This week I spoke with Leah Hutchinson at TAPI USA. Tapi manufactures closures for bottles, but her depth of experience within the industry reaches far beyond the lids to your bottles. Fill up your Glencairn and learn about this little detail that can make a big difference.
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Another "post midnight" post. I just can't help but wonder sometimes why in the hell I'm doing this. Nobody in their right mind would put in the hours that I do, face the financial risk that I do, and deal with some of the straight up retards like I do and not make a goddamn penny for it. This may sound like a rant. Truth be told, I couldn't be happier. Yeah, I haven't made a profit but I've been open for 3 months. I have been pushing myself harder than I ever have with little present results. But that is the way it is in everything. In Jan 2007 I weighed 210 lbs. and in Dec 2009 I weighed 165. In The first 10 were easy to lose and the last five were easy to lose. In between there was a slump and I had to change my approach. Towards the end there was a slump and I had to change my approach. I've heard people say that the last 5 are the hardest to lose, but in reality it's only hard because they are doing the same things to lose the last 5 as when they lost the first 10. Things change and you have to change with them.
Really, that is my struggle right now. Our first month was a huge success. We sold out of product 3 times! Now we are in a slump. I have a way to change my approach, but I'm not sure the whisky world is ready for it. Let me break this down for you. Most really, really great tasting whiskies are aged 6+ years. I've got a process that makes a full bodied, ultra smooth whisky in about a days time. It is remarkable. Do you call it rapid aging? Do you call it cheating? What DO you call it? So I have a new approach, but is it consistent with what my distillery is based on? At the outset, I said that I would only make great whisky and that I've never had a good whisky younger than 3 years. Well I've figured out a way that makes great whisky in about a day and I'm wondering what my end customers want to buy; an age statement, or great taste?
It should be an easy answer. I've been working on this process for over two years now. It started out as "wonder what happens if I heat up the alcohol in some wood chips?", but ended in a 14 step process involving chemistry and a lot of miscellaneous pieces of farm equipment. I haven't a lab, a science background, or financial backing like that guy at Lost Spirits, but I have well over 100 test batches; actually I just stopped counting at 100. I'm just glad I never tried to figure out how many hours I've spent on it. So all in all, I should be thinking "Yeah, you figured this out so you should cash in on it." but for some reason the purist in me didn't want me to do it.
Long story short, I'll be at Whiskey Fest in Springfield this weekend and I'm going to hand out samples and see what the overall reaction is to it. If its good, the world gets a new whisky. If its not, I'm just out of a lot of time for figuring it out and a lot of time arguing with the TTB for the label approval.