Since I penned the first introductory piece, we’ve been QUITE busy! We’ve really begun to kick on with lazydog recently, and now find ourselves with a HMRC issued Distillers and Warehousing license, a still en-route, a way to power it and a very real and very tangible target to commence business properly around the 4th August – anyone else terrified?! Sound…. Just me then?!
We’ve made massive progress both branding-wise and also with the physical construction of what will eventually be our distillery building, for this instalment, I’ll focus on construction and procurement, as the branding and bottle designs are going to be unveiled on our new social media accounts.
You may remember from the first instalment that we are going into this venture on a somewhat tight budget which hasn’t allowed us to branch out to a standalone premises. Instead we’re using an outbuilding at the bottom of our garden that my dad and I built 5 years ago as a gym! We’ve decided to forfeit our personal fitness in the pursuit of rum. To transform our shell of a building into a fully functional micro-distillery we’ve got a mountain of work, some being done by myself, some by family (my dad), some by friends and some we have very little choice but to bring in the professionals. When we started, our list looked a little like this:
· Strip gym equipment
· General decoration
· New electricity connection to 32A supply
· Foul drainage connection
· Install potable water supply
· Internal plumbing for potable water supply and cooling circuit
· Wiring from existing consumer unit to new still location, water boiler, chillers, pumps etc.
· Electronic control system for still, boiler etc
· Alarm system
This then escalated to the above with the addition of:
· New 3 phase connection to the house + distillery (all buried/ducted)
· Total re-wiring of the existing gym building for 3 phase connection
· Water re-circulation and cooling system (saving on cooling water)
· External paving for molasses storage
· Dismantling of existing structures to give access for oversized fermenter and still boiler
· Widening the existing entrance to accommodate the Still boiler and the fermenter
Rather naively (and embarrassingly seeing as this was my day job until quite recently!) I’d underestimated quite how much work was going to need to go into the build side of things to get this done almost entirely by myself and on a shoestring budget. A former colleague once told me that as a Quantity Surveyor I knew the value of everything and the worth of nothing – that’s become quite obvious recently!
Anyway, at present we have:
· Cleared the gym (mostly) - the last of the kit to make way
· Installed the foul drainage system (pictured here waiting on gravel - thanks for nothing Selco)– cheers Dad!
· Instructed Western Power to install our 3-phase supply which will give me a massively greater scope for still equipment
· Quoted and instructed an Electrician to carry out all necessary works in accordance with Building Control.
· Paved the area to the front of the distillery building giving us much needed storage space for raw materials (mostly finished anyway!)
· Taken delivery of our 1000l conical tank that will be repurposed into a fully automated fermenter
· Placed the order for our Still, which at the time of writing has just boarded a wagon somewhere in Germany bound for rural Leicestershire.
· Run all cooling and potable water systems internally
· Plumbed the cooling circuit to a water reservoir which will be cooled and pumped during distillation to cool the still
· Started decorating (running out of paint during lockdown is a bitch)
· Started running the conduit for the electrical installation
There’s probably more that we’ve done that I have forgotten to list, but the main thing is that we now seem to be chipping away at our pretty massive to-do list, whilst trying to maintain some kind of normality for our 1 year old. We have also managed to fund and compete the biggest of the purchases, those being the upgrade to the electrical infrastructure, and the still. The Still itself, as alluded to previously is going to be a quirky little number, as we simply don’t have the space or headroom to accommodate a traditional column still. Watch this space – she’s a beaut.
Away from the physical construction and procurement, we’ve (mostly Lauren to be honest!) gone live with this website which is slowly but surely becoming a space that both Lauren and I are happy with, as well as getting ourselves on to Instagram and facebook – if you like pictures of dogs and you aren’t already following us – hit us up @lazydogrum
That’ll do for now – have a good un!