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 Craft Spirits Industry:
Historical fiction is one of my preferred reading genres. Exploring a time period—where societal norms, traditions, motivations, attitudes, dress and political discourse evolve—gives us a glimmer of the past. For just a moment, we can put ourselves in a character’s shoes and begin to learn, understand and perhaps even sympathize with the plight of the protagonist. Whether it’s visiting the Middle East in “The Red Tent,” Ethiopia in “Cutting for Stone,” China in “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” Chicago in “Native Son,” France in “All the Light We Cannot See,” or Germany in “Lilac Girls,” we become an eyewitness to a bygone era or societal order.
Early this year, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency that would likely plague the United States in the months to come, no one could have predicted the number of lives lost, the scores who fought and are fighting to heal, nor the volume of businesses forced to shutter, including the need to layoff or furlough employees.
We don’t need a novel to tell us we are a part of history which will be written about for years to come. But it doesn’t stop there.
Sweeping protests and haunting media footage cast a national spotlight on racial inequity and the critical need for racial justice. Our immediate past-president, Chris Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits, is now a larger part of Minneapolis’s history, as his distillery was looted and burned in one of the city-wide protests in late May.
We can express horror. We can tweet or post support. But, most importantly, we can ACT to examine and play our own role in history to make things better.
ACSA, through its volunteer leaders and its staff, is committed to making that difference within our craft distilling community. A quick response provided the industry with: guidance on the effects of the pandemic from hand sanitizer regulatory compliance issues to reopening of tasting rooms; a way to help Du Nord rebuild through a GoFundMe campaign; a move from in-person to new upcoming virtual offerings on business and technical components of operating a distillery within our new normal; a 3-month value-add to membership; a continued fight for FET relief and parity; and a Town Hall to bring together membership to evaluate the board of director candidates best suited to play a leadership role in shaping the future of our industry.
Now is the time to reboot, take stock and play our part. Now is our time to recommit to our ACSA values, including its statement on diversity and commitment of creating and fostering an environment that is welcoming and accepting of all individuals, and ensuring that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect.
Stay safe and be kind,
ACSA to Host Town Hall Tuesday; Elections Begin in July
ACSA will host a virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, June 30 at 4 p.m. ET so you can meet our new officers, get acquainted with the slate of candidates in the Board of Directors elections, and learn what’s coming up in the next few months at ACSA. This event is open to members and non-members to allow all interested parties to understand the passion and commitment for the craft spirits industry.
Members and non-members will have the opportunity to get to know candidates running for ACSA’s Board of Directors. A big thank you to Renee Bemis, Driftless Glen (WI), for chairing the Elections committee and organizing the nominees for the elections ballot.
*Transitioning from Old Trestle Distillery to Rogue Ales & Spirits at the end of July.
The following Board Members will finish their term in August:
James Montero, Dogfish Head Distilling (Milton, DE)
Chris Montana, Du Nord Craft Spirits (Minneapolis, MN)
Courtney McKee, Headframe Spirits (Butte, MT)
Colin Keegan, Santa Fe Spirits (Santa Fe, NM)**
Jake Holshue, Rogue Ales & Spirits (Newport, OR)**
**Running for a second term
ACSA to Host Craft Spirits Virtual Summit: A New Journey
ACSA is excited to announce it will host Craft Spirits Virtual Summit: A New Journey, scheduled for Aug. 10-12. This interactive, digital event will include networking, education, trade show components and more, so please hold the dates if you wish to be a part of the exciting new digital program. More details will follow soon.
Due to health and safety concerns, ACSA has canceled its in-person 7th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show that was scheduled for early August in Portland, Oregon. Originally scheduled for late March, the in-person event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But after careful consideration—including reviews of Oregon’s plans for reopening and CDC guidelines, and input from board members and staff—ACSA decided to pursue a new path.
Those who had previously registered for the in-person event may choose to sit tight for details on the virtual summit; roll their registration to ACSA’s 2021 convention in Louisville, Kentucky; or donate registration fees to ACSA. If you were previously registered, please contact ACSA’s operations administrator, Teresa McDaniel, or call 502.807.4249 to let us know your preference.
While we were eagerly preparing to gather in person, your health and safety are at the heart of our decision making. We thank you for understanding and hope you will join us virtually in August.
ACSA Statement on Hand Sanitizer Containing Methanol
Last week, New Mexico health officials revealed that three people have died, three others were in critical condition and one person was permanently blind after drinking hand sanitizer containing methanol. Unlike ethanol, methanol is not a safe ingredient for hand sanitizer. It can be toxic and lethal when absorbed through the skin or ingested.
