The Monthly Mash: June 2021

The Monthly Mash

Volume 6.6

Member-Owned, Industry-Driven

ACSA 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 Craft Spirits Community:

As I write this note, sweltering from the dog days of summer (from where did that expression evolve?), I’m remembering that just a few short weeks ago, I was sporting a sweater to keep warm. Now I cannot seem to get cool enough. It got me thinking about transitions. Massive disruption entered over one year ago. Routines were quickly shattered, and enormous change entered our professional and personal lives. Early on we hunted down toilet paper, searched for hand sanitizer or made our own, and donned our masks. We made sourdough bread and were “entertained” by tigers. That wasn’t the worst of it. We may have been compelled to release employees as we closed our tasting rooms and/or limited production. Even worse, family, friends, or employees may have suffered poor health from the coronavirus itself. Even more crazy is that some states were blissfully unaware, only feeling the impact of the coronavirus via news accounts.

For most, however, the breeze of change envelops us once again. Masks are coming off and we’re recognizing smiles we haven’t seen in a while. Friends, family, and our teams are gathering to celebrate just being together. We don’t need an excuse.

As explained by William Bridges in his book, “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes,” transition is the psychological process that accompanies change, the process that proceeds along predictable patterns.

As we return to or create our own patterns, let ACSA, the only registered national trade group (built and governed by craft distillers—with your interests always at heart) assist you. There are many ways to engage, and we all do better when we do it together.

Many July offerings can help restore your mojo. If you competed in our Judging of Craft Spirits competition, join us on July 27 to learn if you received a medal. Have you entered your spirits that are made with corn into the Heartland Whiskey Competition? The opportunity to enter two spirits and get a third entry for free ends this week. And don’t miss the early bird rate for ACSA’s Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show, which similarly ends this week. You might wish to reward your employees for hanging in there and offer them a registration—there is plenty of education and many mentors to meet. Of course, you can also join us on CRAFT SPIRITS Live; listen to the Craft Spirits Podcast; and participate in our Craft Spirits Classroom webinars, which are complimentary for ACSA members. And, if you’re not reading CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, you should be. Don’t fall behind in knowing what your colleagues do.

If you believe your product is good to great, might you consider selling your spirits outside the U.S.? Let us introduce you to a new USDA program for sales in India. They want our American-made goods and you’ll receive support through this new program to help you along the way.

Innovation continues to embrace manufacturing of spirits, including the ingredients we use to craft our products. Read on to see what long-time sponsor of ACSA, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., is offering the marketplace.

While we may have felt empty or wondering how we emerge from a pandemic that seemingly just wouldn’t quit, there is reason for optimism with a brighter future ahead. Take the time to refresh your support systems, re-examine the balance in your personal and professional life, and exercise patience as you drive through the changes and transitions ahead. We hope we’re a part of your process.



P.S. Updating my photo is a part of my own transition!

Will You Grab Gold?

ACSA to Host Judging of Craft Spirits Awards Ceremony July 27

While we prefer to announce ACSA’s Judging of Craft Spirits award recipients at our annual convention and vendor trade show, we simply can’t wait until December to celebrate this year’s medalists. That’s why we are announcing a virtual awards ceremony this summer!

Please save the date and join us via Zoom on July 27 at 8 p.m. ET to celebrate our craft spirits industry and raise a glass to all of the awards recipients. Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Distillery (Hye, Texas), will emcee and announce all of the medalists in the following categories:

  • Whiskey
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Vodka & Grain Spirits
  • Brandy
  • Distilled Specialty Spirits
  • RTD
Please set a calendar reminder and save this Zoom link, or be on the lookout for additional reminders as July 27 approaches. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Special Deadlines Extended for Convention and Heartland Whiskey Competition

Earlier this week, PayPal was down and not properly integrating with our registration software. We are happy to report that it is back up and running. Due to this issue, we extended the early bird rates for our 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade show to Friday, July 2. The opportunity to register two entries and get the third free in our Heartland Whiskey Competition has also been extended to Friday.

