The Monthly Mash: March 2021

The Monthly Mash

Volume 6.3

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 the Craft Spirits Industry:

Candles play a big role in my daily ritual. Awaken. Make and grab that first cup of coffee. Head to the family room to light a candle. Meditate. Read papers and news feeds. Go to my study to begin my workday. (And yes, I do remember to extinguish the flame.)

While you may think my focus is on the light or fragrance emanating from the candle, it isn’t. My attention now, and each morning, is on the matchbox selected to light that wick. My collection of matches is vast, reminding me of the places I’ve been and where I long to return. Admittedly, my assortment has shrunk over the past year as my travel, like yours, was abruptly curtailed. But those small little boxes take me back to a shared cocktail with my husband, or a journey to an ACSA convention, or a fabulous restaurant meal, enhanced by a Negroni or absinthe, while enjoying the company of family or friends. Pausing to look at the logo somehow brightens my day and restores my yearning to both travel, dine out and simply gather within a community of like-minded revelers.

ACSA is offering you that opportunity to both travel to an American heartland city—Louisville—and gather with fellow distillers. Although December seems like light-years away, somehow it will be here before we know it. Registering now will give you something to look forward to and provide that much-needed hope that things are indeed returning to a former state of well-being.

We have the good fortune of again meeting with senior leadership from TTB, including Administrator Mary Ryan, during our Public Policy Conference being held in May. Co-hosted by our industry partners from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, we will virtually meet to learn about the hot button issues of the day and then “visit” Capitol Hill through a series of meetings with our state legislators. As in past years, this is a complimentary event.

My morning scan of the news provides lots of information on additional stimulus. Read on if you want a distilled version with specificity on how that applies to you and your distillery. Also, learn what a coalition of alcohol beverage associations are doing to get the attention of this administration to remove tariffs to allow greater market access.

ACSA webinars—free for all members—can light up your knowledge base. Take a look at the list of upcoming programs. And don’t stop there. The same is true for CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, The Craft Spirits Podcast and Craft Spirits TV.

And finally get to know one of ACSA’s founding members and recent addition to our Board of Directors—Tom Potter from New York Distilling Co. Be inspired by Tom’s journey from beer to rye.

Whether you join us in Louisville or on a webinar or during our Public Policy Conference or by advocating for removal of tariffs, the more you engage, the brighter our industry’s light will shine. Of course, if you have any match boxes reflecting your brand or business that you’d like to share with me, I’ll happily accept when I extend my personal greeting during our Louisville convention in December.


Back on Track: Register Now for ACSA’s Convention in Louisville

ACSA is thrilled to announce that registration is now open for its annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show. The convention is scheduled for Dec. 4-6, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Get ready to join fellow producers and other industry experts to network, learn, and toast our incomparable, vibrant industry in Derby City. ACSA is planning a stellar conference that will showcase our LEGACY and demonstrate our GRIT. Over two and half days, you will gain from tailored educational content from top professionals and be given opportunities to mix and mingle with suppliers and friends in our craft spirits community.

As the health and safety of our attendees will continue to be our main priority, expect a release of COVID-19 precautions shortly.

All prior attendee and exhibitor registration fees from the July 2021 event will automatically roll over and be applied to the December dates. If you need to check registration status or have any immediate questions, please contact Teresa McDaniel at (502) 807-4249 and/or

Please note that the following early bird rates are available now until June 30!

Member Attendee Registration
Member Attendee: $595
Additional Member Attendees (1-5): $395 per person
Additional Member Attendees (6+): $100 per person

Members must be logged in to access member registration link.

Non-Member Attendee Registration
Non-Member Attendee: $795
Additional Non-Member Attendees (1-5): $425 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
10×10 Single Booth: $1,900
20×10 Double Booth: $3,300

Book Your Stay At Our Host Hotel: The Galt House
On 4th & Main, the Galt House is where guests come to experience, immerse and delight in Louisville’s winning spirit. No other hotel can grant guests access to the city like The Galt House can, from its central location in the heart of the business community, museum district, cultural center and Urban Bourbon Trail, to its unique waterfront location. The Galt House’s status as the “official hotel” of all that matters makes it Louisville’s always-iconic hotel and ultimate lifestyle destination, reflective of Louisville’s energy, excitement and contemporary spirit. Even better, we’ve negotiated some fantastic rates.

1 King Deluxe Room: $189 per night plus tax

2 Queens Deluxe Room: $189 per night plus tax
1 Bedroom Suite with 2 Queen Beds: $209 per night plus tax

To book your room, call 502.589.5200 and use the code: 021821ACS. A link for booking will soon be available, too.

Register Now for Our Public Policy Conference

Join us for the American Craft Spirits Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ Virtual Public Policy Conference on May 25-26, 2021. While we are disappointed COVID-19 prevents an in-person visit again this year, we plan to offer the same opportunities that you have come to expect from our conference—to learn and share from one another and celebrate this great industry.

As part of the conference, craft distillers and suppliers will participate in virtual congressional visits with your home state legislators to discuss the extreme hardships craft distilleries are facing due to the impacts of COVID-19.

You can register now for the free event May 25-26 and attend from the comfort of your home or distillery/office as it is VIRTUAL.

American Rescue Plan Includes Help for Craft Distilleries

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. The signature legislation of President Biden’s first 100 days provides $1.9 trillion to stimulate the economy, helping individuals and small businesses.

For craft distillers, there is an important new program in the legislation, the Restaurants Act. This legislation will provide over $28 billion in grants to restaurants. These are grants, not loans, so they will not have to be paid back. With work last year, ACSA and other beverage alcohol trade groups were specifically able to include tasting rooms and tap rooms in the definition of establishments that are eligible for the grants.

Grants are available for up to $10 million per entity, with a limitation of $5 million per physical location. Entities are limited to 20 locations. Grants may be used for a wide variety of expenses, including payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, supplies, food and beverage expenses, paid sick leave, and operational expenses.

Eligible expenses are those incurred from February 15, 2020, to December 31, 2021, or a date determined by the SBA. If all grant funds are not spent by the business, or the business permanently closes before the end of the covered period, the business must return unused funds to the Treasury.

The formula for determining the grant will be the losses sustained (minus government assistance like PPP) from 2019 to 2020.

To help truly small businesses, $5 billion is being set aside for businesses with $500,000 or less gross receipts in 2019. Additionally, when the program does open to the public, for an initial 21-day period, the SBA will prioritize awarding grants for small business concerns owned and controlled by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns.

The SBA is in the process of writing rules for the program. ACSA will be consulting with the SBA on this process. It is expected the program could be up and running within weeks.

The American Rescue Plan contains several billion in new funds for Economic Industry Disaster Loans (EIDL). This program ran out of funds, but is now back and running.

The American Rescue Plan also extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit for eligible employers that continue to pay employee wages during COVID-19-related closures or experience reduced revenue through December 31, 2021. It allows businesses to offset their current payroll tax liabilities by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter. This is up to $28,000 per employee for 2021.

As for PPP, the program was just recently extended in other legislation. It will provide until May 31, 2021, for distillers to receive a first or second draw PPP loan. The second draw loan must show a 25% reduction in profit reduction between 2091 and 2020. While the deadline is for the end of May, SBA recently testified before Congress that current and new applications by the end of April may obligate the remaining $79 billion in the PPP fund. It is unclear if Congress will continue the program or add additional funds once this extension expires.

Separately, ACSA continues to support and work for passage of H.R. 1035, introduced on a bipartisan basis by Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL). The bill now has over 40 co-sponsors. The legislation would allow distilleries to borrow at higher amounts from PPP, 3.5 times monthly expenses which was provided for restaurants and bars, unlike the 2.5 times allowed for all others. It will also provide parity in statute for the program that is directs SBA to make loan and interest payments for eight months for hard-hit industries.

ACSA Joins Toasts Not Tariffs Coalition, Urges Members to Take Immediate Action

ACSA recently joined dozens of associations representing all tiers of the beverage alcohol industry in the launch of the Toasts Not Tariffs Coalition to advocate for the permanent removal of all EU, U.K. and U.S. tariffs on beverage alcohol products in connection to the steel and aluminum and WTO Boeing/Airbus disputes.

If you export or plan to export, we urgently need your help to secure more members of the House of Representatives to sign a letter on tariffs on beverage alcohol products to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. It is essential that this letter have a significant number of members on it to demonstrate to the Biden Administration the importance of this issue.

The next 2-3 months are critical. The temporary tariff suspensions expire in early July, the EU’s tariff on American Whiskey will increase to 50% on June 1, 2020, and we understand the U.K. will launch a review of its tariff on American whiskey in May. We must make our collective voice heard now!

In order to secure as many signatures as possible, Reps. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) have extended the deadline for signatures to Friday, April 2.

Please share the letter with your Congressional contacts/delegation members and register the importance of the spirits/beverage alcohol tariff issues to your company. If a member of Congress is interested in signing, the points of contact for the letter are:

Congressman Yarmuth: Katy Rowley,

Congressman Barr: Daniel Taylor,

Craft Spirits Classroom: Quenching Your Thirst for Knowledge

Sign Up Now for Upcoming Webinars
Webinar: Packaging Series 1: Innovation in Bottle Design
When: April 15th at 3 p.m. EDT

What: In the first of our series on craft spirits packaging, we explore the latest bottle design trends that are giving brands the sort of shelf appeal that drives sales. Scott DeFife, president of the Glass Packaging Institute, will moderate a panel of spirits producers behind some of the most dynamic bottle designs on the market.

Who: Scott DeFife, Glass Packaging Institute (Moderator); Emil Jättne and Joe Santos, Brooklyn Gin; Mike Shannon, Restless Spirits Distilling; Paul Tamburello, The Family Jones,

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

Sponsored by:

Webinar: Sustainability as a Business Model & The Road to Net Zero
When: April 22nd 2021 at 3 p.m. EDT

What: Marble Distilling Co. in Carbondale, Colorado designed and built a first-of-its kind Water Energy Thermal System (WETS) to capture and reuse both water and heat generated through the distilling process. The system has been featured in a variety of publications, including Siemens Automation Company, Popular Mechanics and more.

Marble’s WETS captures hot water from the distilling process and stores it for reuse; multiple pumps and heat exchangers capture energy for reuse in the domestic hot water and for heating the building and processes, leaving cold water behind for reuse in the distilling process. Any excessive heat is used for exterior snowmelt; likewise, additional cold water is used to condition interior spaces. No chiller is used for any type of cooling or A/C. 35kW of solar panels are leading the distillery to net-zero, which Marble has committed to completing in 2022.

This innovative design saves more than 4 million gallons of water and recaptures enough energy to power 20 homes each year, ensuring the operation is 83% more efficient than the town’s green code requires and saves more than 125 metric tons of carbon annually (versus ASHRAE Standard, 2015).

Learn how designing a sustainable distillery with a whole systems approach offers significant energy savings and financial benefits, including OEM savings and the value of marketing initiatives focused on sustainability.

Who: Connie Baker (CEO & Head Distiller, Marble Distilling Co.)

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

More Upcoming Webinars

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. Click here to learn how to add additional users from your distillery or email

Q&A with Tom Potter of New York Distilling Co.

Tom Potter of New York Distilling Co. in Brooklyn, New York, was elected to ACSA’s Board of Directors in 2020 and he has been an active supporter of ACSA since its beginning. He was among its founding members, he chaired the election committee which coordinated the first two national elections, and he moderated the first town hall at ACSA’s inaugural convention. Potter was also the co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery. He recently shared some updates on upcoming projects from the distillery, issues facing distilleries in New York City and recent developments with the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling.

ACSA: What has it been like to watch this industry continue to grow?

Tom Potter: It’s been incredible to watch, and to be a part of. We’ve gone from fewer than 100 distilleries to a couple of thousand, and the range of spirits and innovation has been mind-boggling.

What are your top priorities now that you’ve been elected to the board?

The New York State Distillers Guild has a good history of contributing to the national effort. I think we’re one of the larger and more cohesive state organizations, and I think it’s important to maintain good cooperation between it and the ACSA. Founding ACSA board members from New York included Ralph Erenzo and Nicole Austin, who were so crucial in pushing the FET reduction. I’m proud to follow in their footsteps and hope to be at least half as effective.

When you were running for the board, you mentioned that you were part of a working group of New York City distillers discussing and negotiating with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) as they prepare to rewrite the city’s fire code. Have you learned anything during that process that would be helpful for other urban distillers to know about?

It’s a really important issue. One year ago, FDNY seemed ready to introduce the first public draft of a completely re-written code that for better or worse could have influenced municipalities across the country. A group of NYC distillers had been working with them for almost a year and I think we’d made a lot of progress. COVID froze everything, though, as the FDNY and everyone else had other stuff to worry about. I’m guessing it will resurface later this year. How many of our suggestions they ultimately incorporate will be key to whether or not the rewrite helps or hurts craft distillers. Once the draft is released for public comment we can analyze it and get more aggressive about advocacy and education, and at that time we will certainly also look for help from all industry allies.

Which of your products from New York Distilling Co. are you most excited about?

We’re probably best known for our gins, since we started selling them years before our rye whiskies were ready. But inside the company we’re probably most excited about an heirloom rye whiskey that we’ve been developing for more than nine years. We started with a dozen seeds and worked our way up from there. After a few years we finally got to a place where we had enough grain to distill meaningful quantities and also have enough to plant the next year. Those early barrels are really coming in to their own now and are showing beautifully. We think we’re going to have something unique and special in a year or two.

What are some of the biggest contrasts or similarities between your former career in brewing vs. your career in distilling?

Great people and fun conventions in both.

Not enough diversity in either. Most of the founding brewers and distillers I’ve met look like me, (albeit younger and more attractive)—white and male.

One big difference: the rise of craft beer felt really surprising. The rise of craft spirits didn’t. In the early years no one knew how important craft beer would ultimately become. When we started the Brooklyn Brewery there were already two other breweries in New York State, and I remember thinking maybe we were too late. Was New York really big enough for three? And then the first two went broke, which didn’t seem promising. Success did not seem inevitable. On the other hand, the rise of craft spirits seemed a near certainty. Looking at the overall spirits landscape 10-15 years ago, and keeping the previous experience of craft beer in mind, it was hard to imagine it wouldn’t happen.

We saw that you had reached out to Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster, about working on the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling, named after the beer writer. Was it important to you that distilling be included and/or what do you think Michael would think about distilling being a part of the foundation started in his name?

Michael had been a good friend of the Brooklyn Brewery, and we began to work with him in the mid-90s to raise money to train young brewers. Originally, we co-sponsored fundraising events with the New York chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food, which was founded by Julia Child and Robert Mondavi and was probably America’s first real foodie group. At that time Garrett was still an up-and-coming brewer, but Michael saw something in him and they became pretty close. When Michael passed away in 2007 Garrett spoke at his funeral.

A couple of years later, when I helped start the New York Distilling Co., I thought we had a platform to expand the Jackson remit to include distillers and it just seemed to fit. It’s hard to imagine now that this is even possible, but in his day Michael was at once the world’s foremost authority on beer as well as the world’s foremost authority on whiskey. His writing inspired me, and many others, to turn away from dull ordinary pursuits and turn toward making something fun and worthwhile. So NYDC organized dedicated spirits events; some on our own, some in collaboration with the Brooklyn Brewery, and some with the ADI back before there was an ACSA. Dan Farber of Osocalis Distillery, who was also a Michael Jackson acolyte, was of great help back then.

Tom Potter and Garrett Oliver
The funds had remained under the wing of the American Institute of Wine & Food but we wanted to find a more permanent home for them. A couple of years ago I was talking to Garrett about this, and he shared his vision of starting a new foundation in Michael’s name focused on diversity, which would have pleased Jackson enormously. I was instantly sold, and promised when he got the new Foundation set up we’d move the money over. And so last month we did.

Any additional advice or words of wisdom for your peers?

I don’t think I have much wisdom to share, but I would certainly enjoy sharing a drink. To all my colleagues: Please look me up at our convention in December! Especially if you’re buying.

Editor’s Note: Garrett Oliver on Instagram recently announced the Michael James Jackson Foundation’s first round of scholars. Also recognizing a lack of diversity in the alcoholic beverage sector, ACSA last year formed the STEPUP Foundation. This internship program will promote diversity and inclusion for those of different races, color, national origins, genders, and sexual orientations who are eager to work in the craft spirits sector. We are finalizing IRS status, curriculum and funding, and we will continue to update you on this important initiative.

Heartland Whiskey Competition Returns for 2021

ACSA is proud to announce that plans for the third biennial Heartland Whiskey Competition are underway. The competition is generously sponsored by state corn marketing associations. It will be open to craft
whiskeys from all 50 states that incorporate corn in their mash bill. Please stay tuned for updates on registration.

Follow us on Instagram for Craft Spirits Live
Join ACSA for Craft Spirits Live, our 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.

March 31st: Richard Patrick, Cathead Distillery
April 7th: Pia Carusone, Republic Restoratives
April 14th: Scott Mayer, Blended Family Spirits
April 21st: Britt Moon, Swamp Fox Distilling Co.
April 28th: Jon Lawson and Tristan Mermin, St. Barts Spirit Company
May 5th: Chris Sywassink, Ghost Coast Distillery
Not sure how Instagram Live works? Click here to learn more.

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 most-recent episodes include conversations with Abby Titcomb of 3 Floyds Distilling Co. and Rob Campbell of Dog and Shrub Distillery.

From the Pages of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

Watch the Latest Episode of Craft Spirits TV

Craft Spirits TV: 3 Floyds Distilling
Abby Titcomb, VP & Head Distiller at 3 Floyds Distilling Co. in Munster, Indiana talks about spirits and cocktail trends she likes, as well us some she’d like to see disappear. She also ponders ways to jazz up a classic Gin & Tonic.

Welcome Newest Voting, Affiliate and Candidate Members!

ACSA extends a warm welcome to a few of our newest members and sponsors:
Find out more about becoming a member here.

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

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