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:
Perfect! Just perfect!
How many times have we received that response or alternatively, ourselves replied with a one-word answer when questioned? It got me thinking about what it means and its genesis. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, perfect can be a verb or adjective. As an adjective, it means without fault or complete and right in every way; having nothing wrong or exactly right for a particular purpose or situation; being the best possible. It comes from the Latin word perficere, with per meaning completely and facere meaning do.
Currently there are few things in life deserving of a descriptor of perfection. Yet, I want to believe our attempts to assemble an all-star cast of presenters and topics, attract the best and brightest suppliers, and arrange for a bounty of social fun at our 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show, will come pretty darn close to being perfect. Perhaps the only missing ingredient will be your absence if we haven’t yet convinced you to join us in New Orleans. Lucky for you, it isn’t too late—see details below including some of the preplanned fun from marching down the streets of the Big Easy to touring fellow-member distilleries. And, of course, not to be missed is our annual awards banquet and Spirits Soiree.
Your government affairs team tries its best to get it right each time we represent your voice in Congress or with TTB. That is why we need your thoughts on whether to support TTB’s proposal on elimination of standards of fill. Take the two-minute survey to let us know your thoughts.
If you want to be heard directly about issues facing your distillery or your support of spirits production, we’ve arranged a couple more opportunities to do just that. Come to our ACSA PAC reception being held during our convention and/or register now for our virtual Public Policy Conference.
In an effort to keep all members safe, we’re embarking on a Fire Protection and Prevention course. It’s complimentary through our recent OSHA grant, designed to help us educate those in the industry about eliminating potential hazards. Register now as only a few seats remain (seriously—this program has a cap of 40 attendees).
With diversity and inclusion in the news seemingly each day, we know this is an area of concern for most companies. Our industry is not immune, it is also an area of concern for ACSA. Here we are far from perfect and we hope to change that, one intern at a time, through the STEPUP Foundation internship program. Applications opened this month for interns, DSPs, mentors and wholesalers. If you or someone you know is interested (no experience necessary but rather, a real passion for our industry), please consider applying. Keep on reading to see how you can apply.
Finally, one of ACSA’s long-time friends (and an integral sponsor), Moonshine University, shares some insights on course offerings.
Your ACSA team—including board, committees and staff—consistently try to completely do it or put another way, make our service perfect to best represent your needs. We hope that you will experience another perfect convention with us, filled with goodwill, good cheer and good health enjoyed by all.
Time is running out to register for ACSA’s 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show!
Our 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show is just three weeks away! We’re eager to gather in New Orleans this July 21-24 to learn, network and celebrate the incredible community of craft spirits producers and suppliers!
If you have yet to register, click here. And please note that online registration closes next Thursday, July 8, and ACSA members must be logged into ACSA’s website to receive attendee discounted pricing.
Here is a quick preview of some of the highlights to expect next month in New Orleans.
Second Line and Welcome Party at Mardi Gras World
To kick off the convention, we will parade around downtown New Orleans with live music and dancing while marching towards Mardi Gras World for an opening-night celebration. You can mix and mingle with attendees and suppliers from around the globe while enjoying live music, craft cocktails, the museum and more!
Expand Your Knowledge
We’ve lined up nearly 40 hours of convention education for you to strengthen your knowledge. We’ll have three concurrent education tracks (technical, sales/marketing and business/finance) in three difficulty levels (advanced, intermediate and suitable for all). Click here to see the schedule and start planning your itinerary.
Looking for more education? Register now for ACSA’s New Distillery Start-Up 101 Pre-Convention Class on July 20-21. This two-day class will address topics including basic distillery safety; equipment selection; oak extraction and aging; material selection; flavor chemistry and biochemistry; pros and cons of tasting rooms; working with distributors; building a sales team; general business management; and MUCH MORE! Learn more here.
Keynote Presentation and Town Hall
Renowned mental health professional and comedian Matt Vogl will deliver a keynote presentation titled Distilling Mental Health & Crafting Support in Volatile Times—a topic that’s relatable for every professional role and at any skill level.
During ACSA’s Town Hall meeting, we’ll have an engaging, enticing and informative discussion on issues our community is interested in like tax parity with beer and wine, DtC, CSDP and more.
First Time Attendee Coffee & Beignets Klatch
Besides a light breakfast and overview of what you can expect over the course of the convention, you’ll 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.
Tour Local Distilleries
We are excited to offer two unique distillery tours before and after our convention!
On July 20, get a taste of the Bayou State on ACSA’s pre-convention distillery tour as we spend a full day exploring some of the area’s best distilleries, including Three Roll Estate, Sugarfield Spirits and Porchjam Distillery.
On July 24, we’re offering a hands-on distilling tour called, A Foray into Flavor, where we’ll be discussing how distillers approach creating flavorful spirits, touching on barrel aging, vapor distillation and maceration/infusions. The distilleries include Roulaison Distilling Co., Porchjam and Happy Raptor Distilling.
