, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 4, 2014

Building a new dream

After return from Iraq, Seabrook vet opens micro-distillery


An engineer with a degree from the University of New Hampshire, whose day job is working as a consulting engineer for General Electric, Kurland got back safely to pick up his life in Seabrook with his wife, Deirdre, and three children, Shane, Alexandria and Seth. Then he started planning for his new dream.

While he wrote his business plan, he researched, took distillery courses and visited micro-distilleries around the country.

“A micro-distillery is one that produces 10,000 cases or less of hard alcohol,” Kurland said. “But as far as getting a federal license is concerned, we have to meet the same criteria as Jack Daniel’s.”

For five years he worked on his plan and journeyed through the process of getting licenses and funding. To get a federal license to make liquor, he needed, among other things, a building complete with production hall and tasting and show room. He found it in the 4,600-square-foot building at 894 Lafayette Road (Route 1), not far from where he lives.

He needed financing, which came from everywhere, he said, his own savings and retirement funds, and the financial investment of friends and family members.

“There are so many friends and family who stepped up to help out,” Kurland said. “I can’t thank everyone enough.”

What finally made it come together was a veterans program of financing through the Small Business Administration, accessed with the help of his local bank, the Seabrook branch of The Provident Bank, he said.

With a federal license, funding and approval from the Seabrook Planning Board last year, Kurland’s dream started to materialize.

He needed equipment and the expertise to install the vats and his 50-gallon and 300-gallon gleaming stills, plus the yards of piping. Along with the normal outlets, Kurland found such items on Craigslist, Amazon and eBay.

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