The Monthly Mash: October 2023

Volume 8.10

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 the Craft Spirits Community:

Validation feels good. For years, ACSA has known consumers want better access to the array of spirits made by our community. Choice and convenience are a part of that demand.

Visiting a distillery and tasting a 1/4-ounce pour is just a tease. Thinking you’ll pick up a bottle upon a return home is likely not going to happen. Unfortunately, that spirit is only distributed in the locale you visited. Because the brand is new to the market, cannot locate distribution, or isn’t particularly well known outside the distillery, finding it on a retail shelf is severely limited.

Changes to shipping regulations during the pandemic gave reason to believe consumers would get what they wished for: choice and convenience. Two recent studies demonstrate consumer shopping patterns and demand for easy access have not waned, shining the spotlight anew on the need for direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping in the American marketplace.

Last month, IWSR reported that the pandemic encouraged the creation of e-commerce channels in many markets, particularly for high-end spirits. Educational and browsing experiences easily allowed consumers to switch to at-home consumption. It is no surprise then that the 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report—released this month by Sovos in collaboration with ACSA—showed that close to 90% of regular craft spirits drinkers want to be able to legally purchase spirits via DtC, up from 80% the year prior. Read the full study below.

So, how do we make this happen? In part, get involved. Rules, regulations and laws won’t change without stakeholder input. Have you registered for the ACSA Legislative Fly-In taking place in D.C. next week? It isn’t too late to attend. Scroll down to register.

Were you at the inaugural consumer event in Chicago at Binny’s Beverage Depot to introduce your product to the trade/consumer? If you haven’t yet been to Binny’s, go. It’s a BIG supporter of craft spirits, and you’ll see shelves lined with spirits from around the country. The inventory will knock your socks off! Read more about the event below.

Of course, if you’re looking to set yourself apart, enter your spirits into our Craft Spirits Packaging Awards. You may think your design rocks, but how about others? Register now to see how your design compares to the competition.

Consumers have told us what they want. You have told us what you need to have your business work. Become a member, get involved, and let’s strengthen our industry so we all succeed.




The recent release of the 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report from global tax compliance technology leader Sovos and the American Craft Spirits Association underscores a continued increase in the percentage of regular craft spirits drinkers who want to legally purchase their beverages of choice via direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping. Sovos’ beverage alcohol compliance business, Sovos ShipCompliant, leads the industry in automated alcohol beverage compliance tools, and its customers continue to see a significant, consistent increase in consumer preference for DtC shipping of alcoholic beverages, from spirits to wine to beer and more.

The 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report found an increase in regular craft spirits drinkers who want to legally purchase their favorite spirits products and have them shipped directly to their homes — 87% versus 80% in 2022. And 81% of those likely to purchase spirits DtC say if they could purchase craft spirits DtC, they would do so at least once a month or more. More than four in five (82%) regular craft spirits drinkers believe U.S. laws should be updated to make it legal to ship spirits DtC in more states. For the 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Shipping Report, The Harris Poll conducted an online survey among 598 regular craft spirits drinkers (U.S. adults ages 21+ who drink craft spirits once a month or more often) on behalf of Sovos and its ShipCompliant business.

“Our second annual Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report illuminates that the consumer demand sparked during the pandemic is not diminishing, as an overwhelming number of craft spirit drinkers want direct shipping,” said Leah Rasori, CMO of Sovos. “It’s also notable that 78% of regular craft spirits drinkers say the ability to purchase via DtC would make them more likely to try spirits from out-of-state distilleries, demonstrating missed opportunities in both sales for distillers and tax revenue for states.”

Craft spirits are increasingly popular, with 2022 marking the first time U.S. consumers spent more money on spirits than they did on beer. As of October 2023, there are more than 122,000 spirits brands in the U.S., and over the past few years the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved between 13,000 and 16,000 new brands. However, DtC spirits shipping is still only legal in only nine U.S. locales (eight states and D.C.), with recent failed legislative progression in New York, Texas and Hawaii. Sovos’ 2023 report found that 80% of craft spirits drinkers, up from 74% in 2022, say they would purchase craft spirits from out-of-state distilleries via DtC shipping if they could do so.

“With today’s limited spirits shipping laws, a majority of Americans are unable to purchase their favorite spirits products,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO of the American Craft Spirits Association. “As consumers continue to demand choice and convenience, states will need to take action in order to provide spirits producers with enhanced ability to satisfy and grow their customer base. State laws will need to change to support consumers and American businesses. It’s a win-win for all.”

Read the Press Release
Download the Report

ACSA’s Legislative Fly-In

It’s Not Too Late to Register: Join Us Next Week!

ACSA’s Legislative Fly-In on Capitol Hill is back—and in person—this Nov. 7-9!

Register here to let your voice be heard before members of Congress and meet with senior leadership from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This event is complimentary to all members who want to help educate Congress on issues facing our small business manufacturing sector. No experience is necessary—we will provide a full briefing and get you up to speed on issues that can change our economic landscape.

Register Now


Does your craft spirits packaging have a gold medal look?

Don’t miss your chance to claim glory for the design of your craft spirits labels and packaging. Enter the Fourth Annual Craft Spirits Packaging Awards now!

Medalists will be announced at ACSA’s 11th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in February and will be featured in the March/April 2024 issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine. Entries will be judged by an independent panel of industry experts. If you entered last year and did not earn a medal, fear not! We are adding several new judges to the mix, so a new set of eyes will be on your spirits.

The deadline to enter is Nov. 20.

Enter Now

Sponsored By


ACSA Hosts Inaugural American Craft Spirits Festival

On October 26, the country’s top craft spirits producers poured for consumers and select members of the trade during the first-ever American Craft Spirits Festival at Binny’s Beverage Depot in Chicago. The event was just one of the many ways that ACSA has celebrated our 10th anniversary this year.

The event—generously hosted by Binny’s Beverage Depot with a part of the proceeds going to the STEPUP Foundation—featured education by industry leaders as well as an opportunity for sponsors to connect with distilleries during trade-only festival hours. An exclusive ACSA-published Cocktail Booklet featuring recipes from participating distilleries was also distributed to attendees. Watch a video by ACSA president Gina Holman from the festival floor.

We are grateful to all of the craft spirits producers who joined us and to all of our sponsors! We look forward to making this an annual event to further demonstrate the innovation in our industry to the trade and consumers alike.

ACSA CEO Margie A.S. Lehrman with Brett Pontoni, Specialty Spirits Buyer at Binny’s Beverage Depot

Special Thanks


Recent Webinars

This month, ACSA hosted two webinars. In a session titled “Changing Lives with Challenging Conversations; Talking About Mental Health and Suicide,” Matt Vogl—a leading national voice on mental health—shared details on how to have difficult conversations and help connect someone at risk with life-saving care.

And on Oct. 31, some of America’s top distillers shared their scariest tales about frightful, unexpected moments when things went awry in their day-to-day operations and how they learned from them to build better, stronger distilleries.

See All Webinars


Save the Date for ACSA’s 11th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show

Please save the date and join us next Feb. 26-28 for our 11th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Denver! Registration details are coming soon.


Bar Convent Berlin 2023 with Chris Montana of Du Nord Social Spirits

We talk about all of the latest distilled spirits trends and catch up with Chris Montana, founder and CEO of Du Nord Social Spirits, at Bar Convent Berlin 2023.
Watch Now


Murphy Quint of Cedar Ridge Distillery

Our latest guest on The Craft Spirits Podcast is Murphy Quint of Cedar Ridge Distillery in Swisher, Iowa. As head distiller and director of operations, Quint oversees the distillery, winery, vineyards, campus grounds and facilities. In this episode, Quint discusses the growth of American single malt whiskey; the success of Cedar Ridge’s bourbon; the distillery’s partnership with the band Slipknot; and much more.
Listen Now

Veterans Day 2023

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. 10. Thanks to all those who served.


Read the Latest Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

The latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine is here! This issue includes:

  • A cover story exploring what motivates brandy makers in such a challenging category
  • A primer on distilling with whey
  • A closer look at the distilling scene in Chicago, and much more!
Read the Issue
Want to receive each issue early?

ACSA members and V.I.P. Lounge members receive each digital issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine the week before the rest of our readership.

Check Out 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 NEW 2024 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.


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 4,687 DSPs! Find the full list by clicking on Spirit Producers and Bottlers here.

Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:

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