The Monthly Mash: December 2022

Volume 7.12

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 Our Spirits Industry:

As we conclude the year, I am uncertain whether to reflect on the past 12 months or to look towards the year ahead. Bombarded by Best of 2022 lists, with yet other media outlets predicting the trends in 2023, I remain befuddled. In any case, no matter which direction I go, it is pivotal to stop and take stock as a part of this dynamic association.

Personally, and professionally, it’s been a mixed year. Reminded by our annual convention keynote speaker, Matt Vogl, covid will continue to add to our mental health challenges. We were also reminded that we are not alone in the journey and should reach out to others for support. The health of those we love, or even ourselves, continues to be put to the test. We saw massive supply chain disruptions, for example, glass bottles being in short supply, thwarting production. The FDA, seemingly somewhat randomly, told many distillers that the formulation of hand sanitizer, manufactured and tested at the early stages of the pandemic, was nonconforming to government standards, causing many producers to jump through hoops to protect their name. Life can be unfair.

And yet, there were abundant reasons to cheer. I finally made it to Antarctica with my daughter, an epic journey, after five postponed expeditions since 2020. Penguins will forever be my new favorite animal. ACSA continued to grow its membership, evolving with a new look and feel and clear identity shouting from the rooftops, “We are Craft!” Travel and tourism have begun to rebound, allowing our members to showcase and sell their products inside their tasting rooms. Of course, that contributes to the continuous growth of our industry in both value and volume, as reported in the Craft Spirits Data Project. There are many reasons to rejoice and be proud of our accomplishments over the past year.

In looking ahead, multiple reasons provide hope for a bright 2023, ACSA’s 10th year, with monthly activities to mark the occasion. ACSA’s stellar education committee continues to advance skills and industry knowledge with countless hours of classroom training at our upcoming annual convention in Portland (and webinars, too). There’s still time to benefit from reduced hotel room and registration rates, with space available on our distillery tours. But things are filling up, so act quickly. The exhibit floor will be bigger and better than ever, with a curated selection of beverage alcohol suppliers within. Plus, we have senior officers from TTB, a panel of past-presidents, and a few surprises to continue the discussions on how we move forward recognizing we are an important manufacturing sector in the U.S.

Good leadership advances any cause. While the current board of directors and committees are among the best in the nation, ACSA seeks new leadership with five board seats soon expiring. Are you a natural leader? Nominations remain open until mid-January, so think about taking a more active role. You might be called upon to help with federal or state initiatives, reaching out to support legislators who support ACSA positions, or help with government interactions. Ample work is ahead with volunteers needed at so many levels.

It is impossible to look forward without at least some reflection on the past. In doing so, there are so many members, both voting and affiliate, and incredible sponsors who continuously give time, creative thought, and dollars to help the craft spirits industry succeed. A heartfelt thank you. Similarly, a warm shout out to the ACSA staff—your ACSA team—who keep the trains running regardless of the stones placed on the tracks.

Finally, whether you choose to look back or look ahead, we are glad you are a part of our community and hope you’ll continue to be well into 2023.

With warm wishes for a happy new year,



Register Now Before Rates Rise in Mid-January

Better With Age is the theme for ACSA’s 10th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show this February 10-12 in Portland, Oregon. We listened to your ideas and feedback and truly plan to make this show Better with Age, from the layout of the expo hall to ensuring education is only 100 steps from the trade show floor!

Register now before rates increase on Jan. 15 and don’t forget to book your room by the same date. Scroll down to learn more about lodging, our distillery tour and educational offerings.

Attendee Regular Rates (Until Jan. 14, 2023)

Members: $650

Additional Members: $450

Non-Members: $875

Additional Non-Members: $625

Attendee Late Riser Rates (Starting Jan. 15, 2023)

Members: $695

Non-Members: $895

*ACSA members must be logged into ACSA’s website to receive discounted attendee pricing. If you have trouble logging into your ACSA account please email

Attendees Click Here to Register

Join Us on a Tour of Portland Distilleries

We’ve taken the work out of planning. Make the most of your trip and join us on Thursday, February 9, 2023, for a private distillery tour where you’ll have the opportunity to taste around the Portland area. Spend the day with fellow industry enthusiasts as you enjoy seeing the Rose City’s production of craft spirits.

