Convention Education

Browse the convention catalog below; click on a title to view or purchase access to the course. Convention attendees are granted lifetime access to recordings for the convention(s) they attended. If you attended our convention, you may access the content by logging in with the same email address you used to register for the convention. Courses can also be purchased individually if you did not attend. All purchased content can be viewed in your video library.

2023 Convention Presentations


Sales and Marketing

Government Support for Export

Lucy Farber (St. George Spirits), Haisum Shah (U.S. Commercial Service), Greg Lang (Western United States Agricultural Trade Association), Greg Moore (Export-Import Bank of the United States)

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Business and Financing

2022 Convention Presentations

Technical and Distilling



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Sales and Marketing



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Business and Financing


Sales and Marketing



Creating a New Spirits Category

Christian Krogstad (Westward Whiskey), Colin Keegan (Santa Fe Spirits), and Jared Himstedt (Balcones Distilling), Randy Hudson (Triple Eight Distillery), Steve Hawley (American Single Malt Whiskey Commission)

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2020 Virtual Convention Presentations

The Art of Awareness: How Being More Aware Creates Inclusivity and Accessibility in Your Distillery

Hoby Wedler, Co-Founder, Senspoint; Maggie Campbell, President & Head Distiller, Privateer Rum; and Jody Tucker, Co-Founder, Senspoint

In this engaging and educational presentation, come learn how to enhance accessibility, diversity, and inclusivity in your distillery. Dr. Hoby Wedler has been completely blind since birth and works extensively in the alcoholic beverage industry. Using a straightforward approach, Hoby will explain how awareness and being literate in all five senses will foster a unique sense of diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility. We will address making your distillery more inclusive to your customers and provide insight on how you can create an inclusive, diverse, and wholesome company culture. Come join us for this entertaining and educational presentation!

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American Single Malt Whiskey Panel

Jared Himstedt, Head Distiller, Balcones Distilling; Steve Hawley, Global Marketing Director, Westland Distillery; Matt Hofmann, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Westland Distillery; and Murphy Quint, Head Distiller, Director of Operations, Cedar Ridge Distillery

Join members of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission, and American Single Malt Whiskey producers from Westland Distillery (WA), Balcones Distilling (TX), and Cedar Ridge Distillery (IA), as they talk about the definition of American Single Malt Whiskey; provide an update on the process of getting American Single Malt Whiskey defined as a category; and handle some frequently asked questions about American Single Malt Whiskey.

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Pivoting in a Time of Crisis

Heather Greene CEO, Partner, Master Blender Milam & Greene Whiskey

The events of this year have caused us all to shift gears and think creatively. Join this session to hear a fresh approach on how Milam & Greene has changed how they do business while facing the current challenges that all distilleries have been faced with. Heather will talk about changes in how Milam & Greene have reached their customers, how they have handled staffing changes, and how they have pivoted in this time of crisis.

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How Barrels Work

Jason Parker Co-Owner/President Copperworks Distilling Company

This information-packed session will highlight the wood types used for barrels and why we tend to use oak. It will also go into where flavors come from, the science of maturation, and how to use that knowledge to affect flavor in barrel-aged products.

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Gimme Some Goods & Services: Spirited Supplier Diversity

Andrea Meriwether, CEO, BarFare Concepts; Rhonda Malone Cammon, Founder and CEO, Perfectly Cordial; and Britt Whidden, Owner, Gimme Some Distribution & Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings

Build through equity! This opportunity promotes a model for allyship and equity in spirits and how we must all work together to ensure that the spirits industry evolves into being active and intentional in diversity and inclusion. Incubate minority- and woman-owned product creators and introduce their products to new demographics. Promote goods and services owned by women and people of color. Diversify product placement in distillery tasting rooms and gift shops, in addition to service providers within the spirits industry. Work with a diverse woman-owned collective that connects you to diverse products and services providers. Experience internal growth and connect your brand to equity and inclusion in action. GET INVESTED IN DIVERSITY & INCLUSION!

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Biases in Sensory Evaluations

Gary Spedding, Owner, Brewing & Distilling Analytical Services

This presentation will deal with many biases we need to overcome in order to run appropriate sensory evaluations on spirits and other foods and beverages. We will cover terms such as participant/observer/evaluator bias, moderator bias (how samples are set up), timing and hygiene bias, sequence error bias, positional bias and much more.

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Love in the Time of COVID, or How We Dealt With Two Positive Cases at Our Distillery and Tasting Room and Learned to Love Quarantine

Jeff Wuslich, Co-Founder, Cardinal Spirits

Have you been concerned that COVID-19 might come to your distillery? Hear from someone who has been there. Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington, IN, experienced two cases of COVID-19 in its distillery and tasting room. Tune in to learn what the distillery staff did when they found out, how they informed their customers, and how they recovered.

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Get the Most From Your Grain: Key Points for the Conversion of Starch

Andrew Fratianni, Senior Application Specialist, Distilling & Brewing Enzymes, DuPont

Successful distilling starts with the efficient production of ethanol. For most distillers, a first important step is turning starch into fermentable sugar. This presentation will cover the basics of starch and starch chemistry, the keys to gelatinization of starch, and its conversion to fermentable sugars. It will also review the importance of time, temperature, and pH of the cook, and their effect on enzymes, whether natural or commercial, which play a vital role in converting starch into sugar. The distiller will have a thorough understanding of how controlling these parameters provides consistently good results and high yields of ethanol. It all starts in the cook!

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How to Develop a Direct-to-Consumer Program

Tom Mooney, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Westward Whiskey; and Kelly Woodcock, Vice President, Consumer Experience, Westward Whiskey

While the whole world has shifted to e-commerce in recent years, this has been a challenge, if not impossible, for spirits producers until recently. Join this session to learn the steps Westward Whiskey took and what it learned along the way while creating a successful Direct-to-Consumer program.

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Hand Sanitizer Production for Distilleries

Mark Shilling, Founder/CEO, ShillingCrafted

If you have questions about creating hand sanitizer, this session is for you! It will recap the FDA guidelines and temporary policy, which touch on ingredients, denaturing, labeling, and FDA registration for producing hand sanitizer.

