Paul McCann is the owner manager of Parched
He is a one man-band doing everything:
distilling, bottling and marketing of
Check out his website
www.cirrusvodka.com. Paul has won numerous
awards including the 2006 gold metal at the
San Francisco Spirits competition.
Within a year
Paul will be in the
new facility with new distillery. He will at
that time consider
hiring an employee or
The moonshine still pictured above was found
in the woods near Asheville, NC.
I was asked
when do you think the still was built?
examination of the "worm" in noticed a copper
elbow that like
the ones you buy a ACE hardware. My guess
was the still was 50 years old and almost
(As copper scrap you could get $500)
Go on e-bay
and you can buy this junk for $2000. I
suggest using it
as decorations for the
||Pennsylvania "may" sell state stores. AB to distribute Vermont Spirits.
Pennsylvania: Is time right to sell state
State senator pushes bill to privatize liquor
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
By Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Montgomery County state senator wants
Pennsylvania to get out of the retail wine
and liquor business -- and one of his
proposals involves selling a 51 percent stake
in the state store system to a private equity
firm to "wring out" inefficiencies before
selling it off completely.
Other possibilities include an outright sale
or contracting long-term leases.
"Quite frankly, I think private equity would
be very interested in it," said attorney Lee
Keevican, of Renaissance Partners, a
Pittsburgh investment banking firm. "Just by
its scale, I would think it would be pretty
Selling Pennsylvania's state stores is a
decades-old idea, but Republican Sen. Rob
Wonderling of Montgomery County thinks the
timing may be right.
People who have lived in or visited other
states are accustomed to being able to buy
wine and beer in a grocery, he said.
Pennsylvania is one of only 18 "control"
states -- states that actually own the
alcoholic product at some point -- and
typically are grouped with Utah as among the
"Inevitably, free market competition always
results in better quality at the best
possible price for the consumer, and it does
so exceedingly better than a public
monopoly," said Mr. Wonderling.
Rather than spending tax dollars to support a
state-run system and its employees, the
government could use the money to fund health
care or improve the state's highways and
bridges, he said.
Mr. Wonderling plans to introduce the bill
next month and, while too soon to know what
kind of support it may receive, he said that
"I think we are in an era where members of
the General Assembly are oriented toward
reducing the size of state government, not
The opposition could be formidable, though,
including unions representing many of the
4,000 full- and part-time state store
employees, the Liquor Control Board itself,
and others who believe the state should
maintain control of where, how much and what
kinds of alcohol are sold.
"I don't know if we'll be supportive of the
bill," said Rebecca Shaver, regional
executive director for Mothers Against Drunk
Driving. At his request, she is meeting with
Mr. Wonderling today.
"We historically have not been in favor of
the privatization initiative. We feel the
state handles the sale of alcohol in a more
responsible way than having alcohol sold by
those who don't specialize in selling
One of the biggest concerns, she said, is
underage drinking. She is skeptical that a
network of private retailers can match the
state stores' training program for spotting
underage, or intoxicated, customers.
"I just don't see how a private system can
keep all those things in place."
Liquor Control Board Chairman P.J. Stapleton
believes there are clear benefits to a
"We provide a very important service in
making sure that underage drinkers do not
purchase wine and spirits, and we also make
sure that obviously intoxicated customers do
not purchase wine and spirits," said Mr.
"We provide a service without blatantly
trying to sell as much of a product as
possible, which I think would change under a
He also noted that because LCB controls the
revenue, there is no chance of "leaks" in tax
collections that can occur in a private
retail system. In 2005-06, that tax money
that amounted to more than $300 million.
Last week, LCB itself was accused of being
too focused on profit. Store managers
represented by the Independent State Store
Union picketed LCB's Harrisburg offices,
protesting plans to "brand" stores, as well
as recent board decisions that reduce the
number of stores.
"We're going to get rid of small stores under
the aegis of maximizing profits," said Ed
Cloonan, president of ISSU -- a move he
suspects is intended to dismantle the state
system slowly. Eventually, small, rural
communities would not have the selection or
availability they have with state stores, he
"This is supposed to be a system of the
common good for the commonwealth."
He also questions the motives of media
covering the issue -- Mr. Cloonan says the
Lancaster New Era is the only Pennsylvania
newspaper that has not endorsed privatization
-- because of the additional revenue they
would get from private retailers purchasing
Mr. Wonderling is unconvinced that private
retail store owners would be less vigilant
about selling alcohol to minors, saying the
possible loss of their license would be an
He also points to precedent: Since the end of
Prohibition in 1933, the uniform direction of
most states has been toward privatization.
