SouthofNormal

190 proof GNS & Fire Department Issues

6 posts in this topic

Hi,

I've been working on opening a distillery out in Black Diamond. We've made it through all federal, state and city licensing with the exception being final fire department approval. They came out to view the process I use to make gin and immediately had issues with the 190 proof GNS base I was using. They said that it's a class 1B combustible liquid and that the building would now need to be class 1 certified. This seems to mainly concern electrical outlets, lights, etc. This is the first time they dropped this on me and the costs for changing all of the electrical is astronomical.....i mean like go out of business expensive. Supposedly there are ventilation changes that might address the problem, but it's still just another change to add to the list. This also never came up during the plan review either. :) 

I've been looking into ways to change my process before changes to the building. Has anyone else ran into this issue? If so, were you able to navigate around it? 

 

-John 

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Hi John,

Your easiest bet is to develop a process whereby your Maximum Allowable Quantities (MAQs) are not exceeded. If your building is sprinklered, that is 240 gallons. Otherwise, it's 120 gallons. Can you develop a plan to operate within those limits?

If not, can you create a control area for the storage of the high proof GNS? It can be a small room with no electrical used to store and proof the GNS.

Just a few thoughts. If you need some architectural help, I know some folks who are specializing in this, and would be glad to put you in touch with them.

Best of luck,

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Hi Jason,

Thanks for the quick response. I'm well under my MAQ and the fire department acknowledges that. My building is sprinklered for high stack storage and I'm only keeping 55 gallons of it on site at a time. We're a pretty small operation. 

Are you saying it's been your experience that this is sufficient? I modeled what I'm doing after several other smaller distilleries i'd visited and never heard of this being an issue. 

 

-John

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Hey John give me call. King County and Pierce are different but I have a couple ideas for you. 253-377-1379 Tom

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Don't let the first quote be the last quote. I had heart dropping experience with installing my steam piping after seeing the first quote. Coming in at 15,000 to install my 7,000 steam generator! I was paying out of pocket for all the equipment and install and had a feeling that the end was near before ever being licensed. We searched around, called everyone who would be able to provide the service and eventually, in random conversation we heard the most magical words ever muttered..."I know a guy." We were put into contact with a local gentleman who was nearing retirement, who loved the idea of what we were doing and offered to do the steam piping for a fraction of the original expectation. I think the end bill was 2,500 or 16% of the original quote. 

Your brothers, wife's, sisters, husbands, uncle is an out of work electrician looking for a project. Seek him out.

 

I don't know if you need to rewire the entire facility or just replace the fixtures, but if you can purchase them from a distributor and simply pay for the install you may get a huge break (most items sold are up-charged when purchased through a contractor).

 

I wish you luck

 

Alex Watts

Free Spirits Distilling Ltd.

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Look into running a closed system. For the first time I ran into fire inspection issues, and that is the way I'm leaning. It means modding your still and collection system a bit, but you might be able to avoid the heavy cost of replacing outlets, lights ect..

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