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Lessons Learned From Creating RTDs

Lee Katrincic, Head Distiller, Durham Distillery’s

Join Durham Distillery's Head Distiller Lee Katrincic as he shares the experiences and lessons learned from creating ready to drink canned cocktails.

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Changing Consumer Trends and How Alcohol Companies Are Adapting to Meet Them

Emily Pennington, Content Manager/Client Development, Park Street

From tasting rooms being closed to distilleries shifting focus to create hand sanitizer, this year has been anything but ordinary. This session is data-rich to illustrate how customer consumption has changed this year, and also highlights innovative ways and tools that beverage alcohol brands have used to stay connected to their consumers in these challenging times.

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Colleen Moore, VP of Marketing, Dalkita

With architectural renderings and best practices, this session will have you looking at your space differently as you consider the necessary modifications you may be facing in this time of COVID-19.

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Cocktail Kits to Go: Fresh, Fast & Fun

Doug Kouma Visitor Experience Director Vikre Distillery

When the going gets tough, the tough get to-going! Hear how Vikre Distillery implemented and refined its robust cocktail-kit-to-go program, what it learned along the way, and how it found opportunity in this time of tasting room closures.

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Navigating the Digital Landscape

Corianna Schewel Director of Client Success Obviously

Unleash the power of social media and expand your distillery’s reach! From quality content that will keep your fans delighted, to implementing your own influencer marketing campaign, this session will equip you with best practices to elevate your brand image and marketing online.

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Developing a Strategy to Operate your Distillery Safely

Gary Yurt President/Founder Industrial Safety and Training Services (ISTS)

Tune in to this session to begin encouraging and building a safety culture in your workplace. Learn practical steps you can implement to identify and prevent workplace hazards, stay OSHA compliant, and keep your employees and facility safe.

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General Sessions

No sessions added yet.


Farmer in the Still

Stephanie and Felicia Ohnmacht (Whiskey Sisters Supply), Aaron MacLeod (Hartwick College), Rob Masters (The Family Jones), Gary Spedding (BDAS LLC)

Tags: farmer flavor grain to glass grains heirloom grains yield

The farmers you work with and what goes into growing grain and how their farming practices affect your end product. These factors drive yield, flavor, and consistency. Join this conversation for in-depth information about running a grain-to-glass business.

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Spent Distillers Grains: Nuisance or Value Proposition?

Kurt Rosentrater (Distillers Grain Technology Council)

Tags: coproduct economics spent grains

Most alcohol producers neglect or have not adequately considered the question of what to do with spent distillers grains. Many choose to give them away to local farmers, landfill the solids, or dump the spent grains and process water into the municipal wastewater system. These options, unfortunately, are lost opportunities for your operation to make money. Why? Spent grains are a valuable resource! Learn about evolving processes, new opportunities, dewatering spent grain and coproduct economics.

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The Effects of Gin Preparation on Final Sugar Content

Joe Roberts (Avila University)

Tags: analytical techniques Botanicals Gin HPLC sugar content Technical

After a low-stress refresher in chemistry, this session will address the relationship between botanicals and sugar, and analytical techniques for sugar determination. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used to determine sugar profiles of both professionally- and lab-crafted gins. Individual sugars were identified and compared to common gin flavoring botanicals with the ultimate goal of understanding what each botanical contributes to the overall gin profile.

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Let’s Get Tanked!

Scott Moore (Dalkita)

Tags: OSHA Safety tanks Technical

Enhance your knowledge of the rules surrounding tanks in a distillery, including installation, operation, construction, tank connections, and personal safety using tanks. There are a myriad of rules governing the location, construction, connections, and safety of tanks: this session covers one unique approach to installing permanent tanks into a facility as part of an expansion. The top three OSHA considerations for safe working conditions around tanks in a distillery will also be addressed.

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Advanced Technical

Sensory Analysis of Rye Varieties

Mike Swanson (Far North Spirits)

Tags: advanced technical Rye sensory tasting Technical

This presentation is part of a three-year crop research study made possible through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The study aims to create a matrix of rye varieties to give distillers and farmers alike vital information on the agronomic, malting, and sensory characteristics of 16 different rye varieties. The sensory portion of this study will be the first of its kind when published, in late 2019. Far North Spirits has grown test plots of the 16 different rye varieties, each of which was harvested, milled, mashed, fermented, and distilled in an identical manner at Far North Spirits. Session attendees will evaluate the distillates, using an open-ended questionnaire to be as objective as possible.

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Sensory Analysis and Tasting of Malt Whiskey Mash Distillations

Dr. Patricia Aron (Rahr Malting Co.), Ilya Soroka (BSG), Seth Reid (11 Wells Spirits Co.)

Tags: advanced technical BSG malt sensory tasting Technical

BSG is partnering with the Rahr Technical Center and Minnesota-based 11 Wells Spirits Co. to demonstrate the range of flavor a malt spirit is able to provide through varying protocols and mash bills. The purpose of this presentation is to perform and present a descriptive sensory analysis of six fresh-make, 100% malt spirits, resulting from six mash and protocol variables. Comparison will be conducted on spirit fermented and distilled on the mash, from lautered wash (off grain) and lautered wash from mashes, each containing 5% of a different specialty malt.

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Yeast Innovation: Old World Meets New World

Cody Snyder (AB Biotek)

Tags: scotch Technical yeast

The Scotch whisky sector has for some years been looking for a yeast that can achieve their demands for better temperature, alcohol and gravity tolerance alongside improved sugar conversion in the form of rate and yield. This presentation demonstrates that although the yeasts used within the whisky industry have remained largely unchanged in recent years, there is potential to improved performance through the development of new strains.

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Business Essentials

Insuring Safe Distilled Spirits Production – Key Process Controls That Impact DSP Insurance Availability and Pricing

Donald Seitz and Justin Yates (Cincinnati Insurance Company)

Tags: casualty insurance insurance property insurance risk management

From handling flammable material, to providing safe alcohol service, operating a distillery involves many risks. Familiarize yourself with the primary function of property/casualty insurance and how an insurance carrier views the distilled spirits plant. Leave this session knowing what type of process controls reduce the risk (and therefore insurance premiums) to loss of property, loss of income, damage to property and bodily injury.

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Is Gender Diversity Important at your Craft Distillery?

Karen Hoskin (Montanya Distillers), Jennifer Evans (Constellation Brands), Mel Heim (Eastside Distilling), Maggie Campbell (Privateer Rum)

Tags: diversity gender diversity inclusivity in the workplace women in distilling

Karen Hoskin will moderate as panelists Maggie Campbell, Mel Heim, and Jennifer Evans discuss the scientific, human, and practical ways in which gender diversity matters to the craft distilling industry from sales to venture capital to workplace productivity.

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How to Compete in a Global Craft Beverage Market

Andrew Beebe (Arlington Capital Advisors), Dan Gasper, Emily Pennington (Wine & Spirits Daily), JB Shireman (consultant)

Tags: acquisitions mergers mergers and acquisitions strategic planning

Beyond spirits, there have been a number of industries disrupted by craft; beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverage, and even food. This panel of industry veterans will provide an international view of the dynamics impacting global craft beverage through the lens of past, present, and future trends with a focus on investment and M&A activity. You cannot conquer a market, a country, or a category without first knowing how it works, and we see this as an ideal foundational building block as you build your strategy whether your ambitions are local, national, or global.

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Even if You’re Not Planning to Sell…

Brian DeFoe (Lane Powell)

Tags: acquisition targets acquisitions growth strategic planning

The choices you make today impact your ability to sell in the future. Gain a better understanding of how potential buyers evaluate acquisition targets, and how to leverage a buyer’s perspective on your business in order to grow.

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Advanced Acquisitions

Ryan Malkin (Malkin Law), Nick Papanicolaou (Pernod Ricard USA), Paul Hletko (FEW Spirits), Thomas Mooney (House Spirits), Townsend Ziebold (Cascadia Capital)

Tags: acquisitions buyers valuations

Are you ready to make a deal, but wondering what comes next? We want you to walk away with a better understanding of what will be asked of you from a buyer, the basics of a term sheet, and whether a valuation is reasonable.

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Spirits Industry Year in Review

Kevin O'Brien (Zepponi & Company), Renato Reyes (Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits)

Tags: acquisitions investments market data mergers Trends

With the craft spirits industry continuing to expand and become more competitive, it is important for craft distillers to understand what transactions have occurred, the rationale behind these investments, and how these deals may impact their business. Review the transactions that have occurred in 2018 and receive context as to the logic behind the deals. Supporting information will include relevant spirits industry market data, overall beverage alcohol growth trends, and updated distributor consolidation charts. Finally, we will contemplate the potential impact of cannabis legalization on the spirits industry, as data is showing legalization may have a consequential impact on the beverage alcohol category in general.

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How to Conduct Your own Audit

Donald Snyder (Whiskey Systems)

Tags: audit Compliance TTB

Are you curious about what your distillery looks like through the eyes of a TTB auditor? Discover how to set up and structure a formal internal audit of your distillery’s TTB compliance. Learn common examples of red flags, and identify ways to resolve and fix the issues you might identify.

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Strategic Lessons From the Craft Beer Industry

Anna Nadasdy (MBM Group)

Tags: Business business strategy

What do craft spirits and craft beer have in common? For one, they are both young industries built on passion and entrepreneurial spirit. Gain unique perspective gathered from 16+ years on the front lines of the craft beer movement, and discover how spirits producers can apply lessons learned in the craft beer industry. Note: Due to technical difficulties the first couple of minutes of this presentation was not recorded.

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How to Build a Sustainable Craft Spirits Business for the Long Haul

Harry Kohlmann (Park Street), Paul Hletko (FEW Spirits), Dan Garrison (Garrison Bros.), Tom Mooney (House Spirits)

Tags: Business business model sustainability

With an increasingly fragmented marketplace and accelerated distributor consolidation, growing an entrepreneurial spirits brand has become more challenging over time. Identifying the value drivers for long-term success is key for a viable business model. In this seminar, our panel of spirits entrepreneurs will discuss approaches that could help to more effectively compete and create value.

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Sales and Marketing

Taking the Tasting Room out of the Distillery

Noah Rothbaum (Daily Beast Half Full), Ryan Malkin (Malkin Law), Christian Krogstad (House Spirits), Meredith Meyer-Grelli (Wigle)

Tags: free-standing tasting room off-site tasting rooms tasting rooms

The tasting room is a vital tool for any brand to get people to try their spirits and learn more about them. Traditionally, in order to get drinkers into the tasting room you first had to get them into your distillery. But now an increasing number of spirits companies are making it easier for consumers by building tasting rooms outside the distillery. This panel of liquor experts and enterprising brand owners will discuss what it takes to create a free-standing tasting room and the questions you need to answer to figure out if it’s the right move for you. You can’t afford to miss this panel!

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Developing a Ready-To-Drink Product

Mark Shilling (Shillingcrafted), Josh Mabrey (Uncle Billy's Spirits)

Tags: canned cocktail ready-to-drink RTD

The ready-to-drink market has been growing and gaining excitement in the spirits world. What kind of work does it take to maintain the high quality of a craft distillery when creating a canned cocktail? Our speakers will share their experience and the lessons they learned as they created the first canned cocktails in Texas.

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How to Build a Productive Sales Team

Bob Brown (Sales Systems Development)

Tags: Leadership management productivity Sales sales team

Regardless of a distillery’s size, building or strengthening a sales team’s productivity is a challenge. How should a sales representative’s job be structured and managed? How do you motivate salespeople, and what type of leadership is required? Share and learn practical ideas, tips, and techniques for developing a sales organization that is successful in the marketplace.

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Spirits Brand Ambassadors: What Can They Do For You?

Anthony Bagnulo, Martin Duffy (Glencairn)

Tags: brand ambassadors Branding Marketing staff management

Are you wondering if, how, or why your brand should deploy brand ambassadors? This session will provide best practices in recruiting, training, and managing brand ambassadors and discuss ambassador marketing, brand, and commercial objectives in market.

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Stealing From The Big Boys (and Girls): Build a Killer Strategic Marketing Campaign Using Tips and Tricks Nicked from Million-Dollar Brands

Heather Greene

Tags: Communications Marketing storytelling strategic marketing voice

Many distillers get bogged down by the technicality of what they do and lack a broader misunderstanding of how they function in a larger arena - the way the consumer functions. They will be surprised to know some of the tips big brands use to "win" in the marketplace that are effective - and don't cost a whole lot, either. This topic is for distillers who want to communicate better to their consumers, grow their "Share of Voice," using the same tips shared with big brands.

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Working with the Media

Alexandra Clough (Gather PR)

Tags: brand messaging Interviews Marketing Media

Discover this best practice guide to building long-term relationships with the media. It Marketing will include the guiding principles of the media, how to deliver your brand’s message effectively and consistently, and how to effectively conduct media interviews and avoid difficult questions.

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Craft Spirits Data Project

Harry Kohlmann (Park Street)

Tags: Craft Spirits Data Project CSDP Data economy industry trends

ACSA teamed up with Park Street and the IWSR to analyze the market from the distiller’s perspective. The primary goal is to represent the growing craft spirits industry and its impact on our economy. This data is essential, as we already know it will help us with our legislative fights, both on the federal and state levels. The data will also prove helpful for the members of the media as they continue to understand and learn about our business sector.

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Legal and Compliance

Panel Presentation on Trade Policy

Christine LoCascio (DISCUS), Bryan Alvey (also of KDA), Angela Hofmann (Farmers for Free Trade)

Tags: export Tariffs trade trade policy

How do recent developments in U.S. trade policy impact the distilled spirits sector? Find out as we discuss the opportunities and current challenges the industry faces. Learn how the spirits industry as a whole can address tariffs and trade policy changes, and the big role that small distillers play as we move forward.

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Labor Law for Your Labor of Love: An overview of Labor and Employment Law

Corey Day (Murphy, Campbell, Alliston and Quinn)

Tags: labor law law managing employees

Often, craft spirits producers are so focused on making incredible beverages that they overlook the legal liabilities they may be creating when it comes to supervising employees and keeping track of how and what they are paid. This presentation seeks to inform attendees of the general structure of labor and employment regulation that applies to their businesses. Sources of law at the Federal, State, and Local levels will be reviewed, as well as Federal labor law, and tips on where to locate the Federal, State, and Local law.

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What to Expect During an OSHA Inspection

Gary Yurt (Industrial Safety and Training Services)

Tags: audit Compliance Legal OSHA record keeping Safety

At any given time, on any given day, an OSHA Inspector has the right to show up at your facility. Don’t be scared -- get prepared! Join Industrial Safety and Training Services for helpful information about distillery-specific record-keeping, OSHA recordables, and best safety practices that will make your life easier during the inspection process.

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2018 Convention Presentations

General Sessions

Town Hall Session

Fawn Weaver (Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey), Margie Lehrman (ACSA), Mark Shilling (Treaty Oak Brewing and Distilling Co.), Nicole Austin (Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.), Tom Mooney (House Spirits), Paul Hletko (FEW Spirits), Jim Hyland (Pennsylvania Avenue Group), Ted Huber (Starlight Distillery)

Tags: Excise tax FET Keynote Spirits History tax reduction

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Separation Anxiety: Observational Insights to Understanding Filtration

Maria Peterson (Scott Laboratories)

Tags: clarity filtration Technical throughput

Learn why filtration is necessary. This presentation will also cover the types of depth filters and media on the market and which one is best for your setup. Additionally, it will detail how to get the most out of your current system/media, and methods on storing media between uses.

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Comparative Distillations for Small and Large Micro-Distilleries

John McKee (Headframe Spirits), Bryan Jennings and Randy Hudson (Triple Eight Distillery)

Tags: Distilling GS pot vs. column still sensory Technical

See the outcome of the work performed by three differently sized distilleries, running differing equipment, each of differing scale of total throughput, and each distilling the same product, from the same based ingredients, on the same recipe. The presenters will provide factual and science-based data about the differences in quality and costs of production of beverage alcohol for micro-distilleries. Additionally, each spirit produced, both aged and unaged will be available for tasting during the presentation.

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Tradition and Innovation in Distilling Malts: a UK Perspective

Colin Johnston (Crisp Malting Group LTD)

Tags: Distilling malt malting Technical

Crisp Malting Group, one of the UK’s oldest maltsters, in collaboration with BSG, will be taking a look back at the historic production techniques in distilling malt as well as looking forward to current innovations in the supply of this most important of raw materials. Specific emphasis will be placed on Crisp’s recent trials in producing peated malt using peat from three different regions of Scotland, and looking at the effects of peat terroir on new make character.

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Full of Spirit: Designing and Engineering Craft Distilleries Capable of Producing Multiple Spirit Types All Under One Roof

James Ludford-Brooks (Briggs of Burton plc)

Tags: building a distillery distillery design Technical

Acquire a knowledge of different spirit types and the technical requirements to produce several of these all under one roof. It will include practical experience in designing and building these facilities, consideration to the challenge between engineering and architecture, and the importance of designing in safety for improving company healthand safety.

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Distillery in a Box: The Future of Distillery Equipment

Ryan Hollister (Haskell)

Tags: distillery design equipment Technical

The future belongs to those who can scale. The current state of distilleries dictates that the craft distiller must engineer or hire someone to engineer many components of thedistillation process. Haskell will apply their experience from large spirits providers, such as Jim Beam and Diageo, along with experience in Beer, Wine, and other Food and Beverage industries to detail what craft distillers can expect the equipment supply landscape to look like in the future - a future where package systems are increasingly available to match the demand of the craft distillery market.

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(Another one Fights the) Dust: a.k.a. Identiying and Managing Combustible Dust Hazards in Your Distillery

Devin Mills (Dalkita)

Tags: combustion dust dust hazards fire fire hazard fire risk hazards health OSHA Safety Technical

A Dust Hazard Analysis requirement from building and fire officials is coming online no later than October 2018 - are you ready for it? This presentation will help you identify when and where there is a combustible dust problem and the general scope of the problem, as well as show you appropriate methods to control dust in your facility.

