A few weeks ago, I received my final licensing from the City of Portland, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and the Taxation & Trade Bureau (TTB, Federal) as a new bonded winery. The cidery is in the basement of my house, and as far as I can tell, I have the first such basement cidery in the country. (UPDATE 6/27/12: It has come to my attention that the Maloney family of West County Cider began their operation decades ago in their basement.)
To get to this point required a lot of construction, a lot of research and a lot of help from others who have been licensed in garages. For the most part, figuring out what to do and who to talk to and all the steps needed was the hardest part of the job. The actual licensing paperwork wasn’t too bad, nor too costly.
Over the course of the next few blog posts, I’ll run through each of the major aspects of the licensing: construction and building requirements, licensing procedures (and costs), and micro-sizing common commercial winery practices to fit in a basement.
I am hiring for a temporary full-time worker in the coming weeks. The job includes running a high-throughput apple grinder for long periods of time. We work 10 hour days with no weekend breaks. Must be able to repeatedly lift 50+ pounds and stand all day. I have approximately 7 days of work.
Pay is negotiable and includes all the fresh apple juice you can drink. Email me nat at revnats dot com with your qualifications.
Soon, anyway. I have final approval from the TTB (Tax & Trade Bureau, an arm of the ATF, US Dept of Treasury) and the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) and the City of Portland. Did I miss any? The hardest part of the licensing is figuring it all out, not doing the paperwork, not getting approved. The investigators I’ve dealt with at the OLCC and TTB have been great people. I’m sure they’re happy to see more cider being made and taxes being paid. As far as I can discover, I am the nation’s first commercial winery in a residential basement.
Next week I’ll be pressing apples for cider. I will keep you all posted for when and where my cider will be available. I’m aiming for June 1st in bottles. In the meantime, you can try some at the Cidermaker’s Dinner here in Portland. I’ll have some pre-commercial cider available for diners to enjoy, although I can’t sell you any of it. Here’s the link for that: nwcider.com/2012-cidermakers-dinner-portla/
I am most indebted to the following folks, in no particular order, for their excellent assistance. Thank you.
Jeff Smith, Bushwhacker Cider, for everything.
Mike Wright, The Commons Brewery, for all your help with the startup.
Drew Zimmerman, Red Barn Cider, for sharing your experience at the forefront of American cidermaking.
Rich Anderson, Westcott Bay Cider, for all your contributions to the Cider Workshop.
Andrew Lea, Wittenham Hill Cider, for teaching me how to make cider.
Ryan Sharp, ENSO Winery, for all the licensing assistance and confidence.
Keith Kisler, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, for showing me around, answering questions and giving me a target to aim for.
David White, Whitewood Cider & Old Time Cider blog, for being such a great spokesman.
Steve, Nancy and Phillipe Bishop, Alpenfire, for all sorts of advice and consultation.
Travis Scrivner, Bret Winkler, Kiersten Sorenson, Liz Crain, for help grinding apples.
Mark Crowder, for the grinder.
Jeff Siri, as consiliare.
Trevor Millund, for everything.
Morgan Miller, for industry advice.
Jafer Patterson, for your “been there, done that” advice.