There are only a few spots remaining for each of these tours!
ACSA PAC Fundraiser
Join us Friday, July 22 for the ACSA PAC Fundraiser (members-only). Come prepared to raise your glass as we toast to strengthening the business climate for our industry. Please consider joining your ACSA colleagues at Happy Raptor Distilling.
This event is complimentary to the first 100 ACSA members who register (formal invitation coming soon). If you haven’t already signed an ACSA PAC authorization form, you’ll be required to do so upon entry.
Spirits Soiree: Awards Dinner & Banquet
Join us Saturday, July 23 for ACSA’s Awards Dinner & Banquet. You’ll get a chance to cheer on your peers and possibly accept a medal or two of your own at the awards ceremony for our annual Judging of Craft Spirits competition—the first in-person dinner in presentation of the medals in more than three years.
This event is complimentary to general attendee and exhibitor registrants. If you purchased only the Saturday Day Pass, you can purchase an additional ticket to attend the awards dinner. Dinner tickets will be distributed at registration check-in and collected upon entry at the event.
Download our app by scanning the QR code or clicking here. If you’ve already downloaded the app, click the icon in the upper lefthand corner and click ‘yes’ to switch event. From the homepage, click ACSA Annual Convention 2022.
REGISTER FOR THE CONVENTION TODAY!
WHEN: July 21-24
WHERE: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
HOW MUCH: GENERAL ATTENDEE PRICING (April 2 – July 8)
Member Attendee: $650
Additional Member Attendees (from same distillery): $450 per person
Non-Member Attendee: $875
Additional Non-Member Attendees (from same distillery): $525 per person
*ACSA members must be logged into ACSA’s website to receive attendee discounted pricing. If you have trouble logging into your ACSA account, please email email@example.com.
One-Day Pass Now Available
Don’t have enough bandwidth to attend our entire convention? Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered! This year, we are offering a special day pass for Saturday, July 23. The one-day pass will allow you to network on the trade show floor from noon-4:30 p.m. CT (doesn’t include education sessions).
You can also purchase a dinner ticket for an additional fee to attend our Spirits Soiree Happy Hour and Awards Banquet from 6-9 p.m. CT.
Take a Quick Survey on Eliminating Existing Standards of Fill
In late May, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning Standards of Fill for Wine and Distilled Spirits. TTB is considering eliminating the existing standards of fill for wine and distilled spirits, except to maintain in the regulations a minimum standard of 50 milliliters for both wine and distilled spirits and a maximum standard of fill of 3.785 liters for distilled spirits. TTB hopes to potentially eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements, reduce barriers to competition, and provide consumers with broader purchasing options.
Before ACSA provides comments, we need to know what you, our membership base, believes is in the best interest of our community.
To help us draft our comments, please take two minutes to answer our quick questions. Your feedback is needed no later than July 11.
Register Now for the 2022 Virtual Public Policy Conference
Registration for the 2022 ACSA/DISCUS Public Policy Conference is now open! This virtual conference is an opportunity to make your voice heard on the issues most impacting your distillery! We’re looking forward to joining the best and the brightest from the distilled spirits sector to meet virtually with lawmakers and advocate on the issues impacting distilleries across the country.
On Tuesday, September 20, join us for a legislative issues overview and state delegation meetings to prepare for Congressional meetings.
On Wednesday, September 21, we will meet virtually with officials from Capitol Hill and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau before setting off for virtual Congressional meetings. We will close the conference with a virtual closing toast—offering the chance to connect with one another and raise a glass with industry luminaries.
We hope you’ll join us virtually on September 20-21, 2022.
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) and to maintain this presence, we need your support, particularly during a mid-term election year.
Limited Spots Remain: Sign Up for a Free, In-Person Course on Fire Protection and Prevention
Seeing a gap in industry-specific training, the American Craft Spirits Association applied for and was awarded a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Susan Harwood Training Grant. ACSA’s Capacity Building Pilot Program grant aims to educate the craft spirits industry at large on fire protection and prevention.
Based on member feedback, ACSA is using OSHA grant funds to create a one-day, in-person course on fire protection and prevention, customized to address the needs of craft distillers, and presented by Industrial Safety and Training Services on Aug. 31 at Watershed Distillery in Columbus, Ohio.
The class will be free of charge for members and non-members alike, because we believe there should be no barrier to safety in this industry. As a requirement of the grant, all materials for the course will be submitted to OSHA for approval, so attendees can be assured that the course will not only be scaled to craft distilleries, but also compliant with federal OSHA requirements. While ACSA plans to expand this training program to reach distillers where they are, this inaugural class is limited to 40 attendees (per the grant’s requirements) and only a few spots remain.
Download Audio Recordings From Our 2021 Convention
Audio recordings from our 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show are now available on our website. Convention attendees are granted lifetime access to recordings for the convention(s) they attended. If you attended our convention, you may access the content by logging in with the same email address you used to register for the convention. Courses can also be purchased individually if you did not attend. If you have issues accessing the recordings, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEPUP Foundation Accepting New Applications Until Sept. 1
The STEPUP Foundation is now accepting applications for 2023 interns, mentors, DSPs, and wholesalers until Sept. 1, 2022.
