…This Workshop gave me the foundations to start experimenting at home while I gather the information to start my craft distilling business… L.T. – Toronto, Canada
…I came here with no knowledge of distilling and I am leaving here with a lot of useful information plus the confidence to start distilling…. M.S. – Ontario, Canada
…An excellent course that covers the elements necessary to help one understand distilling. Very well explained!!
C.L. – Alberta, Canada
I specialize in working with Craft distillers in Canada and the USA to host 5 day Distillery Workshops. These Workshops are ideally suited for the person seeking to perhaps someday open his/her own Craft Distillery.
** NOTE** In my 5 Day Workshops the subject of home distilling will arise. Please note that this is against the law in most jurisdictions. Even though the subject of home distilling might be raised, Prohibition University and its founder do not condone or approve of home distilling. If you decide to take the information from a 5-Day Workshop and apply it towards home distilling, you and you alone are responsible for the end results and consequences.
At any of my Workshops, class instruction is done by myself – a graduate of the U.K. based Institute for Brewing & Distilling, a candidate for the degree of M.Sc. at Heriot Watt University and the founder of Prohibition University.
Hands-on, practical instruction is generally handled by the Master Distiller of the host craft distillery.
My workshops are guaranteed to be the most in-depth, hands-on experience offered anywhere in Canada or the USA.
I do not bring in people from other distilleries to teach you about distilling. I do not tour you around to other distilleries. You get my full and un-divided attention each and every day. You also get the full and un-divided attention of the host Distillery team every day.
All hands-on activity in a Workshop is done on commercially made mash tanks and stills, NOT on home-made, backyard tanks and stills welded together from old beer kegs.
To maximize the learning opportunity for participants, I prefer to limit enrollment to a maximum of 14 people per workshop.
The general format of a 5-day Workshop will cover the following. The format of a 3 day event will be similar in content and scope to the 5 day event, but will have reduced emphasis on Business Planning and Marketing.
History of Alcohol – where did this magical elixir come from?
Spirit Definitions – Canadian and/or USA spirits definitions and a look at what we legally cannot make.
Raw Materials & Fermentation Science – learn about un-malted grain, malted grain, tubers, fruit, molasses, honey, water, yeast, yeast nutrition and the fermentation model all in the context of your business plan.
Distillation Fundamentals – learn about the art and science of distillation as it pertains to moonshine, vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, brandy and liqueurs with business plan and equipment consideration.
Gauging/Proofing of Spirits – learn about the Excise Canada and TTB methods for proofing alcohol.
Oak Barrel Aging – learn what really happens inside an oak barrel.
Packaging – the consumer will judge your product on its bottle, label, cap, cork. Make it all count.
Business of Distilling – once you have made it, then you must sell it. Dig deeper into the construct of a business plan, financing arrangements and financial forecasts.
Distillery Marketing Techniques – grabbing the attention of the consumer can be a challenge. Learn some of the psychological techniques being used by the big commercial distillers.
Licensing and Compliance – spirits production is heavily regulated. Dig deep into the Provincial / State rules and regulations.
Vendors – learn where to go and where not to go when it comes to sourcing equipment and supplies for your start-up distillery.
Upon completion of a Workshop, you will be invited to join a Linked In Discussion Group where like-minded people can exchange information and post questions.
I will provide you with a Certificate of Completion. Presentation of this Certificate to Hillbilly Stills in Barlow, KY will entitle you to a 10% discount on the purchase of a Hillbilly Still.
Workshop learning and hands-on activity of a typical 5-day event is structured as follows:
You will be treated to a colorful review of the History of Alcohol interspersed with various samplings and critical analysis of spirits that the Canadian/American consumer is accustomed to seeing on the shelf. As a craft distiller, one must be cognizant of these products and their shortcomings if one is to create and market a product that will compete for the consumer’s attention.
You will be engaged in a study of the legal definitions of spirit types in Canada and the USA as set down by Canadian Food and Drug Regulations and/or the TTB. This study will be interspersed with samplings and critical analysis of various craft distilled spirits to illustrate the creative possibilities available to a craft distiller.
You will enjoy plenty of floor time in the Distillery during the day to study the layout of a working distillery and the various pieces of equipment needed for successful distillery operation.
You will participate in the creation of a small-scale mash of malted grain.
You will then delve into a detailed study of grains and other raw materials available to a craft distiller as well as a detailed study of the grain malting process.
You will then learn about the nasty bacteria that can cause problems to a distiller. You will be introduced to the various sanitizing chemicals that a distiller can use to combat bacteria.
This classroom work will then be followed by hands-on grinding of some grain and the making of a full-size mash.
A detailed examination of water, yeast and the science behind the fermentation process will follow.
You will then be treated to an in depth discussion of the various botanicals that a craft distiller can use in making Gin.
You will be treated to a practical introduction to some of the tools that a craft distiller will use to analyze a mash.
You will enjoy more floor time in the Distillery during the day to further study and evaluate the layout of a working distillery and the various pieces of equipment needed for successful distillery operation.
The success of any craft distillery will rest in large part on its ability to reach out to the consumer and market its craft distilled creations. There is much more to marketing than just running a few ads here and there. Marketing is a science unto itself. I delve deep into the science of marketing and as a practical exercise to compliment your learning the class will work together to critique and analyze other craft distillers’ websites. This in-depth study of marketing is interspersed with more samplings and critical analysis of various craft distilled spirits.
You will enjoy more floor time in the Distillery during the day to further study and evaluate the layout of a working distillery and the various pieces of equipment needed for successful distillery operation
The mathematics and physics of the distillation process at first glance appear complex. But, distillation is easily understandable and this portion of the workshop will ensure that you fully understand the process.
To put your distillation knowledge to work, you will then engage in hands-on participation of filling a still with a fermented mash. Then, under the guidance of the host Master Distiller the class will work together to conduct a stripping run. You will make the heads and tails cuts and you will taste and smell the heads and the tails. The spent mash from this distillation run will be pumped from the still and time permitting the class will re-load the still and conduct a second stripping run.
As a craft distiller you will have to proof your spirits down to a suitable alcoholic strength. We introduce you to the Canadian Excise Tables / TTB Excise Tables and show you how to use them. The class will then work in pairs to engage in some hands-on proofing using the Excise Tables.
As a craft distiller, you will possibly mature your distilled spirits in Oak barrels. We will delve into the science of oak barrel aging.
Bottle filling, packaging and labeling is a vital part of the craft distilling process. You will explore the various options available to a craft distiller for caps, bottles and labels.
Every Province / State regards craft distilling in a different light. You will explore the various requirements of the different Provinces / States. This will be complimented with a discussion of the necessary Federal Excise requirements including surety bonds.
You will critically analyze the structure of a business plan and will be shown how the 4-P’s of marketing can be properly used in a business plan.
You will be shown you how to prepare the financial projections for your planned craft distilling operation so you can determine your needed equipment sizes and capabilities.
More floor time with the host Distillery team will be made available throughout this final day so you can ask any final questions about anything that you have learned about during the week.
The end of your course does not mean the end of your relationship with Prohibition University. As you take steps towards creating your craft distillery I will be available to help you with your business plan, your marketing strategies and even some recipe development.
In 2017, I will once again be at Urban Distilleries, Kelowna, BC. conducting 5 and 6 day Workshops. Please see the Urban Distilleries website to register for a Workshop.
I have also recently approached the Administrators at IBD to propose the hosting of Exam Prep classes for exam candidates in Canada and the USA. More details will be announced hopefully soon on this proposal.