American Distilling Institute

Students at the last Hands-on Whiskey & Moonshine Distilling class

Hands-on Whiskey Distilling Workshop
5 weeks left, 4 spaces still open

Stillwater Distillery, December 6 - 11, 2009 Petaluma, California

Learn how-to "mash" and make whiskey. Taste Bourbon, Whiskey & Moonshine. Visit Distilleries & Wineries. For more information call Bill Owens (510) 886-7418 and/or visit

Bus Service:  From San Francisco Airport, walk out to the center island.
Sonoma County Airport Express
Busses leave SFO at 9 a.m., 10, 11, 12:30 p.m., 2, 3:30 & 5

Sunday 2:00 PM Check-in: Metro Hotel (508 Petaluma Blvd S. Petaluma, CA 94952, (707) 773-4900)

12/6/09 4:00 PM Reception /  Mash-in Demonstration: Barley & Rye to Make Whiskey
5:00 PM Bourbon Tasting with Andrew Faulkner, ADI
6:00 PM BBQ at Stillwater Spirits

Monday 7:00 AM Coffee at Stillwater Spirits
12/7/09 9:00 AM Bill Owens, ADI, Mashing In
10:30 AM Bus to St. George Spirits/Hangar One Distillery, Alameda, CA
11:30 AM Lunch and Tour St. George Spirits/Hangar One
2:00 PM Ferry to San Francisco
3:00 PM Tour Anchor Distilling Co.
6:30 PM Whiskey Tasting at Elixer (3200 16th St) and Alembic (1725 Haight St)
8:00 PM Bus Returns to Petaluma

Tuesday 7:00 AM Coffee at Stillwater Spirits
12/8/09 8:30 AM Attorney Lynne Carmichael, Hinman & Carmichael, Licensing Your Distillery
10:30 AM Bus to Moylan's Brewery & Restaurant, Novato
11:30 AM Denise Jones, Brewmaster at Moylan's Brewery, on Whiskey Wash Production
12:00 PM Lunch at Moylan's Brewery & Restaurant
2:00 PM Bus to Cahill Winery, Sebastopol
2:30 PM Tour Cahill Winery, Barrel Charring Demonstration, Whiskey Tasting & BBQ
7:00 PM Bus Returns to Petaluma

Wednesday 7:00 AM Coffee at Stillwater Spirits
12/9/09 9:00 AM Jordan Via, Stillwater, PowerPoint, Whiskey Pot and Column Distillation
11:00 AM Jay Skovbjerg, Anton Paar, on Density Measurements
12:00 PM Lunch at Stillwater Spirits
1:00 PM John Zanini, Owens-Illinois, Custom Glass
2:00 PM Students Distill Whiskey Wash (sidebar: Labeling & COLA Process)
3:00 PM Students Distill Whiskey Wash (sidebar: Maturation)
4:00 PM Mike Nicholson, TCW / Complete Winemaker, Equipment & Supplies
5:00 PM Absinthe Tasting by Peter Schaf, Absintheur
6:30 PM Catered Dinner at Stillwater

Thursday 7:00 AM Poached Eggs Breakfast with Coffee at Stillwater Spirits
12/10/09 9:00 AM Jordan Via, Stillwater, Stripping & Spirits Distillation
10:00 AM Students Distill Whiskey Wash (sidebar: Distilling Recordkeeping)
11:30 AM Lunch at Stillwater Spirits
1:00 PM Speaker TBA
2:00 PM Students Distill Whiskey Wash (sidebar: Proofing)
3:00 PM Students Distill Whiskey Wash
5:00 PM Moonshine Tasting with Andrew Faulkner
6:00 PM Dinner at Turkish Restaurant

Friday 7:00 AM Coffee at Stillwater Spirits
12/11/09 8:30 AM Jordan Via, Stillwater, Distill Fermented Wash into Moonshine (Unaged Whiskey)
9:00 AM Students Distill Whiskey Wash
11:00 PM Lunch
12:00 PM Airport Shuttles

Pay by check:

American Distilling Institute
Box 577
Hayward, CA  94543

Use a credit card at

Or, click here to use PayPal ------------------------------------------------------ $3500      

Great American Distillers Festival

The lab at Artisan Spirits, Portland, OR

Last weekend the city of Portland, OR, proclaimed it's position once again at the crest of the wave in the craft distilling revolution by hosting the Great American Distillers Festival. With more distilleries per capita than any other city in North America, Portland made a fine show of Oregon products from Rogue Spirits, Artisan Spirits, Organic Nation, and Brandy Peaks, and attracted products from across the country like New Hampshire's Flag Hill Distillery, New York's Tuthilltown Spirits, Maine Distilleries, and Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey. In all, 22 distilleries sampled their goods for an eager crowd. The Bossanova Ballroom was packed with distillers, bartenders and consumers for a full day that included mixology contests, tasting and breakout sessions. Local distilleries opened up their doors for tours and restaurants around town featured special food parings. We sampled some new and yet to be released whiskies from House Spirits, Dry Fly Distilling, Rough Stock (Montana) and Tuthilltown Spirits. Also look for New Deal Distillery's Mudpuddle chocolate-flavored vodka. Outside of the scheduled events, the Jupiter Hotel was a hit with its artfully restored rooms, bedside condoms, earplugs and great after-hours conversations.
Developing the Formula

