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Deep South Distillery

Deep South Distillery – On the brink of opening

Well – it’s September 2017, and after nearly two years  of thinking, planning, drinking and getting involved in a myriad of things that have nothing to do with making premium craft spirits, we are nearly at the starting line.

Opening a craft distillery, at least on the scale we have set out to do, is not for the faint hearted.!

It needs deep pockets, endless patience in dealing with things outside one’s control (people, suppliers, regulators and other organizations) , and a deep and unwavering self-belief.  It is after all, one of the most regulated industries that exists, and if one wants to operate ethically and legally, as we do, it’s the name of the game.

We have needed to apply for, and wait for, trading licences, liquor licences, VAT and tax registration, incorporation and warehouse licences to name but a few.  And each application process has required reams of permissions, certifications and verifications.

And then there is the research that goes into establishing a reliable supply chain, whether it be identifying bottle and cork suppliers label designers and printers, box manufacturers, suppliers of cleaning chemicals, botanicals and other raw materials for making spirits.

There have been many great moments, and if one takes time to try to enjoy the long journey rather than fixate on the destination, there is joy and great satisfaction to be gained from knocking the problems on the head one by one.   It has been a satisfying project to renovate the two small factories we purchased to bring them from a state of non-compliance, clutter, dirt and disrepair into something that will be a clean, safe and hygienic place to make great spirits and host tastings.

The starting point of it all was of course the business plan, with the vision of brand identity and product range, and the market research needed to understand the industry.

The learning curve has been huge, and apart from the challenge of the chemistry, biology and physics that go hand in hand with mastering the art and science of distillation, we now know more about drainage, cooling systems, plumbing, construction, legislation, and process control than we ever cared to know!   But we have also come to realise that we will never stop needing to learn new things and keeping abreast of trends, legislation and the general economy.  And no doubt there will continue to be mistakes and problems along the way!

So perhaps there will be a few blogs reflecting on lessons learned over the first few phases of getting started, and hopefully more musings to come about the really fun things which we believe are around the corner.  Maybe a workshop or training course or two and perhaps even a book one day, telling the story of our journey!

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