Distillery Barred from Holiday Business

  • Print

ST. JOHNSBURY - Brendan Hughes has assumed the role of ownership to a local mill and distillery business that has been located in Barnet for over fifteen years. What was once known as Dunc's Mill is now known as the St. Johnsbury Distillery, which is set to be moved from Barnet to St. Johnsbury within the next two to five years. For the time being, Brendan and his father, Dan Hughes have kept Dunc's Mill brand Rums on store shelves and at liquor outlets across the Northeast.


Of course, with any company infrastructure change comes a lot of paperwork. Luckily, Brendan was very good about keeping up on all the paperwork that would be required of them to continue to sell and operate under the companies new ownership. There was just the one problem that they did not anticipate, and that was the fact that they never filed for the companies name change on the respective permits. This, in-turn meant that the state filed a cease and desist order for the company to halt production until the proper paperwork had been filed.

Dan Hughes, the owner of Celtic Marketing, says that the entire exchange was a sad fluke on their part, not due to a lack of effort, but a lack of knowledge. "We've been given a cease and desist order because we were under the impression that we could use and continue to operate under Duncan's permit (Dunc's Distillery was owned by Duncan Holaday) as long as we filed within the 30-day period from closing. Because of the name change, I guess that's not true."

Of course, the cease and desist order was merely to protect the St. J Distillery before they ran into bigger issues. Skyler Genest, the director of compliance and enforcement for the Vermont Department of Liquor Control, stated simply that they made a mistake and could not operate because of it. "I authorized the cease and desist order that they were not licensed by the state, nor were they permitted to manufacture alcohol by the feds. The fact of the matter is neither federal permits or state licenses are transferable, realistically we have given them beyond the 30-day period."

For something like this to occur right before the holiday season is "devastating to business," says Hughes. However, both Dan and his son Brendan has taken this as a learning experience and plan to make sure all their paperwork is correctly filed from now on to ensure that they can continue to cater to the draft and spirit lovers of Vermont.