STEPUP stands for Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals and its purpose is to increase talent through the facilitation of workplace diversity. Specifically, STEPUP, working with distilleries and wholesalers throughout the United States, provides a comprehensive, hands-on training program with a living stipend and provides job exposure for those of different races, color, national origins, genders and sexual orientations.
Eligible mentors will have passion, willingness and time to guide and coach the intern throughout the internship. They must have experience in the hospitality industry, but no previous mentorship experience is required.
DSPs and wholesalers will help train and expose interns to learning the spirits business. It requires a time commitment of 8-12 weeks, dedication, and willingness to guide interns through how a spirits business runs from front to back end of operations, sales and marketing, finances, and distributorship. Curriculum and materials will be provided.
We encourage all to apply to this unique and life-changing internship program!
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Moonshine University offers technical training and business management education for start-ups, industry professionals and those looking for careers in the distilling industry. Its courses are designed and taught by distillery operators, industry insiders and world-renowned master distillers. We recently checked in with Colin Blake, director of spirits education, to learn more about Moonshine University’s offerings.
ACSA: Who is the ideal person to attend Moonshine University?
Colin Blake: The ideal person who would attend Moonshine University would be entrepreneurs, young or seasoned, who are interested in having their own distillery and learning how to operate it, or launching their own beverage brand. Moonshine University is also open to people who are already industry professionals but want to learn more and acquire better knowledge of the craft, science and trade of beverage alcohol. Even distillery owners and operators who are already working can come to improve or specialize their already particular set of skills or business.
Moonshine University offers more than a dozen distilling courses. What are the most popular courses?
We have five most popular courses amongst our clients. The first notable course is the six-day distiller course which details distilling operations from the conception of ideas to placing a product on the shelf. Second is our three-day distilling course which goes into distilling engineering and operations. The third is our fermentation workshop, a two-day course on perfecting the process of converting sugar to alcohol. Fourth is barrel aging workshop, another two-day course on aging alcohol for consistent flavor. Lastly, we have the botanical spirits workshop, another three-day hands-on course focusing on producing spirits such as gin, absinthe and amaro.
Are there any new or upcoming courses that you’re particularly excited about?
We absolutely have new and upcoming courses arriving at Moonshine University! One of them is the sensory for distillers workshop which will be a two-day course on mastering and sharpening tasting senses for troubleshooting and opportunity seeking within the distillery industry. Another new course is the route-to-market course that will teach students about competition, pricing and overall marketing of their beverage coming August 29.
In addition to courses, you offer several additional services like product development and custom education. A big part of Moonshine University’s goal isn’t just to provide initial training, but to essentially offer continuing education, right?
Even though we’re mainly known for our publicly offered classes, we have a whole portfolio of services we offer. From professional sensory feedback, mash bill development, and gin development, to customized education and private barrel programs. Really, we can do anything in the beverage world once you include the services our sister company, Flavorman, offers.
How much has the pandemic affected the way that Moonshine University approaches education? Are you settling back into a somewhat normal routine?
COVID closed our doors to students for three months, during which we made hand sanitizer. We opened back up in July of 2020 and have been running classes steadily ever since. Outside a short stint where we had very, very small class sizes, we never really missed a beat. We were surprised that when we opened back up every class was sold out. We were convinced for a while that we must be the only thing open in the world, but it just goes to show that nothing stops this industry.
Is there anything else you’d want people to know about Moonshine University?
Moonshine University also houses the Stave & Thief Society, a bourbon certification program that offers at home study and in-person classes with hands-on distilling and in-depth sensory training. We have everyone from master distillers to novice enthusiasts come spend a day with us to get this certification.
The latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here, and our cover story examines the booming popularity of spirits-based ready-to-drink cocktails. This issue also features stories about creative packaging, smart branding, e-commerce solutions and more.
Louisiana Embraces Craft Rum, Spirits with Local Flavor and Stories
Louisiana seems like the ideal state for a craft distillery boom. Its agriculture industry is robust with sugar cane and crops like rice and wheat, as well as sweet potatoes. There is a strong connection among residents for supporting local and grassroots enterprises that furthers the collective culture. And, of course, there is New Orleans, the city known for parties, parades and to-go cups.
Our latest guest on The Craft Spirits Podcast is Matt Vogl, the executive director and co-founder of the National Mental Health Innovation Center at the University of Colorado, and the keynote speaker at ACSA’s 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in New Orleans this July 21.
Join Us in the V.I.P. Lounge and Hang Out with Lisa Laird Dunn
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 join craft spirits icons for virtual happy hours. To unlock additional bonuses, like a set of CRAFT SPIRITS-branded Glencairn glasses, join us in the V.I.P. Lounge today.
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.