INAUGURAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PENNFIELD JENSEN RETIRES
Washington, D.C. – August 6, 2015
The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) today announces the appointment of Margie A.S. Lehrman as the interim Executive Director, as Pennfield “Penn” Jensen, a respected beverage industry veteran who helped found the organization and later served as its Executive Director, retires. Jensen will continue to consult with ACSA and Lehrman to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
Lehrman is an industry veteran from Washington, D.C., and was selected by the Board of Directors to assist with critical issues facing the craft distilling community. Lehrman brings with her nearly 20 years of experience at an executive level with national associations, coupled with a background in beer, wine, and spirits law at Lehrman Beverage Law, PLLC. She began her career with the Foreign Policy Association in New York City before embarking on a legal career in Washington D.C. in the 1980s. More recently, she was the Chief Operating Officer with the American Association for Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
“While Penn has left a lasting legacy, I am thrilled to take the helm of the ACSA at such a critical time for the craft distilling community,” stated Lehrman. “We have a dedicated team, a vibrant Board of Directors, and a bourgeoning industry of hundreds of craft distillers here in the U.S. There is ample opportunity to expand the work of ACSA, shepherding its growth from infancy to a more mature association. There will be a broader menu of member benefits, from active legislation, particularly with a current push to reduce the Federal Excise Tax, to robust products and services for all member craft distillers.”
Thomas Mooney, ACSA President and Founding Member, and Co-Owner and CEO of House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Oregon added, “Margie joins us with deep knowledge of the complexities of a non-profit membership trade group while at the same time, understanding the intricacies of an industry that is highly regulated. She brings a unique leadership skill set to the table and we’re thrilled to have her onboard.”
“In 2012, Penn and several of ACSA’s founding members set out with a clear vision: to create a non-profit trade group that would rally the industry together, and serve as the voice of our country’s craft distillers and artisan producers,” added Mooney. “While Penn’s choice to retire is a bittersweet one, we are incredibly proud of the work we have accomplished under his leadership and guidance in our three years together, and we are confident that under Margie’s leadership, the ACSA will make tremendous progress toward protecting and promoting American craft spirits in the years to come.”
The American Craft Spirits Association is the only registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. Its mission is to promote and protect the craft spirits producers in the U.S.. Membership in ACSA is open to anyone.
ACSA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the eligible voting members of the Association. Voting members must be independent licensed distillers (DSPs) annually producing fewer than 750,000 proof gallons out of bond (the amount on which a Federal Excise Tax is paid.) For information about ACSA, call 502-299-0238.
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Farewell note from Penn Jensen
As we welcome a new Executive Director, Margie A.S. Lehrman, I am filled with pride and gratitude to all those who helped create the American Craft Spirits Association into the established non-profit trade association that it is today.
It has not always been a smooth ride; building something of such national stature from scratch could hardly be expected to happen overnight. To say that it has been a team effort is a misnomer of gargantuan dimension. To the original ad hoc Board of Directors, to the unflagging support of our Founding Distilleries, and to the unstinting contributions from our Founding Sponsors, I offer my heartfelt thanks. Without those early efforts, from many who have become lifelong and treasured friends, ACSA would never have come to pass.
The future I foresaw, beginning with ADI over a decade ago, is now a reality. ACSA has a Board of Directors-a who’s who of industry leaders-duly elected by our membership, all of whom are licensed to distill spirits in the United States. How cool is that!
ACSA now has active committees driving key initiatives, such as Federal Excise Tax reduction, our annual convention (the largest gathering of individual distillers in the world focused on the critical issues within every aspect of the industry), and Ethics-the root commitment required of all our members to honesty and transparency-that, with the many others not noted here, combine to imbue ACSA with the authenticity, integrity, and identity that sets us apart and upon which the most important dynamic of our world-the people who buy our products-rely.
Ultimately, it is to our distilling members, to our customers, and to the legislators and educators who listen (on occasion) to what we have to say, that I want to thank for the extraordinary fun of collaboration, of shared learning, and of exchanging views and perspectives on a field of endeavor that seems infinite in its possibilities for creative and financial success.
To the distillers, the archetypal alchemists who literally and figuratively conjure spirits out of earth’s bounty and your creative, ambitious, and wild imaginations, I salute you. As for everyone else, especially those of you I have yet to come to know, I can only hope that we will be able to meet, perhaps in a small plaza in Madrid, or in a San Francisco speakeasy, where we may share “a wee dram,” be witty, insightful and for a few moments together, contemplate this wonderful life.