Backstory Following an Entrepreneurial Spirit
My entrepreneurial spirit has always been with me. When I was a child I would sell Christmas cards door-to-door every year to our neighbors up and down the street. This was not through a school or any organization, but a company that provided the sales material and had rewards of mediocre fishing gear and other “high quality” items, if I sold enough of course.
As a teenager I would work odd jobs around town. We had a small town store where the “old guys” would hang out and have coffee every morning. I would love to go in and chat up the people there, listening to their stories. Eventually someone would have some work they needed done. This would range from hand digging water lines to mowing, and fence row cleaning.
In the summers I would work at the sawmill with my father, doing everything from driving a front end loader moving logs around to working on the mill edging lumber and stacking railroad ties. When we had down-time, the local gas station was the preferred hangout. You never know what you might hear people talking about, and this is where I first really recall hearing about moonshine. Everybody seemed to know someone that made it, but no one ever seemed to have it.
We made a trip to a rural area of Alabama one year to pick up a piece of equipment. We drove what seemed for hours on those red rock gravel roads to get to the place where we were picking up equipment. We hadn’t been there very long before my dad was asking if there was anyone selling moonshine around there. It was like a movie. The guy gave us directions of turning down a small lane, going across the creek up and over the hill. We would be able to drive right to it and they would have some. We didn’t actually get to visit the still that day but it was then that I realized people actually did make moonshine and that there was probably some truth to the stories those “old guys” told.
As I got older I began making homemade wine, I experimented with different yeasts and fermentation processes. I tried to age it and rebottle it, but it never seemed to be around long enough to get much age on it. After receiving a beer making kit as a gift one year it turned to homebrewing. Experimenting with different grains and the variety of flavors different combinations of grains would produce was intriguing. One thing led to another and distilling seemed to be the next step as I navigated through the beverage world. While seeing moonshiners in movies and TV shows it seemed a very straight forward process. Little did I know how complex it could be and how many variables there would be when making your own distillate. All learned from reading books of course… Distilling without a permit is not legal on any level, for any amount, in any state.
That leads us to the pandemic and having way too much time on my hands. As I mindlessly scrolled through social media I ran across an ad where they were trying to get people to buy stock in a startup distillery. The post itself looked more like a scam than a good investment, but it started me down the rabbit hole. I spent countless hours over many nights trying to determine if it was feasible to even begin to work on an actual business plan. I remember the night I finally had the conversation with my wife Anita that I wanted to build one. What I thought might end up being a conversation about how crazy I was, I was already working way too many hours as it was, it turned out to be a “let’s do it”. She might have been calling my bluff or it might be because she is just as crazy as I am.
I spent the next several months working on a business plan, trying to work out all of the details. I would set it down, let it simmer for a while, only to pick it back up and work on it some more. When I was finished I realized it was going to be more than I could handle myself. What started out as a simple idea had turned into a major project. With all the previous companies we had started I have never created such a detailed business plan as this one. This project was going to be major, and I did not want to begin without having someone else look over it with great detail. We turned to a couple of our friends who we knew would give us honest feedback. We set the date for dinner and a presentation. Pizza for the kids and business plans for the adults. After several hours of discussion, we came away with a few questions we needed to answer, a lot of excellent advice, and potentially new business partners.
We have a lot of things planned for the future and we appreciate everyone’s interest in our endeavors! Please subscribe to our email list and follow us on social media as we unfold the story of Brentford Distillers!
Founder & CEO
Brentford Distillers, LLC.