The Monthly Mash: May 2022

The Monthly Mash

Volume 7.5

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 Community:
I sit in my office with a heavy heart.

It’s hard to escape that feeling, with so many innocent lives lost in Texas this past week. While we don’t know the motivation, and perhaps we never will, it doesn’t change the scenario: those children deserved to live. Then there’s the second anniversary of George Floyd in Minnesota, another reminder of a life so tragically extinguished. We’re also still reeling from the grocery store shootings in New York and the attacks on Asians in multiple cities across the country. Sometimes such vile actions are motivated by hatred and racism; other times, the unspeakable is compelled by mental illness. While any senseless killing is incomprehensible, what is clear is that geographic boundaries do not exist. What is also clear is that it will take multiple communities working together to effectuate change. Communications and understanding must increase between people of different colors, genders, races and sexual orientation. Education about and support for those afflicted with mental illness also must be addressed.

This quote resonated with me: “If you change nothing, nothing will change.” ACSA is trying to be a part of that change process. Will you join us?

As National Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, I ask you to think about those around you who may be suffering. It might be someone on your team; it might be someone in your own home. It might be you. Know that you are not alone and there are resources to help. Let’s all become more educated so we can be a bridge for those in need. Come to our ACSA convention to learn more from our keynote speaker, Matt Vogl, MPH, executive director and co-founder of the National Mental Health Innovation Center. See below for more details.

STEPUP Foundation was created to diversify the industry, one intern at a time. It believes and shares as part of its values: helping the spirits industry prevent the harmful impacts of racism and cultural bias; and challenge and change structures that create inequality. Perhaps equally important, it helps celebrate our cultural differences. Applications for interns, DSPs, wholesalers and mentors open on June 1 and will close on Sept. 1 for the 2023 program cycle. Stop by the booth at the convention and meet this year’s interns and gain more insight below.

There are lots and lots of other changes afoot. From a new OSHA Fire Protection and Prevention Safety program, to registration opening for our 2022 Public Policy Conference, to learning more about our VIP Lounge, dig a bit deeper. Take our one-question survey to tell us whether you’ve been befuddled by tasting room compliance issues.

Change is often hard. It takes work. But, doing nothing is not an option. Join with your trade group to be a part of a solution to make our community a better, safer place, demonstrating our respect for all.

Be safe and be kind,



STEPUP Foundation Accepting New Applications June 1 – Sept. 1

The STEPUP Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2023 interns, mentors, DSPs, and wholesalers from June 1 through 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!

Grain and Gratitude: Exposure to Farming Inspires Continuing Education for STEPUP Intern

In a column in the latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, STEPUP intern Yakntoro “Yaki” Udoumoh writes about an experience at Eight Oaks Farm Distillery that motivated him to deeper research.


Don’t Miss ACSA’s 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show!

Our 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show is less than two months away! We are finalizing plans for a stellar convention July 21-24 in New Orleans, where you will gain from tailored educational content from subject matter experts and be given opportunities to mix and mingle with suppliers and friends in our craft spirits community!

If you have yet to register, follow the links below. And if you have already registered, scroll down to see additional events and information to help you plan your trip.

WHEN: July 21-24
WHERE: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
(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

(April 2 – June 27)
10×10 (single booth) – $2,099
10×20 (double booth) – $3,450

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 or 702-301-7802.

Keynote Presentation: Distilling Better Mental Health & Crafting Support in Volatile Times

Renowned mental health professional and comedian Matt Vogl will deliver our keynote address. Matt helped found and run the University of Colorado Depression Center, as well as the National Mental Health Innovation Center.

Businesses in the United States have long been impacted by untreated or inadequately-treated mental health issues, with well over $100 billion in annual revenue loss due to increased healthcare costs, absenteeism and overall lack of productivity. It is expected that this estimate will rise sharply as a result of the pandemic and hospitality-related businesses and artists (i.e. those in the craft spirits industry) will be hit even harder. Business owners struggle to take care of their own mental health while also trying to ensure the well-being of their employees. The situation is worsening and warrants immediate attention.

Matt brings a unique perspective to his keynote address. After nearly losing his life to a suicide attempt 20 years ago, Matt made the decision to tackle the stigma by talking publicly about his struggles with bipolar disorder and suicide and has become an internationally-recognized mental health advocate. His keynote speeches, media interviews and his TEDx talk have reached tens of thousands of people across the globe with his messages of hope.

As a professional comic, Matt has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. It’s no surprise, then, that Matt’s keynote will be humor-driven—though tailored specifically to the unique realities and challenges facing the craft spirits industry. While mental health can be a heavy topic, Matt’s use of comedic levity to deliver serious messages will be consistent with the typically fun and celebratory nature that you’ve come to expect at an ACSA Convention. Don’t miss Matt’s presentation during the General Session on Thursday, July 21, at 5 p.m. CDT.

Take a Glance at the Convention Schedule
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.

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.

Register Now for ACSA Distillery Tours
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.

*ACSA members must be logged into ACSA’s website to receive discounted attendee pricing. If you have trouble logging into your ACSA account please email

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.

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. Book your room by June 20!

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.

Download or Update Our Convention App
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.


Answer Our One-Question Survey on Inconsistencies in Permitting

The American Craft Spirits Association is reviewing the application of TTB regulations regarding the location, occupancy and design of tasting rooms in relation to the permitted facilities of DSPs. Please answer our one-question survey to let us know of any issues or inconsistencies you may have faced in either the permitting or ongoing use of your facilities.

For example, it is generally accepted there must be a barrier between a tasting room and DSP premises. In some cases TTB has required a solid, complete and permanent wall. In some cases less permanent barriers have been allowed. And in one case, a permittee was told they could not have a door between the two.

Register Now for the 2022 Virtual Public Policy Conference
We are excited to announce that 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 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.

The easiest way to engage and learn more is to go to our website and log in to ACSA.

Should you have any questions about ACSA’s PAC, or ACSA’s public policy initiatives, please write to


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


Sponsor Spotlight: Soderstrom Architects
Located in Portland, Oregon, Soderstrom Architectswas founded in 1984 and provides comprehensive architectural services specialized in education, civic, and wine and spirits design. We recently checked in with Wayne Van Loon, associate principal, to learn more about the firm. Wayne has over 15 years of experience in the programming and design of wineries and distilleries along the West Coast. In his role as project manager and designer, Wayne collaborates closely with owners to translate their vision and production needs into an efficient and elegant design.

What sets Soderstrom apart from other firms?
Soderstrom’s Ferar Studio began designing wineries as the wine industry was first emerging in Oregon. We are a group of architects that love wine and several of whom have hands-on experience working production. After many decades as a trusted firm designing wineries, we transitioned to support the burgeoning craft spirits industry in Oregon. Some of our earliest clients include Clear Creek Distillery and House Spirits (now Westward Whiskey). Working with Soderstrom means you have a team of designers with not only a passion for creating beautiful spaces but also the technical expertise to manage the complex production and permitting requirements unique to distilleries.

What can clients expect when they work with you?
Our design process is collaborative, beginning with site selection and master planning through project construction and commissioning. As architects, we pride ourselves on having a holistic view of buildings and their sites—we want each building to capture and convey the special sense of place inherent in the site, be it a rural pasture or a city block.

How many distilleries has Soderstrom worked with in total? Is there a recent example or two that you all are proud of and can share some details on?
We have completed six craft distilleries along with master planning and design of more than 60 wineries. We are very proud of our collaborative work on House Spirits (Westward Whiskey) and Freeland Spirits.
Westward Whiskey is an industry leader in America’s craft distilling movement. Their facility was once an industrial storage shed and now houses the largest distilling operation in Oregon. It is functional in design, but aesthetically pleasing and is the anchor of Portland’s famous distillery row.
Freeland Spirits is making a name for itself as one of the few women-owned and operated distilleries in the nation. The Ferar Studio renovated a 1940’s-era grocery store to encompass craft spirits production, barrel aging and a tasting room featuring a view of the distillery’s centerpiece, a custom copper still made by Kothe.

What excites you all about working on distilling projects?
Partnering with an emerging industry that is crafting world-class products and customer experiences. We feel we are contributing to a sea change in the distilled spirits industry—shifting from large-scale industrial producers to hand-crafted, local beverages of the highest quality. We often have the privilege of working closely with the owner, beginning with defining the brand and translating that into a physical space. There is a sense of joy being a part of a brand’s journey, collaborating with the owner, and helping bring their pioneering vision into a reality. Based in Portland and having worked with so many local clients, we love being able to witness friends, family, and the community in the process—enjoying their work, spending time in the distillery, and growing name recognition.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s thinking about starting (or renovating) a distillery?
We can now find distilleries popping up around the country where there weren’t many before. Due to the increased number and their hazardous nature, code officials have heightened the level of scrutiny when reviewing distillery projects for conformity to building and fire code. Involving an experienced architectural team, general contractor and equipment suppliers early in the process is necessary to fully understand the complexities and order of steps to avoid pitfalls along the way.


Read the May/June Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine
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.

Join Us in the V.I.P. Lounge and Hang Out with Lisa Laird Dunn
We are pleased to announce that the guest for our second V.I.P. Lounge virtual happy hour will be none other than Lisa Laird Dunn of America’s oldest distillery, Laird & Co.

As the ninth-generation COO of the company that produces the iconic Laird’s Applejack, Lisa carries on a family spirits-making tradition that began before the U.S. was even a country. Join us on Thursday, June 2 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT for a virtual hang session with Lisa. We’ll also be asking a couple of trivia questions and giving away some prizes throughout the hour. Hope to see you there … and don’t forget to pour yourself a drink!

The happy hour is open to members of our Toast and Happy Hour tiers. You can sign up anytime before June 1 to secure an invitation to hang out with Lisa.

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.

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 our new and returning members and sponsors:
Find out more about becoming a member here.

Did You Know?
  • The TTB has issued 4,164 DSPs! Find the full list by clicking on Spirit Producers and Bottlers here.
June 4: National Cognac Day
June 5: National Moonshine Day
June 11: World Gin Day
June 14: National Bourbon Day
June 19: National Martini Day
June 30: National Mai Tai Day

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

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