Attendees will leave for the tour from the Hyatt Regency Portland at 8:30 a.m. and return around 5 p.m. Tour stops will include:

The event requires a separate ticket and lunch will be provided. To register, click here and scroll down. Please note that ACSA members must be logged in to ACSA’s website to receive discounted pricing.

Check Out Our Educational Offerings

Our convention schedule includes 33 hours of education (hand-selected and vetted by the ACSA education committee: veteran industry experts) taught by distillers, distillery employees and other industry members. To see the full schedule, click here and scroll down.

If you are just entering the craft spirits industry, or have a new hire on your team, check out ACSA’s Distillery Start-Up 101 Pre-Convention Class. This 1.5-day course is presented by seasoned industry veterans and will cover equipment selection; material selection; flavor chemistry and biochemistry; distillery safety; pros and cons of tasting rooms; working with distributors; building a sales team; distillery finance; general business management; and MUCH MORE!

Exhibitor Registration

If you’re a supplier to the craft spirits industry, don’t miss the chance to show off your products and/or services at our trade show. Booths will be in one central location in the convention center, only steps away from education. Click here to see a floor plan of our exhibit hall displaying the businesses who will showcase their products and/or services.

Vendor setup begins Thursday, Feb. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, Feb., 10 from 9 a.m. to noon. The trade show floor is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you have questions, contact

Exhibitor Rates

10×10 Single Booth with up to 2 booth attendants: $2,300

10×20 Double Booth with up to 4 booth attendants: $3,500

Additional booth attendants is an additional cost: $500

Not yet an affiliate member? Learn about the benefits and JOIN HERE! All affiliate members receive a 10% discount on their booth. Contact us for the discount code at

Exhibitors Click Here to Register

Book Your Hotel Room at the Hyatt Regency Portland

Upon registering, don’t forget to book your hotel reservations now at the Hyatt Regency Portland, which is just steps away from the convention center! The last day to book is Jan. 15.

Click Here to Book at the Hyatt Regency

Or Book at the Hotel Eastlund

We also have an overflow block at the Hotel Eastlund, if you would like to experience a Portland boutique property. Eastlund is right across from the Hyatt and catty-corner from the Convention Center. To make online reservations for $189/night, visit and use group code: CRAFTSPIRITS. The last day to book is Jan. 20.

Jam with Us in Portland!

If you play a musical instrument, we’d love for you to join your fellow musically inclined craft spirits producers for an informal acoustic jam session at our convention. You don’t need to be a virtuoso, you just need to own an acoustic instrument and love to improvise with it. And if you don’t play an instrument, but can carry a tune, we’d love to have you sing with the group. Contact if you are interested, and indicate which instrument you plan to bring or if you’d like to sign up as a vocalist. 

Survey: Where Should We Visit in 2024?

We are excited to host our 10th Anniversary Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Portland, Oregon, in February of 2023 and are also making plans for our 11th convention in 2024. Please answer our one-question survey to help us choose our host city for 2024.

Take the Survey


Nominations Now Open for the ACSA Board of Directors

The ACSA Board of Directors is pivotal to modernizing the craft spirits industry. Throughout a three-year term, each member shares a common goal of carrying out ACSA’s mission to elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.

If you are interested in running for a board seat, please contact Election Chair, Renee Bemis of Driftless Glen Distillery (Wisconsin) at You may self-nominate or be suggested by another member of our craft spirits community. Renee will contact you for additional information, so please supply all relevant contact information.

Nominations must be received no later than January 23. National elections will take place shortly thereafter via electronic voting with board seats installed in April.

Benefits of serving as a volunteer leader include:

  • Playing a significant role as a thought leader in advancing the craft spirits industry. It continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. (The most recent Craft Spirits Data Project estimates that there are nearly 2,700 craft spirits producers now operating in the U.S.)
  • Having an opportunity to enhance the value of ACSA and the craft spirits community
  • Accessing up-to-date information about the challenges facing the alcohol industry
  • Exchanging ideas and perspectives with other DSPs

Desired attributes for the ideal candidates include:

  • Being committed and aligned with ACSA as a DSP voting member in good standing
  • Possessing relevant expertise in the disciplines of organizational management. Examples include: marketing, fundraising, guild or chapter relations, finance, lobbying, export and strategic supplier alliances
  • Committing to participate in 4-5 board meetings a year via teleconference and 1-2 in-person meetings. ACSA board members are asked to provide leadership support to governmental affairs, membership, education, convention, judging of craft spirits, PAC, DtC and, special events and/or campaigns.
  • Demonstrating positive leadership attributes, including but not limited to emotional intelligence, ability to work collaboratively and engage in appropriate analysis, debate and discussion 
  • Being a visionary and strategic thinker to assist ACSA in enhancing membership services and benefits