None have reverted to state control once they
"The retail sale of alcohol is no longer a
core function of state government. It's a
function we can no longer afford in times of
limited public resources."
Mr. Wonderling has cited proposals to
privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike as one
factor that led him to conclude that the
state should stop selling liquor, too.
Not everyone is ready to group highways with
liquor sales, though.
Steve Schmidt, of the National Alcohol
Beverage Control Association, said
privatization would mean greater availability
of alcohol, through more outlets and longer
"As you increase availability, you increase
problems because you increase consumption.
There is a pretty clear association."
A system run by the government, on the other
hand, "has a motivation that is rooted in
service to the public," he said.
"They have employees who are very connected
to government and as such do not have a
profit motive to push a product. They are
often more responsible in how they provide
the product at point of sale" -- and it's not
always the owner behind the counter making
the sale, he added.
As for inefficiencies in a state-run system,
Mr. Keevican speculates that a private equity
firm more likely would look at closing
unprofitable stores in remote areas, rather
than replacing experienced clerks with
minimum wage workers.
"My experience is that private equity guys
don't want to run the stores," he
Anheuser-Busch to Distribute Vermont Spirits
High-End Vodkas in the Northeast
(NYSE: BUD) and Vermont Spirits today jointly
announced Anheuser-Busch will
become the master U.S. distributor for the
Vermont Gold, Vermont Gold
Vintage and Vermont White super-premium
vodkas, which are regional brands
available in the Northeastern United States.
Vermont Spirits are sold in Vermont,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island and other select markets. Beginning in
June 2007, select
Anheuser-Busch wholesalers in New England
will begin distributing the
brands, initially focusing on licensed
states. Vermont Spirits will
continue to oversee marketing for the vodkas.
The deal allows for potential
limited equity holding in the future.
Vermont Gold is a super-premium,
unflavored vodka handmade in small
batches from pure maple sugar. Vermont White
is inspired by traditional
Tuvan milk vodka, triple distilled from pure
milk sugar and Vermont spring
water. Like Vermont Gold, Vermont Gold
Vintage is distilled from maple sap.
The use of early run sap from Vermont maple
trees gives this vodka its
Vermont Gold and Vermont Gold Vintage are
the only vodkas on the market
that are distilled from maple sugar. Because
vodka is a neutral spirit,
with no color or odor, it can be distilled
from any starch or sugar-rich
plant matter. Most vodkas are produced from
grains like rye or wheat.
"Our vodka is distilled using the
distinctive water, sugar and
traditions that can only be found in the
local heritage and ecology of
northern New England," said Duncan Holaday,
president and founder of
Vermont Spirits. "Anheuser-Busch appreciates
the care and quality we put
into distilling Vermont Spirits. I'm happy to
be able to share our vodka
with even more consumers through
Anheuser-Busch's strong wholesaler
Anheuser-Busch is in the process of
testing a limited portfolio of
premium spirits in targeted markets in the
Northeast, and the deal gives
Anheuser-Busch's distributors handcrafted,
high-end vodkas to compete in
the growing and profitable spirits market.
Anheuser-Busch also recently
completed an agreement with Margaritaville
Spirits to distribute
Margaritaville Tequila in Massachusetts.
"Vermont Spirits is a great-tasting,
high-end vodka distilled from
pure, natural resources," said Dave Peacock,
vice president, Business
Operations, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "Products
like these distinctive,
high-quality Vermont Spirits vodkas allow us
to compete in this growing
category in a limited way, while gaining a
deeper understanding of
distributing a liquor-based product through
our wholesaler system."
Craft or micro-distilleries are an
emerging trend in the United States,
much like the craft brewers that have
experienced increased popularity and
success in the U.S. beer industry. The
American Distilling Institute, a
trade group for independent distillers,
currently counts 95 distilleries in
the United States and Canada, up from five in
High-end spirits are growing at a fast
rate. According to the Distilled
Spirits Council of the United States, the
super-premium segment of the
spirits industry was up 18 percent in 2006.
Vermont Gold, Vermont Gold Vintage and
Vermont White are 80 proof and
available in clear 750-milliliter
About Vermont Spirits
The current site of the Vermont Spirits
distillery started as a tent
set up by founder Duncan Holaday and his
family on the Old Smith Farm in
St. Johnsbury, Vt., in 1988. During the next
decade, in between teaching
and traveling the world, Holaday opened some
of the fields on the farm and
started organic gardens. His plan was to
return one day and find a way to
make a living on the farm. Out of this
concept, the Vermont Spirits
distillery was born.
