Mike Lisenby

Getting started/personal hobby farm

2 posts in this topic

Hello all!

New to the site and the distilling world!  I am currently I am in the research/education phase of learning what it takes to get a small craft distillery on its feet.   I’ve been navigating the TTB a bit but would hoping to get some practical information/lessons learned from fellow craft distillers. 

My situation:  I have a huge passion for whiskey/bourbons, which will be my direction. Ideally I am trying to initially start with a small (<20 gallon) pot still to start making small batch's that I can sell locally initially and obviously enjoy for myself. 

I live in unincorporated Snohomish County and ideally would like to have a distilling location in/near the city of Sultan. 

I really want to embrace the whole “farm to glass” mantra that helped kick off the craft     license by utilizing my small 10 acre hobby farm for the majority of the process.  I would love to grow some of the grains used (corn primarily), produce the mash, ferment the mash, and then ultimately store/age the filled barrels at my farm in a specially designed barn.   The distillation would have to occur at a seperate location, which I still need to figure out.  Ideally would be nice to conduct all of it at the farm but not holding my breath!  

Again this would be an “ideal” situation!

Any tips/advice/direction?

Thanks and sorry for the long post!

Mike


 

 

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Hey Mike, 

That sounds awesome, especially the grain growing part. I have been in this business for 34 years and here are some key things

Planning is great but there is nothing like testing all your ideas first. Stay small, test, make adjustments, test, repeat, test early and test often.  In the words of mike tyson, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. 

Take your brand around before you launch, ask questions to retailers, bars and distributors. This will give you an outline and a feeling of how intense the business is. 

Reverse engineer always, start with the end user and work back, from branding to price, always include all 3 tiers in your pricing, whether you plan to be small, regional or national. 

Double down on your strengths and hire for your weaknesses. Know when you don't know about something, be proud you don't know, and then get help. 

Rock on,

Chip

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      Hello all!
      New to the site and the distilling world!  I am currently I am in the research/education phase of learning what it takes to get a small craft distillery on its feet.   I’ve been navigating the TTB a bit but would hoping to get some practical information/lessons learned from fellow craft distillers. 
      My situation:  I have a huge passion for whiskey/bourbons, which will be my direction. Ideally I am trying to initially start with a small (<20 gallon) pot still to start making small batch's that I can sell locally initially and obviously enjoy for myself. 
      I live in unincorporated Snohomish County and ideally would like to have a distilling location in/near the city of Sultan. 
      I really want to embrace the whole “farm to glass” mantra that helped kick off the craft     license by utilizing my small 10 acre hobby farm for the majority of the process.  I would love to grow some of the grains used (corn primarily), produce the mash, ferment the mash, and then ultimately store/age the filled barrels at my farm in a specially designed barn.   The distillation would have to occur at a seperate location, which I still need to figure out.  Ideally would be nice to conduct all of it at the farm but not holding my breath!  
      Again this would be an “ideal” situation!
      Any tips/advice/direction?
      Thanks and sorry for the long post!
      Mike
    • New Member/tips on getting started
      By Mike Lisenby
      Hello all!
      New to the site and the distilling world!  I am currently I am in the research/education phase of learning what it takes to get a small craft distillery on its feet.   I’ve been navigating the TTB a bit but would hoping to get some practical information/lessons learned from fellow craft distillers. 
      My situation:  I have a huge passion for whiskey/bourbons, which will be my direction. Ideally I am trying to initially start with a small (<20 gallon) pot still to start making small batch's that I can sell locally initially and obviously enjoy for myself. 
      I live in unincorporated Snohomish County and ideally would like to have a distilling location in/near the city of Sultan. 
      I really want to embrace the whole “farm to glass” mantra that helped kick off the craft     license by utilizing my small 10 acre hobby farm for the majority of the process.  I would love to grow some of the grains used (corn primarily), produce the mash, ferment the mash, and then ultimately store/age the filled barrels at my farm in a specially designed barn.   The distillation would have to occur at a seperate location, which I still need to figure out.  Ideally would be nice to conduct all of it at the farm but not holding my breath!  
      Again this would be an “ideal” situation!
      Any tips/advice/direction?
      Thanks and sorry for the long post!
      Mike