If you need to check registration status or have any immediate questions, please contact Teresa McDaniel at (502) 807-4249 and/or

Learn and Grow at ACSA’s

8th Annual Convention and Vendor Trade Show

This December, ACSA is looking forward to seeing you in person at our 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, where we will network, learn and toast our incomparable, vibrant industry. We’ve lined up more than 40 hours of convention education for you in technical, safety, sensory, sales/marketing/business, distribution, legal/compliance, innovation and basics for those just getting started.*

Here is a sneak peek at the agenda for legal/compliance and safety sessions:

  • Do You Really Own Your Brand? An In-Depth Look at Trademark and Other Intellectual Property Issues in the Distilling Industry – Zachary Hiller (William Price Distilling Company)
  • A Distillery Disaster: How to be Prepared – Rob Pinson (Waller Law), Paul Steele (Martin & Zerfoss)
  • Effective Brand Marketing & Trademark Compliance – Aaron Wais/Daniel Hayes (Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp), David Bourne (Ignite Beverage Branding)
  • IMMINENT ARRIVAL: Building and Fire Code Changes Coming to Your Town – Colleen Moore (Dalkita Architecture & Construction)
  • Developing a Strategy to Operate your Distillery Safely – Gary Yurt (ISTS)
  • The Fire Protection and Life Safety Challenge – Michael Reardon (Reardon Fire Consulting)
  • Five Key Elements in Growing an Effective Safety Culture – Matt Stinchfield (Whalen Insurance)
All education sessions will be available on ACSA’s website for all paid registrants after the convention for you to rewatch at your convenience.

*Please note that the convention education schedule is subject to changes.

Special Offer Expires Soon!

Register now to take advantage of our early-bird discounts, as registration fees will increase at midnight on July 2. Hurry before this limited-time offer expires!

Member Attendee Registration

Early Bird Rates (Ends July 2)

Member Attendee: $595

Additional Member Attendees (1-5): $395 per person
Additional Member Attendees (6+): $100 per person

General Admission (July 3-Nov. 21)

Member Attendee: $625

Additional Member Attendees (1-5): $425 per person
Additional Member Attendees (6+): $100 per person

Members must be logged in to access member registration link.

Non-Member Attendee Registration

Early Bird Rates (Ends July 2)

Non-Member Attendee: $795

Additional Non-Member Attendees (1-5): $595 per person
Additional Non-Member Attendees (6+): $120 per person

General Admission (July 3-Nov. 21)

Non-Member Attendee: $825
Additional Non-Member Attendees (1-5): $625 per person
Additional Non-Member Attendees (6+): $120 per person

If you register as a voting member, you’ll receive discounts on convention registration and competition fees, free webinars (including our archives), and more. Sign-up here to join ACSA’s craft spirits community!

Exhibitor Registration

Early Bird Rates (Ends July 2)

10×10 Single Booth: $1,900

20×10 Double Booth: $3,300

General Admission (July 3-Nov. 21)

10×10 Single Booth: $2,099

20×10 Double Booth: $3,450

If you need to check registration status or have any immediate questions, please contact Teresa McDaniel at (502) 807-4249 and/or

Hurry: Enter Two Spirits, Get Third Free!

Deadlines are quickly approaching for the third biennial Heartland Whiskey Competition. The registration deadline is weeks away and our special offer to enter two spirits and get the third one free ends Friday, July 2.

The competition is open to craft whiskeys from all 50 states that incorporate corn in their mash bill, but the following corn-supported states can compete for a “Best of State” award: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Enter your whiskey by July 14, deliver it by July 18, and earn your right to display a new gold, silver or bronze medal. This event only happens every two years so don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

ACSA Members: $175 per spirit
Non-Members*: $195 per spirit
Click the judging protocols and the submission guidelines for more details. Still not convinced? Call Teresa at (502) 807-4249 and she’ll let you know why this is a good fit for your whiskey!

*Sign-up as a member and receive discounts on judging entries, convention registration webinars, and more!

Get to Know Some of Our Judges

Top mixologists, brand ambassadors and whiskey aficionados will judge the 2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition. Get to know a few of our judges below.

Jamar Mack is a Kentucky-based brand manager, event producer and overall innovator with nearly 20 years in the service and hospitality industry. He’s the founder of Kentucky’s Original Black Bourbon Enthusiasts (K.O.B.B.E.) and has devoted his career to not only increasing the participation of African Americans in the bourbon community, but raising awareness of the long history of African Americans in bourbon while ensuring all experiences are innovative and unique for others in the bourbon community.

Heather Wibbels is a digital content creator and Chair of the Bourbon Women Board of Directors. She works with brands to create unique and compelling digital content. Her book, “Bourbon is My Comfort Food: The Bourbon Women Guide to Fantastic Cocktails at Home,” will be released in May of 2022. You can find her on Instagram at @cocktail_contessa or at

Steve Coomes is a 30-year veteran journalist covering the restaurant and spirits trades. He has reported for and edited dozens of trade and lifestyle publications in the U.S. and England, authored three books and co-authored two. He also produces custom content for restaurant and distilling businesses. He lives in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Steffani Scheurich is a successful marketing, sales and business development professional with extensive experience working at major corporations. Her career includes 23 years at Nestlé USA, Brown-Forman, Sara Lee and Pernod Ricard. Five years ago, she used this experience to start High Spirits Marketing, her own consulting company that specializes in marketing, sales, business strategy and business planning solutions for craft distilleries and wineries.

USDA Launches Program for Craft Distillers to Showcase Products in India

ACSA knows route to market is challenging. Multiple obstacles prevent product placement. As a result, we continuously look for business opportunities for you, particularly in areas which impact your ability to sell your spirits. ACSA is working with USDA to highlight those programs which may have an impact on your growth. Here’s one of the latest programs which you might not wish to pass up!

As the world’s largest whiskey consumer at 1.9 billion liters in 2020, India provides a multitude of opportunities for U.S. distilled spirits. In 2020, distilled spirits exports to India reached $215 million, supplied primarily by the United Kingdom and the European Union. To capture greater market share and generate enthusiasm and demand for U.S. alcohol, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Offices of Agricultural Affairs in India (New Delhi and Mumbai) have launched the Alcoholic Beverage Market Promotion Program to bring in premium, never-before-seen U.S. craft spirits and wines into India at a low cost to U.S. distilleries, wineries, and exporters. USDA offices will exhibit these samples to leading importers, hotel and restaurant managers, and influencers through in-person master classes and tasting sessions, where U.S. participants will be able to showcase their products to participants through a virtual exchange.

USDA will cover paperwork and shipping costs using a consolidated shipper in California to deliver to India. Participating U.S. distilleries are encouraged to provide at least five 750-mL bottles of each beverage product line you want to feature, which will cover the number of samples to be distributed during planned events in Mumbai and Delhi. Distilleries are also welcome to provide additional quantities, particularly sample-size bottles that can be delivered to potential buyers, as well as educational/promotion materials such as brochures and giveaway items, as appropriate.

If you are interested learning more, including sample delivery requirements, please contact and/or for more information.

Samples should be delivered no later than July 16 for this 2021 summer promotion program.

Department of the Treasury Releases Report on Refund Claims for Imported Alcohol

If you import, you’ll want to read the Department of the Treasury’s “Report to Congress on Administration of Craft Beverage Modernization Act Refund Claims for Imported Alcohol.”

Breiss Logo

Q&A with Jordon Geurts of Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.

Family-owned since 1876, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. has distinguished itself by developing the most extensive line of specialty malts made by any malting company in the world. Briess provides everything from malts to pure malt extracts, brewers flakes and filtering aids. To get a flavor for the types of offerings Briess can deliver for craft distillers, we recently checked in with Jordon Geurts, technical manager-malt ingredients. Before joining Briess in 2013, Geurts worked with USDA in the Barley Malt Quality Lab at the Cereal Crops Research Unit, where he specialized in small batch and pilot malting. In his current role at Briess, he provides technical support services for malting operations, quality control, assurance and R&D projects.

What types of solutions/offerings does Briess present to craft distillers?

We offer a wide variety of products for the distilling market. Our most popular product is our all-natural, high-enzyme Distillers malt. We don’t use any additives or process aids; just high-quality malting barley and a lot of care allows us to achieve high enzymes levels necessary for a variety of distilled spirit production. We also developed Odyssey Whiskey Malt specifically for the production of American single malt whiskey. Odyssey is a non-producer of glycosidic nitrile (GN), which in other barley varieties can lead to the formation of ethyl carbamate. Through partnering with our customers, we have also found unique ways to enhance the flavor of distilled spirits through the use of specialty kilned, roasted and smoked malt products, as well. Many unique flavors found in specialty malts can help enhance the flavor of the finished spirits. In addition to our malted products, we offer a variety of pre-gelatinized flakes, flours and raw grains also.

Are there any new products that you have (or ones that are coming up) that you can tell us about?

We are always looking to produce new and innovative products, and we try to be as creative as the customers we serve, which is a high bar to meet. We are always looking at new processes, new grains or new applications to help fuel the growing distilled spirits industry. That said, we’re not ready to take the lid off of any new products just yet, but we do have some exciting ideas in the pipeline.

Do you have any products that increase efficiency or utilization for distillers?