ADI Readers: 

Our distillery on Treasure Island is available to produce products for other distillers and brand developers.  As you know, it's very expensive and time consuming to jump through all the hoops needed to start a small liquor production company, and in many cases, it's unnecessary.  What's interesting is that you don't need a license to design, market, pour, posses, deliver or take orders for a liquor product.  You do need to have the product made by a licensed DSP, but finding one that's willing to work on your products instead of their own is nearly impossible.  When you do find a DSP to work with, you can get down to the business of product and brand development immediately.  That's where we can help.  Instead of spending months waiting for a license, get started proving and improving the product and the market - let us worry about the fire marshal, the TTB, the landlord and the tax bonds.  This cuts the start-up dollar cost down to size.  We think this is a really good idea, and so do several other companies here in California that we've already partnered with.  Let's spread the news.  I can be contacted at Bill (at) YBbev (dot) com.
Koloa Rum Company

We are a new distillery on the Island of Kauai in Hawaii.  We are making rum.  We have the first license to manufacture alcohol ever issued on Kauai.  We also have the first license to distill and sell retail in our newly constructed Plantation Style Tasting Room at the Historic Kilohana Plantation near Lihue.

Our products to open with will be KOLOA RUM white, gold, spiced and dark.  I have enclosed a photo.
The still is a beauty.  It is a solid copper pot/column still built in 1947 and refitted for our company.  It has an illustrious history.  It was shipped from Kentucky to Kauai via rail and ship.
I will also enclose a photo of the still.  Our blender, who has been blending rum for over 40 years, thinks ours is the best rum that he has ever blended in his career.  We are excited to get open, but we need to find the right manager for this beautiful location.  Our Tasting Room is located inside the Historic Kilohana Plantation of Kauai.  We will feature our products and the paintings of renowned Captain Cook era artist Raymond Massey, some of whose works hang in the Smithsonian as well as other local artist.

Distilleries For Sale   

50% Ownership of Colorado Gold Distillery
The price for 50% ownership of Colorado Gold Distillery, LLC is a package cost of $350,000.
Currently there is a loan on the distillery of approximately $239,000. Our 1/2 of this liability is $119,500 and would have to be assumed by the buyer, reducing your cash at closing to approximately $230,500. At this time the loan payments are being paid by the distillery.
In addition if you are able to close within 90 days from signing a contract we will reduce the price by another $5,000 bringing your cash at closing to $225,500.
We cannot speak for our partners but if you are interested in purchasing 100% ownership of Colorado Gold Distillery, LLC, I would be glad to present them with an offer for their consideration.
This is a great investment in an established business that is on the leading edge of a craft distillery boom. We look forward to your future purchase of 50% ownership in Colorado Gold Distillery, LLC.
If you have looked into the craft distillery start up numbers you will recognize that $350,000 ($225,500 at closing) for 50% ownership in an established, working and growing craft distillery is a real BARGAIN.
Doug Tuttle
Craft Distilling Industry Booming!
The craft distillery industry will redefine the spirits world. Craft distilling will take spirits distilling to it's original roots when all spirits were small batch, craft distilled.
Unique and high quality spirits using a wide variety of local agricultural products will give people many different choices that they do not have at this time.
Craft distilling today is what craft brewing was 25 years ago. Craft distilling is about to explode onto the national spirits market. You can be a part of this grassroots industry.
To purchase the equipment, build up the distillery, build up a profitable retail store, bring in the inventories of raw materials, packaging, bourbon and bottled spirits a distillery like this would cost you upwards of $500,000. Before you ever sold a bottle of spirits.
If you add the marketing, promotion and a solid supportive base of 150 wholesale accounts the costs would be considerably more. Possibly doubling the original $500,000.
Finally it is a FUN business. A unique business people love to hear about and be part of. Craft distilling is truly a slice of Americana and a look back into our rich history.

Grande Sole Corporation

Founded in 2000 by Loisanne Mamone, Grand Sole Corporation is classified as a distilled spirit plant (DSP). The licenses held by Grande Sole allow them to rectify, produce and distribute wholesale 'cordial', a distilled spirit. Grande Sole is organized in California as a corporation. 

Grande Sole manufactures authentic Italian recipes of creamy fruit liqueurs. These fine, centuries old creations combine real fruits and alcohol along with other ingredients to produce a heavenly cream liqueur classified with the ATTB as a Cordial.

Contact, email: or cell phone:  (626) 824-6696 for details.

You Probably Didn't Contemplate Becoming a Moonshiner in Retirement.
Maybe You Should ...

Artisan Moonshining may be a great, perfectly legal encore career for retirees. You can get started for about $75k, the business requires little staff, and participants typically are consumed with a passion for their work.
 "I got a call last week from a 61-year-old retired sea captain from Mississippi and I asked him what he was going to do for the rest of his life," says Bill Owens, executive director of American Distilling Institute in Hayward, CA. 

"'Make the best damn rum in the world,' he tells me. That's the kind of guy you find in this business."

There are an increasing number of folks with that kind of passion. Six years ago, there were 65 artisan distillers in the US. Today there are 165 and growing. Owens' new book, Modern Moonshining Techniques ($45, outlines the $75k distillery project and anticipates a 10-month start up period before you start selling product in many states. It assumes that you have a 2,000/sf space in which to work (if not, add the cost of rental space) and be prepared for hiccups particularly to obtain state and federal licensing which has taken up to two years in difficult states.
These new distilleries produce an array of spirits, vodka, gin, rye, single-malt whiskey, liqueurs and artisan drinks like grappa, eau de vie and absinthe. Locally produced spirits have proven to be very attractive to the marketplace because folks like buying local and sustainable, Owens says.  Vermont Spirits makes a strong-selling vodka made from maple syrup collected on the owner's farm (see The family moved to Vermont to do organic farming but turned to distilling in 1998 to support themselves.

"The idea was simple - vodka from maple sap. They set out to tap the maple trees for sugar, develop the springs for pure water, cut firewood for the stills. From their own hemlocks and pine, they built a post and beam barn on the old foundation to house the stills. The stills themselves were fashioned from maple arches with high towers to catch and condense the steam," the company's web site says.

They were ready with their first delivery 18 months later but the distillery burned down and they had to rebuilt. They have been in the stores since 2001.

 A cherry brandy made from an oversupply of cherries in northern Michigan is very popular in that state.  Distillers are most often found in the fruit producing states of Michigan, Oregon, Maine and California where ingredients are fresh and plentiful, Owens said.

The sea captain from Mississippi should have a ready market for the rum he plans to make because his region grows the sugar cane from which rum is made, Owen said. Celebration Distillation Corp. in New Orleans makes a very popular rum sold throughout the southeast (, said Owens.

"Anybody doing rum in that part of the world can do well," says Owens.
Much like the food industry, the spirits industry is dominated by giant corporations - nine companies control 99% of the market - but little 3-employee companies are taking market share from them in local communities, said Owens.

"That's the thing about this business. People love the idea of little guys making high quality products and they not only love talking about it, they buy it too, Owens said.

Owens himself runs two stills and is working on a process to distill liquor from donuts that are about to be thrown out.

"There's lots of perfectly good sugar going to waste in those donuts," Owens said.

Although outsized profits are difficult to achieve, people are making a very good living at the business - even though the industry is one in which the middle-men - distributors and retailers - take about 70% of the revenue, Owen says. The federal government regulates what distillers can call their products and whiskey must be aged two years before it can be called Bourbon, a long wait for a newcomer. The law allows distillers that age whiskey for a year or more to call their products Baby Bourbon, and that is selling very well for the artisans. One artisan distiller, Tuthilltown Spirits, established in 2001, produces Baby bourbon which is selling so well they have been begun selling the product in Europe, Owens said.

Tuthilltown ( calls itself the first legal distillery in New York since Prohibition and calls its Baby Bourbon its best selling product. The New York Post calls the company a "glorious contraption and the New York Times features its rye whiskey as the heart of "The Real Manhattan", the cocktail that became the in-drink in New York 70 years ago.

"This is not rocket science, contrary to the myth the big alcohol producers have propagated," Tuthilltown co-owner Ralph Erenzo told the New York Post. "What's hard is not the process, it's everything you have to do to bring the product to market."

Before 1920, when the Volstead Act made sobriety mandatory, there were more than 1,200 farm distilleries in New York. After repeal, wineries and breweries returned, with recent decades seeing an ongoing boom in both fields, the Post said. But it took nearly 70 years for distilleries to return.
The best distillers tend to people who have cut their teeth on beer brewing and wine making, Owen said. "With that experience you have a significant leg up," Owens said.  But newcomers with no experience fill a number of the 15 slots at the American Distillers Institute's annual Hands-on Whiskey Distilling Workshop (to be held this year, Dec. 7-11, 2009 in Petuluma, CA) and fill the halls of ADI's annual conference (to be held in Louisville, April 6-9, 2010).  Newcomers are entering the business.

The training workshop in California features sessions on brewing, distilling and maturation, and mashing and fermentation. There is also a session providing hands-on bottling experience and another with an industry lawyer on how to obtain a DSP (a Distilled Spirits Plant permit.) There is also a considerable amount of training on how to taste the various types of spirits.

Poll:  Would you like The Unruly Mob us to organize a webinar on this topic featuring experts and industry veterans?
In This Issue:
Great American Distillers Festival
Developing the Formula
Koloa Rum Co.
Distilleries For Sale
Moonshiner in Retirement