ACSA’s Mission: To elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.
During this month of November, we honored and celebrated two significant holidays: Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. A big shout out to all who served our country with a thank you to all the veterans in our community for your courage, valor and strength. In recognition of the day of appreciation for our harvests and many blessings, the ACSA team took a moment to reflect. Here is what we are most thankful for:
Margie A.S. Lehrman (CEO): A loyal, dedicated and smart working staff and board of directors to serve our innovative, fun spirits community
Ken Brady (Director of Membership & Marketing): The camaraderie and support from my colleagues and leaders, as we work together on behalf of craft spirits producers and suppliers
Kirstin Brooks (Education Manager): The opportunity to work, learn, and grow with the education committee
Jeff Cioletti (Editor in Chief): The privilege of working with such a dynamic, vibrant industry that makes products with which I am proud to fill my glass, and working with such an enterprising and adept team of colleagues
Albab Melaku (Administrative Assistant): A community that is a support network and encourages entrepreneurship for our nation’s craft spirits distillers
Jon Page (Senior Editor): The opportunity to tell stories about a spirited, friendly and fascinating group of people
Stephanie Sadri (Director of Meetings & Events): That my job is not only to bring an amazing community of people together and make a difference in the industry, but is also something I am passionate about and greatly enjoy
Register Now: Last Day to Take Advantage of Early Bird Rates!
We know this is a busy time for our industry, so we extended our early-bird registration for our10th annual 2023 Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show. You have until the end of the day today, Nov. 30, to register at the early-bird price.
For the convention this February 10-12 in Portland, Oregon, we listened to your ideas and feedback and truly plan to make this show live up to its theme: Better with Age. Among other improvements, we have revamped the layout of the expo hall and education will be only 100 steps from the trade show floor!
Whether you need a pick-me-up, fresh ideas to distribute your product, a technical boost, or simply want to reward your team while also benefiting your business, we’ve got it all covered! As we celebrate 10 years of ACSA, you’ll enjoy new social and networking events with opportunities to meet new and old friends.
We also have an overflow block at the Hotel Eastlund, if you would like to experience a Portland boutique property. Eastlund is right across from the Hyatt and catty-corner from the Convention Center. To make online reservations for $189/night, visit hoteleastlund.com and use group code: CRAFTSPIRITS.
Share Your Video for a Special 10th Anniversary Celebration
Among the many commemorative activities and projects that we’re planning for ACSA’s 10th anniversary is a video showcasing major highlights from the past 10 years. And we want you to be a part of it! Click here to see how you can participate, and please note that we are accepting video and still images until Dec. 5.
Jam with Us in Portland!
If you play a musical instrument, we’d love for you to join your fellow musically inclined craft spirits producers for an informal acoustic jam session at our convention. You don’t need to be a virtuoso, you just need to own an acoustic instrument and love to improvise with it. And if you don’t play an instrument, but can carry a tune, we’d love to have you sing with the group. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, and indicate which instrument you plan to bring or if you’d like to sign up as a vocalist.
ACTION AND ADVOCACY
STEPUP Foundation Announces Second Class of Interns, Mentors, Participating Distilleries & New Donor Partners
ACSA and The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP Foundation) are proud to announce the second class of interns, mentors, and participating distilleries, along with several new funding partners for 2023.
STEPUP Foundation is a diversity initiative that aims to provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive year-long, immersive internship program. ACSA has long recognized a lack of diversity in the alcoholic beverage industry and has been working behind the scenes for some time now to develop a comprehensive program aimed at increasing talent through facilitation of workplace diversity. Now in its second year, STEPUP will continue to engage diverse applicants with an interest in the beverage sector and help those of different races, color, national origins, genders, disabilities, and sexual orientations to acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed in the industry.
The STEPUP internship program is primarily funded through Cornerstone Partners and other major donors. As the program gears up for its second year, the organization welcomes a host of generous new donations from partners across all tiers of the industry and distillers small and large. Infinium Spirits has signed on as a Keystone Donor and committed to $300,000 over three years, marking STEPUP’s second Keystone donor behind Beam Suntory, which joined earlier this year and donated $100,000. St. George Spirits has joined as a Foundation Level sponsor with a $40,000 pledge, and Fast Penny Spirits and Sagamore Spirit Distillery have joined at the Bricklayers level. These new contributors join STEPUP’s existing donors like Diageo North America, which serves as a Cornerstone Partner and has made a $1.2 million commitment over three years. To learn more about our tiers of support, visit https://stepupinternship.org/donors/.
2023 STEPUP Interns:
Amy has been in the restaurant industry since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in 2007. Her experience includes everything from managing a pizzeria owned and operated by people with hearing loss to consulting with several restaurants and breweries.
A Cicerone Certified Beer Server and Certified Tourism Ambassador, Ashley has been in the hospitality business for 15 years. The Ohio-based based bartender’s affinity for designing and developing menus and signature cocktails led her to STEPUP.
2023 STEPUP Mentors:
Darci Stuhlman’s career started in a restaurant and ultimately took her on a journey into the world of distilleries that landed her at Copper & Kings Distillery, where she drove marketing and sales strategies, client relations and recruiting. She is passionate about diversity, empowerment and inclusion, which is her focus in her current role at TKT & Associates — a leading provider of diversity management, innovative workforce and outsourcing solutions.
Nicole Shriner brings a unique combination of education and hands-on industry experience with a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering and track record of working with brewery and distillery producers. As a current owner of consulting company Effervescent Solutions in Lansing, MI, she continues to focus on fostering quality and growth in the fermented beverage industry. Her achievements include completing the Master Brewer Program at Siebel Institute of Technology, as well as receiving a grant from the Michigan Craft Beverage Council to fund the start up of a fermented beverage analysis lab at Michigan State University.
2023 Participating Distilleries:
Sagamore Spirit Distillery (Baltimore, MD)
Serving as the program’s host distillery for 2023, Sagamore Spirit is driven to craft the world’s best Rye Whiskey. As a champion of American Rye Whiskey and inspired by Maryland Rye, its mission is to establish Sagamore Spirit as the premier distiller of modern American spirit. Sagamore Spirit’s grain-to-glass process ensures that every single product made establishes a legacy of excellence, while strengthening its collective communities. Sagamore’s award-winning, five-acre waterfront distillery is located in the Baltimore Peninsula neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.
New Riff Distilling (Newport, KY)
Located a stone’s throw from downtown Cincinnati in Newport, KY, New Riff Distilling was founded in 2014. The independent & family-owned distillery is “A New Riff On An Old Tradition.” Focused on Bourbon and Rye Whiskey, New Riff balances traditions like sour-mash Kentucky whiskey-making with inventive riffs on process, design, and recipes, including one of the most robust single barrel programs in the industry. New Riff’s mission is simple, to one day be counted as one of the great small distilleries of the world.
Glacier Distilling (Coram, MT)
Glacier Distilling Company was conceived during a snowstorm; In the Montana ethos of preparedness and self-reliance in the winter of 2009/10, a group of friends gathered around the fireplace wondering where they would get their whiskey come Armageddon. As a result, one of them started a distillery. Glacier Distilling Company first released an un-aged rye whiskey that could be produced and sold in a matter of months, instead of years. North Fork, Bad Rock Rye and Wheatfish soon followed and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
2023 Participating Distributor:
Republic National Distributing Company
As a top wine and spirits distributor in the nation, Republic National Distributing Company’s (RNDC) national reach helps suppliers by building strategic relationships with on- and off-premise customers to elevate its brands and reach its target consumers. RNDC currently operates in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
STEPUP’s Board of Directors has created an immersive internship program for underrepresented individuals in the alcoholic beverage industry. Margie A.S. Lehrman (CEO, ACSA) serves as the organization’s president, working together with Secretary Rebecca Harris (Head Distiller and Co-founder, Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. and President, ACSA) and Treasurer Julie Kinch (CEO/Founder, JK Leadership Advisors, LLC). They are joined by a seasoned Board of Directors, including Chris Montana (CEO and Head Distiller, Du Nord Social Spirits), Chris Underwood (CEO, Young’s Holdings), David Cid (Owner, Silver Sun Group), and Ingrid Wetzell (HR Director, Bently Enterprises). The organization also has the support of Advisory Board member Nicole Austin (General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.). These critical liaisons help identify potential partners, secure financial resources and develop training materials to ensure the program’s success. The program design was initially crafted by a committed group of volunteers, now serving as members of the STEPUP selection committee: Paul Hletko (Few Spirits), Rob Masters (The Family Jones), Jake Holshue (Rogue Ales and Spirits), Tracie Franklin (Head Distiller Apprentice NJAI), and Lucy Farber (St. George Spirits, Inc.).
Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, ACSA and President, STEPUP Foundation stated, “As we gear up to kick off our second year with a group of promising interns, seasoned mentors, host distilleries, and wholesale partners, we continue to be humbled by the generous contributions across all tiers of the industry — from the largest of global spirits producers to the very smallest distilleries. Together, we are united on an imperative cause: recruiting and welcoming more diverse perspectives and talent into the world of drinks.”
STEPUP Foundation participants are guided through every facet of operating a distillery, with the added bonus of an immersive internship opportunity with a wholesaler. Interns will experience hands-on training in and job exposure to several facets of the alcoholic beverage industry, including distillation production, safety, sales and marketing, business and finance, tasting room operations, and distribution.
In its second year, the internship program will have a revised and updated curriculum design.
Interns will begin the program at a host distillery, after which they will spend time at up to three additional distilleries, and then return to their host distillery to complete a final capstone project. Interns will begin the journey in January. In an effort to remove any financial impediments that may limit applicants, the internship will also include a living stipend, travel expenses, and lodging. In its second year, the STEPUP Foundation will run an additional two candidates through the program with the expectation to run an increased number of interns in year three.
Learn More About the ACSA PAC
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). ACSA created a PAC years ago to make sure the voice of our small businesses in an emerging industry is heard.
As we begin our 10th year, ACSA continues to work tirelessly to serve the craft spirits community by building and supporting our membership, increasing diversity, improving your business landscape, and developing organizational stability. The best way that we can continue to improve our services is to hear from you directly. If you are an ACSA member, you should have received an e-mail with a link to our member survey. Please let us know how we are doing via this short survey: it should only take about 10 minutes to complete. Your data will be collected anonymously, and only used by ACSA for this research. We will only keep this survey open until December 15, 2022, so please respond now.
Please Update Your ACSA Contact Information
As we move into our 10th year, we continue to work diligently on your behalf to advocate, educate and connect you to others in our craft spirits community. In the coming weeks, we will be sending a gift as a small token of appreciation for being part of this special community and for your support. However, you will only receive this special and exclusive treat if you update your company and contact name, mailing address and mobile phone number.
Please be sure to update your information by Dec. 5 to receive this premium gift.
We are excited about celebrating 10 years of service to our members and encourage you to join us by participating in our events for the rest of this year and into 2023.
THE CRAFT SPIRITS PODCAST
David Weglarz of StilL 630
Our latest guest on The Craft Spirits Podcast is David Weglarz, the owner and head distiller at St. Louis-based StilL 630, which celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. In this episode, Weglarz discusses the genesis of the distillery; all of the hidden meaning in the name and logo for StilL 630; his claim to fame of likely being the first distillery to open in a former fast food restaurant; experimenting with whiskey barrels and gin; and much more.
Read the November/December Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine
The November/December issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here, and our cover story explores the growth of e-commerce and what it means for the future of spirits retail. This issue also features stories about a decade of distilling at Headframe Spirits; crafting eau de vie in Alsace; and more.
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 virtual meet-and-greets with craft spirits icons. 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.