison

Cheers!

-Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

So what have we, hopefully, learned from the last few month’s posts?

That Distilling is fun and frustrating?

That we all have a lot to learn?

That I could have condensed the information down?

YES to all of the above.

I hope I have shed a little light on the subject of distilling and what it takes to do this. I also hope that some of you will find some of the information included of value. It was all learned the hard way.

If you have the burning desire to create something special and are willing to take the hard road then this might be your path.

Be aware that you will probably work longer hours and for much less pay than ever before and that you will enjoy your job more than you thought you would. After all it’s your baby.

I have only been at this for about 5 years now, so I am still the newbie. But I have learned a few things along the way (hopefully). Looking back (and forward) would I pursue this line of business again. Absolutely! This has been the scariest and the most fun adventure I have ever been on and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. Cheers!

By Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Congratulations! At this point you should now have a bunch of cases of your very special Spirits. Take a moment to bask in the pleasure of your accomplishment.

Now what?

Believe it or not, now comes the hardest part of this whole endeavor (hands down the most time consuming and frustrating).

You may have just created the most amazing Spirit ever put forth by man but no one will try it, unless they know about it and are given the opportunity to taste it.

How will people find out about your Spirits? You have many options open to you.

You can:

·       Yell it from the rooftops. You should be doing this from the very beginning of starting your distillery.

·       Advertise

·       Word of mouth

·       Enter competitions

 

Yell it from the rooftops

I have found that the real business of Spirits is in the marketing. No matter how good your Spirits are; if no one knows about them how will you sell them?

From the moment you decide to make Spirits you should be telling everyone about it. This is where social media can be a real boon; of course if you are shouting about how you are going to be making these  Spirits and don’t produce any, people will start to ignore you because you lack follow through.

Advertising

Advertising your Spirits, other than on social media, can be problematic and expensive.

In my opinion one of the best and most memorable ad campaigns was Absolut Vodka’s ads from the 1980’s

 (http://www.buzzfeed.com/copyranter/the-best-of-the-great-absolut-ads) 

You saw these ads everywhere and by the end you could recognize a bottle of Absolut vodka simply by the bottle shape alone.

Unfortunately that form of print ad doesn’t really pack the punch it used to and it was extremely expensive (but worth it to Absolut).

In the end, I feel it’s up to the individual distillery to make their best call.

Word of Mouth

In my opinion “word of mouth” is the most powerful advertising you could ever get and it’s free but be aware that word of mouth can cut both ways.

Competitions

Except for the fact that you pay to enter these competitions, this advertising is also considered free. How many times have you come across articles touting the 10 best Whiskeys or the 10 best Spirits, etc.? The more impressive the competition is the bigger the bounce from winning a medal from it. After winning a medal you should definitely be yelling about it from the rood tops. Cheers!

--By Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

As was stated in section 11, a picture is worth a thousand words but holding your finished product in your hand is truly an amazing feeling. All your hard work has culminated with this bottle of your amazing Spirits. This is your baby. Congratulations!

…Now what?

--By Christopher M Neumann

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Now it’s time to put all the pieces of your puzzle together. If you haven’t already distilled your product you should do so.

I guess I should mention that you have a choice to make here. Do you label empty bottles first and then fill them or fill them and then label them? (Our bottle shape dictated that we label first then fill).

If you choose to label empty bottles first, you will need to estimate how many bottles you will need. This can lead to too few or too many bottles labeled.

A quick side note:

There are 2.3775 Gallons of liquid to a case of 750 mL bottles. (You need to know this for tax purposes)

Also, when estimating volume, don’t forget about the miscibility of fluids. This is when 2 liquids added together don’t add up evenly. The miscibility of alcohol and water is .96 (meaning that 50 + 50 = 96)

If you choose to fill the bottles first; you will have to deal with the extra weight of the full bottles while labeling (at least you will always have the exact amount of labeled bottles).

Now it’s time to have a filling party! We have found that a three person team can fill a batch of Vodka in about 3.5 hours (longer if things don’t go quite correctly).

-Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

So, you now have your Spirit, your label (with COLA approval) and your bottle choice. Now all you need to do is order everything and you are off to the races.

In actuality you will have been doing multiple things at once:

(Caitlin refers to this as juggling a bunch balls and getting them all to land at the exact same time)

You will have contacted the bottle company and set terms for purchasing bottles, ordered them and, at least, have them in transit.

 

You will have ordered your closures, safety seals and, at least, have them in transit.