ACSA expresses its gratitude to the following leaders whose terms are set to expire:

  • Becky Harris, Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. (Eastern)
  • Colton Weinstein, Corsair Artisan Distillery (Central/Mountain)
  • P.T. Wood, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery (Central/Mountain)
  • Thomas Mote, Balcones Distillery (Central/Mountain), who vacated his seat to an ex-officio spot earlier this year
  • Dan Farber, Osocalis Distillery (Pacific)

Please give this careful thought. The industry needs you and so does your American Craft Spirits Association.


Craft Spirits Producers Sold More Than 13 Million Cases in 2021

In early December, ACSA and Park Street, presented highlights from the 2022 Craft Spirits Data Project (CSDP) at its Annual Craft Spirits Economic Briefing, which was held at New York Distilling Co. The Craft Spirits Data Project, which was first introduced in 2016, is a first-of-its-kind research initiative that aims to provide a solid and reliable fact base for evaluating performance and trends in the U.S. craft spirits industry. 

The ongoing CSDP, which seeks to quantify the number, size, and impact of craft spirits producers in the U.S., is an effort led by ACSA and Park Street. 

Key findings and highlights revealed during the briefing include the following:

The U.S. craft spirits market volume reached more than 13.2m 9-liter cases in retail sales in 2021, growing at an annual rate of 10.4%. In value terms, the market reached $7.5 billion in sales, growing at an annual rate of 12.2%. U.S. craft spirits market share of total U.S. spirits reached 4.9% in volume and 7.5% in value in 2021, up from 4.7% in volume and 7.1% in value in 2020. 

The number of active craft distillers in the U.S. grew by 17.4% over the last year to 2,687 as of August 2022. Active craft distillers are defined as licensed U.S. distilled spirits producers that removed 750,000 proof gallons (or 394,317 9L cases) or less from bond, market themselves as craft, are not openly controlled by a large supplier, and have no proven violation of the ACSA Code of Ethics.

Learn More


Report: 80% of Consumers Want to Purchase Craft Spirits via Direct-to-Consumer Shipping

In the past several years, consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping for everything from toilet paper to wine, so it’s no big surprise that regular craft spirits drinkers would like to see permissions expanded for DtC shipping of spirits. In fact, the inaugural Sovos ShipCompliant DtC spirits shipping report, conducted in partnership with the American Craft Spirits Association, revealed 8 in 10 regular craft spirits drinkers want the ability to purchase craft spirits via DtC shipping to their home.

As part of the Sovos ShipCompliant Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report, The Harris Poll conducted online consumer surveys of 618 and 588 regular craft spirits drinkers, defined as adults 21+ who drink craft spirits at least once per month. The survey found that regular craft spirits drinkers report that they would be more likely to try and to purchase craft spirits from out-of-state distilleries if they could have them shipped directly to their home. Seventy-three percent of regular craft spirits drinkers want to purchase craft spirits via DtC in the future, with 74% desiring to try new products that are not available locally. Additionally, 71% of regular craft spirits drinkers say they have tried a craft spirit while traveling that they wish they could purchase, however it is not available near their home.

Learn More

2023 Federal Policy Outlook

2023 will usher in a new Congress. The most significant change will be that the Republicans will control the U.S. House, while the Democrats will keep a majority in the Senate, even expanding their numbers by one. For the House, this means key committees will change over in that body.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY) will chair the Committee on Oversight and Reform, which has jurisdiction over the United States Postal Service (USPS). This will be the key committee looking at USPS shipping of spirits. The key tax committee, Ways and Means, will have a new chairman, but that still has to be determined in January. This committee also has jurisdiction over the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) will likely chair the Small Business Committee, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will chair the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health matters. All of these members have been supporters of our industry.

The USPS Shipping Equity Act will continue to receive our attention as we push for the U.S. Postal Service to be allowed to accept our packages for shipping and delivery. We will continue to work with TTB to simplify the forms and information you must provide. In 2023, TTB may take a more active look at nutritional labeling. Consumer groups continue to advocate for this. ACSA will analyze any proposal and submit your feedback on this topic.  

