Register Now for ACSA’s Next Regional Safety Education Program in Long Beach
Join us as we head to Long Beach, California for our next Regional Education Program, Thursday, September 6 to Friday, September 7 . ACSA has partnered with Industrial Safety and Training Services to present “Distillery Safety Management 101.” Learn about hazard recognition, requirements of written policies, regulatory training, general OSHA compliance and much more over the course of two days. The registration fee is $399 for ACSA members and $699 for non-members . The fee for any additional participants from your company is $299 for members and $529 for non-members. We’ve negotiated a discount room rate of $149 a night at the event’s host hotel, the Courtyard Long Beach Downtown . The rate expires on August 24 , so don’t delay! Read the story below to see how attendees are raving about last month’s safety training class in Cincinnati.
Last month ACSA teamed up with Industrial Safety and Training Services (ISTS) to present the first of our 2018 Regional Education Programs, the two-day master class titled Distillery Management 101. The event, held at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, covered everything from hazard recognition and written policy requirements to regulatory training and OSHA compliance.
The class was a resounding success with attendees, who left Cincinnati energized to enhance their distilleries’ safety programs, training and protocols.
Sam Bielawski, head distiller at FEW Spirits in Evanston Illinois, was one of two people from his distillery who attended. He notes that the safety class far exceeded his expectations.
“I think both of us, going into it, had preconceived notions, thinking, ‘it’s a safety conference so it’s going to be a bit of a snoozer’ and that if we get one or two things out of it, it would be worth it, ” Bielawski explains. “But we both came away from it extremely impressed. The ISTS guys were really good presenters.”
Bielawski adds that he brought several questions with him that he had hoped to ask during the course of the two days. “They hit on a bunch of that stuff before I was even able to ask the questions, which was great.”
One of the key points from the session, Bielawski notes, was the need for a distillery to create a safety culture within its company. “Even though craft distillers don’t have nearly as much money as the big guys—a lot are bare bones—we all have to be making an effort and realizing that we can get better at implementing safety protocols. It’s really about going above and beyond and stressing safety to your employees.”
Also in attendance was Max Lachowyn, production manager at Watershed Distillery in Columbus, Ohio, who appreciated the level of detail in the safety class. “I know a lot of us might attend a lot of training seminars and still not know how to use it,” Lachowyn says. “But this wasn’t just someone going over a book, it was applicable, hands-on training.”
Lachowyn adds that as a nine-year-old distillery, Watershed has faced many safety-related scenarios before. “The biggest area of improvement for us is OSHA inspection record-keeping,” he says. “The presenters talked about what an OSHA inspection looks like, which is a big unknown for a lot of people. [We learned] how to have a more organized safety manual if an inspection ever happens. Generally I like keeping records and keeping everyone on the ball.”
Four ACSA Member Distilleries to
Showcase Spirits at BevCon; Still Time to Take Advantage of $100 Discount
Four ACSA member distilleries will be showcasing their spirits at two exclusive events at BevCon in Los Angeles, Sunday, August 19 through Tuesday, August 21.
In two short years, BevCon has quickly become one of the country’s most exciting and inspiring, industry only , beverage events. Professional bartenders, sommeliers, buyers, beverage makers, distributors, importers, media, marketing, public relations professionals and other related companies all gather in an intimate setting to learn from one another, share resources, network and become inspired to grow their respected businesses.
ACSA member events include:
Onsite Bar: Sunday, August 19th | 4:45-5:30 PM
Backwards Distilling Company (Mills, WY) will pour Strongman Gin, Contortionist Gin, Milk Can Cinnamon Moonshine
Republic Restoratives (Washington, DC) will pour CIVIC Vodka, Borough Bourbon, Rodham Rye, Chapmans Apple Brandy
Meet the Makers: Tuesday, August 21st | 3:30 – 5:00 PM
CALI Distillery (Los Angeles, CA) will pour CALI California Sipping Whiskey, Riptide Cask Strength Rye Whiskey, Mavericks Doublewood Small Batch American Whiskey*, Sukkah Hill Spirits Etrog Liqueur, Sukkah Hill Spirits Besamim Liqueur and Mavericks Eighty Eight* (*pre-release).
