To elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.
From the Desk of Margie A.S. Lehrman,
Chief Executive Officer
Dear Friends in Our Craft Spirits Industry:
Typically, I’m elated this time of year, particularly on Halloween. Opening the door to creative costumes, seeing gleeful children so thankful for a piece of candy, and viewing my local parade complete with marching bands and floats, makes me happy. Oh, those simple pleasures in life.
One “simple” pleasure was witnessing our annual judging of craft spirits which will end today. I was amazed at the number of quality products entered (could you be the Best of Show medalist?) to the ease at which Maggie Campbell from Privateer Rum ran the event, to the unparalleled professional staff at Cardinal Spirits, our host distillery in Bloomington, Indiana, under the management of Jeff Wuslich. I hope the passion comes through in the photos below.
Thanks to all of your feedback, our legislative affairs committee, led by Mark Shilling, drafted and ACSA submitted comments to the TTB’s Proposed Elimination of Standards of Fill, included near the end of this email for your review.
Another pleasurable moment was curling up with a smooth brandy (cannot pick favorites here so you’ll have to guess what I enjoyed) to read the second issue of Craft Spirits magazine. If you haven’t yet indulged in our ACSA publication, take some time now.
And, one hallmark of ACSA is the stellar education we offer. It isn’t too late to attend next week’s OSHA program, customized for the craft spirits producer, at Garrison Bros. Distillery in Texas. Plus, have you checked out the upcoming convention offerings, tailored to meet your needs from the novice to experienced distiller?
Learning about our fellow distillers is also fun. This month we have a conversation with Abby Titcomb, the head distiller at 3 Floyds Distilling Co. in Munster, Indiana.
What’s your guilty pleasure? For some more fun, please complete the poll below. We’ll share results next month.
Have You Read the October Issue of Craft Spirits Magazine?
In case you missed it, ACSA is pleased to present the second issue of Craft Spirits magazine. In this issue, we focus on brandy and eau de vie in their many forms. In our cover story, we explore the overall category and its opportunities for growth.
This week, a distinguished panel of spirits judges traveled to Bloomington, Indiana, to judge a wide array of spirits for ACSA’s 7th Annual Judging of Craft Spirits Competition. Special thanks to Cardinal Spirits for hosting the event, and we are grateful to everyone who volunteered to ensure a professionally run competition. Join us in Portland, Oregon, for the 7th Annual ACSA Distillers’ Convention & Vendor Trade Show , where we will announce the medalists.
Here are a few photos from the competition.
NPR’s ‘1A’ Hosts Conversation on Craft Distilling
On Monday, NPR’s “1A” hosted a discussion on the state of craft distilling in the United States. The conversation featured ACSA board member Courtney McKee of Headframe Spirits, Rachel Gardner of Republic Restoratives, ACSA CEO Margie A.S. Lehrman and more voices from the craft spirits community.
Sponsored by Industrial Safety and Training Services
Is safety a priority at your distillery? Whether you are starting a safety program or looking to improve your existing program, ACSA has partnered with ISTS to bring you an OSHA 10 Certification Course specific to distilleries—held at a distillery.
What else is in it for you? Well, after this course, you will:
Recognize and Prevent Health and Safety Hazards in Your DSP
Evaluate Your Facility Through the Eyes of an OSHA Inspector
Have Hands-on Auditing Practice in an Actual Distillery
Receive an OSHA 10 Card From Eastern Kentucky University
Take Home the Knowledge to Ensure a Safe Workplace and Avoid Hefty Fines for OSHA Violations
Join us for two days, November 4th and 5th at Garrison Bros. in Hye, Texas.
This course is open to ACSA members and non-members alike
Learn From Industry Experts at the 7th Annual ACSA Convention in Portland
Journey to Craftlandia with Us March 29-31, 2020
The 7th Annual ACSA Distillers’ Convention & Vendor Trade Show is five months away and we are preparing our best event yet at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Whether you are looking for insider tips and tricks on distilling, sales, marketing, or safety, we have you covered. Several of the topics we’ll explore include:
Utilizing Different Barrels for Improved Quality and Specific Flavor Targeting
Effective Brand Marketing & Trademark Compliance
Cash Flow Management and Optimization
How Local Farmers Can Contribute to the Success of Your Distillery
Register now before prices go up! And once you’ve registered, book a room at our brand new host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Portland, which is steps away from the convention center. The room rate is only $174 per night and the room block will be open until March 6th, 2020 or until it sells out, so book your stay now.