2023 State Policy Outlook

ACSA recruited industry veteran, Michael Walker, to help advance state policy initiatives. Since all states will convene legislative sessions in 2023, it will be a particularly active year. On average about 100,000 bills are introduced by state legislatures each year throughout the country covering a wide range of topics.

ACSA is gearing up to identify and track state proposals that could impact members, particularly those that affect the way distillers responsibly produce, market and sell craft spirits. State proposals will continue to be addressed by the Government Affairs and Direct to Consumer Committee as well as the Board of Directors.

Some key topics we will be focused on in the 2023 session include:

Direct to Consumer (DtC) and Tasting Rooms Sales Expansion

ACSA will continue to be engaged in efforts to expand DtC for craft distillers across the country including increasing the number of states that allow interstate shipping, as well as proposals to modernize tasting rooms sales.

Excise and Ready to Drink (RTD) Tax Revisions

Ongoing economic uncertainty and anticipating potential political gridlock in Congress may lead some states to experience budget deficits in 2023. We will identify potential tax or fee increases that would negatively impact craft spirits suppliers.

In addition to identifying potential excise tax or fee increases, we expect a number of proposals to alter the tax treatment of spirits-based RTD products.


ACSA will actively identify and analyze legislative proposals impacting producer responsibility for recycling glass and bottle deposit programs.

Hand Sanitizer: FDA Continues to Notify Distillers of Formulation Discreprencies

If you receive a letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about hand sanitizer you produced in the early stages of the pandemic, please let us know. We’re here to help and walk you through the steps we would advise you to take. You’ve got our support and you’re not alone so please contact Our response team will quickly respond to your email.

Learn More About the ACSA PAC

ACSA’s public policy advocacy on behalf of its members is critical to making sure our community’s voice is heard on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures. A crucial piece of this strategy is a strong political action committee (PAC). ACSA created a PAC years ago to make sure the voice of our small businesses in an emerging industry is heard.

To learn more, contact ACSA PAC Chair Steve Johnson at or go to go to our website and log in to ACSA

The ACSA PAC will hold a Welcome Reception during the annual convention in Portland. It will take place on Friday, February 10th at Westward Whiskey. Contact if you’d like to attend.

Click Here to Learn More


Updating Permits for Changes of Control

In case you missed reading it in CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, upon changes in ownership control, distilleries must notify the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) within 30 days or face the consequence of a terminated permit.

That’s clearly stated on a distillery’s permit, and Steve Powers of TTB says the bureau is becoming more astute about the matter.

“If it goes beyond that 30 days,” says Powers, “if there’s been a change in control of the business, then the permit terminates by law.”

Powers says a change in control occurs when someone loses or gains 51% of a company. That could mean a change in an officer at a corporation or an official of an LLC. The key change for corporations is with Class A Voting Stocks and for LLCs it is Class A Common Units.

The preferred method for notification is via TTB’s online permitting account, and Powers says anyone with questions should contact TTB at 877-882-3277 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.

“All anyone has to do is call us and ask what they need to do if there’s been a change,” he says. “We can guide them [on] what to do. We’re here to help.”


Read the November/December Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

The November/December issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here, and our cover story explores the growth of e-commerce and what it means for the future of spirits retail. This issue also features stories about a decade of distilling at Headframe Spirits; crafting eau de vie in Alsace; and more.

Click Here to Read the Latest Issue

Join Us in the V.I.P. Lounge

Our V.I.P. Lounge members receive each issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine one week early, and our $40- and $60-per-year supporters are invited to virtual meet-and-greets with craft spirits icons. To unlock additional bonuses, like a set of CRAFT SPIRITS-branded Glencairn glasses, join us in the V.I.P. Lounge today.

Click Here to 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.


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 4,403 DSPs! Find the full list by clicking on Spirit Producers and Bottlers here.

Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays

  • Jan. 1: National Bloody Mary Day
  • Jan. 11: National Hot Toddy Day
  • Jan. 17: National Hot Buttered Rum Day
  • Jan. 31: Brandy Alexander Day

Social Media

Do you have a new spirit release, an upcoming event, or some news to drop?
Follow our social media channels and tweet at us (@craftspiritsus)tag us on Instagram, connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on YouTube or post to our Facebook Page and we’ll be sure to share it!

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

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