The Monthly Mash: November 2021

The Monthly Mash

Volume 6.11

Member-Owned, Industry-Driven

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

This edition of The Monthly Mash is sponsored by

From the Desk of Margie A.S. Lehrman,

Chief Executive Officer

Dear Friends in the Craft Spirits Community:

Are you in the holiday spirit? Or, has OND overwhelmed your sense of joy, including a warm thought of gathering with family and friends?

With Thanksgiving a distant memory (where I was fortunate enough to join a family celebration that was put on hold last year), I am looking forward to seeing my ACSA “family” with well more than 1,100 members flocking this week to Louisville, Kentucky, in honor of our 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show.

You won’t want to miss convention highlights noted below. More importantly, you won’t want to miss being there. Although online registration has closed, we’ll be open for on-site registrations beginning this Friday. Be inspired by keynote speaker Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Dogfish Head Distilling Co. Come to the ACSA Town Hall. Learn who took home the medals for the second annual Craft Spirits Packaging Awards. Get smarter with oodles of educational offerings. Find out about the economic state of the industry with the Craft Spirits Data Project briefing. The convention will also allow the STEPUP Foundation to announce it participants for the 2022 inaugural year of this program, designed to create diversity within our industry. Plus, we’ll be collecting unwrapped toys for children to help a local Louisville charity, so pack an extra gift or two in your bags.

The pandemic altered our routines. The pandemic may have impacted our health or those we love. The pandemic disrupted our businesses. It is now time to gather (please review our health protocols) to reinvigorate and remind ourselves that we are indeed “in this together.”

Most importantly, it is time to gather to celebrate and support the work of our craft spirits community.

See you soon!



Convention and Vendor Trade Show Kicks Off This Weekend!

After more than a year of being apart, and nearly 34 months since our last in-person convention, the American Craft Spirits Association is eager to safely gather in Louisville, Kentucky, this Friday through Monday for our 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show! Online registration has closed, but we will offer on-site registration in Louisville. Scroll down for a preview of highlights, or click here to see the complete schedule.

Health and Safety Protocols

Please note that we recently updated our health protocols and ACSA is requiring all convention attendees and invited guests who enter the event premises, including the host hotel of the Galt House, the convention center, and other related convention function space to:
1. Attest to full vaccination against the coronavirus (or affirm that you are not vaccinated due to a medical disability or firmly held religious belief),
2. Wear a properly fitting mask covering both nose and mouth throughout the convention event space, unless eating or drinking; and,
3. Respect attendees’ preferences for spatial distance.

Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Friday, Dec. 3

PAC Welcome Reception*
Join us for a PAC Welcome Reception at the Bourbon Exhibit Hall (inside the Frazier History Museum). Special invited guests include Senator Mitch McConnell and Secretary of the Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Mike Berry. *Separate registration required.
Attendance is limited to 100 ACSA members. There is no cost to attend the event, however, in advance, we are seeking additional support for the PAC and sponsorship of this reception. Please contact if you would like to participate.
  • $1,000 as a Gold Sponsor
  • $500 as a Silver Sponsor
  • $250 as a Bronze Sponsor

Saturday, Dec. 4

Mix & Mingle: New Member/1st Time Attendee Morning Coffee Klatch
Are you a new member or first-time attendee? In addition to a light breakfast and overview of what you can expect over the course of the convention, you will meet some of the ACSA leadership, including members of the ACSA board of directors and past presidents. You’ll soon realize you’ve met a new buddy, someone who will be there to answer questions, listen to the evolution of your DSP, and serve as a conduit of support for your small business. Don’t be surprised if that friendship lasts well beyond the convention.

Educational Sessions Begin
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the convention will include dozens of insightful educational sessions designed for everyone from seasoned distillers to novices. Tracks include business leadership, distillery fundamentals, distribution, innovation, legal/compliance, sales/marketing/business, sensory and technical.

Decorating Trees with Toy Donations
Make someone’s holiday shine a little brighter this season by donating toys or purchasing ornaments for the Christmas trees inside the exhibit hall. The fully decorated Christmas trees, gifts, and menorah will be donated to a local charity, Maryhurst. View wishlist/gift ideas.
Ho-Ho-Holiday Party – Sponsored by Amoretti
Attendees and exhibitors will mix and mingle on the trade show floor while dressed in festive holiday apparel. Bring your most festive apparel since we’ll have an ugly sweater contest for the most creative outfit of the evening, live music, ornament decorating, and more!
Exhibit Hall Ribbon Cutting
Network with nearly 200 of the industry’s top suppliers while you explore the latest innovations in equipment, packaging, ingredients and merchandising, as well as services like architecture, legal, e-commerce, banking, insurance, safety management and operational consulting. The exhibit hall will open on Saturday evening and will open again on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 5