We offer a variety of products that can help distillers increase production, efficiency and utilization. One of the most effective ways to increase efficiency is to use our line of high extract flours. Previously, we had worked with Michigan State University to better understand the effects of particle size in relation to efficiency, extract and alcohol production. As a result of that study, we invested in specialized milling equipment to decrease particle size in our milled flours beyond the capabilities of the hammer mills we used previously. When compared to coarsely ground malt, our finely ground flours resulted in higher extract, higher alcohol production and reduced fermenter volume. So, in addition to being able to yield more alcohol, you can also fit more into the fermenters, allowing for as much as 50 extra gallons per 1,000 pounds of malt flour used.

Our line of CBW malt extracts, both liquid and dry, can also offer distillers alternative ways to increase production. We use our 500bbl brewhouse to mash, lauter, boil. and then concentrate 100% malt extract. This can be a great time saver for distillers because we have already gone through the time and effort of preparing the wort for fermentation. Those already converted sugars can then be used as a base for fermentation, or it can be added to boost gravity before fermentation, yielding a higher finished alcohol content.

How has the emergence of the American single malt category affected the supply/demand equation?

Through attending shows like the ACSA convention and partnering with our customers, we have seen the desire from distillers for flavorful, unique malts for American single malt production. We have been preparing for an increase in demand from the industry for a number of years. One of the key factors in single malt production is using a variety of barley that is a non-producer of GN. It is a trait that was deemed important enough that the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) added a GN limit to their own breeding guidelines in 2019. We began our own search long before that so we could be prepared to supply an appropriate barley variety to the growing industry. As a result, we have a healthy supply of barley to fulfill the needs of our customers as demand has increased.

What are the most important things you’d want craft distillers to know about Briess? 

That we do more than just supply malt and ingredients. As a team, we are here to help distillers with questions, recommendations and experience ranging from supply and logistics, through product application, all the way to equipment selection. We focus on specialties, investing in equipment to help make unique products, including toll malting, custom milling and flaking, blending ingredients, and custom packaging. We thoroughly enjoy working with our customers as a partnership, and we are happy to help in whatever way that we can.

Sign Up Now for Upcoming Webinars

Webinar: SBA’s COVID EIDL Changes: What Do They Mean For You

When: July 16 at 3 p.m. EST

What: The Small Business Administration (SBA) is set to implement changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program on July 15. Tune in to discover more about the changes, what they mean for you, and to have your questions answered from a representative from the SBA.

How much: Free to ACSA members and non-members

Complimentary Safety Webinar: Personal & Process Gas Detection Overview

When: July 20 at 3 p.m. EST

What: Navigating occupational safety needs for employees has always been a business owner’s concern. What happens when the process adds potential hazards to the atmosphere? Gas monitoring technology can be vertically integrated into your business to provide for employee safety, process control and building security. RKI Instruments is proud to discuss how gas detection can be used in craft distilling applications. Our goal is to educate potential users on how gas monitoring technology works. With this technical information, we can help each craft distiller understand how it can be utilized in their unique application and facilities.

Who: John Maslowski, RKI Instruments

How much: Free to ACSA members and non-members

Webinar: Control of Sulfur Compounds in Malt Whisk(e)y

When: July 22 at 3 p.m. EST

What: Sulfur compounds are known to have low thresholds and play an important role in the character of malt whisky. Some are unpleasant sulfur compounds that are removed during the maturation, such as alkyl sulfides, and others yield meaty and full body results to the final quality. It has been known that their formation and removal are affected by distillation, especially copper. In the maturation process, dimethyl sulfide and dimethyl disulfide decreased dramatically and gradually, respectively. Then, distilleries have to pay attention to the removal of these unpleasant sulfides. Recently, Idemitsu Kosan and Nikka Whisky have developed a new filtration technology for removal of these compounds, which subtracts the compounds specifically before the maturation. The companies will introduce some data in Japan and the United States. This webinar will cover the classes of sulfur compounds, the formation and removal of sulfur compounds in the production process, and the control of alkyl sulfides.

Who: Akira Wanikawa (Nikka Whisky Distilling), Narinobu Kagami (Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd.) and Toshikazu Sugimoto (Nikka Whisky Distilling)

How much: Free to ACSA members, $59 for non-members

Manage Your Sub-Accounts

Be sure your co-workers are set up as sub-accounts so they can also take advantage of online member benefits, including complimentary webinars. If you need assistance, email


7 Point-of-Service Benefits That Will Increase Your Revenue

A memorable and satisfying craft hospitality guest experience is a mix of great food and drink, plus stellar customer service. Technology is evolving rapidly to enhance the guest experience by taking away the server’s administrative tasks and empowering guests to create their own seamless service model. A nimble point-of-sale (POS) system enables guests to control their interactions from start to finish—from opening a tab to tipping and paying, and everything in between—freeing staff to do what they do best: curate relationships with your guests.

