So now that we know what Vodka is by definition I would go to the liquor store and browse the aisles to see what is available. Until recently the Vodka section was a fraction of what it is today. With the introduction of flavored Vodkas the vodka section has swelled to unprecedented proportions.

We felt that flavored vodkas were going to be a passing fad and frankly neither of us care for them, so why would I want to make one? (See previous post on making what you like to drink)

Next came the fun part. We purchased numerous bottles of different vodkas that we thought represented a broad cross section of the Vodka category. Sampling Spirits and really paying attention is a very fun activity. We approached it like we were judging a competition and I was actually surprised at how different vodkas were (given the definition of Vodka).

Which Vodka did we like the best?

The one we ended up making.

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

You will have noticed that the definition for NGS uses the words “any material” and that Vodka is an NGS that has been “filtered with charcoal or other materials” so the notion held that Vodka is made only from potatoes is incorrect, in fact most Vodkas are made from wheat and they always have been. Vodka came into existence before potatoes made their way from the new world to the old world (and don’t get me started on how potatoes were considered peasant food and that a Czar or other Royalty would never drink something made from peasant food… but I digress.)

Traditionally, high proof Spirits have always been made from excess product you would have on hand. You could either throw away a crop or you could transform it into a high proof liquid that doesn’t spoil (and was in demand).

Today Vodkas are made from wheat, rye, corn or any grain, potatoes, grapes, again anything you can distill to 95 % alcohol. In Oregon there is a rice Vodka and I have had a vodka made from apples.

For a really good read try The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire (P.S.) by Linda Himelstein.

--Christopher M Neumann

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

If you go to the TTB website ( ) you will see a chart describing all the Spirit categories. At the top of this chart is the Class category for NGS (neutral grain spirit) and a definition:

Spirits distilled from any material at or above 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof), and if bottled, bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)

Next comes the Type of Spirit, Vodka, and a definition:

Neutral spirits distilled or treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials so as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color

Although the definition states, “…without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color”, I believe that to be, mostly, an erroneous statement. I will grant you the no color. Vodka is a clear Spirit (although I did see a barrel aged Vodka the other day). As for taste, character and aroma; Vodkas have always had their specific tastes, characters and aromas. If you pay attention you can smell and taste the difference in Vodkas made from various ingredients (i.e.: Wheat, Rye, Corn, Grape, Potato, Rice or even plain sugar).

I, personally, classify being smooth as a character trait. If all the Vodkas in the world met the TTB’s criteria they would all taste and drink exactly the same. Yet they don’t.

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

A quick note here; some of you may want to make “moonshine”. Moonshine is alcohol produced and sold that you have not paid the Federal taxes for, in other words illegal alcohol. If you find “Moonshine” in a liquor store, it’s not.

The traditional path for a multi-Spirit distillery seems to be that you are going to make a whiskey but since it needs to age for a while you will either need to sit on it for your ageing time or make something in the meantime to bring some money. Clear Spirits do not need to be aged and, therefore, have a quicker turnaround time. In our case we decided our first product would be Vodka. Now if you go to a liquor store and look at the shelves you will see that there are quite a few Vodkas on the shelf. But what is Vodka anyways?

-Christopher M Neumann


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

If you are just starting out or are looking to expand your portfolio with another Spirit, you will have to figure out what it is you want to make. Most people have an idea of at least the first Spirit they want to make so that part is made easy, however, if you are unsure the list can be a bit daunting. Do you want make Vodka, Gin, Rum, Brandy, Whiskey, a liqueur or maybe something a bit more exotic like Absinthe? I usually suggest that you make what you like to drink yourself. That way you have a direct opinion of what you are making.

I can’t imagine making something I don’t like. What am I going to do go, “OK let’s bottle it; it’s just the right type of nasty”?

-Christopher M Neumann


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

In the following weeks I am going to write about the process of developing a Spirit from the idea to the shelf. I will be using our Fine Vodka as an example; however, I am confident that most of the information will transfer to other Spirits as well. So let’s take a look at making some amazing booze!

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Today is the 21st of December and that means that the sun will start coming up earlier and staying up later starting tomorrow. Here comes the Sun.....