 

You will have submitted your label design to the printer, reviewed the proofs, set the terms for purchase and submitted your order.

 

You will have your labeling machine and bottle filler in place and working properly.

Doing only one process at a time and then moving to the next would lengthen your timeline to extreme proportions.

The trick is to keep up on your inventory so you never run out of anything. (Sometimes not as easy as you would think)

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Two down and the closure to go.

 Following my bottle “theme” we chose to have a wood topped closure with real cork and we decided that I would brand the top with our “V” logo (this was done by hand for the first two years). On top of that, all of the branded V’s had to be in the correct orientation in the bottle (and still do).

Next came the safety seal. This is used to make sure no one has sampled a bottle before you have purchased it or added anything to said bottle. It can be anything from the classic strip of paper over the top to a shrink wrap bottle topper. We chose to go with a clear safety cap with a peel off top (it had a small gold tab to pull). This was also oriented to the front of the bottle.

To me, it’s all in the attention to detail; from the Spirit itself to the finished product you hold in your hand.

--Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Now that we had our bottle we needed a label. I wanted something old yet new.

My idea was: I wanted the label to be reminiscent of an old steamship poster (like you see in the oldie movies) that has been on the wall for a time. It was still very readable but a bit weathered.

It brought, to me, the feeling of the daring sea faring days of yore. (As a young man I had thought about going out to sea to ply a trade).

We decided to hire a design firm rather than try to design it ourselves. This wasn’t the product to put an amateurish label on. We found a local design company and told them of our project and what the general feel we were looking for. After 3 weeks they came back with 3 concepts for our evaluation. Two were so-so but the third really struck our fancy (mainly because it had a motorcycle on it and we both ride).

With a little back and forth we got the label design hammered out and it was time to hand it off to the TTB for COLA approval (yes you have to submit your label to the government to make sure it meets their requirements).

COLA is not a soft drink (well it is but not in this case) it stands for Certificates Of Label Approval. If you are going to put a label on your bottles of Spirits (and you know you are) you must submit your label to the TTB for COLA approval (they want to make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s appropriately). Your label can be rejected for so many reasons (most, obvious only to the COLA people).  I could go on about all the fun things you can or can’t do on your label but I am going to just give you the link instead; http://www.ttb.gov/labeling/colas.shtml is the main page for the TTB’s COLA web page. There are links to everything you ever wanted to know about labels and their approval.

After a few corrections we got our COLA approval and sent our label to the printers.

--Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

We are going to take a step back before we move forward. Your company has a name which will appear, prominently, on the label but what are you going to call your Spirits? We tend to name all our large equipment at the distillery and we also named our Spirits. Fine Vodka, Native and Bankers Gin, Traditional Rum and Turkish Coffee Liqueur. Some are more of a descriptor than an offhand name. You will need to decide for yourself what to call your Spirit. Being simplistic in naming your Spirits is never a problem but I like to add a descriptor to the name to help customers imagine what our Spirits will taste like.

 --Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Here is a basic list of the things you will need to bottle your product:

·       Bottles

·       Labels

·       Closures- corks

·       Safety Seals

·       Labeling Machine

·       Bottle Filler

·       Something to shrink the Safety Seals

 

We looked at a lot of different bottles from many different companies (there are about a dozen or so companies each having dozens of different bottles available). When we found a bottle that we liked we made a note and poured over the catalogs some more. When we were done we had about 6 bottles we liked so we contacted the companies and asked for a sample. 

Pictures may be worth a thousand words but holding something in your hand, feeling its heft and seeing it in person is priceless. Having the bottles in hand really made the final decision much easier for us.

--Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Now that the “hard” part was done; all we needed to do was bottle it (right?). We had been looking at various bottles to see which one would suit our needs, but first we needed to identify who was going to be our customers because this would influence everything (we actually discussed who our customers were going to be before we made our first batch).

So who did we see as our customer base?

It came down to these statements:

Our customers are people who are very discerning about what they drink.

They care about the quality and aesthetic of their chosen libation and the experience it will provide.

They are people of higher class, education and income or people who aspire to be.

We had a profile of who we wanted our customers to be so we did some brainstorming to come up with a package that we thought would appeal to our chosen people.

