To elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.
This edition of The Monthly Mash is sponsored by Overproof.
From the Desk of Margie A.S. Lehrman,
Chief Executive Officer
Dear Friends in the Craft Spirits Community:
With our elections awaiting certification for our national Board of Director seats, final spirits entries unboxed for our judging of craft spirits competition, planning for our upcoming public policy conference, assessing the safety needs of our distillers, and finishing touches placed on our annual convention, which will take place in July, I’m wondering how we get it all done.
That doesn’t take much thought.
It’s YOU, an integral part of our spirits industry, who continuously provide the oxygen we need to keep the embers hot and keep our nonprofit trade group ready to blaze ahead to advance new initiatives. As we enter spring with its rebirth of nature, I challenge you to think about how you might get more involved with the American Craft Spirits Association. Members provide the lifeblood; committee volunteersprovide the heart muscle to keep the pulse steady and strong. If you’re not involved, but you’re reviewing these words, it signals a curiosity about American craft spirits. So, review the committees available, and volunteer for a committee.
If you volunteer, you’ll get to know our loyal, smart- and hard-working ACSA team. It is such a privilege to work with ACSA staff: Kirstin Brooks, Jeff Cioletti, Ashley Guillermo, Carason Lehmann, Jon Page and Teresa McDaniel (who retired but agreed to continue to help ACSA with its financial operations). Just last week we added two new team members: Ken Brady and Albab Melaku. With their energy, experience and new insights, we intend to provide even higher levels of service to our community of craft distillers. We also could not succeed without the exceptional work of our wise consultants: Alexandra Clough, Jim Hyland, Ryan Malkin and Stephanie Sadri. This is by way of a big SHOUT OUT to the behind-the-scenes team.
We’ll shortly announce our newest members to the ACSA Board of Directors and want to thank all the candidates who stepped up to run. With the upcoming board revival, a reminder that without the board’s strategic and visionary thinking, ACSA would flounder, not knowing which industry concern to first address. Your worries are the board’s worries as each serving member is a part of a DSP. Think of the ACSA Board of Directors as the world’s best premium blend. I savor and appreciate its wisdom.
This month, we also spotlight our newest offerings, including what you can expect from our annual distillers’ convention and vendor trade show in New Orleans. Opportunities to engage, learn from our stellar presenters with more than 40 hours of education, talk to and perhaps contract with our incredible suppliers, and have some fun. In short, laissez les bons temps rouler.
As we continue to grow our craft and look forward to a spring reawakening, take time now to make your July travel plans. The new ACSA Board of Directors, staff and consultants will warmly welcome you to New Orleans. We promise it will be worth your effort.
No Fooling: Early Bird Rates for Our Convention End April 1
We’re headed to New Orleans on July 21-24, 2022, for the 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show, but time is running out to save on registration with our early bird rates. Register now before the prices rise on April 2!
ACSA is planning a stellar convention with three-plus days in the Crescent City, where you will gain from tailored educational content from top professionals (see below for a sneak peek) and have opportunities to mix and mingle with suppliers and friends in our craft spirits community! Register now, and we can’t wait to see you in New Orleans this summer!
WHEN: July 21-24
WHERE: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Early Bird Rates (now until April 1)
Member Attendee: $625*
Additional Member Attendees (from same distillery): $425 per person*
Non-Member Attendee: $825
Additional Non-Member Attendees (from same distillery): $475 per person
*ACSA members must be logged into ACSA’s website to receive discounted attendee pricing. If you have trouble logging into your ACSA account please contact Carason Lehmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a reminder, ACSA affiliate members receive a 10% discount on their vendor trade show booth. If you have any questions regarding exhibitor registration or need the discount code, please contact Ashley Guillermo at email@example.com or 702-301-7802.
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 below to see the schedule and start planning your itinerary.
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.
Book Your Hotel in New Orleans
Stay in downtown New Orleans at ACSA’s host hotel, Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel, and enjoy the prime location on the banks of the Mississippi River, adjacent to New Orleans Convention Center and steps from the French Quarter. Stay in a spacious guest room with views of the vibrant city or relaxing riverfront.
Please note that this is our official block with the hotel, and ACSA does NOT use third parties to reserve or book hotel rooms for our annual convention.
Earlier this month, ACSA opened an election for new members of our Board of Directors with a deadline of March 29. Thank you to everyone who voted, and we look forward to announcing the results soon. Special thanks, as well, to the following board members whose terms are expiring:
Save the Date: 2022 Virtual Public Policy Conference
The 2022 ACSA/DISCUS Public Policy Conference will take place virtually on September 21, 2022. Please also save the afternoon of September 20th for a pre-conference session with an overview of our legislative asks and state distiller meetings.
We’re looking forward to coming together across the distilled spirits industry to advocate on the policy issues impacting distillers. We hope you will join us for an important day as we speak with regulators at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), advocating before Members of Congress and their staff on important policy issues, and then raising a glass at the end of the day to our amazing industry. We’re excited for another successful Public Policy Conference, and hope you are too.
More information will be coming about the agenda and registration in the weeks ahead. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions in the meantime.
Spirits Industry Launches Campaign in Support of DtC Shipping
ACSA recently joined forces with some of the nation’s leading trade associations representing distillers large and small to launch Ship My Spirits, a grassroots coalition with the common goal of modernizing the spirits marketplace by allowing direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping of distilled spirits.
