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Stillwagon Distillery

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Having the right business plan makes all the difference

Richard Stillwagon, the owner and creator of Stillwagon Distillery in Charleston, first tried to make a business farming koi fish.

While struggling to find the right filtration system for the fish, Richard started researching distillation methods to purify the water for his fish. Having discovered the distillery business could be more profitable, he applied for a distillery permit, abandoning the fish business.

Now, Richard’s distillery has tasting rooms in Charleston and Bandon. He produces rum, vodka and whiskey, which he makes in small batches and infuses with fresh ingredients, like pineapple, coconut and vanilla beans.

In 2013, the SBDC helped Richard write a business plan and suggested he enter the 2013 Bay Area Business Challenge. He won the contest and was awarded a grant for his business. With the help of SBDC, Richard also won a $50,000 loan from the CCD Business Development Corporation.

Richard is working to make his distilling process more sustainable. His goal: to recycle all wastewater onsite and mitigate carbon dioxide and organic solid waste.

“I believe through the help of the SBDC we will eventually find the collaboration and funding we need to complete this system and meet our sustainability goals,” he said.

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