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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Partnerships in the Distilling Business

Craft distilling is the heart and soul of the alcohol movement. Many craft distillers began as hobbyists, keeping their day jobs while focusing night and weekend efforts on perfecting their spirits. And those efforts paid off: the industry is...

Secrets to Swimming with the (Financial) Sharks

First, do this: go online and search “Balcones whiskey and its investors.” The Balcones lesson is this: once you take investor money, your company changes. It is no longer purely a vehicle for your art. Investor money puts you on...

Direct Consumer Sales

State laws that govern whether or not distilleries can sell bottles directly to consumers have a dramatic affect on a distillery’s ability to stay in business. Nowhere is this more evident than in the state where the craft revolution...

TTB vs FDA

When it comes to understanding the authority differences between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), there is a great deal of confusion among craft distillers. What role does the FDA have on...

The Sourcing Transition

New distilleries that make aged spirits always face the same problem: How can they build their brand and business before their own spirits are ready? Some distilleries have the patience and resources simply to wait, laying down whiskey or...

Taking Sides

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” — Desmond Tutu There has been a lot of turmoil in the world lately, and as a human I’m sure you’ve noticed it and...

Ten Ways I Freed my Distillery from Environmental Irresponsibility

Does your distillery have a “deathprint”? Every kilowatt-hour of coal-generated electricity is 670 times more likely to kill someone than wind power. Every plastic cup used at tasting events will hang around for 450 years or more in piles of...

What’s in a Name?

As craft distilleries proliferate to over 1,000 across the country, finding a branding path through an alcoholic beverage industry teeming with craft brewers and wineries has become increasingly hard. For a craft distillery intent on developing a distinctive brand,...

Mr. (Smith) Distiller Goes to Washington

It was my privilege to represent ADI at the recent Public Policy Conference hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council and the American Craft Spirits Association in Washington, D.C. Several dozen distillers joined the more than 100 delegates that walked...

Defending Yourself from Trademark Infringement

What should you do when someone accuses you of “trademark infringement,” often in a certified letter written by a lawyer? This article contains some suggestions on how to handle the situation. What is Trademark Infringement? Trademark infringement occurs when consumers are...