Case Study – while initially something seems like a great idea. always think it through.
Lets see if take two of today’s missive will actually make it to this website. The morning was a horrific seeming waste of time with personalities, people, moods, emotions and you might as well throw in some stupidity. The stupidity part is me not hitting save on the document.
Truth is, you will probably be spared the long winded details, as now I will waste some time re-writing the idea, merely because it is a simply but good example of where ideas come from.
Part 1 - The core root of this idea came when I was in Colorado last year, saw actual moonshine being sold and thought, “wow, my brother in laws in Switzerland might enjoy that! Real Americana!” So I bought some, took it back, and yes, they really enjoyed it.
“When is the moonshine deliver guy coming again?” was the questions asked when the last drop of moonshine egressed from the Mason jar.
Then I saw it advertised on German television in an online shop a few days ago and thought, “wow, how cool! I can just order it online!”
Part 2 - In a down moment of brainstorm steerage, I have been working up the idea for a company that will work on energy and food solutions for pioneer off the grid, or urban grid tied systems when we get to Colorado. I figure the last 10-15 years of education in 3rd world knowledge can be turned into allowing those in the developed world the ability to live anywhere, and thanks to some alternative energy solution, be able to grow their own vegetables, fish and meats all year round.
The time that has been delayed in building in Colorado, sans the 18 inches of rain in a day, and a few other things – really has been a blessing in that a better solution has come forth with what and how we will provide heat energy.
As part of this little out of the way general type store of sorts for ideas. I like the name and have been working on a logo so that when I get to Colorado, I can start building not only the infrastructure but also the company to make a bit of money for the thrill of perpetual invention. As I sketched away, I always thought the idea of a little café, coffee shop, BBQ stand or bakery would be fun and provide me the ability to make about 5 cents an hour for all the labor.
Part 3 – So I go to the website and almost crapped myself when I saw they wanted about $60 USD for a product that cost me under $20 inside the USA. The Einstein moment was me remembering a class project I did in high school. The paper was “how to finance our class trip vacation making and selling moonshine.”
I got an A on the paper, as it might have actually unwittingly served as the writing of my very first business plan. The teacher did write, “Highly creative and a unique idea. Of course you are NOT going to do this? Right?”
Basically where I lived we had the Firefox books for fun. They were a series of almost step-by-step knowledge from the people living in Appalachia about how to basically take anything, to make anything.
Thankfully, we didn’t have Google and mobiles during that day; god only knows what the group of nerds would have created. For us, the Firefox series was a lot of fun to do the projects with. Wanting to be a chemical engineer, you can see where the idea of distillation and using the local corn as a resource made complete sense for making moonshine. No?
When I saw the price of the same Gatlinburg, TN moonshine being sold for triple the price of the USA, yes:
My brain wondered, “How hard can this be?” As I was starting to see the company logo brand on a cute mason jar…”wow, that is cool!”
Part 4 - Despite my biggest vice in life being a cup of coffee. I gave up drinking after taking care of too many drunken people as a bouncer. Pot is legal in Colorado, but I haven’t touched a drug in I am guessing 30 years. Yes, I am very boring, or I have seen too many people die or somehow escape death from drugs on the road to ever want anyone to ingest anything.
So I am thinking that I have a good idea. “You can have people come visit, make cute little take home gifts, a neat novelty item everyone is sure to remember with unique brand extensions.”
(They really are cute!)
Part 5 – remember that Google search engine I am thankful I didn’t have as a kid? Do you know you can buy “distillation” kits for making water and essential oils, but of course it says you can’t distill any alcoholic spirits.
Part of your brainstorm is to follow the path. Legality. Google once again brought up the laws of the state of Colorado that basically said, “there is a head of household law that allows for making distilled products. Someone, I am pretty sure a non-lawyer said “If you get caught, the law is like a minor ticket, like driving without a seatbelt, or not wearing a life preserver on a boat.”
At this point, I am getting stoked. “How cool! I can see about making moonshine!” I mean, if they allow pot to legally be sold, why can’t I make home brew?
Are you snickering yet with this case study of a new idea?
Part 6 - My one high school friend, Dave, has been trying to get legal distillation of products off his farm in Vermont. I really am not sure of the scale and scope of what he wanted to do, but he was brewing his own beers, growing his own hops and having an interesting time with the process. So I wrote him, “Dave, What is the law on all this stuff with home distillation? It says in Colorado it is like a minor infraction.”
Then I went on to work up a space for the equipment and how to keep bears from coming in and thinking the corn mash was “bear food.” I was all excited, looking at the mechanics of it all, what was needed, the cute label ideas for the mini mason jars.
“This is a good idea! How cool!” I could feel my chest swelling with pride and accomplishment.
Part 7 - Dave wrote me back, basically he said, “Mark, that is great that it is not a big problem from the state of Colorado about the idea of making your own moonshine. BUT, from the federal standpoint, you are committing about 12 felonies. In addition, the bottle tax is this much, the mandatory insurance is this much, and the other fees are this much…up front.
Part 8 – always double check - so being the diligent idea thrasher, I went to the ATF website. For those of you reading outside the USA, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is a group inside the government that deals with two of America bigger hobbies. Drinking and shooting guns. They probably put the two together as I am guessing there is some correlation between people drinking too much and the shooting guns in a drunken stupor of a state.
The brilliant idea of making my own personal moonshine deflated when I read that basically I can make home brew, but only if I follow all the steps Dave had mentioned. Then it would be legal
Part 9 - Remember that $60 a mason jar of Moonshine? Damn that is cheap compared to making your own.
Part 10 - this concludes how a good idea, might not really be a good idea. Just take the time to flush it out before you jump off the cliff. Some ideas, particularly the ones that are really new – do require you to jump. But for anything that has been done before, there is a path to follow.
Part 11 – now I don’t need to worry about bears getting liquored up on moonshine, I just need to make a bunker space where the home made beer can be stored in a cool setting.
While not as cool in design as the little mason jars. What all this running around on an idea that didn’t work has done – is solidified the logo and path for the graphics for that company idea that was mentioned earlier.
That is how ideas work…don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, odds are that 99% of ideas will fail. All you need is one that works.
Until the next blabbering of word and ideas.