Holaday started with a simple yet
ingenious idea that capitalized on
the unique natural assets of his Vermont
surroundings -- create vodka from
maple sap. He tapped the trees on his farm
for sugar, developed the springs
for pure water and cut firewood for the
In August 2001, Vermont Gold --
super-premium, unflavored vodka
handmade in small batches from pure maple
sugar -- was introduced in
Vermont liquor stores.
Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch is the
leading American brewer,
holding a 48.4 percent share of U.S. beer
sales. The company brews the
world's largest-selling beers, Budweiser and
Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch also
owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo,
Mexico's leading brewer, and a 27
percent share in China brewer Tsingtao, whose
namesake beer brand is the
country's best-selling premium beer.
Anheuser-Busch ranked No. 1 among
beverage companies in FORTUNE Magazine's Most
Admired U.S. and Global
Companies lists in 2007. Anheuser-Busch is
one of the largest theme park
operators in the United States, is a major
manufacturer of aluminum cans
and one of the world's largest recyclers of
||History of moonshine revisited at Catoctin
THURMONT -- An early American farm without a
whiskey still was like a modern home without
running water: rare.
"It's something they couldn't live without,"
said John Wysong, an interpretive ranger at
Catoctin Mountain Park. "This was part of
Whiskey was more than a drink, he said. Early
settlers used the brew for medicine and
disinfectant, and as a tranquilizer.
Wysong takes visitors back in time Sundays
this month with a history of the Blue Blazes
Whiskey Still, located along the park's trail
of the same name.
Whiskey production, introduced to America by
Irish and Scottish immigrants, has survived
through the past 200 years, albeit illegally
at times, despite excise taxes and
Prohibition, said Wysong.
When the excise tax of 7 cents per gallon was
enacted for a second time in 1862, people
began distilling at night to avoid the
revenue collectors, thus earning the name
"moonshiners," he said.
The Thurmont forest, now part of the national
park, was an ideal location for distillers to
avoid the tax, said Wysong. Md. 77 was a dirt
road until the mid-1900s, the area was
isolated, and the nearby stream provided the
cold running water needed for whiskey
The Blue Blazes Still grew into the largest
in the state, said Wysong, and when it was
raided by law enforcement in 1927, officers
found thirteen 2,000-gallon barrels of corn
mash ready to be turned into alcohol.
Moonshiners quickly rebuilt the still, and
two years later the operation was shut down
again. This time, however, the raid turned
violent; Frederick County deputy Claude
Hauver was shot and killed.
The July 29, 1929 raid marked the last day of
production at the Blue Blazes Still, and the
operation was destroyed with dynamite four
The still was recreated in the park using
parts recovered in the 1960s from a Tennessee
still, Wysong said. Whiskey was distilled at
Blue Blazes as a visitor exhibit until this
process was also prohibited in the 1980s.
Park visitors are invited to the Whiskey
Still Talks to relive this part of American
"When people think of moonshine, they think
of men distilling up the mountains," said
Wysong, "but this was actually a tradition in
For information or a
complete calendar of park events, call (301)
663-9388 or visit
||Pot Still Book
I'm currently in Washington D.C. and driving
toward MD and PA next week.
||Surety Bonds, 190 proof, NGS.
As we discussed, one of the
hurdles for starting a distillery seems to be
getting the surety bond necessary to submit
the license application to the TTB. We have
established a national program to clear this
hurdle. We have set up a three tiered program
so we can bond the new start up distillery,
the under three years in biz distillery, and
the established distillery. Normally to get
ultra preferred pricing, a distillery would
need to have three years in business, good
credit, and some assets. Our program allows
us to write the new start up distillery with
no experience or history, and usually minimal
assets and then progress them to more
preferred pricing as they establish their
business and grow. The bond would be with the
same surety so the transitions would be
seamless. We would be happy to send the
application to any of your members, both new
and established, and assist them with placing
their operating bonds. Feel free to call me
with any questions.
2211 Rimland Dr., #102
Bellingham, WA 98226
For sale to DSP's.
Neutral grain spirits
190 proof alcohol in 30 - 55 gal drums.
High Plains Inc. 913-773-5780.
--To obtain a
distilled spirits permit go to:
--To obtain TTB list of DSPs go to:
--To obtain TTB statistics on distilling go to:
www.ttb.gov then scroll down to "spirits" and
then the "year".
--To obtain Distilled Spirits Laws and
Regulations go to:
--To obtain label regulations go to:
distilled spirits manual circular.
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