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Fermentation and Flavor Generation

Liz Rhoades (Diageo)

Tags: Fermentation flavor flavor route GS sour mash Technical yeast

Explore theoretical and text book education on alcoholic fermentation and tips and tricks for enhanced yield and potential processing ease. You will leave with a high level understanding of how flavor is generated through yeast metabolism, and potential levers for optimization and/or modulation.

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Business Essentials

Routes to Market in a Consolidated Distributor Landscape

Harry Kohlmann (Park Street)

Tags: business essentials Distribution distributors routes to market supplier three tier system wholesaler

Many craft distillers produce high quality products that resonate with consumers. However, in order to execute and grow brands effectively, there must be a strong route-to-market strategy. This can prove to be increasingly challenging in the face of continued distributor consolidation, and the complexity of varying regulations and barriers to entry in each U.S. market. In this session, we will review and provide strategies for development and execution in entering key states within the U.S. Topics covered will include commercial and industry trends, strategic development and execution, U.S. market industry insights, and distribution options in light of recent consolidation and overall guidance.

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Process Management: Does it Really Apply?

Ed Gorman (Aires Consulting)

Tags: busness essentials health OSHA process management process safety Safety

In reality, do you have to comply with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Regulation? This discussion will focus on what is required under process safety, how OSHA can enforce the standard if you do have an accident, and what you can do to protect yourself and your business.

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Preparing for a Sale or Strategic Investment: Practical Tips and Best Practices

Kevin O'Brien (Zepponi & Company), Joe Heron (Copper & Kings)

Tags: acquisitions business essentials investment

As the craft spirits industry continues to grow in popularity and influence, there have been a considerable amount of minority and majority investments in the past few years. With the industry continuing to expand and become more competitive, it is important for craft distillers to position themselves to succeed either internally or with the assistance of a strategic partner. Leveraging real world insights, this presentation will help distillers understand what practical steps they can take to allow them to maximize their options for the future.

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KISS: Simple Rules for Bank Funding & Building Brand Value for Investment

John Fisher (Fisher & Company, LLC), Jeff Clark (Live Oak Bank)

Tags: business essentials growth investment lending valuation

Through examples and episodes from real companies, you’ll become proficient in how to achieve funding, build brand value, and get invested or acquired. This presentation will break down the most important rules for successfully obtaining bank funding for your DSP, building measurable (financial) brand value, and raising strategic investment in your DSP.

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Funding Your Business Without Going to Jail: Securities Compliance for the Small Distillery

Brian DeFoe (Lane Powell)

Tags: business essentials crowdfunding Legal Securities securities compliance

Do you know which state and federal securities laws impact your ability to raise capital for your business? After this session, you will be able to distinguish the differences between the various capital-raising mechanisms available to you, including traditional equity offerings, as well as perk-based and equity-based crowdfunding. This session will also help you be able to spot and avoid common mistakes made by entrepreneurs, which frequently cause expense or difficulty in connection with future capital-raising activities and strategic transactions (such as a sale of the business).

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Business Intelligence: Maximizing the Value of Your Data

Donald Snyder and Jack Sigan (Whiskey Resources)

Tags: business essentials Data data dashboarding KPI

Data from your distillery can drive “smart” decisions (developing raw material reorder strategies, identifying fermentation and distillation efficiencies, identifying losses through your processes, to name a few). Learn what data to collect and how summary data can be your best friend.

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Acquisitions Basics

Ryan Malkin (Malkin Law), Dan Garrison (Garrison Brothers), Paul Hletko (FEW Spirits), Tom Mooney (House Spirits), Nick Papanicolaou (Pernod Ricard USA)

Tags: acquisitions business essentials deals Distribution valuation

Take a walk through the process of elevating your brand to the next level. That means, potentially entering into either an importation/distribution agreement with a major supplier, selling a brand, a strategic partnership, or walking away from offers. Tom Mooney from House Spirits recently sold its Aviation brand and he will share why now was the right time to sell. Paul Hletko from FEW Spirits entered into a strategic partnership to boost his marketing and sales team. Nick Papanicolaou is part of the New Brand Ventures division of Pernod Ricard USA and will share what he looks for in a brand. Finally, Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers will talk about why he walked away from offers. Ryan Malkin, principal attorney at Malkin Law, counsels brands as they contemplate next moves and is moderating this all-star panel.

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Craft Spirits Data Project

Harry Kohlmann (Park Street), Adam Rogers (IWSR)

Tags: business essentials Craft Spirits Data Project Data economy

The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) teamed up with Park Street and the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) to analyze the market from the distillers’ perspective. ACSA has hand selected our partners for this initiative: Park Street specializes in providing back end office and financial solutions for the alcohol beverage industry. The IWSR is the world’s leading wine and spirits data source, having established itself over 40 years ago and now operates in over 150 markets worldwide. The main goal of the Craft Spirits Data Project is to represent the growing craft spirits industry and its impact on our economy. This data is essential, as we already know it will help us with our legislative fights, both on the federal and state levels.  The data will also prove helpful for the members of the media as they continue to understand and learn about our business sector.

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Sales and Marketing

The Changing Beverage Alcohol Landscape: Key Trends and Consumption Drivers

Brandy Rand (IWSR)

Tags: consumption drivers Data Marketing Sales Trends

Familiarize yourself with the trends driving beverage alcohol consumption. The IWSR is the world’s leading data and analysis company in the industry, tracking historical and future growth. Utilizing the IWSR’s extensive data and insights, Brandy will share the story behind the numbers. This presentation is critical for companies looking to invest in export markets, create new brands and focus on growth drivers in the U.S. market.

