The 11 Worst Mistakes Distillery Rookies Make—And How To Avoid Them

If you’re considering starting a distillery, there are a few things you should know first. 

low light photography of pile of barrels

Here are the 11 worst mistakes that rookies make—and how to avoid them.

1. Not Doing Your Research

The first and perhaps most important mistake that rookies make is not doing their research. This industry is highly regulated, and there’s a lot you need to know before getting started. Make sure to read up on the basics of distilling, understand the regulations in your area, and talk to other distillers to get an idea of what you’re getting into.

2. Skimping On Equipment

Distilling is an investment, both in terms of money and time. Don’t skimp on equipment, as it will only lead to frustration down the road. Invest in a good still, fermentation tanks, and all of the necessary accessories. It’s also important to have a dedicated space for your distillery—a garage or basement is usually sufficient.

3. Not Having A Business Plan

Another mistake that rookies make is not having a solid business plan. This is a business, after all, and you need to treat it as such. Know your goals, understand your target market, and have a plan for selling your product. Without a business plan, it’s easy to get off track and make costly mistakes.

4. Underestimating The Cost Of Production

Many rookie distillers underestimate the cost of production, thinking that they can make their product for next to nothing. The reality is that quality ingredients and equipment come at a price, and you need to factor that into your business plan. Don’t try to cut corners—it will only lead to an inferior product.

5. Overestimating The Demand For Your Product

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a distillery and overestimate the demand for your product. While it’s great to have ambitious goals, it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in the early stages of your business. Start small and scale up as you gain more customers.

6. Not Having A Tasting Room

A lot of rookies make the mistake of not having a tasting room, thinking that it’s an unnecessary expense. The reality is that a tasting room is a great way to connect with your customers and build brand awareness. If you’re not able to have a physical space, consider setting up a virtual tasting room on your website or social media platforms.

7. Not Understanding The Laws And Regulations

The distilled spirits industry is highly regulated, and it’s important to understand the laws and regulations in your area before getting started. Each state has its own rules and requirements, so make sure you do your research and understand what you need to do to stay compliant. Failure to comply with the law can lead to heavy fines or even jail time.

8. Hiring Inexperienced Staff

Another mistake that many rookie distillers make is hiring inexperienced staff. This is a technical process, and you need to have qualified and experienced employees to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Don’t be afraid to invest in training for your staff—it will pay off in the long run.

9. Not Having Proper Insurance

Insurance is a necessity in any business, but it’s especially important in the distilled spirits industry. This is a risky business, and you need to make sure you’re properly insured against potential accidents or liabilities. Talk to your insurance agent about what coverage you need and make sure you’re properly protected.

10. Not Being Patient

Distilling is an art, and it takes time to perfect the process. Many rookie distillers make the mistake of rushing the process, thinking that they can shortcut their way to success. The reality is that haste makes waste, and you need to be patient if you want to produce a quality product.

11. Failing To Market Your Product

Last but not least, many rookie distillers fail to market their products effectively. This is a competitive industry, and you need to make sure your product stands out from the crowd. Invest in marketing and promotional materials, and make sure potential customers know about your products and where to find them.

Avoiding these mistakes will help you get off to a strong start in the distilled spirits industry. With a little planning and patience, you can be on your way to success. Check out Brewery Mornington