Do you have a relationship with a cooperage for when your oak trees are ready for harvesting, or is Black Button Cooperage the next venture? Haha! We are going to work with Adirondack cooperage in Remsen, New York. There are no intentions to start a cooperage of our own. While we love being in full control of the process, when we find great partners who have the same values and devotion to craft that we do, we are happy to partner with them.
Could you explain the logistics of being your one and only customer? Well luckily the distillery knows what it wants to make and therefore the farm provides it. Since the farm will only be producing a small percentage of the supplies the distillery needs, we will be able to adjust production levels to what the farm produces. It helps that the farm is a small matter at this point, and the focus is on the distillery.
What are your one, five, and ten-year goals for the relationship between the farm and distillery?
You have used crowdfunding numerous times on your journey as a distiller. What advice would you give to other business owners who may be considering using crowdfunding services?
Well this first year we are just trying to get everything planted and in place. In two or three years we will have our first crops to bring to the distillery and then we will expand from there. Long-term plans are still being drawn up. I will admit we are still very new to this, but then again six years ago we were new to distilling, and look how far we have come since then.
I think crowdfunding has changed a lot between the two times we have used it. And it has always been a better fit for products you can ship to folks across the country. I think the advice I would give is that crowdfunding sites are just a vehicle to collect pledges, but that the distillers themselves have to drive the traffic and create a compelling reason why people want to get involved in your project.
What is the most surprising thing you have run into in your foray into being a farmer? How hard it is to build a culvert. Let me explain. Eighteen acres of the farm are on the other side of a creek, and though we can take the tractor through it, we can’t get any work trucks back to the main planting areas. So, for now, we carry everything by hand. But we need to build a proper crossing. So we hired an engineer, studied the water flows for the area, and designed the culvert. And it’s a fairly big one — five foot pipe, most likely two of them to span the gap so that when the spring runoff comes it won’t wash out. Well, three different construction companies have come and looked and then come and gone. Its too big of a project for a small operator and too small of a job [for someone big].
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