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Shoot holes in my budget and plan :)

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Post time 2022-11-28 15:47:57 | Show all posts |Read mode
Hi everyone,
We're about to pull the trigger after about three years of work on our plans. We're building a building next to/attached to our cheese company, and have different products and goals than many on these forums. First, we want to use primarily our whey. Second, we want to limit our labor so much as beneficially possible for the value in the short-term, running just one day a week at first (running the still one day a week... not including sales, retail, bottling, etc.). Third, we want to be able to grow over time (and add all that labor back). We have good foot traffic already and believe capturing just a percentage of that, plus some wholesale, will allow us to immediately cashflow the distillery equipment (as this expansion is part of a larger cheese-related project). New building is 100x40, but distillery space is 50x20, with another 50x20 and 50x10 work areas (cheese caves, refrigeration, freezer/fridge take up another fourth). Upstairs, we have our retail area which is about 50x50. All this is added on to a two-story building that's 50x40.
The building is weird because it includes large cheese caves, refrigerator and freezer, but then we have the benefit of shared offices, packaging, shipping, receiving, and loading dock. We already have steady foot traffic, and by our state's laws under this license we can direct sell bottles on-premises, direct wholesale, and will be able to add a license in a separate space for retail.  We're starting with whey, and I need a $100,000 machine to do that to bring it to 13-20 Brix lactose water. We also are growing cider/alcohol-specific apples, so will be able to make brandy, that a local cidery will be able to press and return as liquid. So, everything will begin with fermentation post-cooker Therefore, here's the plan, with my self-implied budget of $150,000:
$85,000 for a 4" continuous still that we'll use 4 hours per week for now, but if we wanted to add corn or increase our whey output, would be able to obviously use 50+ hours per week down the road. Will get us to 150 proof, but for $15,000 more could add a vodka column (waiting on some licensing rulings to see if we can/should do vodka), plus a $7,500 mini steam generator$7,000 for three 15-gallon milkcan stills for gin, aquavit and a third for other flavorings.$22,000 for three 100 gallon fermenters$4,000 for temperature controls on fermenters$23,000 for a milk bottling machine (so we can use for both milk and spirits, I realize I can get a filler for ~$4,000)Also budgeted for explosion proof outlets, anton-parr alcoholometer, and have space in four rooms to age barrels. Yes, there's working capital, building cost, etc., but just looking at what do I need for equipment, and these are essentially the four items (five with the whey filtration machine) it comes down to in my case. What am I missing?
Goal is to make araga (single-run whey vodka-like product) and barreled araga, as well as brandy, gin, aquavit and maybe vodka. We are a dairy farm with corn and alfalfa, so with a cooker could do silage corn to do corn whisky (trying to stay gluten-free as several family members have Celiac disease) or grow/buy something new. Law basically dictates 50% needs to be made here, but our RO water should be recaptured through our milk/whey as well.
In the picture: Top 1/3 of each floor is already built, bottom 2/3 we break ground for in the spring (plus septic system).
So what am I missing (especially in terms of equipment?). Shoot - I'll duck!


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