Blinking Owl Distillery (Santa Ana, CA) will showcase its Vodka, OC Orange Vodka, Aquavit, Gin and Old Tom Gin
We also invite ACSA members to take advantage of an exclusive discount: $100 off the regular registration fee —that’s a full 25% off the price of an all-access pass for the duration of the conference. Use the code ACSASpecial when you register to receive the discount.
It’s pretty easy to predict which U.S. cities are poised for a craft spirits boom. If it’s developed a fairly epic brewing scene, chances are its ground is fertile for new distilleries. Case in point: San Diego. Long a craft beer destination, San Diego, in the past few years, has generated as much, if not more, buzz for its surging spirits community.
San Diego’s a Navy town, so it’s fitting that 114-proof Barrelflag Navy Strength Rum is among the products in Old Harbor Distilling Co. Portfolio. When Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first visited the region in 1542, he dubbed the area “San Miguel.” So, in a nod to San Diego’s early Colonial history, Old Harbor launched San Miguel Southwestern Gin, distilled from a variety of the southwest’s freshest botanicals including lime, cucumber, cilantro and sage. And the distillery collaborated with nearby Coffee & Tea Collective for the release of Ampersand Cold Pressed Coffee Liqueur.
Malahat Spirits Co. is rooted in more recent history. Its namesake was a five-masted schooner that sailed down the California coast delivering contraband spirits during Prohibition. Rum was the liquid of choice at the time and so it is at Malahat Spirits. Handcrafted San Diego Rum, Spiced Rum and Ginger Rum round out the portfolio.
Founder and distiller Laura Johnson last year opened You & Yours Distilling Co., which she calls San Diego’s first urban distillery, featuring a tasting room that serves cocktails made with its Sunday Gin. The room doubles as an event space that can accommodate up to 85 people. The inviting atmosphere of salvaged wood, whitewashed brick, exposed concrete, plush velvet, denim linen, copper and marble accents help create what the distillery calls an “Insta-worthy” aesthetic.
In addition to its Devil’s Share Single Malt Whiskey, Black Skimmer Bourbon, Fugu Vodka, Old Grove Gin and Three Sheets Spiced Rum, Cutwater Spirits produces an herbal liqueur known as Opah and an extensive line of canned, ready-to-drink cocktails.
Seven Caves Distillery is best known for its flagship Seven Caves Barrel-Aged Rum, but it also harnesses the local terroir for Seven Caves Gin One with fresh California ingredients like mint and citrus. And the first batch its grain-to-glass Seven Caves Whiskey is nearly done aging and slated for release this fall.
San Diego Distillery recently reopened at a new, bigger location in Spring Valley, rising from the ashes of a fire at its original site last fall. The distillery has harnessed the city’s other famous beverage to develop a series of craft beer-inspired whiskeys, including a Single Malt based on a Russian imperial stout and a bourbon whose mash bill includes—in addition to the requisite corn content—a generous helping of Vienna malt. San Diego also collaborated with a number of craft brewers to distill their beers into whiskeys: Bottle Logic Brewing’s Darkstar November Imperial Stout, Karl Srauss’s Red Trolley Ale, Home Brewing Co.’s Coffee Dopplebock, Thorn St. Brewery’s Foreplay Belgian Blonde and Council Brewing Co.’s Bourbon Barrel-aged Pirates Breakfast Imperial Oatmeal Stout. The distillery also produces a rye and its flagship expression, Peated Whisky (opting for the Scottish spelling), made from 100 percent peated malted barley.
San Diego Distillery’s next-door neighbor, Liberty Call Distilling Co. crafts Single Malt Whiskey, 4 Grain Whiskey, Gin, White Rum, Spiced Rum and Bourbon from ingredients indigenous to California. The distillery calls it a “So-Cal spin on spirits.”
