It’s been a few months since we checked in on our friends over at 21st Amendment Distillery, and 14 months since their plan was set into motion. In a crowded space, starting a new distillery is never an easy task. And, it’s not just the competition, but everything that goes into even getting your doors open to the public. There are countless laws, rules, and regulations surrounding the industry. Enough to make anyone’s head spin.
But, Jeff Palleschi, is one man that looked at everything he’d have to do to make his dream a reality and said “it’s worth it.”
So, we sat down with Jeff and got an update on how things have been going. What challenges he has overcome. And, what still needs doing.
So, Jeff, where are you now getting everything ready?
“My architects are doing their final touches on the interior schematic design and distillery layout. We take possession of the building on December 1st, so we have to be ready for that.
The equipment is about 90% complete and we’re finishing up the label and branding for our first bourbon. We also have submitted our documents to the bank for SBA consideration, which is a whole other beast.”
And you’ve maintained your community-first approach even with all this going on?
“We have. It’s incredibly important to us. We have sponsored nine charitable events in our community before we’re even open to show how serious we are about giving back.
We’re also getting the word out any way we can. We’ve been on two radio shows, the Whiskey Culture podcast, and we’ve been featured in over ten local news articles. It’s all about visibility, and we’re trying to be as visible as we can right out of the gate.”
How have you been able to keep running at this pace?
“Well, there are a few things that have kept me on track. First, you have to go in knowing that nothing worthwhile comes easy and you have to really believe in what you’re doing.
Persistence wins and you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Because some of the hoops you have to jump through and the challenges that pop up can definitely be uncomfortable.”
What are some of the things you’ve learned over these last few months?
“That fire marshalls don’t mess around! They take their job seriously and can be meticulous, but they can also provide great insight for you and can keep you, your team, and your company safe.
I’ve also learned that your team is your lifeblood. You have to hire the best experts you can without cutting corners. They are your brand and branding is everything to your business.
We also found out one thing about money, you can’t have nearly enough. Ever. For any reason. You have to be incredibly patient when dealing with the banks and SBA, and it’s difficult to find the right investors. People in the industry might want a lot of creative direction, but someone outside the industry might not have the knowledge or experience to understand what you’re trying to do and where you’re trying to take the brand.”
How do you overcome objections?
“I don’t. I don’t take “no” at face value. If I try hard enough I can always find my way around an obstacle.”