With larger cities such as New York and Los Angeles becoming increasingly overpriced, smaller urban areas with established creative scenes entice business owners who see potential opportunities supporting the booming population. The breakdown of nationalized industry, along with a growing emphasis on a local and sustainable food culture, is leading the way for a modern re-urbanization once again focused on the artisan business model. Austin, TX, a highly visual city, is the perfect setting to film the clash of local entrepreneurs, investors, and long time residents who want to “keep Austin weird.”
Distilling Dreams will be a observational documentary about Andrew, Lisa, Chris, Cleveland, Joanna, and Sal: a group of family and friends who are in the process of opening a distillery in Austin, TX. They have raised their initial capital through private funding and Angel investors, and are in the process of setting up their physical space and equipment in the summer of 2015. Although they will distill clear spirits to bring in revenue in the short term, their passion is aged spirits including bourbon, which takes a minimum of two years to age.
The equipment and physical environment where the product is made can be unforgiving. One mistake in the process can render a product that takes years to age, worthless. Local ingredient suppliers may not be able to fulfill orders because of weather or pest related crop failures, forcing a decision to outsource, and if so, how far. The distillery also faces unknown challenges, potentially succeeding or failing through all the stages of bringing their product to market at local, state, and federal levels. In Texas, and many states, liquor laws established decades ago do not allow spirits manufacturers to market and sell their own products. Other than a a relatively small, specified annual quantity they can sell on-site, state laws force distilleries to rely on third parties, typically large national distributors, to get their products into packaged goods stores, in restaurants and bars. This “three tier distribution system” creates much risk for distillers, rendering them unable to impact sales or know if the distributor is actually working hard to sell their small craft spirits products.
Distilling Dreams is about family, friendship, and second chances. It will reveal and humanize the private struggles each of us experience when we take giant risks at any stage in life. It embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship, and ultimately is about the pursuit of one’s own happiness.
Coming Spring of 2019