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Leveraging Media Properly to Market Your Brand

Kate Cardinali (Innovate Media + Design), Brian Christensen (Artisan Spirit Magazine), Martin Duffy (Glencairn)

Tags: brand messaging event marketing Marketing Sales social media

It’s not selling the first bottle - it’s selling the last, which requires marketing and media combined to carry a powerful message. Building a powerful media and marketing plan into your business plan is critical to long term success, and it can be done in a cost-effective manner. Media is about overall engagement with the consumer across many platforms. This panel of professionals will outline researched and proven methods that relate to content marketing, print and digital media, as well as event marketing. We will focus on easy methods and tools distillers can use in their business right now. And what NOT to do when using media to market your business as a startup or established business.

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eCommerce: Not Just for Consumers Anymore

Karen Barnes (Wine Direct Marketing)

Tags: Digital Marketing Distribution ecommerce Marketing Sales

The eCommerce revolution is coming to the trade market – more and more businesses in all industries are using online ordering platforms to restock their shelves and get information out to key players that will help sell products in the market. Setting up an online store that serves your retailers and restaurants, as well as your consumers, can put you ahead of that curve, saving you time and money in the process. Explore the benefits of an effective online store and how to use eCommerce to boost your bottom line and engage all your customers, creating brand loyalty both onsite and offsite. We will cover product presentation, pricing structures, user experience, customer tracking and digital marketing to create a program that will take your online sales to the next level.

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The Story Sells the Spirit: How Narratives Affect Sales

Robin Robinson (Robin Robinson LLC), Gonzalo de la Pezuela (Distill Ventures), Angie Fleitz (Solid Light), Mary Kate Lo Conte (Merz Branding)

Tags: Branding Marketing narrative Sales storytelling

What activates customers at every tier of the supply chain? What carries your brand from inside the distillery to the farthest shelf in a small town at the other end of the country? It’s your story, the heart and soul of your business, your hopes and dreams given shape in words and pictures and focused on selling your product. We’ve assembled four pros in the art and craft of putting together a brand’s story that works for their clients and they’ll share their insights and give you takeaways on what you need to make yours memorable and profitable.

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Panel Discussion on Packaging

Kelly Nielsen (Nielsen). Raul Paredes (O-I), Steve Pelkey (Universal Packaging Inc.), Francisco Siller (MCC Label)

Tags: Branding Marketing Packaging Sales

How do you stand out on a shelf? How can the appearance of your product can help convey who you and your brand are? What innovations are there for labels, glass, and packaging? Get answers to these and many other questions during this panel presentation.

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How to Maximize Your Tasting Room Experience

Emily Pennington (Wine & Spirits Daily), Meredith Grelli (Wigle Whiskey), Robert Likarish (Ironroot Republic), Hannah Lowen (New Riff Distilling)

Tags: Marketing on site Sales tasting rooms

A tasting room has become a vital part of how a craft distillers build awareness for their brands and create an emotional connection with its customers. This panel includes three speakers with very different tasting room styles, and is devoted to get the most out of a tasting space regardless of size. Expect to hear these craft distillers dig into topics such as staffing and education, special events, and dealing with government officials.

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A Blended Approach to an Impactful Marketing Strategy

Susan Mooney and Matthew Baris (Spirits Consulting Group)

Tags: Marketing off premise on premise Sales storytelling

Create an effective marketing and sales strategy without having the budget of the big brands. Susan and Matthew will cover how to get the most return for time and money spent and which marketing activities provide the most beneficial results when every dollar counts.

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General Sessions

Track 1 - Technical and Distilling

Sustainable Wastewater Treatment for Craft Spirits Producers

Baji Gobburi

Water and wastewater management challenges can present economic and environmental barriers to growth for craft spirits producers, whose water-intensive processes generate large volumes of high-strength stillage. Challenges are further augmented in drought-stricken regions and in small towns where municipal wastewater treatment plants with aging infrastructure are nearing capacity.  Distributed, onsite wastewater treatment solutions alleviate these challenges, offering a progressive, cost-effective, and sustainable approach to water and wastewater management that allows craft spirits producers to realize their growth potential. Explore the various benefits associated with transitioning away from traditional, centralized wastewater treatment solutions.

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Grind Profiles and Spirit Yield

Michael Scanzello

Briess, working with Michigan State University, performed several collaborative studies in 2011 and 2012.  First, the impact on spirit yield was examined between two different grind profiles of malted barley. Then, the flavor and yield impact of several different specialty malts (Munich, Victory, C60, and Black Malt) were examined. Learn about the design and findings of the studies, as well as the implication for the craft distiller. Samples of the distillate with the different specialty malts can be provided for tasting and smelling.

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Do Spirits Actually Have Terroir? Testing Taste of Place in American Rye Whiskey

Alexander Grelli and Meredith Meyer-Grelli

As craft distilleries grow and seek differentiation, one area of focus is the idea of place. Can we extend this idea into farm-to-glass? This question is pondered (and answered) through a somewhat scientific study of whiskeys distilled from rye grain sourced around the continent. The “rye project,” is a way to engage and educate consumers, keep ourselves on our toes, and learn more about our craft.

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Fermentation for Distillers

Kara Taylor

Fermentation is one of the most important aspects of distilling. The production of flavors during the fermentation process can contribute to a deliciously unique and consistent product. Discover how you can control yeast to make the flavors, aromas, and yields you seek.

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Best Practices for Sensory

Colin Blake and David Dafoe

Learn the art of sensory evaluation from both the physiological side, and what the best practices are, for doing sensory evaluation. Led by Dave Dafoe, founder of Flavorman, and Moonshine University’s director of spirits education, Colin Blake, you’ll get a solid foundation on how to perform sensory evaluation on spirits and give helpful, meaningful feedback when performing the art of sensory. Learn best practices for picking environment, glasses, nosing, tasting, what proof to do sensory at, building sensory vocabulary, and how to enhance your sensory over time.

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Cork Closures and the Future

Eduardo Sousa

Get up to speed on market innovation and product development, development timeframes, time to market and continuous improvement.  Hear new ideas regarding eco-efficiency and social responsiveness while educating and sharing the connection between natural cork, its environment, and those caretakers of this important resource. Examine new materials, decoration technologies, assembling techniques, and learn about anti-counterfeiting solutions.

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Chemical & Sensory Analysis of Oak-Related Finishing Techniques

Andrew Wiehebrink

Gain valuable insight and knowledge of alternative finishing techniques currently being used in the industry and learn more about flavor compounds found in aged spirits, the processes of maturation, and the effect barrel treatments have on an aged product. Highlighting several finishing techniques such as double barrel aging and the use of oak adjunct products, you’ll enjoy a short tasting of six to eight samples of identical aged spirit, each being finished in a different manner to showcase certain flavors.  We will present a complete chemical analysis of each sample and highlight key points of differentiation created by the finishing techniques.

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More Continuous Chemistry: What Has My Making Toast Got To Do with My Favorite Pour?

Gary Spedding, Ph.d

A very complex, though simply elegant, series of chemical reactions, the Maillard reactions dictate much of the flavor of distilled spirits, particularly during the toasting and charring of barrels used for maturation and finishing. Get a fuller understanding of overall spirits flavor production while we will simplify the chemistry and demonstrate reactions related to selection of raw materials, barrel making and choice of barrels.

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Using Science and Technology to Manage Processes and Products

Paul Hughes, Ph.d

The management of the production environment and final products is of the utmost importance to distillers. Beyond legal compliance and safety issues, there is a need to gather data to inform as to the performance of the various production processes and to help understand the conformance or otherwise of the final products and by-products. Here we explore what information is required by the distiller and identify options to gather data that enables that information to be extracted. We will consider instrumental, sensor and sensory data sources, and discuss the relevance of particular analyses particularly in terms of cost-benefit. This will lead on to a consideration of the feasibility of a $1000 laboratory for the craft distiller.

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Track 2 - Safety, Compliance, and Growth

Taking a Bourbon Distillery to the Next Level

Jacob Call

The site of the recently opened O.Z. Tyler Distillery housed distilleries for nearly 130 years. Prior to being purchased by Terressentia Corporation (parent company of the O.Z. Tyler Distillery), it had not produced Kentucky bourbon since the 1990s. The 26-acre site underwent major renovations from new controls to a state-of-the-art grain handling facility to a processing center capable of barrel filling and dumping up to 32,000 barrels of bourbon annually.  From past to present, discover what went into making a thoroughly modern distillery on a historic site.

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Project Delivery Models for New or Expanding Distilleries

Anthony White

Having worked with Jim Beam and Diageo in the past, Process Engineers Haskell-Blenheim brings real world experience in planning and execution of capital projects for spirits producers.  Haskell will use their “Project Delivery Model” as a guide to illustrate how to effectively scope and execute projects, while timing financial investments for optimal benefit and certainty of outcome. Using real info from past projects, you’ll learn what to consider when working with engineers, how to select equipment for future needs at the outset or expansion planning, building and process flow considerations, throughput calculations, and excess capacity planning.

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Focus on Exports – Where/How to Move Product

Danielle Viguerie Coco and Paul Flint

Not sure how to get your product to Helsinki? Intimidated by shipping to Shimizu?  Little players can win big in the overseas market.  Serious advantages exist for small craft distillers to ship their goods abroad – for starters, excise taxes that can be as high as the sale’s price are eliminated.  Representatives from two US organizations and a spirits importer from Japan will unlock the mystery of the export.

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EU Route-to-Market Strategies for US Craft Distillers

Harry Kohlmann

As the world’s second largest economy, the EU positions itself as a key market for American craft distillers. The union of dozens of states proves to be complex, with varying regulations and barriers to entry in each country. Learn strategies for exporting from the US and entering key states within the EU, including commercial and industry trends, growth strategy, development and execution, EU market industry insights, distribution options and overall guidance.

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Next Level Compliance: Legal Growth in a Sea of Red Tape

Daniel Christopherson and John Messinger

Prepare now for the challenges of growth!  Focusing on legal and regulatory compliance issues spirits companies face when expanding their business, we’ll explore important tips on fundraising (including loans and crowdsourcing), entering international and non-traditional markets, new distillery construction and equipment, contract distilling and private label concerns. Discover the hazards of non-compliance, how to avoid problems, and potential growth opportunities awaiting your business.

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Unique Considerations When Entering a Control-State Marketplace

David Jackson, Jim Sgueo, John Shiffer, and Louis Zweig

In many cases, Control States offer advantages for craft distillers that are not available in the general marketplace. Every state is different, and if you take the time to do the regulatory and operational research, you’ll find opportunities for sale and distribution exist in the unlikeliest environments. Explore the background of the control systems and the path to success from the viewpoint of a major supplier, a control state broker/distributor and an Alcohol Beverage Commission Director.

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The Electrical Sombrero of Death

Colleen Moore and Scott Moore

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more in-depth about classified electrical areas in distilleries – where they are, when they are needed, and special wiring methods (inside and outside the classified area). Myths will be dispelled, explosion-proof wiring will be dissected, and simple ventilation versus electrical upgrades will be compared.

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Track 3 - Marketing and Finance

Banking and Finance to Create Value

Jeff Clark and John Fisher

Capital is available to grow your business – particularly surrounding crowdfunding. The initial results to date for crowdfunding for the spirits industry has been positive, and the ability to raise equity increases a distiller’s chance of obtaining bank financing. Explore multiple case studies and asset-based lending capabilities for financing aged spirits.

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Crafting Great Package Design – Best Practices for Winning with Consumers

Steve Lamoureux, and Danelle Kosmal

Taking “judge a book by its cover” and applying it to the packaging of spirits is exactly what happened when the experts at Nielsen conducted a recent study on spirits packaging for bourbon distilling members of the ACSA. Hear the results and learn why distillers need to care about this essential sales ingredient. Take away the four important roles and goals of package design and the five secrets to creating breakthrough design.

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Working With The Media: How to Build Meaningful Relationships with the Media to Grow Your Spirits Brands

Alexandra Sklansky

Working productively with the media also requires an understanding of today’s media landscape. The often-overlooked beverage trade media and what were once smaller spirits bloggers have now found a large voice within the industry through their own portals and social media platforms. Spirits companies today can no longer overlook this demographic. Learn where we stand today and what the future holds.

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Directing Your Second Act

Wayne Curtis, Maggie Campbell, Scott Blackwell, and Christian Krogstad

This panel of three distinguished craft distillers, moderated by journalist Wayne Curtis, explores an oft-observed trajectory among start-up distillers: the business plans distillers start out with are rarely the same plans they follow in year two or three. New distillers learn from their mistakes, grow from their experience, find soaring demand for products they hadn’t anticipated, lagging demand for others, and shortages of source material they assumed abundant. They redirect their energies, and, essentially, find that they’re launching all over again. How to prepare for and manage that shift? Three distillers who’ve experienced this first-hand will reveal how they directed their second act.

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Craft Distillery Logistics

Richard Baduini

Ignorance is bliss! An oft overlooked and under-appreciated function at both young and established distilleries, logistics has major impacts on cost and services, ultimately impacting revenue and profitability.  Covering the practical ins and outs of supply chain functionality, alternatives and best practices at the distillery, explore what needs to be considered in order to leverage and maximize your everyday enterprise efforts.

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The Craft Spirits Distribution Problem (And Ways We Might Solve It)

Dan Garrison, Colin Keegan, Adam Spiegal, and Cassandra Sunell

With a disconnect between craft distiller goals and distributors’ goals, small craft distillers are finding the task of getting product to market ever more difficult. Join us for a lively discussion to determine how to get attention from distributors without very large marketing budgets, what collaborations between distillers would look like, and how - as an industry - we can take on the big brands that dominate access to the market.

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The Perfect Ingredient for Balanced Marketing

Susan Mooney and Matt Baries

Competition is fierce and creative marketing can make or break a brand. It’s not enough to have a great product -- how you sell it to your audience will help you over the tipping point (or put you out of business). The absence of a Pernot Ricard-level budget doesn’t mean you can’t take your marketing to the next level.  Explore the challenges and obstacles then analyze solutions to overcome them to create a winning marketing campaign on a micro budget.

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You Can Only Run Out of Money Once

Courtney McKee

The financial and sustainability issues of craft spirits distilleries play out much differently for larger spirits producers. Courtney McKee of Headframe Spirits will use its own percentages of income as a real-life example of experience, being an up-and-comer.  She’ll share good decisions you should consider, bad decisions you should avoid, and lessons learned in the growth process.

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Winning The Pitch

Gonzalo de la Pezuela and Chip Tate

Hear three entrepreneurs pitch live to a panel of investors – from within and outside the drinks industry – and get feedback on their propositions. The Distill Ventures team will then talk about the important elements of successfully securing investments - what investors are looking for and how to structure your pitch so that you can win the investment your business needs!

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2016 Convention Presentations

General Sessions

Keynote Address

Eli Aguilera, Vice President, Spirits, Total Wine & More

The Person At the Top of the Mountain Didn’t Fall to Get There

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Town Hall Meeting

ACSA Board of Directors and James E. Hyland, ACSA Lobbyist, The Pennsylvania Avenue Group

The State of Your Association: What’s New within ACSA What’s New On Capitol Hill: The Fight to Reduce the FET

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Pressure: Lessons Learned – Keeping Your Employees, Equipment, Spirits & Business Safe

Kevin S. Getz, Target Markets Manager – Craft Beverage, Cincinnati Insurance, John McGree, Senior Vice President, Payne West Insurance, Mike Delaney, State Agent, Cincinnati Insurance, Mike Sherman, Vendome Copper & Brassworks

Tags: Safety

A look at common hazards in distilling operations, the protection of property and life and what carriers look for during an inspection. Additionally, we will take a look at past distillery accidents and what they have in common.

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Quantifying the Impact of the American Craft Spirits Industry

Harry Kohlmann, Ph.D., CEO, Park Street; Adam Rogers, Head of Special Projects, The International Wine and Spirits Research

While American craft spirits are demonstrating notable growth, the true impact of the sector remains evidenced more by anecdotes than a viable data-driven fact base. The American Craft Spirits Association, the International Wine and Spirits Research, and Park Street have teamed up to launch a research project with the goal to provide a solid and reliable fact base for evaluating performance and trends in the craft spirits industry. The stakeholders for this data are all industry members, including but not limited to distillers, farmers, distributors, retailers, consumers, service providers, and regulators, both on the federal and state level. Additional stakeholders include investors and employees within and behind such entities. A more fragmented and decentralized industry will require larger investments by all stakeholders. The desired fact base will help all concerned to make their respective investment cases and vastly improve an understanding of the full impact at a regional, local, and federal level. The presentation will provide some background on the research project as well as preliminary findings.

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Craft Spirits Acquisitions, Exit Strategies, and Mergers

Tom Steffanci, Deustch Family Wine & Spirits; Dave Schmeir, Indie Spirits Expo and Co-founder Redemption Rye

Tags: Business Finance

Explore the key contributors and metrics that make a craft spirits brand valuable. Discover the “6 P’s model” used to evaluate brands with tried and true success factors. Observations and experience from the sellers perspective.

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Sales and Marketing

Game Changer: Emerging Trends and How Millennials are Changing the Game for Craft Spirits Branding

Dave Scheuman, CF Napa

Tags: Marketing

Millennials consume products and media differently than any other generation before them. He will discuss why you should care about this group of consumers who represents 1.87 Trillion in total spending power and why they represent the largest growth segment of the spirits market now and into the future. A look at how they spend their money on alcohol, what’s hot and what’s not and why big brands should be worried.

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How to Create Brilliant Brands

Dan Gasper, Distill Ventures

Tags: Marketing

Many of most successful drinks brands of the past decade have had brilliant liquids, compelling stories and used clever strategies to create passionate consumers. We will identify what you can learn from these successful brands & share our proprietary framework to help you identify what you can do you make your products win the hearts of more customers! ‘The 5 Bricks’ – The world’s 1st spirits ‘Accelerator’ focused on supporting new and growing drinks businesses, shares it’s unique 5 Bricks framework

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©2024 American Craft Spirits Association; All Rights Reserved. Member Owned, Industry Driven.

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