--Christopher M Neumann

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

By this point we should have the perfect coming together of all our pieces. We have the type of Spirit, our specific profile and the equipment to distill it on (we will assume you know how to operate your still by now). So now we make our first large production run (or in our case we did a bunch of small production runs added together); being new to this process and not completely trusting the equipment we did all our filtering only when one of us was present (later we realized how much more efficient it was to run the filter all through the night). Following our recipe we ended up with just under 125 gallons of Vodka or 52.5 cases (actual numbers). Of course the proof was in the pudding (so to speak); we tasted our newly minted Vodka and professed it to be worthy of bottling. I dread to think what we would have done if we weren’t happy with it.

A quick note:

The question arises; don’t we want everyone to like our Spirits?

And the answer is: No. If I made a Spirit that everyone liked I will have just reinvented vanilla and not everyone likes vanilla.

 

--Christopher M Neumann

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

At this point we still hadn’t distilled anything yet. We were doing a lot of research on the various stills available and their respective prices. Because we weren’t coming at this venture with deep pockets we had to start really small. We opted for a 25 gallon pot still made from Hillbilly Stills in Kentucky (http://www.hillbillystills.com). It was small but it would have to do. All the other stills we looked at started in the 80 thousand plus dollar range. So we opted for the largest still they made (http://www.hillbillystills.com/product/6-plate-vodka-turn-key-distillery/). At that time the still only came with a 4 plate column. It worked wonderfully (and still does). Our first batch of Vodka was produced on this still. It took a full week of double distillation runs but we got it done. We named it TS Elliott (the TS is for tiny still). In the mean time we were looking at getting a small business loan (another blog post) so we could purchase a larger still and about 9 months later we put in our order for a 125 gallon copper pot still from Vendome in Kentucky (http://vendomecopper.com). If you look at our front page you can see the still in the background. We named it Jules (for Jules Verne). Jules is powered by a 450K BTU boiler (http://www.peerlessboilers.com). Having Jules has allowed us to jump up production by a factor of well over 5. What used to take five 13 hour days was now condensed into one 9 hour day. But to justify the cost we would have to sell a lot more product.

-Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Now armed with the knowledge of what I wanted to make; all I had to do was to translate that knowledge into a product, as my wife would say, “Easy Peasy”.

But first, how are we going to make our Neutral Grain Spirit? Our choices are to

A: make it from scratch (the idealistic view of making Vodka. This version could also include growing our own crops) or

B: Use a Neutral Grain Spirit purchased from a larger company that specializes in making NGS or

 C: Have a distillery make your product for you.

These are all legitimate options.

With A: You will need to buy grain (or grow your own, but then you will also need extra equipment to harvest and process your grain), have the necessary equipment to make a mash (think brewery here), have the correct column to rectify the NGS and have the filtering equipment (at this point I would also add have lots of cash on hand or in the bank.)

With B: You need to find a company that makes NGS from what you want your Vodka made from and you will need the filtering equipment.

With C: You need to contract with a distillery to make the whole product for you.

 After some searching, we chose to go with an Organic corn NGS that was made in Oregon (we like to keep things as local as we can) and we also chose to redistill the NGS we received to make even better cuts.

Once we received a barrel of the NGS we started working on the profile we were looking for. First I proofed down some NGS to 80 proof and then I started to play with different filtering media. Due to the small volumes involved everything was done by hand.

I had a couple of cups with small holes, I had drilled in them, to hold the different filtering media and I ran the proofed down NGS through them and tasted the results each time making notes. At some point I realized I had taken the filtering too far (which is why you keep good notes). In the case of the charcoal filtering, the vodka had become too “hard”.

After a few days of experimenting, we chose our filtering media, how many times we would filter it. We liked the results so I started working on a production batch. 

– Christopher M Neumann

 

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

After a lot of research we started talking about what we liked about certain vodkas and what we didn’t like. How did the Spirit smell? How did it sit on our tongue? What was the finish like? What was our overall impression of the Spirit (including the packaging)? (Sometimes knowing what you don’t want can be just as important as what you do want).

We then started to build the profile for our Vodka; it had to be smooth and it couldn’t smell like an antiseptic swab (think getting a shot at the doctors). That was it, pretty straight forward. For me the most important part was that it had to be sipping smooth. In the past I had noticed that fine Spirits were always sip-able. I had always enjoyed sipping on a fine Whiskey, Rum or Tequila so why not a Vodka? (This is so obvious to Eastern Europeans).

– Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

The other day a gentleman, named Paul Omundson, dropped by Vivacity Spirits to interview us for an article he is writing for the Register-Guard. You can read it online here.

--Christopher M Neumann

Posted
AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann