The Monthly Mash: October 2022

Volume 7.10

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 Our Spirits Industry:

I recently witnessed a presentation on beverage alcohol in which the speaker opined that the status quo is what we should strive to maintain. He further suggested WHY the status quo should be maintained: “It means things are working and working well so we shouldn’t expend energy (and or resources) to try to change things!”

Words fascinate me (even more when I’m in the sixth line of Wordle) so I share with you its meaning from the Oxford dictionary: “​[T]he situation as it is now, or as it was before a recent change.” So, I guess the orator was directing the audience to keep alcohol beverage statutes, rules and regulations as they are now: Don’t rock the boat and enjoy our current landscape.

Was he right? Is maintaining status quo ever okay in our world of spirits?

In short, NO!

I’m going on record that the speaker was sorely mistaken. Fortunately, I am not alone. In a Forbes post from May 2022 titled: “Are You Leading To Maintain The Status Quo Or To Create A Better Future?”, we learn that after our post-pandemic world, it is imperative leaders understand that maintaining the status quo prevents leading to a bright future with forward-thinking managers.

If you know anything about the American Craft Spirits Association, you must recognize our quest to continuously strive to create the better future! Our programs attempt to help you enhance your own business landscape, including the skills of your employees. For instance, no other program exists like the ACSA Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show—a hallmark event for owners and operators, employees, suppliers, investors, marketing specialists, professors of beverage law, food scientists, and chemists—where we come together to learn, either in a classroom setting or from each other at a social event. At each juncture, status quo is challenged to make sure your distillery can operate at peak performance.

Then there’s our advocacy with the Office of the United States Trade Representative or Starlight Distillery taking its whiskey to that next level (listen to the podcast!) or ACSA making sure you know you are valued with its complimentary gift (make sure we have your correct mailing address)! How about the upcoming election debriefing where we try to make sense of how the results could impact the next few years? Is your business plan intact or does it need a reboot based upon the predicted economic and social path ahead? Read on and register for this new program.

Let’s show the uninformed, status quo speaker just how wrong he was. Here’s to challenging the status quo—together!




Register Now: Take Advantage of Early Bird Rates

We are thrilled to announce that registration is now open for ACSA’s 10th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show 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.

Focusing on three programming areas—technical/distilling, business essentials, and sales & marketing—our cutting-edge education sessions offer attendees the opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced and prestigious professionals in the industry.

Click here to see the convention schedule, and check back often to see updates on topics and speakers, including updates on pre-convention education and tour opportunities.

Attendee Early Bird Rates (Until Nov. 18, 2022)

Members*: $625

Additional Members: $425

Non-Members: $825

Additional Non-Members: $475

Attendee Regular Rates (Starting Nov. 19, 2022)

Members: $650

Additional Members: $450

Non-Members: $875

Additional Non-Members: $625

Attendee Late Riser Rates (Starting Jan. 15, 2023)

Members: $695

Non-Members: $895

*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

Attendees Click Here to Register

Exhibitor Early Bird Rates (Until Nov. 18, 2022)

10×10 Single Booth with up to 2 booth attendants: $2,100

10×20 Double Booth with up to 4 booth attendants: $3,300

Additional booth attendants is an additional cost: $500

  • Vendor setup begins Thursday Feb. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, Feb., 10 from 9 a.m. to Noon
  • The trade show floor is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you have questions, contact

Not yet an Affiliate Member? Learn about the benefits and JOIN HERE! All Affiliate Members receive a 10% discount on their booth. Contact us for the discount code at

Exhibitors Click Here to Register

Book Your Hotel Room

Upon registering, don’t forget to book your hotel reservations now at the Hyatt Regency Portland, which is just steps away from the convention center!
Click Here to Book Your Hotel Room


Join Us Nov. 10 to Learn How the Midterm Elections Will Affect Your Business

What: Understanding the Midterm Elections via Zoom

When: Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. ET

Special Guest: Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion

Election day is Nov. 8, and to help us understand the results and how they will impact your small businesses, please join us for a Zoom call on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. ET with Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. Miringoff will offer analysis on the election, followed by a Q&A with ACSA CEO Margie A.S. Lehrman. The call is open to anyone. Click here to register.

Miringoff received his Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the former President of the National Council of Public Polls (NCPP) and a current member of the Board of Trustees. He is also a trustee of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Miringoff is a frequent commentator on politics and elections and is often quoted in print and digital media. He has appeared regularly on television and radio as an expert on public opinion, politics, and polling. He frequently blogs and tweets on these topics as well.

The Marist Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO) is a survey research center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Founded in 1978, MIPO is home to the Marist Poll and regularly measures public opinion at the local, state, and national level. The Marist Poll is highly respected and is often cited by journalists and analysts around the globe.

Click Here to Register

Election Day is November 8: PLEASE VOTE!

ACSA frequents the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. ACSA talks to—as do state distillery guilds—members of state legislatures. You may think your vote doesn’t really matter. We want to assure you: It does!

PLEASE exercise your right to vote, choosing those candidates who best support our businesses and our industry.

ACSA Submits Comments Regarding Significant Foreign Trade Barriers to U.S. Exports

Late this month, ACSA submitted comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative regarding barriers to foreign trade. ACSA’s submission reflects the range of trade barriers to U.S. spirits exports, including retaliatory tariffs, import policies, market access barriers, technical barriers, and standards-related measures.
Click Here to Read the Letter

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.

To learn more, 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

Click Here to Learn More


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.

To ensure that you stay informed and on top of emerging issues and receive our information and materials in a timely and efficient manner, we ask that you please take a minute to go to this link to update your contact information.

Please be sure to update your mailing address and contact information now so that you 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.

Thank You, Veterans

In honor of all military veterans of the United States Armed Forces (including those among our membership, as well as family members of ACSA staff), ACSA offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 11. Thanks to all those who served.

Phishing Alert

We were recently made aware of a phishing attempt by someone hoping to gain personal information by impersonating an ACSA staff member’s email. If you received or receive a suspicious message, we recommend blocking the sender and you may also report the message to your internet service provider. You can also read more about how to recognize and avoid phishing in this article from the Federal Trade Commission.


Q&A with Founder Ryan Malkin

This summer, Ryan Malkin launched Set The Bar, a mobile app that provides easy-to-understand alcohol beverage industry trade practice rules and regulations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Malkin—who is the principal attorney at Malkin Law and legal counsel to the American Craft Spirits Association—answered a few questions about the app and shared some insight about how members of the distilled spirits community can use it.

ACSA: When did you first start thinking about creating this app and what kinds of challenges did you face along the way?

Ryan Malkin: I started thinking about this app several years ago. Each time our team researched and prepared a 50-state survey of laws for a client, and I sent over Word documents, I always thought, there has to be a more efficient way to access this information. In speaking with the field teams, I understood they were on their phones and rarely at a desk or computer, so accessing Word documents, or even a text-heavy website, was not helpful. Set The Bar is not geared toward the legal teams—though they can use it—but rather the people in the field who are on-the-go and want easily accessible information.

Some of the challenges were finding the right developer to bring the idea to life as well as saving the capital to launch the app. The regulations by state change regularly, so there will be constant updating to ensure the information is current as well as updating and changing the quizzes to keep members engaged and constantly learning.

What’s your elevator pitch (or let’s call it a bar pitch!) to potential subscribers if you only have about a minute to tell them about the app?

Set The Bar is the first mobile app that gives you easy-to-understand access to alcohol beverage rules and regulations in all 50 states and D.C. right at your fingertips, 24/7.

Whom do you see as ideal users of the app? Marketers? Distillers? Distributors? Distillers looking to expand into other states where they may not have a strong understanding of local regulations?

The simple answer is all of the above. Distillers, distributors, agencies and really any professional who needs access to the basic marketing rules in any state will benefit from using Set The Bar. We have distillers who want to get a better understanding of rules in other states where they are not currently selling and agencies who access the information on behalf of their clients, saving the client time and money.

What kind of reception have you had so far from users?

The reception has been great so far. Some users have asked us to add DISCUS Code details to the industry terms, which we plan to do so it’s more comprehensive. We want to make sure users are getting what they need from Set The Bar.

Can you give us some case study examples of how it might be useful to different types of users?

One example is the activation and marketing agency, Ayatana XP. Its clients include distilled spirits brands with sales and marketing activations all over the country. Part of the agency’s responsibility is sorting out where certain activities can be done, and Set The Bar allows them to easily confirm whether, say, tastings are legal in certain states, ultimately saving them a lot of time. Kristen Hannah, founder of Ayatana XP says, “navigating alcohol beverage laws can be daunting, even for industry veterans like myself. Our team has really taken advantage of Set The Bar, and everything it has to offer. Whether we’re planning an event, hosting a staff training, executing an activation, or a local on-premise initiative for our clients, it’s so much easier to have what’s compliant in that state at our fingertips. Set The Bar is very intuitive, it’s saving us time, it’s helping us avoid penalties and fees and ultimately saving our clients’ money. It’s been a great investment that’s already paid itself back.”

What would you say to someone who might be skeptical of the subscription price and says they can navigate compliance issues on their own?

Certainly, the rules are out there. However, it can be time-consuming to find the right rules and for a layperson to understand them. For instance, it can take an hour per state for just one topic, say tastings, to find the rules, then multiply that by 50 states and do that same math for all of the 10-plus categories we have on Set The Bar. Thinking about it like that and you understand the immense value of Set The Bar. Plus, Set The Bar takes the guesswork out of researching these rules and relays the rules in an easy-to-understand way. If you consider how many hours it would take to compile all of this information, you’d realize what a great resource Set The Bar truly is.

Is there anything else you’d want people to know about the app?

We understand craft distillers may have limited budgets and not need all 50 states that the app offers, so we offer a reduced rate for ACSA members. Just use the code “ACSA” and you will receive 50% off Set The Bar until the end of 2022! Just remember, Set The Bar is not legal advice and should not replace legal counsel.

Download Set The Bar from the App Store
Download Set The Bar from Google Play


Christian and Blake Huber of Starlight Distillery
Our latest guests on The Craft Spirits Podcast are Christian and Blake Huber of Starlight Distillery and Huber’s Orchard and Winery. The brothers are seventh-generation members of their family farm in Borden, Indiana. In July, the distillery’s Carl T. Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey earned best of whiskey and best in show at ACSA’s 9th annual judging of craft spirits. In this episode, Christian and Blake discuss Starlight’s single barrel program; how making wine influences Starlight’s whiskey production; and growing up around the craft spirits industry.
Click Here to Listen


Read the Latest Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine
The September/October issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here, and our cover story examines how some sectors of retail need to catch up to meet the demand for craft gin. This issue also features stories about brand extensions, formula matters, distilling in Maine and more.
Click Here to Read the Latest Issue

Join Us in the V.I.P. Lounge

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.
Click Here to Join the V.I.P. Lounge

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.


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 4,317 DSPs! Find the full list by clicking on Spirit Producers and Bottlers here.

Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:

  • Nov. 8: National Havery Wallbanger Day
  • Nov. 12: National Happy Hour Day
  • Nov. 18: Australian Gin Day

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

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