Permits approved, still received, space updated.Read More
Mo-men-tum - noun - the quantity of motion in a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
This last month has been a flurry of activity, some of it one step forward/two steps back, but overall it feels like we're finally really getting somewhere.
- Equipment: Still #1! (as I have unofficially named it) is finally in our warehouse space after being subjected to every possible examination offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Full set-up on Still #! is pending a few more pieces of electronics that are coming with the larger 500L Still. From what we hear, the 500 is getting the latest upgrades over at the iStill warehouse and should be shipping shortly.
- Space: Tons of renovations there - paint, new floors and carpet (thanks to Maly Tile!), tables, chairs, storage, sinks, fridge, etc.
- Permits: Federal permit approved! State permit process working its way through, hoping for approval this or next month. We had our first of three rounds of zoning approvals for a Conditional Use Permit, which we are pursuing so we can have on-site purchase of bottles and serve small tastes at the location for people interested in sampling. This last week, Nick and I had a great discussion with the Town of Burke commissioners and we will meet the full Burke Board in mid-April. After that, we have a final hearing with Dane County on April 25.
- Tcotchkes: Now that designs are final, we're working through the process of getting some gear printed up for those of you that are eager to show off your tall side. Men's t-shirts, of course, are no problem to locate in tall sizes. Women's gear is proving more challenging. Our new friends at Trending Now are rapidly getting a feel for my shopping problems and they've been very good sports at looking into the body length of all the brands they carry. We might end up splitting the difference and finding unisex styles, like the raglan (baseball tee), that run long. Stay tuned. We're scoping out hats and other smaller items as well.
What's that? Oh, you were expecting to hear about alcohol in an update about a distillery? Silly readers with your pie-in-the-sky ideas.... Fortunately, there actually is some good movement on that front. Dave will be heading to Amsterdam in a week for a special training on the iStill equipment and will get a chance to do some practice runs in prep for the amazing moment when we finally have all the equipment in-house and the governmental permission to turn it on. In the meantime, he's been reading everything he can get his hands on regarding the chemistry of the distilling process and has a whole list of experiments he's hoping to run in order to dial in a great product.
We had hoped to have a product ready by St. Patrick's Day and alas, that is not to be. But there is always next year - and in the meantime, we wish you (and the Badgers) all the Luck of the Irish this week.
And just like that, it’s 2017! 2016 flew by for us with all of the planning for the distillery and we’re excited to get going on another fun year. It’s been a busy few weeks over here at Two Tall and we want to catch you up on what we’ve been up to lately.
First, I won’t bury the lead – we’re still a couple of months away from having a drinkable product. From the inquiries we’ve gotten lately, that is first and foremost in many of your minds and we understand exactly where you’re coming from. We greatly appreciate the support and enthusiasm all of you have shown and we will let you know ASAP when we get closer to that point.
Since the last update, we’ve been spending a lot of time on two main fronts – Remodeling and Paperwork. Paperwork is obviously the most exciting of these topics, so I’ll address that first.
Alcohol is a heavily regulated product. In order for us to legally make it and sell it to you, there are many, many permits and processes that must be navigated. We’ll go through the detail of some of these aspects in later posts, but the short version is that we currently have aspects of permitting moving through the federal, state, county and township levels all at the same time. There are background checks, health inspections, fire safety approvals and board meetings that must all be completed for us to get to a point where we can officially produce product. And for you to be able to come to Two Tall and sample what we made requires a whole additional set of approvals. This paperwork trail is not for the faint of heart. I have a new appreciation for every small business I interact with and every bottle of craft spirits I buy – even if you don’t like their product, admire their tenacity.
Now, the fun stuff. We’ve been hard at work physically preparing the space at 5353 Maly Road. Nick and Dave got to have their very own Fixer Upper-style demo day, where they ripped out old office walls, carpet, tile, and shelving in the storage area. [Dave got to follow the demolition up with a tetanus shot for the nail he brought home in his foot after getting a little too enthusiastic about fitting everything in the one dumpster we ordered.] Now that the space is cleared out, the next couple of weeks will include electrical work, painting, new carpet and tile and all the other odds and ends that come with remodeling. Our space won’t look like the big distilleries some of you have toured elsewhere and that’s by design – we’re aiming for a place that’s comfortable for you when you visit, but one that also keeps our costs low enough that we can focus our energy on making really good drinks.
And finally - the stills! We got confirmation this week that our 100L still is already en route from Amsterdam. We expect it to get here in late January and the 500L still will follow quickly after. We’ll be one of a dozen or so distilleries in the U.S. to have iStill equipment and one of the first to bring in the iStill NextGen series. Watch for a future post on more about what this equipment can do and why we chose it.
To get all of this done on top of our already busy jobs and family lives, we’ve set up a divide-and-conquer system. Nick is handling all things permits, sourcing and legal mumbo jumbo, Dave is in charge of distilling science and equipment, Amy is the guru of our finances and I’ll be leading communications. As such, we’ll be aiming to post more frequent updates as things really get rolling over the next few months. We'd love it if you'd follow us on our social media platforms and help spread the word.
People you think we should meet? Ideas we should mull over? Stuff you want to know in future posts? Send it my way.