In this complimentary white paper from our sponsor, Arryved, gain insight on point-of-service systems for tasting room and retail teams designed to enhance your revenue streams.


The Independent Channel: Where Trends Take Hold

Trends are made in the independent liquor retail channel. Local liquor stores are where drinking communities go for experimentation and discovery. So trends that start in bars and restaurants then move through local retailers and into drinkers’ homes. Craft brands with insight into this trajectory can capitalize to create better futures for their distilleries.

In this report from our sponsor, 3×3, you’ll explore how four modern product trends tipped through local liquor store sales—illustrated through proprietary transaction data from 12+ million shoppers.

Follow us on Instagram for Craft Spirits Live

Join ACSA for Craft Spirits Live, our Instagram Live show highlighting producers of craft spirits.

July 14th: Ryan Burchett, Mississippi River Distilling Co.
August 25th: Travis Goodman and Chas Marsh, Jackson Hole Still Works
September 8th: Christine Riggleman, Silverback Distillery

Listen to the Latest Episodes of The Craft Spirits Podcast

Produced by ACSA and CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, The Craft Spirits Podcast is a bimonthly program featuring in-depth conversations with distillers and craft spirits visionaries. Our latest guests include whiskey writer Lew Bryson, Jason Ericson of Eastside Distilling and Sonat Birnecker Hart of KOVAL Distillery.

An Excerpt from the Next Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

Bitter, Sweet & Everything in Between

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the cover story of the July issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine. To read the entire story, look for an email with a link to the new issue tomorrow, July 1.

Depending on when (and where) you read this, there’s a good chance that summer is now upon us (how’s that for a qualification?). And anyone with an internet connection likely has found it hard to avoid the barrage of articles touting the top cocktail recipes for the warm months. This is not one of them.

Generally, we’re not too keen on season-specific stories in this space, given their limited shelf life. But we’re making an exception in this case because summer means it’s time to hit the patio—and hopefully more a choice than a necessity this year as much of the country heads toward fully reopening. And more and more, al fresco sippers have been taking a cue from Italy’s aperitivo culture, integrating spritzes into their warm-weather drinking routines.

That’s just one of the trends that’s providing an opportunity to grow the liqueurs category—because it’s certainly not the bubbly wines that are giving those mixed refreshers their character.

“Those drinks, historically, have always been big hits on the patio, they’ve always been patio pleasers,” says Robby Haynes, co-founder of Apologue Liqueurs in Chicago, whose offerings include Aronia, Celery Root, Persimmon and Saffron liqueurs. “I think we’ll see a lot less brown and stirred [on the patio] which are more suited for a moody corner at a nice cocktail bar. These sort of thoughtful sippers are going to be in short order for summer, but when cold weather hits, it’ll swing around the other way.”

The glasses that sit atop the outdoor tables at Washington, D.C.’s Italian-style liqueur maker Don Ciccio & Figli on a Saturday afternoon sometimes work better than any thermometer could. President and master distiller Francesco Amodeo has it down to a science

“If the temperature outside is above 70 [Fahrenheit], you’ll see that every single table will get a spritz,” Amodeo reports. “When it was lower, around 65, people start gravitating to things like the Sidecar, heartier things, to give them psychological warmth. There have been weekends that we sold 80 to 100 spritzes and our patio only has eight tables.”

Producers also credit spritzes with being a sort of gateway drink that leads to further investigation across the category.

“I think the spritz trend has been a really positive thing for inspiring consumers to try new things, to look at different sections of the spirits store and branch out,” says Michael Foglia, director of production at Wigle Whiskey, which boasts an extensive line of liqueurs, including amari. “All of the publications, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, the blogs, have really made that a familiar idea to the hip drinking community at large.”

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 2021 media kit 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 a few of our newest members and sponsors:
Find out more about becoming a member here.

Did You Know?
  • The TTB has issued 3,761 DSPs! Find the full list here.
  • Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:
June 30: National Mai Tai Day
July 2: National Anisette Day
July 10: World Rum Day
July 24: National Tequila Day
July 27: National Scotch Day

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

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