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How a Small Distillery is Rethinking Manufacturing Industry City Distillery's small-scale vodka starts with a well-designed manufacturing process.

By Jennifer Wang

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With the growing consumer focus on localism, craftsmanship and sustainability, small-scale manufacturing is having a renaissance. Increasingly, small companies that create goods in limited runs are weaving their design philosophies throughout the entire production process--even inventing their own manufacturing equipment.

Such is the case at Industry City Distillery (ICD), started in 2011 by five twentysomethings who operate out of a 12,000-square-foot Brooklyn warehouse. Not content with simply creating a better vodka, the team has built its own distillery, putting its signature brand of form and function into every element, down to the custom-built glass continuous fermentation system (as opposed to the commonly used stainless-steel tanks).

Guidelines for Manufacturing Startups
Purpose Small-scale manufacturing can be a cost-effective option for startups.

Leverage your so-called limitations to develop your product exactly the way you want to, with built-in flexibility as you make improvements and without being beholden to the constraints of third-party manufacturers.

Process The best way to engage customers is to involve them in the build and design of the product. Tell a good story, be transparent and make your development process the focus of your public face and design.

Personality Don't get distracted by what everyone else is doing. The best way to differentiate yourself is to be yourself.