“Wineries in New York and from across the United States have been able to ship directly to New York consumers for more than three decades,” said Brian Facquet, president of the NY State Distillers Guild. “These shipments create jobs, generate tax revenue and protect small manufacturers. There is no logical reason for not granting distillers the same opportunity. In fact, with the temporary allowance of spirits DtC shipping during the pandemic, we proved this is a safe and convenient way to reach our customers. The Ship My Spirits campaign is a great way to share that message with legislators.”
The New York legislature is currently considering two bills, S4245-A/A3275-A and S556/A2513 which would permanently allow distillers to ship their spirits products directly to adult consumers just as wineries have done for more than a decade in the state.
“Direct shipping is a critical step to secure the future of our industry,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO of ACSA. “Not only do we know we can do this safely and responsibly, but we have also seen how direct shipping has created an important lifeline for our community of craft producers who are currently facing so many small business challenges, from tourism declines due to COVID, the rising costs of grains, to global glass supply shortages.”
ShipMySpirits.org, the coalition’s website, has an interactive map where consumers can click on their state to learn about the laws regulating spirits shipments and other data related to the spirit industry’s impact in the state. For example, the site notes that the spirits industry supports 94,000 jobs in New York and has an economic impact of more than $8.5 billion.
Survey: ACSA Fire Safety Training Needs Assessment
If you work in a distillery, we want to hear from you.
Last September, ACSA was awarded a grant through OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The primary purpose of the grant program is to provide training and education programs for employers and workers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces.
ACSA’s grant is focusing on fire prevention and fire safety in craft distilleries. To help us fulfill the goals of our grant, we have created a survey to best assess your fire safety training needs. This survey will help inform us of where current training is lacking, and where we can best meet the needs of the industry.
Thank you for helping us put distillery safety first!
ACSA Toasts End to U.S., U.K. Tariffs on Whiskey
The Toasts Not Tariffs Coalition, which includes the American Craft Spirits Association, raised a glass of gratitude to the Biden administration for negotiating a successful end to the harmful tariffs impacting the entire U.S. beverage alcohol sector.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan announced the agreement to remove the retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskeys during a meeting in March at the U.S./UK Dialogue on the Future of Atlantic Trade in Baltimore, Maryland. Under the terms of the agreement, the UK’s retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey exports will be lifted on June 1.
“With [the] momentous agreement with the UK, transatlantic trade in distilled spirits will once again flow tariff free, and American wines will no longer face the threat of debilitating retaliatory tariffs,” said the Toasts Not Tariffs Coalition. “Cheers to Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai and their teams at the Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for their dedication and persistence on behalf of the entire U.S. beverage alcohol industry.”
If you are an ACSA voting member and are in need of substitute glass bottles due to supply chain disruptions, please check your email for a separate note on a recent initiative from ACSA.
ACSA Welcomes New Employees
This month, ACSA welcomed two new staff members.
While real estate has occupied Albab Melaku’s time over the past few years, she comes to the position of administrative assistant with experience at an association management company and law firm. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2014 with a degree in communications and a minor in psychology. She resides in Alexandria, Virginia, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Ken Brady joins us as non-dues revenue and marketing strategist. His career has spanned several sectors, from a chamber of commerce, to associations, to a mobile tech company. He graduated from Radford University with a degree in economics. He resides in Arlington, Virginia, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Craft Spirits Podcast: STEPUP Foundation
In the latest episode of The Craft Spirits Podcast, we focus on the STEPUP Foundation, a nonprofit spirits training and entrepreneurship program for underrepresented professionals in the spirits industry. Our guests include Erin Lee and Yakntoro “Yaki” Udoumoh—the program’s inaugural interns—and Margie Lehrman, the CEO of the American Craft Spirits Association and the president of STEPUP. Both interns recentlycompleted their first round of placements, with Lee at Westward Whiskey in Portland, Oregon, and Udoumoh at Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania. They will swap locations on April 4.
The deadline has passed to enter this year’s Judging of Craft Spirits. We’re headed to High Wire Distilling Co. in Charleston, South Carolina, next week for your spirits to be tasted and evaluated by a panel of top professionals. We’ll announce the medalists this summer at our Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in New Orleans.
Important Year Ahead; ACSA PAC Needs Your Support
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.
How Much?: Free to ACSA Members, $59 for non-members
What?: DISTILLERY DOLLARS, THE NEW POWER OF NEIGHBORHOOD, AND HOW IT WILL INCREASE YOUR ON SITE REVENUE
As the world emerges from restrictions, a new customer culture is taking shape. A culture that will drive advantage, hospitality and retail revenues for the distilleries that recognize the opportunity on their doorstep.
In this webinar, we take a look at how regeneration, community resilience and movements like the 15-minute city are driving the redesign of the visitor experience and the strategy for the newest of urban distilleries in high density areas.
Who?: Jason Milne (Creative Director, Contagious; Lecturer, Moonshine University)
Our V.I.P. Lounge members received the March/April issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine early, and our $40- and $60-per-year supporters were invited to join craft spirits icon Lance Winters of St. George Spirits for a virtual happy hour. Winters shared his thoughts on craft gin, eau de vie, American single malt whiskey and much more.
To get an invitation to our next virtual happy hour and 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.