Keynote Address
In his keynote, Off-Centered Brand Building from Zero to 102 Proof, Sam Calagione (the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Dogfish Head Distilling Co.) will discuss his off-centered journey, with humble beginnings as the smallest brewery in America.
Win Door Prizes
We’ll have door prizes every half hour inside the exhibit hall on Sunday and Monday. For your chance to win, you must be present on the exhibit floor on Dec. 5 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Good Guy Distillers
The Good Guys are in the house to address inquiries from convention attendees in the exhibit hall on Sunday and Monday. Good Guy Distillers are those people who actively help everyone else be a better distiller.
Craft Spirits Live Stage
Join CRAFT SPIRITS magazine editors Jeff Cioletti and Jon Page for a series of live, one-on-one interviews with industry leaders and pioneers on the Craft Spirits Live Stage on the trade show floor during exhibit hours. We’ll be recording many of the sessions for upcoming episodes of The Craft Spirits Podcast. Guests will be taking audience questions, so your question could be featured on the air!
ACSA Book Market & Authors Pavilion
Just in time for holiday shopping, ACSA is pleased to announce our first-ever Book Market and Authors Pavilion. The Pavilion will feature some of the top writers within the beverage alcohol space, who will be on hand to sign and personalize their books, available for purchase at the Market. It’s an opportunity to expand your spirits and cocktail library, as well as the libraries of anyone on your December shopping list!
Lighting of Menorah
At sundown (5:35 p.m.), join us in lighting the menorah to commemorate the last night of Hanukkah.
Repeal Day Celebration
Sponsored by Speakeasy Co.
Repeal Day Celebration Entertainment
Sponsored Zella May
Sunday marks the 88th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition. We’re going to party like it’s 1933 with classic, Speakeasy-style cocktails, bite-sized hors d’oeuvres and Prohibition-era costumes and imagery. Local rock and roll band, Zella May, with lead singer, Pat Heist, will be performing during the event. Get ready to rock!

Monday, Dec. 6

Virtual Yoga & Meditation
Start Monday morning off on the right foot with 45 minutes of yoga and meditation from the comfort of your hotel room. Class is accessible and fun for every body—even first time students. It’s an enjoyable way for you to feel inspired, rejuvenated and reenergized. Attendees will be provided a Zoom link in the convention app for the live class.
ACSA Town Hall
Hear updates from ACSA board members and committee chairs on membership, direct-to-consumer (DtC) initiatives, the STEPUP Foundation, our partnership with state guilds and much more.
Pre-Soiree Happy Hour
Get dolled up to Derby in December in true Southern style with pastels, bow ties, hats, and seersucker suits for the evening’s main event! Join us for our happy hour reception featuring mint juleps and networking opportunities with our vendors.
Spirits Soiree: Dinner & Awards Banquet 
Sponsored by RNDC
Dinner & Awards Banquet Wine Sponsored by Huber Winery/Starlight Distillery; Packaging Awards Sponsored by Glass Packaging Institute
We’ll be revealing the medalists and the Best of Show from CRAFT SPIRITS magazine’s 2021 Packaging Awards. Also, we’ll invite to the stage medalists from the 2021 Judging of Craft Spirits and 2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition. You’ll experience a taste of GOOD DEED SPIRITS, with all proceeds going to the STEPUP Foundation. Plus, help us celebrate a few surprise award recipients.
Sips of Award Winning Spirits
Taste some of the best craft spirits in the U.S. after the Spirits Soiree. A special thank you to those who made possible the 2021 Judging of Craft Spirits.

Download The Convention App
Make use of the free ACSA 2021 convention mobile app to get the most from your convention. Plan your day with a personalized schedule, read session descriptions and presenter bios, browse vendors, browse recommended restaurants, find your way using maps of convention venues and hotel floor plans.
  • Download the official ACSA 2021 App for iPhone or Android by scanning the QR code below or by visiting this website:
  • After the app is installed, enter your email and create your profile
  • Returning user? You may need to switch to the 2021 convention (tap the ‘switch event’ icon in the upper left hand corner, tap ‘yes’ in the pop-up)
  • Tap ‘ACSA Annual Convention’
  • Tap ‘JOIN’

Survey Results: Supply Chain Issues

In the last installment of the Monthly Mash, we asked the craft spirits community to tell us where they are feeling the impact of supply chain issues. To see the results, check out Closing Time in the latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine.