The Golden State is also a big part of the branding at The California Spirits Co., about a half hour north of San Diego in San Marcos. Rum’s the name of the game here and the company’s Avalon Silver Rum makes a great mixer in any cane-based spirit cocktails. Rum is also a big part of the repertoire of another San Marcos producer, Perfect Soul, whose 100 proof molasses-based spirit is highly floral with a touch of vanilla. Its 100 proof whiskey is made from a blend of corn, barley and wheat and crafted on pot stills.
crafts its White Rum more in the tradition of rhum agricole and cachaça, using pure sugar cane rather than molasses, fermented with Champagne yeast. 117° West also makes a Spiced Rum and a Gin distilled from a malted barley, wheat and rye base with West Coast botanicals including hops, hibiscus white sage and cacao nibs. While you’re in Vista, you’ll want to check out Henebery Spirits, whose whiskey is rooted in heritage that dates back to the mid-19 th century .
The oceanfront city of Encinitas offers a grain-to-glass spirits and farm-to-table dining experience in the form of Pacific Coast Spirits and its on-site restaurant offering dishes crafted from the land’s bounty. Pacific Coast’s spirits lineup includes Whiskey, Gin, Brandy and Vodka. The distillery is the brainchild of Nicholas Hammond, whose family gained fame for its wine business. Hammond teamed with second-generation restaurateur Nick Schaller for the culinary side of the operation.
In this new monthly feature, we showcase notable books of interest to the craft spirits community.
Rum Curious: The Indispensable Tasting
Guide to the World Spirit
Author: Fred Minnick
Publisher: Voyageur Press
In Rum Curious , author Fred Minnick first takes you on a whirlwind tour of the world of rum, describing its many styles; explaining the great variety of fermenting, distilling and maturing processes; and highlighting distillers and distilleries. Minnick explains the finer point of how to properly taste rum — how to reveal the experience offered by brands ranging from the familiar to the unusual and obscure.
“A superbly illustrated book, fascinating and informed. A spirited look at history”
In this book, Kevin R. Kosar tells the colorful and, at times, blinding history of moonshine, a history that’s always been about the people: from crusading lawmen and clever tinkerers to sly smugglers and ruthless gangsters, from pontificating poets and mountain men to beleaguered day-laborers and foolhardy frat boys. Spanning the centuries and the globe, this entertaining book will appeal to any food and drink lover who enjoys a little mischief.
“As Kosar documents in his excellent book, Moonshine: A Global History, governments from Ancient China to Ancient Mesopotamia have been defining which types of alcoholic drinks are legal, and therefore acceptable for people to drink, and which types of alcoholic drinks are illegal, and therefore unacceptable for people to drink . . . The book has much to offer to spirit enthusiasts. And, while I can’t imagine enjoying spirits made from carrots or horse milk, Kosar’s documentation of all sorts of exotic spirits is certainly interesting . . . An understanding of the history of moonshine has a great deal to teach modern political leaders.” —Forbes
This month we ask a few of the newest members of the ACSA Board of Directors about some of the key issues the organization will be facing in the coming years. Molly Troupe ( Freeland Spirits , OR), Amber Pollock ( Backwards Distilling , WY) and Jeff Kanof ( Copperworks Distilling , WA) generously offered some of their insights.
Tell what motivated you to get involved as an ACSA Board Member.
Molly Troupe : Being a Board Member for the ACSA is a way to be a part of change at a national scale. Our industry is growing and changing and the ACSA continues to provide guidance and a voice for the distilling community. There is no better way to effect change yourself than getting involved, which is why I ran for a board member position.
Amber Pollock: I wanted to get involved as an ACSA board member because I believe in the mission of the organization. I have seen the amazing work they are doing for our industry as a member over the past several years and I wanted to take a bigger role in helping. I really wanted to work to keep my home state of Wyoming plugged in to what is happening in the rest of the industry as well.
Jeff Kanof: Communities like the ACSA have made it possible for me (and many others) to thrive in this industry. Without groups like ACSA I wouldn’t have a career in craft distilling. So, I want to give some of my time to help give back to the next generation of distilleries and help the folks that assisted me to get where I’ve gotten to this point.
Aside from making FET reduction permanent, what do you see as some of the board’s big priorities over the next couple of years?
M.T.: The board for the ACSA has some big priorities over the next couple of years, not including FET reduction. These priorities include: providing continued education experiences for distilleries, working to ensure safe practices are understood and followed, and continue to fight for the best interests of craft distilleries at the federal and state level.
A.P.: I’m still getting a feel for everything the board is working on but I think a big focus that I’m looking forward to contributing to is continuing to increase and expand the educational value ACSA provides to its members. There is definitely a push for more year-round educational opportunities through webinars and regional workshops outside of the annual conference.
J.K. : We’d like to see more engagement with all craft distilleries around the country and increase the overall membership. Making sure that craft distilleries know that the ACSA is for all craft distillers, regardless of size and stage of operation, is a top priority. More members means more ability to make change that benefits all of us in the craft distilling community.
What are the best ACSA strategies for engaging with members and reaching out to potential new members?
M.T.: Some of the best ACSA strategies for engaging with members is the Monthly Mash e-mail. It’s full of tidbits of the industry and is a great way to find out what is happening in the industry. To reach out to potential new members, the ACSA must advocate for itself. When people find out what this organization can do, why wouldn’t they want to be involved?
A.P.: The new website is an amazing tool to help ACSA engage with members and to help members engage with one another. I think continuing to expand the ways we provide value to our members will lead to increased membership.
J.K .: The most important thing is providing tangible value. If distilleries don’t see demonstrable value they won’t join and they won’t renew. The FET is one of the largest examples of providing value, because it directly impacts the bank accounts of every active craft distiller. Another recent example is the new website that will be providing a ton of resources for distillers around the country and it will also provide a way to more easily communicate with each other through the new forums.
How can ACSA members and prospective members get more involved with the organization?
M.T.: Members and prospective members can get more involved by reaching out to board members and asking what needs to be done. There is a real need for members to share their experiences. This is especially true with the discussion of FET reductions as every voice can speak to what this reduction has done for their business.
A.P.: Members can get more involved with ACSA by participating in the education and legislative opportunities they offer and also sharing these opportunities in their own networks. Also the forum on the new website is a great way for members to get more involved and be more active in the organization.
J.K. : Reach out and say hello! We’d be happy to provide information about membership and getting involved with committees and other parts of the organization. The awesome staff and my fellow board members are very friendly, so don’t be shy.
What are the big craft spirits trends that you see in the next couple of years?
M.T.: Craft spirits is going to continue to grow for years to come. The gin resurgence is here to stay and we are going to continue to see a creativity in different gin styles. We are going to continue to see distilleries find their style and lots of creative expressions as the general public is seeming to embrace new things.
A.P.: I think craft spirits will continue to innovate. We will see some increasingly creative whiskies coming of age as well as a focus on unique local or regional flavors being represented in liqueurs, and flavored and botanical spirits.
J.K. : Well, I’m extremely biased when I say this, but I think American Single Malt whiskey is coming on strong. Bourbon and rye have been the hot ticket for a while, but I think many craft distillers will be looking for something new in the whiskey world. And, I also think many more brewers will make the move from brewing to distilling. For brewers, American Single Malt is a natural transition. I also think we will see a trend towards more collaboration between craft distillers. As many distilleries grow in size, they will have a bit more time and resources to be able to do fun projects. I think (and hope) many of those fun projects will involve one craft distiller working with another.
You still can get a copy of our first official Annual Report, which attendees received at the ACSA Convention in Pittsburgh. The report includes a look back at all of our activities throughout 2017, as well as state-specific regulatory and legislative information, highlights from the most recent Craft Spirits Data Project and ACSA’s full annual budget. If you would like to receive a copy of the report, please e-mail Teresa McDaniel at email@example.com and be sure to include the subject line “2017 Annual Report.” Also, the report is now available for download in PDF form at the ACSA website.
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Welcome Newest Voting and Affiliate Members!
ACSA extends a warm welcome to a few of our newest members: