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Obtaining distilling license

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Postby Irish Party Ale » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:54 pm

Con Con wrote:A premises or place may only be approved as a distillery where it contains a still of a capacity of not less than 1800 litres.
I believe thats what is known in the trade as a 'barrier to entry'
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Postby Will_D » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:25 am

Con Con wrote:The new regulations are yet to be completed. I was forwarded a standard letter for the application procedure.

...
2. A Manufacturers Licence is required by all Distillers / Manufacturers of spirits
and may be obtained on application to the National Excise Licensing Office,
Government Building, The Glen, Waterford on payment of the appropriate fee.
A court certificate is required if the largest still has a capacity of less than 400
gallons (1819 Litres) . A current Tax Clearance Certificate is required before the
licence can be issued / renewed. The licence expires on the 30th. September each
year. A premises or place may only be approved as a distillery where it contains
a still of a capacity of not less than 1800 litres.


I would read this as implying that you can still distill small amounts (with a court certificate) but that if over 1800 stills are on site then the site must be approved as a distillery

How do others read this?

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Postby Gues7 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:35 am

I would have interpreted it as anywhere you distill is a distillery and in order to be legally certified as a distillery you must be able to distill over 1800 litres...

Although I like your interpretation much more than mine :)
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Postby Will_D » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:46 am

So why even mention the less than 1800 stills and the court?

Will
Drinking:........HBC AG Kit American APA
Pri Fermenting:..AG Paulaner
Sec Fermenting:..LaTrappe Dubbel, AG Pilsner, Aventius AG Clone
Kegged: .........Cider
To Brew:.........HoorsLite, Hefe Dunkel, Dark Pilsner
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Postby TheBeerNut » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:53 am

Because if you're a small distiller (ie 1800 litre batches) you need court certification. If you're big (1819L+), you don't. My reading is that 1800L is the minimum size and there's an extra hoop to jump through if you're going to be that small.

The most depressing thing about this, I think, is the way they expect you to fully scope out, spec and draw up the plans for your premises and system, and then they tell you not to buy any of it until you have approval. I imagine lots of phone calls to vendors saying "Sorry, not heard from the Revenue yet", followed by things being sold out from under you, followed by having to start the whole application process again :x It must be nearly impossible to start a commercial distillery other than as an add-on to an existing business where you already have room to spare for it. I certainly don't envy the Porterhouse with their project.
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Postby donnchadhc » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:34 am

TheBeerNut wrote:The most depressing thing about this, I think, is the way they expect you to fully scope out, spec and draw up the plans for your premises and system, and then they tell you not to buy any of it until you have approval. I imagine lots of phone calls to vendors saying "Sorry, not heard from the Revenue yet", followed by things being sold out from under you, followed by having to start the whole application process again :x It must be nearly impossible to start a commercial distillery other than as an add-on to an existing business where you already have room to spare for it. I certainly don't envy the Porterhouse with their project.


I suppose it's like everything else, you need good partners. I know if someone came in here who was serious about setting up a distillary we would definitely work with them every step of the way and not sell/lease a building from under their noses. But then there are people who would, however you are starting a business which is, by it's very nature, taking a risk.

I'd read the 1800 litres as the revenue ensuring that you put appropriate capital into a project that you are less likely to run off with a load of duty-able (made up word :-) ) produce. Basically, covering their arses. They do the same thing for bonded warehouses, less warehouses the less checking they have to do.
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Postby Biertourist » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:06 pm

How do you explain Kilbeggin? (I just visited last Thursday and despite having the old broken stills on display, they're brewing from a VERY small still that is no where near 1800 Liters. It would seem that SOMEHOW it's possible to distill legally with a still capacity lower than 1800 liters.


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P.S. I have to recommend AGAINST the 2007 Kilbeggin that they're selling at the distillery right now; it's VERY rough, but it is interesting to see what whiskey MIGHT have tasted like long ago.
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Postby Tube » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:18 pm

A while back I read something about a certain well known brewer continually lobbying the government and Dept of Finance to change laws and taxes in order to make it harder for anyone to distill whiskey, on several premises such as whiskey consumption leads to more drunkenness than beer, and were usually successful. Some of these date back to British times.

