The Monthly Mash: March 2023

Volume 8.3

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 the Craft Spirits Community:

Lately I’ve been thinking lots about leadership, specifically, what characteristics are necessary to be an effective leader. Interestingly, our past attendees must share my inquisitiveness because when polled about the subject area for our next convention keynote, leadership polled highly. I suspect I am not alone in understanding that leading people—whether it’s a group, a business or a national association—is oftentimes not an easy undertaking. Kudos to the newly elected executive committee of the Board and a big shout out to Becky Harris, soon to be immediate-past president, who flawlessly navigated her office during the pandemic.

Publications, including our own CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, provide a solid resource to guide our own leadership style. The most popular run the gamut from “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey to “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan to “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Our bookshelves likely share these titles and many more. I wonder how many of us daily employ the principles illustrated in those tomes? Members leaving the board have indeed demonstrated those values, including Dan Farber of Osocalis Distillery (CA), P.T. Wood of Wood’s High Mountain Distillery (CO), Tommy Mote of Balcones Distillery (TX), and Colton Weinstein of Corsair Distillery (TN). A huge thank you to each of the retiring board members.

The newly elected members of the ACSA Board of Directors will be installed on Monday, April 3. So will our officers. Keep reading to see who was elected to the national office. They will be challenged to exert leadership on your behalf. At the highest level, they will be advocating for you nationally, looking toward pushing Congress to allow shipment of spirits through the USPS to helping states pass legislation to allow for direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping. They will engage with TTB to voice thoughts and serve as a resource on how we can collectively modernize our alcohol beverage landscape. They will build our membership base to ensure we are speaking for all craft distilleries, large and small. They will work to diversify, engage and include underrepresented professionals, making sure our industry reflects all those who enjoy our products. And they will become fiscal stewards to make certain that ACSA is sustainable well into the future.

With their addition, we think back on ACSA’s decade of work with the large number of volunteers who have dedicated hours and weeks and months to push for changes in rules, regulations and laws to help our small businesses succeed. Watch the video to learn why your peers are members. ACSA, together with our industry, is fortunate to have been guided by members who have demonstrated those qualities that are widely shared by exemplary leaders from Julias Caesar to Charlemagne to Joan of Arc to more contemporary figures such as Sitting Bull, Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington or Nelson Mandela. Working behind the scenes, without the recognition of the above global leaders, they quietly lead to advance industry interests.

Our education committee—led by Amber Pollock of Backwards Distilling (WY), Lucy Farber of St. George Spirits (CA), and Courtney McKee of Headframe Spirits (MT)—continues to inspire us to be our best through ACSA’s education offerings. From past convention programs to upcoming ACSA webinars, we aim to assist whether through technical guidance or marketing channel tips.

Let me know what leadership materials have influenced your style. Alternatively, let me know if there is a leader who has most inspired you.




Election Results Mark Second Consecutive Year a 100% Women-led Board Will Steer ACSA

On Thursday, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) announced the election of Gina Holman of J. Carver Distillery (MN) as the President of the Board of Directors. She has served as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors since 2020, and as Vice President since 2022. Kelly Woodcock of Westward Whiskey (OR) has also been elected as the organization’s Vice President and Jessica J. Lemmon of Cart/Horse Distilling (PA) has been re-elected as Secretary/Treasurer. Together, Holman, Woodcock, Lemmon and the current and newly-appointed Board of Directors will work with CEO Margie A.S. Lehrman to address the key issues facing the craft distilling industry, including the organization’s continued push for direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping. The elections will usher in the second consecutive year during which an all-women-identifying-led board will steer a national trade association. Additionally, women currently make up more than half of the elected Board members. ACSA is also proud to announce the results of its national election for Board of Director members, adding four new members with one returning.

“It is a tremendous honor to be leading the ACSA Board of Directors as president, and it is a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” said Gina Holman, Founding Partner at J. Carver Distillery (MN) and President, ACSA. “As we usher in ACSA’s second decade as a leading industry trade association, I look forward to serving our growing craft spirits community and building on the organization’s remarkable accomplishments thus far. We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us, but I’m excited to be working alongside such an esteemed group of fellow Board members to make great things happen for our vibrant industry.”

Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, ACSA, added, “As a woman in drinks, particularly at a trade association level, I’m thrilled to announce that for a second year, our women-led Board will steer our organization to support our growing community of craft distillers. Though ACSA remains focused on critical industry issues such as postal shipping reform, trade, fair competition, and direct-to-consumer shipping, we continue to pour our hearts and efforts into the STEPUP Foundation, the 501(c)3 non-profit immersive internship program we helped create two years ago. Through STEPUP, our work is narrowly focused on an important mission: to change the face of the drinks industry, one intern at a time. While we still have so much work to do—particularly within the communities that have been most marginalized historically—we are beginning to see a shift in drinks. Our 2023 Board of Directors is proof that our industry continues to move in the right direction.”

Following these elections, the ACSA Board of Directors will also be appointing leadership to its governing committees. Those committees include Membership, Ethics, Convention, Education, Elections, Safety, ACSA PAC, Mentorship, Judging, Government Affairs, State Guilds, Technology, Finance, DtC and Development.

The 2023 Board of Directors, representing the craft spirits industry nationwide, is comprised of the following individuals:


Becky Harris, Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. (VA) *re-elected

Jessica J. Lemmon, Cart/Horse Distilling (PA)

Tom Potter, New York Distilling Co. (NY)

Colin Spoelman, Kings County Distillery (NY) *newly elected

Jaime Windon, Windon Distilling Co. (MD) *newly elected


Alex Castle, Old Dominick Distillery (TN) *newly elected

Gina Holman, J.Carver Distillery (MN)

Colin Keegan, Santa Fe Spirits (NM)

Amber Pollock, Backwards Distilling Co. (WY)

Mark A. Vierthaler, Whiskey Del Bac (AZ)

Thomas Williams, Delta Dirt Distillery (AR) *newly elected


Lucy Farber, St. George Spirits (CA)

Jake Holshue, Spirit Works Distillery (CA)

Jeff Kanof, Copperworks Distilling Co. (WA)

Kelly Woodcock, Westward Whiskey (OR)


Thomas Jensen, New Liberty Distillery (PA)

The national digital election was administered over the past month with the help of the Election’s Chair, Renee Bemis, Driftless Glen Distillery (WI) and Jeff Wuslich, Cardinal Spirits (IN).


National Roundup: USPS Legislation Likely to Be Reintroduced in Congress

Last Congress, legislation was introduced that would permit the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to ship beverage alcohol. Although it garnered nearly 50 co-sponsors, it was not considered by the House or Senate. Recently, spirits, beer and wine groups met with a broad range of postal service associations. The meeting was productive, and it is likely legislation will be introduced in the next month in the 118th Congress in both the Senate and the House. The collective groups representing beverage alcohol and postal workers committed to begin lobbying Congress on this new effort. Stay tuned for updates as we begin the process of garnering support in the new Congress.

Mark your calendars for November 7-8, 2023. For the first time since 2019, ACSA, along with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), will be holding an in-person public policy conference in Washington, D.C. The conference will invite top TTB personnel, and feature briefings on key issues in Congress with meetings with members of the Senate and House. We hope to see you there.

On March 23, ACSA joined with a number of other groups, to support the Fair Tariffs Act. It will soon be introduced in the U.S. Senate. The legislation known as “Goods on the Water” would prevent tariffs from being applied to goods in transit when USTR notifies the public of new tariffs, but that arrive after the new tariffs go into effect. As many will recall, we struggled with a tariff war over spirits in the previous administration. This is a small but important step to avoid a tariff war in the future.

States Roundup: DtC Coalition Launches Campaign in Illinois

All state legislatures are meeting in 2023 and ACSA is currently tracking over 1,000 bills that have been introduced dealing with various aspects of beverage alcohol policy.

Expanding DtC shipping laws for spirits remains a top priority for ACSA. Efforts are underway in 11 states, and ACSA continues to participate in a national coalition that includes DISCUS and the American Distilling Institute. The coalition recently launched a Ship My Spirits campaign in Illinois that has already generated over 1,100 letters to Illinois legislators.

In Indiana, Iowa and Oregon, ACSA is supporting state guild efforts to create spirits promotion boards that are being considered by state legislatures in their respective states. If passed, these sates would join other states like Maryland, Michigan and Virginia that have passed legislation to create promotion boards that will support craft distillers and other important industries important to the craft spirits industry such as agriculture and tourism.

There continues to be legislation introduced at the state level to create extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs that put additional burdens for recycling on manufacturers. In addition to creating new EPR programs, legislatures are considering policy to create or expand bottle deposit programs that may include spirits containers. ACSA is evaluating these bills and engaging where and when appropriate.

At least 12 states are considering legislation addressing various aspects of ready-to-drink (RTD) products. Several of the measures address taxation while others attempt to expand distribution. ACSA is monitoring these bills and because each state’s beverage market is so unique, we will be coordinating with state guilds on positions on these proposals.

Many other issues are being considered at the state level, so if you have further questions on these or additional specific issues, please contact


For RTD Month, See the Best of RTD Packaging

This year ACSA is marking its 10th anniversary, and each month we’re celebrating with a new initiative. This month we celebrated RTD Month and shared news of recent RTD releases. As we wind down this month, we invite you to take a closer look at the medalists in the RTD category in our Third Annual Craft Spirits Packaging Awards.
Read More

Watch a Video Tribute to a Decade of ACSA

We’re celebrating the distiller’s decade as the American Craft Spirits Association marks its 10th anniversary. Watch our video for a look back at 10 amazing years.
Watch Now


Read the March/April Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

The March/April issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here and this issue highlights all of the medalists from our Third Annual Craft Spirits Packaging Awards. We also explore the challenges and opportunities of exporting; how artificial intelligence is weaving its way into the world of craft spirits; and much more.
Click Here to Read the Issue

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.


Join Us In The V.I.P. Lounge and Hang Out with Sonat Birnecker Hart

We’re excited to announce that Sonat Birnecker Hart of KOVAL Distillery will join us in the V.I.P. Lounge for a virtual gathering on Tuesday, April 18, at 2 p.m. ET. To join us, click the link below and sign up for either the $40- or $60-per-year tier by April 17.
Join the V.I.P. Lounge


Pre-Order ‘The ACSA Guide to Starting and Operating a Distillery’ E-Book

Later this spring, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) is launching an exclusive e-book, “The ACSA Guide to Starting and Operating a Distillery.” The peer-reviewed guide is a comprehensive compendium of expert insights detailing all of the tools and techniques that new distilleries need to get their businesses up and running and help ensure a prosperous future. In addition to serving as a textbook for craft spirits producers in their first one to three years in operation, it’s an invaluable resource for onboarding new members of your team, as well as a reference for existing staff to gain a more holistic view of how a distillery operates.
Pre-Order Now



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 4,491 DSPs! Find the full list by clicking on Spirit Producers and Bottlers here.

Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:

  • April 9: National Gin & Tonic Day
  • April 19: National Amoretto Day

Social Media

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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