The price of doing something new is that you will usually have to battle against the powers that be to do it. Case in point: I am (hoping) to build the first whiskey maturation facility in County Clare for well over 100 years. As such, there is zero precedent or working knowledge for what I am doing in the offices of my local governing authorities, all of who in theory have the right to either let me either go ahead or to shut me down. I have had the same conversation with representatives from the following all powerful bodies in the past months.
- The County Council
- The Health Executive Board
- The Revenue Commission
All three of these bodies are levelling different requirements on me for what I am trying to build. To such an extent that if I comply with everything asked from let’s say The Health Executive board I will be in violation of a number of edicts from the other two and vice versa. In every single case, I have to clarify that I am not a BREWERY almost every time I get on the phone with a new person from one of these organisations. Let me just remind everyone here that I am building a ‘Whiskey Maturation Facility’ I am not building a brewery to make beer, neither am I building a distillery, neither am I building a warehouse to store food in. I am buying in my whiskey spirit from a licensed distiller and maturing it on site. I’m doing that because 80% of whiskies flavour comes from the barrel it is aged in and the place where that barrel is aged. So, it is a KEY part of the production process for my whiskey. Below is a small example of the conflicting asks I have had from the various bodies to date. I’ve been asked to:
- Add a disabled access ramp so that wheel chair users can access the rackhouse
- Remove the disabled access as its a security risk
- Add heating/Cooling and Insulation (Because technically I am storing ‘Food’)
- Ensure all surfaces are smooth and washable preferably stainless steel (Because I am storing ‘Food’)
- Add a fire escape for safety
- Remove the fire escape for security
- Not to build the thing until its approved
- Told that it won’t be approved until its built
- Been given approval to build
- Been told I can’t build until I have a certificate
You know what they call a camel? A horse designed by committee, that is what this feels like just now. If I acquiesce to every request from each different organisation I will end up with something that won’t work. I have to create a micro environment for my sleeping whiskey and our design reflects that, it does so hygienically and safely too. I WANT to comply with standards…but there are no uniform standards…so all I can do is juggle everyone and explain the traditional methodology I am trying to implement here. It is all feeling a bit Kafkaesque at the moment.I will continue to work with everyone and to try to ensure compliance whilst maintaining the integrity of our vision, but whatever way you slice it Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation…Rant Over…I’m off to file some paperwork.