I think it's time for some organisation to start seriously lobbying the government for a reform of all these silly laws that are preventing Ireland from becoming the whiskey (and beer) capital of the world, on the basis that it would help get us out of the hole we're in, and keep us out of it.
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Postby TheBeerNut » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:29 pm

Biertourist wrote:How do you explain Kilbeggin?
Joint certification with Cooley, perhaps.
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Postby donnchadhc » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:33 pm

Biertourist wrote:How do you explain Kilbeggin? (I just visited last Thursday and despite having the old broken stills on display, they're brewing from a VERY small still that is no where near 1800 Liters. It would seem that SOMEHOW it's possible to distill legally with a still capacity lower than 1800 liters.


Adam
P.S. I have to recommend AGAINST the 2007 Kilbeggin that they're selling at the distillery right now; it's VERY rough, but it is interesting to see what whiskey MIGHT have tasted like long ago.


Kilbeggan is owned by Cooley Distilleries and is currently made in their distillery in Co. Louth as far as I know. Production only started mid nougthies in Kilbeggan so won't be ready for a few years yet. They would have applied for a sub 1800 licence through the courts as per Con's revenue email I would think if it is under 1800. Much easier to do when you have other well selling whiskey's in your stable and are able to point this out to the revenue! :-)
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Postby donnchadhc » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:05 pm

I know this is off topic, but while we're on Kilbeggan, I was talking to my father about Kilbeggan and he told me an interesting story about Lockes Distillery (the original distillers). In the 40's they were caught committing one of the biggest frauds in the state when they had a siphon under the road diverting whiskey away from their bonded warehouse to another warehouse. Of course, this was done unbeknownst to the revenue commissioners! It meant they were evading paying duty on a large portion of their produce. Sorry, back on topic now.
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Postby Biertourist » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:53 pm

donnchadhc wrote:Kilbeggan is owned by Cooley Distilleries and is currently made in their distillery in Co. Louth as far as I know. Production only started mid nougthies in Kilbeggan so won't be ready for a few years yet. They would have applied for a sub 1800 licence through the courts as per Con's revenue email I would think if it is under 1800. Much easier to do when you have other well selling whiskey's in your stable and are able to point this out to the revenue! :-)


It's also made in the Kilbeggan distillery for the last couple years; they're branding the Kilbeggan-made version "Distillery Reserve" or something like that (I'll have to check the bottle) but they charge a lot more for it and it's actually made in the small Kilbeggan distillery. (I've seen the new still with my own eyes and I've stood right over the actively fermenting wash, and I've bought the 3 year old whiskey and it's sitting in my cabinet; there's whiskey being made on premises for certain.)


-And they've set aside a barrel for President Obama, on a completely random note! ;)

And I'm not saying it's an EASY or even fair process to get through but Kilbeggan is distilling on less than 1800 liters so it would appear that it is POSSIBLE to get through the legal/process 7th ring of hell to get approval for a <1800 liter distillery.

I AM curious about what progress has made at the "Dingle Distillery" and what size still they have. http://www.thedinglewhiskeydistillery.ie/

-Their flyer says that they'll have the ability to produce 1250 liters in a day which makes me think that they're also below the 1800 liter still capacity number...


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Postby donnchadhc » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:15 pm

There's a historic licence and bond on the site, that may have something to do with it. And, as per Con Con's post, you can get a sub-1800 license via the courts. It's just an extra hoop to go through. Easier to do if you are a distiller with a good selling stable behind you.
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Postby Biertourist » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:31 am

donnchadhc wrote:There's a historic licence and bond on the site, that may have something to do with it. And, as per Con Con's post, you can get a sub-1800 license via the courts. It's just an extra hoop to go through. Easier to do if you are a distiller with a good selling stable behind you.


The Dingle Distillery site's PDF (linked to from the homepage) has some GREAT insight into their business model and plans for any aspiring possible Irish Craft Distillers.

Produce alternative products available immediately for sale while waiting on the distilled product to mature in the barrels: they've got an Irish Cream and a spiced aperitif. They've also got the data on how they're getting capital and investors in the PDF. Pretty interesting read for sure. (No rocket science stuff but always good to see what people are actually doing.)


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Postby Bruceleesgran » Sat May 28, 2011 7:52 am

I have been looking into setting up a micro distillery and my contact in the revenue department informed me you need a 1800l still but he's going to find out how the dingle distillery are getting round it.

He did say the only way he knew you could get a smaller still was if you had an existing licence and need to replace your still due to damage, finance situation etc.

Anyway ill let you know how i get on.
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