We are excited to bring you our second newsletter after only a two-year sabbatical. Every time I sat down to write another one, things were changing so quickly that I felt any information I shared would be outdated by the time I hit send. No more excuses; here we go…..
Covid sucked. In every way. The economic shutdown killed a lot of businesses, and many that survived did so only barely. We went into Covid with the disadvantage of being a brand new company, meaning we had a tiny footprint in an already small market. Also, the fact that the overwhelming majority of our customers at that time were restaurants ensured their fate was our fate. It was a tough time for us, but being new, we had few commitments, we were agile, and we had planned for a lean first year or two. Of course, we hadn't prepared for the level of leanness we got, but we made it. It reminds me of a movie line from a long time ago, "We were small, but we were slow", (bonus points if you know it). And, now is the time where I have to say, with all possible humility, thank you. If not for the support of our customers, we would no longer be in business. You guys are truly amazing.
On to the 'uniqueness' that is the DABC/Legislature. We continue to fight the good fight with the DABC, realizing that their hands are tied by the Legislature, with whom we are also constantly engaged. I was on the phone last week with the manager of the Symphony system, the computer program that directs what items they put on the shelves, and there is a significant disconnect between them and the rest of us. The data-driven nature of Symphony falls apart when it meets the reality of Utah liquor laws, which entirely favor large manufacturers from outside the state. The DABC has dollar signs in its eyes, and if you don't want your choices to be limited to big, international brands, you must support local products. Without grass-roots support from Utahns, we are all fighting a losing battle. Small producers cannot succeed long-term with the current system unless we have Utahns demanding local products. Even then, it is a very tough slog, and without citizen-driven changes, Seagram’s, Tito’s, and the rest will eventually prevail, and that is essentially all you will have for options. How can you support local producers, you ask? Other than buying local products, email the DABC and demand more local products on the shelves of your favorite stores. If you find that these local options are a little more expensive, keep in mind that a significant portion of that price goes to the DABC. Some of that price is the cost of producing quality craft products at a scale that allows for excellent quality control. Also, keep in mind that the manufacturers you are supporting provide jobs to your neighbors and buy supplies from them. Tell your friends how vital their support is to local manufacturers also. Annoy your representatives in the Legislature with demands for a saner policy with regards to supporting local products at the DABC level. The system is skewed toward the big brands because the DABC bases these decisions on profit and shelf space. The more profit for the DABC, the more space they allocate. The result is that local products, tiny in terms of market influence, are lucky to get any traction in a system that requires by law that those products be sold only through the state. These difficulties are especially true when the DABC balks at selling them or limits the number and location of stores in which they sell them because they aren't as profitable as the well-known, international producers. The DABC behaves as if it were a business, not a taxpayer-funded service, which is what it is, and the real loser is you, the customer. The other loser in this is also you, as a taxpayer. There is a lot to this issue, and I am barely scratching the surface, but if we all put our shoulders into it, we CAN affect positive change, and we have already, which is a nice segue.
Credit where it is due, the Legislature did make many significant changes lately. There is much information about it online; the big one I would like to highlight is the change that allows Type 5 Package Agencies, the ones found in your favorite distillery and brewery, to be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays and holidays; starting the first weekend of June! We plan to do something special to recognize Utah inching into the 20th century on this issue. Better late than never!!
We're hiring! We are looking for a couple more team members to work in a primarily retail capacity, but with some production aspects in the job description. It is part-time for now, roughly 2-8 p.m., Thursday - Saturday. If interested, please get in touch with me at email@example.com.
Some exciting news….we submitted all of our products to the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and all of them won at least a Silver Medal! In addition, Perla Vodka got Double Gold!! So, we can add that to our outstanding results from The John Barleycorn Awards, Fifty Best, and a host of other competitions we have entered.
Please follow us on Instagram (@holystonedistilling) and Facebook, come in and see us for tours and tastings, and visit our retail shop if you need cocktail supplies such as bitters, glassware, and garnish picks, and the usual merchandise. And, of course, our award-winning spirits.
One final thing, we are in the process of setting up online ordering for our spirits. So, if you live in one of the 40 plus states serviced by our fulfillment partner, you will be able to order online and have our spirits delivered to your door.
Please do us a favor and take the short survey below to help us improve your experience at our distillery and with our products. Also, feel free to contact me anytime with complaints or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to give us some love on Yelp and Google Reviews.
We are looking forward to seeing all of you again soon.
Files coming soon.