The news came a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers not to use any hand sanitizers manufactured in Mexico by Eskbiochem, due to the potential presence of methanol. The FDA announcement included nine products from the company. According to The New York Times, state health officials are investigating whether the products involved in the deaths were among those listed in the advisory.
While this is tragic on many levels, The American Craft Spirits Association has spent months educating members on how to help their communities by producing ethanol-based hand sanitizer during this pandemic. As members of a highly regulated industry at every level, our member companies responded with unbelievable speed to the need they saw among first responders, health care workers, nursing homes and the general public, while making ethanol-based hand sanitizer products which are both safe and effective over-the-counter drugs. Craft spirits producers live in the communities we serve and are committed to the highest standards of quality and transparency.
We are saddened by this tragedy and encourage vigilance among the general public—as we have throughout the duration of this crisis—as to the safe use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.”
Less than $2,000 to go: Donate now to support Du Nord Craft Spirits!
We are $2,000 shy of the $100,000 goal in the GoFundMe campaign for Minneapolis-based Du Nord Craft Spirits, which was severely damaged amidst citywide protests on May 29. Several fires were set inside Du Nord’s distillery, owned by Chris Montana, ACSA’s immediate Past President and unsung craft spirits advocate. While Du Nord’s fire suppression system prevented the fire from destroying the building, the damage was vast, as more than 26,000 gallons of water dumped inside the facility over the course of four to four and a half hours. Please help us across the finish line by donating today.
We are excited to announce the launch of our classifieds, an online resource dedicated to connecting distillers, industry suppliers or friends of our craft spirits community to jobs and resources. Click below to start searching by job title, company, or location to find the perfect position or the right talent!
Join ACSA for Craft Spirits Live, our new Instagram Live show. In each episode, a leading craft spirits producer invites us into their distillery for 30 minutes of engaging conversation and a virtual tour—as well as an opportunity to answer all of your burning questions.
The 2020 DISCUS/ACSA Public Policy Conference that typically takes place in Washington, D.C. each year will take place virtually.
While we are disappointed to not be able to join together in person with distillers from across the country, we unfortunately cannot be certain that the Capitol complex and Washington, D.C. will be ready to welcome group meetings in September. As it’s more important than ever that we communicate with lawmakers about the impact COVID-19 has had on our industry, we ask that you save the dates of September 15-16.
Though we’ll be virtual, we intend to offer the same opportunities that you have come to expect from this conference each year—to learn and share from one another and celebrate this great industry. Please stay tuned for schedule information and registration details coming soon!
Bar Convent Brooklyn Also Going Virtual
The organizers of Bar Convent Brooklyn announced recently that the event for 2020 will now be entirely virtual. BCB’s complimentary virtual trade show will be dedicated to providing education and support that recognizes and addresses the direct and essential needs of the industry. The virtual conference will remain a place for attendees to connect with exhibitors, discover new products, and network with fellow industry professionals.
Access Our Archive of Complimentary COVID-19 Webinars
In case you missed them, all of our COVID-19 webinars are complimentary and available to download. Please note that some of the webinars may have some suggestions that are outdated as the guidance around hand sanitizer has rapidly changed. Please review the newest FDA and TTB guidance to ensure you are following the prescribed protocol.
Coming This Week: The July Issue of Craft Spirits Magazine
In the upcoming July issue of Craft Spirits magazine, we will continue our coverage of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the entire craft spirits industry. Look for the issue in your inbox later this week. Until then, here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.
Cover Story: Direct-to-Consumer
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a number of states to relax—at least temporarily—their restrictions on direct-to-consumer sales and shipping for distilleries. Could this possibly be the tipping point on an issue that’s central to the future of the craft spirits business?
Best of the Best:
We spotlight the Best-of-Class and Best-of-Show medalists in ACSA’s 2020 Judging of Craft Spirits.
Member Profile: Cedar Ridge Distillery
Iowa’s renowned producer has barrels and barrels that are ready for primetime.
Distilling Destinations: Seattle
A Seattle local details how distilleries are coping with the pandemic and what the craft spirits scene may look like once things (slowly) get back to normal.
Plus: Stories about pivoting to curbside, best practices for packaging to-go cocktails and more!
And in case you missed it, click below to read our last issue.
Craft Spirits TV
Copperworks Crowdfunds & ACSA Announces New Board Officers
Copperworks Distilling details its successful crowdfunding campaign and we congratulate Becky Harris (Catoctin Creek), P.T. Wood (Wood’s High Mountain Distillery) and Jeff Kanof (Copperworks Distilling), the new President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer, respectively, of the American
Welcome Newest Voting, Affiliate and Candidate Members!
ACSA extends a warm welcome to a few of our newest members: