The Monthly Mash: August 2023

Volume 8.8

ACSA’s Mission: To elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.

From the Desk of Margie A.S. Lehrman, Chief Executive Officer

Dear Friends in the Craft Spirits Community:

In speaking with a BFF this past week, she asked, “Margie, are you afraid to ask for help?” Am I? Upon reflection, I thought about the number of times I get bogged down with a to-do list that never gets done. Could a simple, “Can you help me out?” simplify my life? Maybe. Do I take the time to let others know I need a hand? Ugh … guilty as charged.

How about in professional life? Recognizing the community ACSA is so fortunate to be a part of, do I/we call upon you when in need? At our core, the thing that drives ACSA leadership and the ACSA team is to provide a service to you, our craft spirits community. Interestingly, other folks have asked ACSA for assistance, from producing a spirits competition on behalf of corn growers (see results below) to assisting state guilds to help modernize laws to members who might need assistance in navigating federal regulations.

I won’t be shy. I am personally asking you to act in a few key areas. Please, if you don’t do anything else, take the Craft Spirits Data Project survey. Within state or federal capitols, we can talk all we want about the economics of our industry, but numbers reflect the current fiscal state far better than mere words. Similarly, give serious consideration to applying to be a mentor or a host DSP for the STEPUP Foundation, ACSA’s DEI initiative. Applications are due to close in just two weeks. This newsletter officially opens registration for our Legislative Fly-In, which will take place in person Nov. 7-9 in Washington, D.C. Register to meet your legislators, those who can cast a vote to change the landscape of our small businesses.

Oh, one more thing. As we review our member roster, it is clear our systems did not keep pace with renewals. If you fall into that category of lapsed members, please make every effort to keep your dues current. This is your association, and the maxim “the more the merrier” couldn’t be truer. There is strength in numbers.

Finally, this is a two-way street, meaning, it’s now my turn to ask: What can ACSA do for you? Please take our one-question survey to let us know how we can better serve your needs.

Cheers and enjoy these waning days of summer,



Urgent: Please Complete the Craft Spirits Data Project Survey by Sept. 15

If you are a distillery owner and/or operator, we need your assistance to complete the 2023 Craft Spirits Data Project by no later than Sept. 15.

The results from this annual study—brought to you in conjunction with our valued partner, Park Street—help us share your success and struggles with:

  • Members of Congress
  • The media
  • Financial institutions
  • Guilds and more

But we can’t do it without you. We need your help to know what economic health is today compared to last year.

Please complete this survey as soon as possible, or share this link with those within your distillery who best understand and have access to the state of the economics of running your business. As always, the information is reported out in the aggregate, so your privacy will be secure.

BONUS: Those who complete it will get a discount to the ACSA Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show this February in Denver!

Complete the Craft Spirits Data Project

Announcing ACSA’s Legislative Fly-In: Come Let Your Voice Be Heard

ACSA’s Legislative Fly-In on Capitol Hill is back—and in person—this Nov. 7-9!

Register here to let your voice be heard before members of Congress and meet with senior leadership from TTB. This event is complimentary to all members who want to help educate Congress on issues facing our small business manufacturing sector. No experience is necessary—we will provide a full briefing and get you up to speed on issues that can change our economic landscape.

Plus, we’ve negotiated a terrific room rate, so come experience all that Washington, D.C., has to offer. The agenda will include a welcome reception on Tuesday night, a full day of Capitol Hill briefings and meetings, and a Hill evening closing reception in which your own spirits may be poured.

More details to follow but REGISTER NOW!

Register Now

What can ACSA do for you?

We want to know the areas in which we can help you the most in the coming year. Please take our one-question survey.
Take Survey


ACSA Announces 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition Awards

The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) this week announced the top medalists in the 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition, which was open to craft whiskeys from all 50 states that incorporate corn in their mash bill (the mix of grains used to make whiskey). In this fourth, biennial blind-judging event, whiskeys from 20 “Heartland” states competed for Best of Show, Best of State, Top Farmer-Distiller, along with entries from all 50 states that competed in traditional whiskey categories (e.g., rye, bourbon, etc.).

The competition, generously sponsored by state corn marketing associations, took place in early August, in St. Louis, Missouri. ACSA facilitated the judging process and its recent board president Chris Montana—owner of Du Nord Social Spirits in Minnesota—served as Judging Director. Judges selected from the Missouri and Illinois spirits industry by ACSA were chosen for their knowledge of craft whiskey.

Best of Show was captured by Casey Jones Distillery from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, for its Casey Jones Single Barrel Original 4 Grain Wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon, which also earned the top score in the Four Grain Whiskey category.

Top Farmer-Distiller, a new category for the 2023 competition, was captured by Tobacco Barn Distillery of Hollywood, Maryland, for its Single Barrel Bourbon. Tobacco Barn is owned by Scott Sanders, Sean Coogan and Dan Dawson, the latter of whom operates the farm—family-owned for more than 100 years—where all of the corn for their winning bourbon is grown. Many corn farmers own and operate craft distilleries and have won top honors in previous Heartland Whiskey Competitions.