On Fridays the Wollersheim Winery & Distillery runs a special in its tasting room. For $5, you can get an Old Fashioned, made the Wisconsin way: with brandy. The long-time family-owned winery in Prairie du Sac added a distillery several years ago and started off making brandy, the preferred spirit in these parts. While out-of-state visitors might be confused on the fruit-derived spirit getting prominent billing in a cocktail better known for whiskey, Tom Lenerz, the distiller, says it’s Wollersheim’s bestseller by a mile and quickly creates converts.
“It’s our premium brandy and artisan bitters, that’s a custom blend from Bittercube in Milwaukee, with a splash of 7 Up on top,” says Lenerz. “It isn’t the same one you get for $4 at the corner bar in some parts of the state, but in the same spirit and we get to showcase what we’re doing here.”
The Badger State has a thriving craft distillery scene and continues to grow, and in an increasingly competitive marketplace, the state’s distillers say they have a big advantage when it comes to their products and it all centers on local, from the ingredients to the sense of pride.
From the grains, to the water, and even local sugar sources, Wisconsin distillers are finding ways to bring as much of the local flavor of their diverse state into each bottle.
“I think our state is set apart because of the sense of place and that we’re honoring the agricultural heritage we have here, as well,” says Chris Roedl, the proprietor of Hatch Distilling Co. in Egg Harbor. “Right now, the dairy industry is struggling so it’s a good time for farmers to consider another avenue to sell their grain, and distillers are stepping up with orders. I think farmers are, by definition, problem-solving thinkers, and when the two industries are combined, we’re getting interesting entrepreneurial-minded folks with unbelievable talents creating great products.”
From her earliest days at 3 Floyds Brewing Co., Abby Titcomb was fascinated by distilling. So when the brewery in Munster, Indiana, decided to launch a distillery in 2017, Titcomb jumped at the chance to become head distiller of 3 Floyds Distilling Co. Craft Spirits magazine recently caught up with Titcomb to discuss the transition from brewing to distilling; the growing lineup of 3 Floyds products; and the look and feel of the distillery’s recently opened tasting room.
Craft Spirits magazine: When did you start to get excited about distilling?
Abby Titcomb: It was my first real work discussion with [co-founder] Nick Floyd [in 2010]. He mentioned, ‘I really want to get into distilling. How would you feel about that? Would you be into it?’ I said, ‘Hell yeah.’ So that just planted a seed and that idea was tabled for a little bit for formulating a plan. I brewed and brewed, and then in year four we started to talk about it a bit more, and that’s when we started doing our buildout. We did this huge expansion of a new bottling hall and in that expansion we built the distillery.
Do you still spend time in the brewery? And are there many collaborations planned between the brewery and distillery?
I’m on the brewhouse for the whiskey washes and the rum washes when I can be, otherwise our brewers are helping me on that side as far as getting them mashed and lautered. As far as [the distillery] and the brewery, we did do a Dark Lord variant this year. I can only imagine we’ll continue to do that. We’re still doing very small-batch releases of the aged whiskies. It’s pretty limited, but obviously first dibs for any wet barrels go straight to the brewery.
We showcase notable books of interest to the craft spirits community.
Gather Around Cocktails: Drinks to Celebrate Usual and Unusual Holidays
Author: Aaron Goldfarb
Gather Around Cocktails is a collection of 45 recipes that take you through a year of holidays and other unexpected occasions to celebrate with friends and family. Included are refreshing twists on classics like Christmas nogs, mulled wines, and New Year’s Eve and Day tipples, as well as cocktails for delightful new festivities: easy apr è s ski drinks, a batched Super Bowl spritz, and a romantic Valentine’s Day cocktail for two. Complete with tips on creative ways to serve your guests–from a self-serve bloody mary bar to a champagne tower–making drinks for two or 100 has never been easier.
The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks: Sake, Shochu, Japanese Whisky, Beer, Wine, Cocktails and Other Beverages
Authors: Stephen Lyman and Chris Bunting
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Japan is home to some of the world’s most interesting alcoholic beverages—from traditional sake and shochu to Japanese whisky, beer, wine and cocktails that are winning global acclaim and awards.
In this comprehensive survey of Japanese drinks, experts Stephen Lyman and Chris Bunting cover all the main types of beverages found in Japanese bars and restaurants, as well as supermarkets and liquor stores around the world. The book has chapters on sake, shochu, whisky, wine, beer, Awamori, Umeshu plum wine and other fruit wines. There is also a fascinating chapter on modern Japanese-style cocktails—complete with recipes so you can get the authentic experience