“When are you opening?” That’s the question we get all the time. Believe me, I wish I knew. I had hoped we would have a soft opening by the end of October, but here it is October 21, already. We both knew that this adventure was going to be a struggle, but I don’t think either one of us realized how the mini projects would slow us down.
One project that is taking much longer than I thought is the labeling. I first ran into budget issues when it came to designing the labels and I couldn’t hire a designer. Therefore I had to create them myself. While being able to create them is fulfilling, the learning curve ate up a big chunk of time. Currently I have four labels created, two have been approved and two are still awaiting approval. I thought the label approval would be the hardest part–wrong! I soon learned that my custom label design (cut-out) would require a custom die cut from the label printer. That is another $300-$400 per die. So, I put my fake graphic designer hat back on and did some redesigning. I now have my label designed for a standard die cut. I was fortunate enough to have done these changes before the TTB requested label corrections. That was an interesting experience as well—a story for another time. Nonetheless, I was able to resubmit the new design. The next step was to decide which label maker to use and what paper do I want. I worked with 3 different companies to get quotes and made a decision yesterday. I’m now waiting to see a sample and hope to have labels in the next couple weeks. I started this label process 4 months ago.
Along with the labels our other hold up is the gas company. Dave had to convert our gas line to a larger pipe size. This is now causing the gas company to do some internal engineering with an approval process. We were initially told that it would take 1 to 2 months to get us hooked up. I got word today that they hope to have the gas hook up in a couple of weeks. I still have a page long “to-do” list but it’s probably only about 30 hours of work. Dave has some final plant hook-up tasks and the tasting room is 85% done. We are getting close.
Now back to the question, “When are we opening?” If we can get the natural gas hooked up in two weeks and I get my labels, I am hoping to be open by Thanksgiving. However, this will be a soft opening. We haven’t been able to run any product yet because we don’t have the natural gas to fuel our boiler which will heat the stills. We will only have a couple of products available at the start. This wasn’t our plan, but as I have mentioned before our plan may not be His plan.
Thank you all for your support. We are working hard to get the doors open to welcome you in.
Dave, Shelly & Hank, aka “Bad Dog”