Webinar: Distillery Horror Stories
When?: Tuesday, October 31st from 3-4 PM Eastern Time
How Much?: Complimentary to ACSA members, $59 for non-members
What?: What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a few scary tales from some of America’s top distillers? But fear not, their stories won’t be about ghosts and ghouls, but about relatable, real-life experiences that continue to haunt them. They’ll share anecdotes about frightful, unexpected moments when things went awry in their day-to-day operations and how they learned from them to build better, stronger distilleries.
Becky Harris is a Chemical Engineer and Chief Distiller at Catoctin Creek Distillery. In 2009, she and her husband, Scott Harris, combined their engineering and business backgrounds to build a distillery focused on creating the finest Virginia Rye Whisky from grain to glass. Catoctin Creek has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, and Whisky Advocate. The Daily Beast, Forbes, and Men’s Journal have highlighted the distillery as an example of great American craft distilleries making whisky from scratch. Becky has been featured in Food and Wine as one of “6 Women in Whiskey to Watch,” served as President of the American Craft Spirits Association, and serves on the Board of Directors of STEPUP, the Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrrepresented Professionals.
Thomas Mooney is founder and CEO of Westward Whiskey, a leading luxury whiskey inspired by the American Northwest that earned a “Top Five in the World” distinction by Whisky Advocate in 2022. In this role, Mooney has guided Westward from its inception through a period of extended growth, expansion, and transition to its current position as the leading luxury whiskey producer in the Northwest.
Under Mooney’s leadership, Westward Whiskey has evolved into an award-winning whiskey of international renown, and a world class distillery capable of meeting the quality and volume needs of the brand in the future. The journey from a handful of barrels to a preeminent position has included several key moments, including the design and multi-year buildout of Westward Whiskey’s $6 million distillery in Oregon; expansion of hospitality spaces to include a tasting room at Portland International Airport (PDX); recruitment of industry leaders to establish sales and marketing organizations with global reach; inking long-term contracts with Southern Glazers, Breakthru, and other leading distributors; and the launch of the first brand-owned, national direct-to consumer club, which today reaches consumers in more than 35 states.
In 2018, Mooney forged a strategic partnership with Diageo that includes a significant minority investment and ongoing support from both Diageo and its Distill Ventures accelerator. With ample product supply, funding to scale, and key partnerships in place, Westward is on a growth trajectory in the United States and key export markets around the world.
Prior to Westward Whiskey, Mooney was co-owner and CEO of House Spirits Distillery, the craft distillery that created and brought Aviation American Gin to market in 2005. Under his leadership, Aviation grew from a beloved cult brand into the leading American craft gin, and it was acquired by Davos Brands in 2016 (then sold to Diageo in 2020). The sale of Aviation allowed Mooney and the company to apply all of their time, treasure, and talent to grow Westward Whiskey into a leading luxury American whiskey.
Earlier in his career, Mooney held a number of senior leadership positions at The Wonderful Company in Los Angeles. Most notably, he played a crucial role in the 2004 acquisition of FIJI Water and in the brand’s subsequent rise to market leadership in the luxury bottled water market. There, he served as Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of International Operations, establishing FIJI Water’s industry-leading environmental sustainability program and serving as a trustee of the charitable FIJI Water Foundation.
Mooney’s professional experience also includes brand management at Procter & Gamble in Latin America, new product development and commercialization at The Kellogg Company in the United States, and management consulting at Booz & Company. Mooney was a founding member of the American Craft Spirits Association, a former president of ACSA, and current chair of numerous ACSA committees.
Mooney holds a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, from Purdue University, and an MBA with high distinction (Baker Scholar) from the Harvard Business School.
David Weglarz is the founder & distiller of StilL 630 Distillery in St. Louis where he lives with his wife, Sidni, his three young sons, and a big white dog named Charley. With a passion for whiskey, gin, and rum, and sharing them with friends, David founded StilL 630 in 2011 and in the time since, it’s become the most awarded distillery in Missouri and one of the top in the country. When not at work (or kids’ activities), David enjoys reading, camping, and paddling on Missouri rivers.
More information to be added as it becomes available