Q&A with Mark Hautala of Lafitte Cork & Capsule

In 1982 Jacques Lafitte opened a processing facility in Napa, California, known as Lafitte Cork & Capsule. Today, the company is setting new standards for premium, high performance bar top closures, geared specifically toward luxury spirits, high-end oil and vinegar. Lafitte employs the technical expertise accumulated over 100 years in business to guarantee the perfect closure for brands. We recently caught up with Mark Hautala, the CEO of Lafitte USA, to learn more about Lafitte’s offerings.

In how many countries does Lafitte have production facilities? And what makes the one in Napa, California, special?

Mark Hautala: Lafitte Group currently operates production facilities in seven countries including France, Portugal, Spain, the United States, Chile, Italy and Germany. A few of these countries, such as France, Portugal and Spain, are home to multiple Lafitte production facilities. Our production facility in Napa employs a unique blend of old-world techniques and cutting-edge technology to deliver products of superior quality and craftsmanship. We offer the best service platform in North America and we pride ourselves on being the champion of the small- to medium-size producer.

What makes your corks, capsules and bar stoppers stand out?

Lafitte Group has earned the trust of wineries, distilleries and breweries throughout the industry that demand high standards of quality and exceptional service. In short, Lafitte draws on more than 105 years of experience to craft the highest quality closures and capsules in our industry.

Can you tell us a little about Lafitte’s sustainability efforts?

Lafitte Group aims to be a progressive community leader in sustainable production. We are committed to continuously improving the quality and integrity of our products and services, with an active focus on environmental responsibility. Lafitte Cork and Capsule Inc. in Napa is powered completely by solar energy and is nearly paperless. Since our solar initiative in 2006, we have retained the status of a California Green Business. After more than a decade of awards and feeling great about ourselves, we asked the toughest question: What can we do next to help the environment? So rather than sit idle during the pandemic we launched a tin recycling program known as Infini-TIN … aimed at reducing the amount of this precious metal used in the beverage industry.
In short, we place collection boxes with our customers in the their tasting rooms and ask them to strip the tin capsules from their bottles. We collect the boxes of recyclable product and ship it back to our factory in France where it is melted down and used to form new capsules. Tin is not only the most luxurious metal used in the production of beverage capsules, but there is virtually no limit to the number of times it can be reclaimed.
What are a few of your top offerings for craft spirits producers and what makes them special?
We are particularly proud of Artis by Lafitte, our line of bar top closures. Custom bar tops by Lafitte are the best way to express the creative vision behind your high-end spirits, olive oil or vinegar. From high-density plastic to precious metals, and everything in between, Lafitte uses the highest quality raw materials to create an eye-catching top. The top can be customized in a variety of different ways including laser branding, emboss, deboss, engraving or hot stamp. To complete your custom bar top we offer shanks made from high-quality natural cork or micro agglomerated cork.

Are the current issues with the supply chain having an impact on your business, and if so, how are you handling those challenges?

Everyone in our industry is facing serious challenges with logistics and Lafitte is no different. Lafitte has reacted by using multiple ports of entry into the United States, working closely with our customers on advanced planning and partnering with the best freight forwarding company. Lafitte Group certainly has an advantage in this area because we have manufacturing facilities all around the world. During times like these the most important thing for any company is to be agile.
As we take a look toward 2022, what trends are you watching in the world of craft spirits?
Lafitte is keenly focused on the smaller craft beverage producers. We maintain lower minimums of custom product than any of our competitors and we work diligently to provide excellent service and high-quality products to each and every customer regardless of their scope.

Listen to the Latest Episodes of The Craft Spirits Podcast

Produced by ACSA and CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, The Craft Spirits Podcast features in-depth conversations with distillers and craft spirits visionaries.

From the Pages of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

Read the Latest Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

The latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here, and it includes stories on ingredients off the beaten track, a preview of ACSA’s upcoming Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show, a roundup of fall trade shows, a close look at distilleries in Massachusetts, a profile on Julio’s Liquors and much more!

Join us in the V.I.P. Lounge

CRAFT SPIRITS magazine and the American Craft Spirits Association are excited to introduce premium reader experiences with the launch of the V.I.P. Lounge.
While the digital-only magazine will continue to be available at no charge for regular subscribers, we are launching the V.I.P. Lounge to further support our cutting-edge features, business insights and entrepreneurial advice from and for the craft spirits community. For a modest fee, participants can now unlock value-added bonuses, like early access to magazine issues and a set of CRAFT SPIRITS-branded Glencairn glasses.
Will you join us in the V.I.P. Lounge?

Download the NEW 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 new media kit, freshly updated for 2022, to see what’s in store.

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.

Welcome Newest Members!
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 3,886 DSPs! Find the full list here.
  • Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:
Dec. 1: National Egg Nog Month
Dec. 14: National Screwdriver Day
Dec. 24: National Egg Nog Day

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

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