This post was originally shared with our newsletter fans on July 31, 2020. To receive the latest and greatest info as it happens, be sure to sign up for our newsletter on our homepage.
WHIZ-BANG GLASS & DISTILLING REQUIREMENTS
Can you believe it's already the end of July, Hinterhaus fans? Our days have been devoted to completing renovations at our location in Arnold, CA. Because we'll be distilling, bottling, labeling and selling our spirits all in the same spot, no stone has been left unturned. Our production space requires particular attention to detail as it's the beating heart of our enterprise.
This week, we were thrilled- if not a wee bit nervous- to gingerly accept delivery of our two super high-tech, 'whiz bang!' (in Nate's words) fire and impact-rated interior glass panels that will enable our patrons to peek inside our distilling operations from the comfort of our tasting room. These puppies are so rare that we could only source them in southern California and they had to be custom made for our specs. Though this was quite the splurge for us, the glass panels allow us to meet our local jurisdiction requirements while keeping the mandatory separation of distilling plant vs customer space set forth by the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB). With a lot of rules and regulations to abide by, that brings us to a question we get asked a lot...
HOW DO YOU START A DISTILLERY, ANYWAY?
The answer is complex enough to take up the entire contents of a book, and drive some to resort to moonshining (though the consequences of owning and operating any unregistered still is enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and that's assuming your still and liquor isn't your own worst enemy, first). If you read our last newsletter, you'll remember that many of the regulations we encounter as alcohol distillers root back to the days of Prohibition when authorities tried to counteract dangerous shine while collecting hefty sin taxes. As a producer of distilled spirits we fall under the Federal Government's 'Distilled Spirits Plant' designation, aka DSP. The TTB enforces various regulations on DSPs to ensure that distilled spirit plants are safely and securely operated, and that they produce alcohol fit for human consumption (as opposed to the tainted hooch that used to blind people).
To obtain a DSP, you need to make an initial investment of time and money in purchasing your distilling equipment (this means your most expensive piece of equipment, the still, among other things), securing a building, and going through the extensive federal licensing process. For many craft distillers, this process alone can take nearly a year and sets a high bar.
Once you obtain your federal DSP license, you go through a similar process at the state-level. At Hinterhaus, we obtained both our state and federal permits to produce distilled spirits in the spring. But we can't stop there or else we'd already be up and running! Local jurisdictions don't hold sway over the actual distillation procedures but they do have their own requirements of businesses in order to operate. That's where our Hinterhaus renovations come into play. And once we meet the county's requirements, dear friends, we can put our state and federal distilling licenses to use and bring you all what you really want....
spirits made right here in Arnold!
As always, check out our Facebook Page for the latest video updates from Bonnie.
We look forward to bringing you our spirits as soon as we can. Until then,
We raise a glass to you, Hinterhaus fans!
Bonnie & Nate Randall
Founders, Owners, Operators