“Corn farmers, through their state corn associations, have supported the U.S. craft distilling industry through this important competition,” stated Margie A.S. Lehrman, C.E.O. of ACSA. “We greatly appreciate their continued support and the fact they supply our members with the best corn product in the world.”

We extend our gratitude to all of the judges, the state corn marketing associations, StilL 630 for generously hosting and Stumpy’s Spirits Distillery for its support.

Read More
See All Medalists



First-ever American Craft Spirits Festival Scheduled for October

This year ACSA is marking its 10th anniversary, and each month we’re celebrating with a new initiative. On October 26, the country’s top craft spirits producers will be pouring for consumers and select members of the trade during the first-ever American Craft Spirits Festival at Binny’s Beverage Depot in Chicago. We expect over 50 distilleries and hundreds of attendees!

The event will feature education by industry leaders as well as an opportunity for

sponsors to connect with distilleries during trade-only festival hours. An exclusive ACSA-published cocktail booklet featuring recipes from participating distilleries will also be distributed to all attendees.

Stay tuned for details on tickets. And if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities and/or advertising in the cocktail booklet, please contact Annette Schnur at,

631-478-9488 for more details and to secure your participation.

There’s Still Time to Be a Part of Our 10th Anniversary Time Capsule

You still have a chance to be a part of history and submit your items for ACSA’s 10th Anniversary Time Capsule. We’re looking for any small memento from your business from the past 10 years, a token that captures your specific place in our dynamic industry. Examples include the following:

  • Business cards
  • Press releases
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Collateral materials (including leave-behinds that you’ve used with your state legislature)
  • Labels
  • Tasting room cocktail or sample/flight menus
  • Drone photo of your distillery (please label)
  • Hand sanitizer labels
  • Company newsletters
  • Printed convention programs from ACSA’s inaugural convention in Denver in 2014
  • A branded paper coaster
  • Photo of your branded merchandise
  • Small branded merchandise (such as keychains, pens, stickers, temporary tattoos, etc.)
  • Branded closures

Space is limited, so please ensure all contributions are on the small side.

PLEASE NOTE: Do NOT submit anything breakable, such as bottles or glassware. We also cannot accept any actual alcohol products.

Send your contributions to:

American Craft Spirits Association

Attn: Time Capsule

P.O. Box 470

Oakton, VA 22124

Watch a Video Tribute to a Decade of ACSA

We’re celebrating the distiller’s decade as the American Craft Spirits Association marks its 10th anniversary. Watch our video for a look back at 10 amazing years.
Watch Now


STEPUP Applications for Distillers and Mentors Closes Sept. 15

Uniquely created to bring diversity into our industry, the STEPUP Foundation offers underrepresented individuals hands-on training to learn our trade from the ground level up. A special part of the program involves host distilleries to provide the venue in which to teach and mentors to provide the additional motivation, positive push and guidance. If you’re on the edge wondering whether this volunteer opportunity is a good fit for your distillery (as a host) or if you’re a candidate for a mentor (can you help friends or colleagues sort through issues?), listen to those in the know. Click below to hear from those already immersed in the program. Get the inside scoop on DSPs and mentors within STEPUP!

Video 1: Become a STEPUP Host Distillery

Video 2: Become a STEPUP Mentor

Apply to be a Host Distillery
Apply to be a Mentor


Save the Date for ACSA’s 11th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show

Please save the date and join us next Feb. 26-28 for our 11th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Denver! Registration details are coming soon.


Read the Latest Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

The latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine explores current barrel supply challenges, alternative packaging, cold-peated whiskey and much more. It also offers an exclusive excerpt from the new e-book, “The ACSA Guide to Starting and Operating a Distillery,” as well as the latest SipSource whiskey volume figures in Data Distilled.
Click Here to Read the Issue

Want to receive each issue early?

ACSA members and V.I.P. Lounge members receive each digital issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine the week before the rest of our readership. If you’re not a member, click below to join today.
Become a Member of ACSA
Join the V.I.P. Lounge

Download the CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine Media Kit

Want to get your products and services noticed? Be a part of upcoming issues of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, the all-digital, bi-monthly publication of the American Craft Spirits Association! Check out our media kit to see what’s in store.
Click Here

Share Your Story With CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

If you’re not already sending news and updates about product releases and general happenings at your distillery, please add to your mailing list.


Gina Holman of J. Carver Distillery

Our latest guest on The Craft Spirits Podcast is ACSA’s president Gina Holman. She is also a founding partner of J. Carver Distillery in Waconia, Minnesota; an ISG certified sommelier; and the vice president of the Minnesota Distillers Guild. In this episode, Holman discusses her start in the spirits industry, the origins of J. Carver Distillery, the evolution of American craft spirits, her priorities as president of ACSA, what drives her to volunteer, and much more.

Listen Now


ACSA extends a warm welcome to our new and returning members and sponsors:

Find out more about becoming a member here.


Did You Know?

The TTB has issued 4,640 DSPs! Find the full list by clicking on Spirit Producers and Bottlers here.

Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:

  • Sept. 1: National Bourbon Heritage Month
  • Sept. 10: International Canned Cocktail Day
  • Sept. 13: National Cachaça Day
  • Sept. 15: National Crème de Menthe Day
  • Sept. 20: National Rum Punch Day

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

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