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future…


The question is how fast is it slippin’ and what are you trying accomplish in that time? I am sure almost everyone has heard about Einstein’s time paradox.


"An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour." -Albert Einstein


How many times have you done a task for a few, long boring, hours (can you say paperwork) only to discover that you have only been at it for fifteen minutes to half an hour? My problem is quite the opposite. I will be doing something for a few minutes and an hour or two flies by. When the day is over I look back at it and see that I didn’t accomplish much at all. The next thing you realize it’s a new week, a new month and what year is it again (dare I say what decade)? I hate feeling like I am wasting my time.


Of course time is a constant. It’s our perception of it that changes (and it only goes by faster as we get older). That’s why I am a big fan of “To Do:” lists and why I keep a daily log book (especially important for work). At the end of the day I can see what I have accomplished (and still need to accomplish). Sometimes I surprise myself with how productive I really was (other times it makes me want to cry).


Seeing how fast my life is passing by makes me understand that I must make the time for the important things, like spending quality time with my family and friends (be sure to tell them how much you love them), doing something you really enjoy (walking on the beach, in the mountains, or pursuing a hobby) or learning something new (maybe travel abroad?).


Sometimes it’s as simple as snuggling with my wife in front of a fire, at the end of a long day, and (this time of year) enjoying a Hot Buttered Rum together (using Vivacity Spirits Traditional Rum, of course!). Now that’s never a waste of my time.



Christopher M Neumann

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

As I posted earlier, we need to have priorities in our life. Sometimes that priority is to work 12 hour days (6 days a week) but you can’t live your life that way, constantly, because that’s not really a life is it?

As a work-a-holic and a small business owner, it is easy for me to justify working crazy hours to get the job done (at the expense of everything else, including my family, health and sanity).

Thank goodness my wife sees things a bit differently. For her the priority is to family, to friends, to ourselves and then to the business.

Does this crazy attitude (of hers?) cause a bit of strife in our lives? Of course it does but it also balances out my crazy attitude. In the end priorities are interchangeable.

If I am in the middle of a distillation run and I get a phone call that one of our kids is decorating day care in vomit (and Caitlin is out of town) I must shut down the still (unless my assistant-distiller is around) and tend to the child; again, priorities shifting.

An unexpected day off (as it were) is never fatal to a business; inconvenient, maybe, but never fatal and sometimes it can be a blessing. Me not being at the distillery may mean I work from home and catch up on paperwork, the blog or read a book (between bouts of outwardly expressed illness of course).

As counter intuitive as it may seem to some the top priority must always be to yourself because if you go down so does everything else.

I once told a friend, who was a single mother of two young teen boys, who was running herself ragged driving her boys all over the county to their different events that she needed to slow down a bit and take care of herself first.

Her reply was that the boys came first.

My reply was “So what would happen to your boys if you got sick and (heaven forbid) died? Who would take care of them then?”

Her reply was silence.

Priorities People!



Christopher M Neumann

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

One of the more interesting things we deal with in our business is feedback. Feedback can be either positive or negative and it can either be face to face or online.

The best possible thing is when someone gushes over our product in person. I will admit this can make me feel a bit uncomfortable at times, especially when the person is really adamant in their praise.

However, I do love to overhear someone telling another person how good our product is. It is validation that we are doing a job well done.

Reading a good review of our Spirits is an amazing thing. There is something a little surreal about seeing it in writing though.

On rare occasions I have been the focus of someone not liking our Spirits. Wow, is that weird! I have been told point blank and at great length how bad (I’m being nice here) our Spirits are (“I hope you don’t have any connection with this company”). The first time this happened to me I was crushed and had a knot in my stomach (major ego deflation and panic). I wanted to get away from this person and they kept going on and on. With time you do get the thick skin required to weather these occasional assaults. In the end I became aware that what they were really telling me was that they didn’t care for our Spirits. Now, I don’t take it personally.

I have never had the experience of reading bad things about our Spirits, so I’m not sure how I would react.

In the end feedback, good or bad, can be valuable. Once you wade through all the noise you can usually glean a few nuggets of useful information from it and hopefully put it to good use.

If you decide to give someone feedback I would suggest you give them specific feedback. If you love it or hate it, what is it specifically you love or hate?


By Christopher M Neumann

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Have you ever tried to juggle before? I’m talking real juggling here, balls in the air and all that. At first you feel like a complete idiot because it’s only 3 balls and you are holding 2 of them in your hands at any one time. Once you get the rhythm down it’s not so bad and then you decide you need to go for 4 balls and the whole process starts again, maybe not as bad as the first time. Repeat.

Nothing is worse than trying to make a batch of Spirits only to find out you don’t have something you need to complete the process. It seems so simple that you would know you are running low on corks, safety seals, labels or, heaven forbid, an ingredient. There are whole divisions at large companies devoted to this daunting task.

Neither Caitlin nor I am a naturally organized person but where there is a will (or an overriding need) there is a way.

I have found that if you designate a place for something and you put that something back there after you use it, when you need it again you won’t have to go on a building wide scavenger hunt for it, thus avoiding lost time (not to mention the frustration, the screaming and the swearing involved). This is true for supplies too. Have one place for things so you can see what your inventory supply is (I still can’t remember where I set my coffee cup this morning).


I divide our needs into different categories:

Production- what we need to make our delicious Spirits

Events- what we need to go out and promote our delicious Spirits

Chris’ Stuff- what I need to keep the physical business going

Caitlin’s Stuff- Everything else

Production: Production supplies are what people normally think of as supplies. It’s anything I need to make our Spirits. The problem can be when you don’t take into account the lag time involved when ordering something.

So what do you do when you discover you don’t have something you need (besides panic)?

Over the years we have compiled a list of small local businesses that carry some of the botanicals we use in our Spirits. We can pay many times the price for them, over our wholesale prices, but we have them.

If we forget to order any of the hard inventory such as bottles, labels or corks we are dead in the water.

One of the cardinal sins of the distillery business is letting your inventory run out in the warehouse (for control states) or not being able to get inventory to your distributors. You always have to look ahead and this means you have to be, somewhat, organized.

Events: You will need to keep supplies for promotions in stock. Do you have business cards, information cards, fliers, a table (or two), table cloths, sample bottles and tasting cups? I like to keep a “tasting kit” handy and a list of supplies needed so when I go do a tasting or gear up for a larger event I just have to consult the list to make sure I have everything I need. It’s amazing what you will forget and there is nothing more frustrating than to get set up and realize you have forgotten something simple yet important (like the credit card swiper or your tasting cups).

Chris’ Stuff: My job is to make sure we have what we need to make all our products (keep track of inventory), to distill all our products, do some paperwork and to keep the physical premises in good repair (the easy job).

Caitlin’s Stuff: Caitlin gets to herd the cats (everyone who works at Vivacity Spirits, especially me). She does most of the paperwork (the hard job), orders supplies to meet our production needs, runs roughshod over the design of labels and promotional materials, keeps the books, pays the bills and does a dozen other things that I can’t think of at the moment.

Being a business owner forces you to get organized (not completely true but it does make your life so much easier if you are). Even when you think you are organized something can and will pop up to prove you are not organized enough. This brings to mind being able to improvise (a later blog post).


Written by-Christopher M Neumann


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

Today’s post is about funding your dream distillery. I am assuming you are starting from scratch, more or less.

Money is the problem or I should say the lack of money is the problem. How are you going to fund your distillery?

Your options:

You have money: You, or your family, are wealthy or you have money in savings.

Investors: You are starting your adventure with capital from outside sources.

You and Investors:  Your money plus outside money.

Commercial Loan: Dealing with the banks. (So much fun)

There are many costs associated with opening a distillery. Depending on the scope of your distillery the costs will vary.

Except for your personal money, any outside money will need to be paid back (you will actually want to get your initial investment back, too).

Now that you have solved the opening costs problem, you will get to take on the cash flow problem. So you will need enough cash to keep the doors open until you start making money, also take into account ownership. It may be your dream and your sweat equity but in the end who has all the shares? If you give up too much control you could lose control of your business (it happens).



AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

 With micro-distilling being the new craze everyone wants to own a distillery and that’s great, except you should be aware of a few things about running a business in general and a distillery in particular. This is not an all-encompassing list, by any means, but I will attempt to make it a good start. I will expound on various points in later blog posts.

General Business Aspects

The first thing is that you are running a business. You will work longer hours, harder than any other job you have ever had and get paid less than you have ever been (it can be a big money hole for the first few years), but it’s your business and you are the boss. Many business’ fail not because the product or service is bad but due to poor decision making, poor execution and poor business practices. Read, take classes and talk to people who already own a business. Some information and situations are universal. Talk to someone who owns a distillery, in particular, they have the specific information you want and need. We are generally pretty open about talking about the business aspects of a distillery. If you are going to pick someone’s brain, though, please do it on their schedule. Try not to do it during a busy time or better yet make an appointment with them.

Some General Things to Consider

-Money: You are going to need it (duh!), but the question is do you have a ton of it lying around, ready to throw at your new project, are you going to get investors or are you going to operate on a shoe string budget? Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Note: This reminds me of the old joke. How do you make a small fortune in the winery business? Start with a large fortune. (Ba da bum!)

-Bills: The opposite of money is bills. Make sure you pay them. Wouldn’t you hate to have a shut down because you forgot to pay your electric bill?

-What is the Business: What are you going to do or make? Are you filling a gap or are you going to do something better than everyone else? If you are filling a gap; you should also do a little research to see if there is a need for this product or service.

-A Business Plan: you need one, even a basic one. There are books available and your local community college will have business classes available.

-The Business’ Name: You probably already have that one, but is someone already using it? (See below)

-Trademark Law: Get a lawyer who specializes in Trademark Law. Do your homework. There are online references available. and don’t forget to do a web search!

Caution!: So, you have a friend/acquaintance/someone who knows someone who is a lawyer/knows the law and they want to give you their opinion on your Trademark issue (everyone wants to be helpful, right?). If Trademark Law is not their specialty, their opinion is as good as the average person’s. This is from personal experience. Would you rather have an expert neurosurgeon operating on your brain or the person who read a book about the brain, once, in grade school and is handy with tools?

-Location: Where will this business be located? You will have to look at local zoning ordinances. Different states/counties/cities have different rules on alcohol production.


Distillery Specific Aspects

The first thing is what are you going to make? Just because you can distill it will people buy it? Again, do your homework! Are you going to come into the business with something established (meaning you will have to compete with existing companies) or are you going to bring something new to the market? If you are going to introduce something new you will also have to educate the public about your new and different product (If you are introducing a completely new type of Spirit, you will need to jump through the government hoops to prove that it is safe to consume)

Caution: At this point I will warn you that your friends are not the best people to ask. I used to homebrew beer and my friends all loved it and said it was wonderful, that I should go pro with it. Then I asked them if they would buy it then the story changed. Free alcohol is always great. Once you have to pay for it is when reality starts rearing its ugly head.

-Paperwork: I hope you like it, because there is a ton of paperwork that goes along with a distillery (at least (most of) this “paperwork” is now electronic). Be sure to fill out the paperwork and submit it, preferably on time. Be aware you and any investors will be getting a background check by the Federal Government and expect visits from your state and local government officials (the Agriculture department, the Fire Marshal, the local Dog catcher, etc.)

-The Open Hand: Be aware that when said “officials” show up at your distillery most of them will come with an empty open hand and they will expect you to fill it with money, for the “services” they are providing you. You would not believe how many permits you will need to have just to open your doors (I’m not sure but I think there may be a permit needed to actually open your doors).

-Recipes: Again, what are you going to make? Everything has a recipe. When you are experimenting with recipes write everything down! That way you can replicate your happy accidents. Do not entrust this vital piece of information to your amazing memory. Also, if is not written down how can anyone else help you make your product?

-Taxes, Fees and Permits: There are a lot of different government agencies out there and they all want their piece of your pie. Right now the biggest one is the TTB (the Tax and Trade Bureau) formerly the BATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). You pay them the excise tax for alcohol production (at present it is $13.50 per proof gallon). Make sure you pay your taxes!

-What are you going to make: (I know I am repeating myself here.) Are you going to make clear Spirits (Vodka, Gin or any unaged Spirits), brown Spirits (Whiskey, Rum and other barrel aged Spirits), colored Spirits (Spirits with color from non-barrel sources: Absinthe, Coffee Liqueur, Etc.) or any combination of the above. For barrel aged Spirits are you going to buy new or used barrels and where are you going to store them?

-New or Existing building: Are you going to build from the ground up or are you going to rent a space? The general thought, with a distillery, is to rent a space, which means retrofitting the building, until you can buy a property. Then the question becomes, build from the ground up or remodel an existing space? Another option is to have your product made by someone else. It is still your business but you pay someone to make the product for you, on a contract basis (to be addressed in another post).

Logistics: Logistics is gathering everything you need to make your product. (This will be addressed in more detail in another post)

Employees: You can only do so much work yourself. At some point you will need assistance. (See our previous post on hiring people.

I am sure there are many things that I have neglected to put on the list. It is just a short list of the major things that came to mind. Again, do your homework! Owning your own business is exciting. How often are you the Captain of your own future?







AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

In the latest issue of Sip their "Best of the Northwest" competition we got the Gold medal for best Gin with our Bankers Gin and we won a Bronze medal for our Turkish Coffee Liqueur in the Best Dessert Liqueur category

(go to and go to the bottom of the list where they list the Spirits).

We are stoked about our medals as this gives us some validation that we are doing things right. Of course you, the public, buying our Spirits is the real validation that we are doing things right. Thank you!


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

In the never ending search for ways to keep your business alive comes contract distilling (distilling a product for someone else).

This can be anything from making a distilled Spirit for a winery (to make a port wine) to making a complete Spirit product.

Distilling for a winery: The winery delivers totes of wine to your distillery and you send them back Brandy. This is usually used for addition to make port wines.

Distilling with a winery: You strike a deal with a winery. They supply you with wine (maybe barrels too), you distill it, age it, bottle it, put it on the market and you split the profits with them. This is good for cross marketing.

A Distillery uses your equipment: A smaller distillery rents your equipment to make their product.

You make a product for a Distillery: You make a finished product for a distillery. They do all the marketing.

Each has its own Pro’s and Con’s. The main thing is to look at what suits your needs best.

Note: I’ll admit that having someone use my equipment is hard on me. This business is my baby and it’s hard for me to let go. I am a worry wart by nature and my fear is that they won’t take care of the equipment like I will. Of course no one takes care of your equipment like you do.

In the end it really comes down to what you want VS what you need. If you are happy with where you are, production/money wise, then maybe you don’t want to do contract distilling. If, on the other hand, you need/want the extra income or want to grow your company then contract distilling may be the way to go.


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

The enemies of being productive, at work, are distractions. Squirrel! The main culprits being, besides the boss constantly asking for progress reports,: your cell phone, Facebook, YouTube, email, any number of other social media, the person next to you watching videos, the “Visitor” who burns up your precious time with stories and the latest gossip, etc.

At home the distractions are: every chore you have ever put off, your computer, social media, email, the pets (don’t get me started on that one, stupid puking cat!), etc. You get the point.

Note: The next bit of information is based on personal experience and from “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod

I have found that if I can get to work or get out of bed early, preferably really early, then I can get much needed work done. I am in/up too early for anyone to bother me and conversely I am in/up too early for me to bother anyone. Of course that doesn’t mean I am completely free of distractions, but it really helps. As I am typing this, I am standing in front of our still watching it rectify and collecting heads samples. I am not sure which task I am doing is distracting me from the other. The distilling is definitely distracting me from my writing and my writing is most definitely distracting me from my distilling. I will go with the writing is the distraction because the distilling is the more important task at hand, with larger consequences from being distracted, and the writing is the time filler.

My solution has always been to make a list and tackle one task at a time. “But I have five things that need my immediate attention”, you say and I understand, however, you can’t reasonably do all five at once. Making a list lets you see what needs to get done and checking the items off lets you see your progress. Trying to do all five simultaneously usually results in paralysis and nothing gets done or the things that do get done are half-assed and you will need to redo them. At least that has been my experience.

Is going to get a second cup of coffee a distraction? I think I’ll put that one on the top of my important tasks list. Cheers!


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

When you are starting your own business there is the tendency to keep your head down and plow forward, immersed in the daily grind of keeping it alive. The problem is that when you do, on occasion, raise your head and look up time has flown by (this applies to life too). What we normally do is put our heads back down and slog on. I guess in the short run this is probably necessary (especially for a really small business startup), however, I feel it is bad in the long run (for you).

Good mental health requires you to step back occasionally and take a break. My problem is that I would love to take a break except there is sooo much work I need to get done. See the problem? It’s a good thing my better half sees things a bit differently. She realizes that there will always be sooo much work and things that just have to get done and that they will be there waiting for us after we get back from (enter a location). Deep down I understand this to be true but my instincts are to get the job done and then go play. Of course she wins and we go away for a much needed vacation (this can be one day at the coast up to ten days on Kauai, Hawaii). The funny thing is that once she pries my fingers off the doorjamb and gets me away from the shop, I stop worrying about things because I am “away” and I can’t really do anything about it, can I?

If you are a one or two person shop this means shutting down for the duration and hoping that a fire or something unusual doesn’t occurs (life does happen, even on vacation). If you have employee(s) than they can keep the businesses limping along for the duration.

A personal note about vacations: this pertains to going someplace outside your immediate area (like Hawaii). Make plans to do things like visit historical sites, go for nature walks or visit some cool local attraction. I find that once I am there I start off great and then I tend to slow down, sit in one place (or another) and just relax. By the end of the trip I am rested and I have seen some of the sights as opposed to sleeping all the time, in my room, recuperating; and couldn’t we do that closer to home at lesser expense?

I find that after a brief vacation I am in a much better mood and the problems I was struggling with before I left aren’t such a problem after all (your subconscious problem solving mind never shuts down).

So I guess what I am saying is; stop and smell the roses along the way because isn’t that what you are working so hard for anyway?

AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

There is a saying in business, “Grow or Die”.

At some point you will be faced with the dilemma of expanding your business. Very few business’ come into existence, stay that size and make a profit (I can’t think of one but I’m sure there is one out there). As a small business, at various times, you will find you need to expand, whether it is more employees, more equipment, more production or combinations of the above. This brings in the ever present problem of more money to do the expansion. More money can come from your ever increasing sales, a loan, investors or other ways.

We chose to hire more people (as we were not near our production capacity) and, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford to pay them (not quite true). But the idea is that a new employee is going to generate their own paycheck from increased sales. Of course if they or their job doesn’t increase sales then you have a whole other set of problems to deal with.

So the first thing we did was to ask ourselves, “1: What position do we need filled and 2: Do we know anyone, personally, who can fill that niche?”

If the answer is yes, to part 2, then we talk to the respective person and see if there is a fit with the company. One particularly awkward situation with hiring a “friend” is if they don’t work or are problematic. Now you are faced with the difficult choice of possibly having to fire said “friend”.

If the answer is no, to part 2, then we fly an advertisement for the position and we get to start the process of interviews (see our previous post on hiring new employees).

Once we have talked to everyone the hard part comes in, choosing who to hire. This can be made a tad easier if you are filling more than one position or if one of the candidates is a slam dunk. Sometimes the obvious choice really isn’t the best fit for the company, especially for a small company. For us, it comes down to the person’s qualifications, how they came across in the interview and our gut reactions to them. Once they are hired we integrate them into the company.

We choose to have all our employees become familiar with our products and to help in the various processes in making the various Spirits. That way when they talk to people about what they are tasting they can make statements like “We do it this way” or “I did this and that” instead of “They do something but I have been told that…” Being intimately familiar with the products and processes is important to us and to our customers.

We will keep hiring people until we can’t keep up with production and then we will start buying new equipment. The reasoning behind this is 1: we don’t have the money to burn and 2: we have heard too many stories of business’ investing heavily in equipment first, straining their resources, and then searching for customers to fill the gap only to find out that there are none or only a few and they end up closing their doors. That is definitely not my idea of how to run a business. Our philosophy has always been “Slow and steady (growth) wins the race”. I guess I should add being frugal to the quote but you get my drift.



AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

When I prepare for a blog post I usually jot down a few points and fill in from there. For this “Thoughts on Ageing” post my points were:

For Spirits=good

Cheese= good

For me= iffy


So now I fill in the blanks.

With ageing most things go through an amazing transformation. Spirits in a barrel can turn Whiskey, Rum, Tequila and any assortment of spirits into ambrosia. Generally the longer they stay in the barrel the better they get (although I feel too much ageing can throw some spirits off balance).

A good aged cheese is delightful; full of complex flavors and aromas. They can definitely be an acquired taste.

For me, personally, ageing is a matter of mind. I can’t stop it so why bother worrying about it, however, that doesn’t mean I don’t take care of myself. As with Spirits and cheese the trick is to age well and be full of character (and, for some people, to be an acquired taste)

For laundry, well we have all experienced the ripe pile of laundry at least once in our life (think 2 day old gym clothes). I think I will pass on more of that experience. Cheers!



AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann

As a business owner, one of the most frustrating things we have to go through is the hiring of a new employee. As your business expands you will need more people to help you out.

The first question is, “what job needs to be filled or created?”

You have to know what the new person’s job descriptionis.

The second question is, “Where do I fly the help wanted ad?”

In the local paper, on Craig’s List, on our web site or by word of mouth (there are always more places to list). Wherever you decide to list, make sure you are precise in your wants and needs for the position (see first question). People will start to send in their resumes and you can start the interviewing process. This is where the frustration can start.

Side note 1: for those of you sending in resumes please please please make sure your info is up to date. There is nothing worse than getting an incredible resume and finding out that the email or phone number is no longer valid.


Here is a small list of people who apply for a given job:

The Awesome Candidate (on paper): This is the person who has all the qualifications you are looking for. By all rights they are the perfect employee, except for the above side note. I guess they are not so great after all if they miss such a glaring mistake.

The Awesome Candidate 2: This person seems to have a very high opinion of themselves and it shows. This would be somewhat pardonable except that most of the information they are trying so desperately to impress you with is wrong. I do not appreciate the old adage, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit”. Just be yourself.

The No-Show: They don’t make the interview and they don’t call. Why did they even apply for the job? Did they just want to see if they could get an interview?

Side Note 2: If you have an interview scheduled, show up just a few minutes early. Believe it or not, for a small company, this can make a big impression.

The Downer: This person has been beaten by life. They come in with a negative attitude, because they aren’t going to get hired anyways, and they seem to be trying to suck the life out of the room. Maybe they are.

The Over/Under Dressed: It’s hard to tell someone not to come in, overdressed, for an interview. Personally I like the person to be anywhere from business casual to clean jeans and a Polo shirt. A suit and tie are not a strike against them, however if you are applying for a “Cellar Rat” position you are a tad bit overdressed.  Please do not come into the interview wearing torn clothing and looking like you just crawled out from under a truck. I am no longer 20 and I do not find this look very professional or appealing (yes I’m old, but I have the job you supposedly want).

The Eager Beaver: (We are located in Corvallis after all) This person may not have all the qualifications we are looking for but they exude enthusiasm. They are honest in what they know and don’t know but they are willing to work hard and learn. They have an energy about them, dare I say vivacity, that you can almost see and definitely feel. I love these applicants. These are the people who really want to work and are ready to go the extra mile to get it done. They want to learn many different things and try their hands at everything you will let them. In my opinion, the “Eager Beaver” is the perfect employee. They will grow with the company and be rewarded in the long run.

The Fake Eager Beaver: This person seems to have the goods you want and they are ready to work, that is, until you actually hire them. Then they are slow, often late to work and complain, to anyone who will listen, about how hard they are worked. I bust my butt every day and I expect someone who works for me to work too. I don’t expect them to put in the long hours I do (it’s our business after all) but I do expect them to put in an honest day’s work.

I am sure there are more types that I haven’t thought about but you get the idea and I am sure there is someone out there blogging about the types of bosses in the work place. We can only do our best.


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann