The Monthly Mash: September 2021

The Monthly Mash

Volume 6.9

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:

Is it just me or do you feel like, despite your best efforts, your to-do list continues to expand rather than contract? Hoping to glean wisdom from “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals” by Oliver Burkeman, I was struck by the acknowledgement that “The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks.” If that is indeed true, I’ve only one thousand plus weeks left. Yikes!

It raises the question: How do you (and should you) spend your time? Is it mindful, performing only necessary tasks with those that give you the greatest return on your own investment? Or is it haphazardly rushing to check things off your list which—at the end of the day—really don’t matter? For instance, I now realize I spent a good chunk of my early morning deleting emails from management, court cases, travel, yoga, cooking, hiking, gardening and health subscription services. What was I thinking? Time for a substantial unsubscribe—a complete email detox.

It got me also thinking about how the American Craft Spirits Association can be a better advocate for your own time management. While we try to get your attention with a bounty of programs to pique your interest and provide the tools for you to succeed, we likely are filling your inboxes, beyond your own ability to read and act upon each communication.

So, a couple of things. Today’s Monthly Mash curates those items of utmost importance for your business and I promise there is something for everyone. From registration and application links to our convention, packaging awards program, STEPUP (our diversity and inclusion nonprofit), webinars, magazine V.I.P. Lounge, and survey links to our Craft Spirits Data Project, these items enhance our community. Increased knowledge within your distillery is invaluable.

Next, you have my word that we will perform an internal audit of our communications, including when and how often we inform you of our accomplishments and those events or services in which you might wish to participate. We will try to be cognizant of your time, knowing the bombardment of demands.

Now, knowing I won’t get everything done, here’s to refocusing on those items that really matter. Wishing you the same.



STEPUP Foundation Seeks Applicants by Friday, Oct. 8

ACSA recently launched the Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP Foundation), 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 yearlong, immersive internship program.

The deadline for applications is next Friday, Oct. 8.

Working with distilleries and wholesalers throughout the United States, STEPUP will provide interns with a living stipend and provide job exposure for those of different races, color, national origins, genders and sexual orientations. Successful interns will bring passion, motivation and an ability to immerse in a year-long program which will expose candidates to all facets of owning and operating a distillery, including working with a distributor.

To help us diversify the craft spirits industry, STEPUP is also seeking distillery applicants who are willing to open their doors to inquisitive learners from underrepresented communities. To be eligible, distilleries must be (or become) a member of ACSA, be willing to host an intern for a period of 8-12 weeks (at no cost as STEPUP pays the living stipend for the intern), be able to demonstrate a formal safety plan, and show proof of distillery insurance. Click here to see a full list of eligibility requirements.

Finally, the STEPUP Foundation also seeks easily approachable mentor applicants who are naturals at providing encouragement and are able to be objective while being compassionate. Over a one-year period, mentors will act as an advisor to interns by providing coaching, feedback and other support as the intern goes through the program. A mentor need not work for a distillery but must work in some capacity in the spirits industry. Training materials will be provided to the mentor.

In its inaugural year, the STEPUP Foundation will run two candidates through the program with the expectation to run another six interns in its second year and 10 or more interns in year three and beyond.

If you know someone who might be interested in applying as an intern, distillery or mentor, please encourage them to apply here.

The initial application period closes on Friday, Oct. 8.

URGENT: Please Complete the Craft Spirits Data Project Survey

Now in its sixth year, The Craft Spirits Data Project is the chief economic data study for craft spirits producers—but we cannot do it without you. Along with our hand-picked partner, Park Street, we urgently need your feedback.

Please complete the survey ASAP to provide hard data on what really happened to the craft spirits industry in 2020 during a tremendous year of change. This survey is shorter than years past, and your feedback is vital to our mission to elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.

Please do not delay—take the survey before the deadline on Oct. 12.

Last Call to Enter the Craft Spirits Packaging Awards

We have extended the deadline for the Craft Spirits Packaging Awards until the end of the day on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Presented by the American Craft Spirits Association and CRAFT SPIRITS magazine—and sponsored by the Glass Packaging Institute—the competition celebrates excellence and creativity in the design of craft spirits labels and packaging.
The competition is open to all producers of craft spirits, including international entries. Packaging companies and/or designers may also enter on behalf of craft spirits producers.

We’ll announce the medalists and best in show honoree at ACSA’s Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show this December, and all medalists will be featured in the January issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine. Will we see you on the winners stage?

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to claim bragging rights for your craft spirits packaging, label and design work. Register now!

Entries will be judged by an independent panel of industry and design experts in the following categories:

  • Best Brandy Packaging
  • Best Gin Packaging
  • Best Ready-to-Drink
  • Best Rum Packaging
  • Best Specialty Spirits Packaging
  • Best Vodka & Grain Packaging
  • Best Whiskey Packaging
  • Best Portfolio (Recognizing outstanding packaging across a range of products three or more products. Must be entered separately from individual entries.)
  • Best in Show
ACSA Members: $40 per entry; $100 per portfolio entry
Non-members: $55 per entry; $140 per portfolio entry

Please note that no physical samples are required for entry (some winning entries may be asked to ship samples for photography).

Thanks to the Glass Packaging Institute
for Sponsoring the Craft Spirits Packaging Awards

Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione to Present Keynote

The American Craft Spirits Association is thrilled to announce Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Dogfish Head Distilling Co., as the keynote speaker for our 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show this December 4-6 in Louisville, Kentucky. In his keynote, Off-Centered Brand Building from Zero to 102 Proof, Sam will discuss his off-centered journey, with humble beginnings as the smallest brewery in America. Dogfish Head’s diverse portfolio today spans from non-alcoholic beer to 102-proof American single malt whiskey with a few beers, canned cocktails, restaurants and a beverage-themed inn between them. The keynote will be delivered on December 5th from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Member Attendee Registration
General Admission (July 3-Nov. 21)

Member Attendee: $625

Additional Member Attendees (1-5): $425 per person
Additional Member Attendees (6+): $100 per person

Members must be logged in to access member registration link.

Non-Member Attendee Registration
General Admission (July 3-Nov. 21)

Non-Member Attendee: $825

Additional Non-Member Attendees (1-5): $625 per person
Additional Non-Member Attendees (6+): $120 per person

If you register as a voting member, you’ll receive discounts on convention registration, pre-convention classes and competition fees; free webinars (including our archives); and more. Sign-up here to join ACSA’s craft spirits community!

Attention Exhibitors: See Our Virtual Floor Plan

Register now to select prime placement, before it disappears. Our new virtual floor plan allows you to choose the best space available to meet your needs. Explore booth options with an interactive walkthrough of the trade show floor by clicking the link below.

Exhibitor Registration
General Admission (July 3-Nov. 21)
10×10 Single Booth: $2,099
20×10 Double Booth: $3,450

If you need to check registration status or have any immediate questions, please contact Teresa McDaniel at (502) 807-4249 and/or

Book Your Stay at Our Host Hotel

The Galt House is right around the corner from the Kentucky International Convention Center, where we will gather this December to network, learn and toast our vibrant industry at ACSA’s 8th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show! The room rate is $189 per night and the room block will be open until Monday, November 1.

Make your reservations today by clicking the link below (use code: 021821ACS) or calling (502) 589-5200. ACSA does not use third parties to reserve hotel rooms.

Discover Our Virtual Convention Education Program

Unable to travel to our annual convention? Don’t miss out; join us for a shortened program you can access from anywhere! We are offering five hours of content spread over two days, including topics on safety, distribution, branding, and social media marketing.

ACSA Members: $249 per person (up to 3 people from the same distillery), $199 per person (4+ people from the same distillery)

Non-Members: $499 per person

When: Wednesday, November 3 from 3:00 to 6:00 PM ET & Thursday, November 4 from 3:00 to 6:00 PM ET

Sessions include:

  • Turning Stillage into Value: One Aspect of the Sustainability Journey – Kurt Rosentrater (Iowa State/Distillers Grain Technology Council)
  • Safety Topic TBD – Gary Yurt (Industrial Safety & Training Services)
  • Naked Malt Whiskey – Jamie Burns (Family Jones) and Dr. Brigid Meints (Oregon State University)
  • How is Your Relationship With Your Distributor: Are You a Partner or a Pain? – Melissa Katrincic (Durham Distillery)
  • How to Develop a Digital Presence That Drives Sales – Josh Jacobs (Speakeasy Co.)
  • A Crash Course in Distillery Branding – Isaac Arthur and Cody Fague (CODO Design)
  • The Ever-Changing Face of the On-Premise – Matthew Crompton (Nielsen CGA)
  • Five Key Elements in Growing an Effective Safety Culture – Matt Stinchfield (Whalen Insurance/Brewers Association Safety Ambassador)
  • IMMINENT ARRIVAL: Building and Fire Code Changes Coming to Your Town – Colleen Moore (Dalkita Architecture & Construction)

Save the Date: Join Us in New Orleans in 2022!

ACSA is excited to announce that our 9th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show is slotted for July of 2022 in New Orleans! Look for more details soon.

Funding Cap Increases for SBA’s COVID-19 EIDL Program

Changes have come to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, which provides dedicated funding to help small businesses that have been in operation since 2019 recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. The program’s changes include:
  • A higher cap on funding (an increase from $500,000 to $2 million)
  • Additions to what funds can be used for
  • Credit score requirements
  • Eligibility requirements
Earlier this month, ACSA hosted a webinar with Anna Lucas from SBA to explain the program and its changes. If you missed it, the recording is available here.

Be Part of Our Upcoming CRAFT SPIRITS Yearbook

This winter, ACSA’s annual CRAFT SPIRITS Yearbook will include a buyer’s guide listing all of the suppliers to the craft spirits industry. We want all suppliers to the craft spirits industry to be a part of this printed publication. If you haven’t already, please complete this form to be included in this free listing.

If you are interested in purchasing an enhanced, premium listing with greater visibility, please contact Ashley Guillermo at

Congrats to Heartland Whiskey Competition Medalists

Earlier this month, we announced the medalists of the 2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition, which was open to craft whiskeys from all 50 states that incorporate corn in their mash bill.

In this third, biennial blind judging event, whiskeys from 17 “Heartland” states also competed for Best in State, and all entries competed for Best of Show and in their select whiskey sub-categories.

The competition, which was generously sponsored by state corn marketing associations, took place in late July in Louisville, Kentucky. ACSA facilitated the judging process and its former Board President — Chris Montana, owner of Du Nord Social Spirits, in Minneapolis, Minnesota — served as the Judging Director. The Bard Distillery, in Graham, Kentucky, assisted with pre-competition logistics. Judges selected from the local Kentucky whiskey industry were chosen for their knowledge and expertise of craft whiskey.

Best of Show was captured by Weldon Mills Distillery from Weldon, North Carolina, for its Rockfish Whiskey, which also earned the top score in the Corn Whiskey category.

This competition is sponsored by the following state corn association marketing boards. ACSA extends very special thanks to all for their support.

  • Colorado Corn Administrative Committee
  • Illinois Corn Marketing Board
  • Indiana Corn Marketing Council
  • Iowa Corn Promotion Board
  • Kansas Corn Commission
  • Kentucky Corn Promotion Council
  • Ohio Corn Marketing Program
  • The Corn Marketing Program Of Michigan
  • Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council
  • Missouri Corn Merchandising Council
  • Nebraska Corn Growers Association
  • New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association
  • Corn Growers Association of North Carolina
  • North Dakota Corn Council
  • Texas Corn Producers
  • Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board
  • Tennessee Corn Promotion Council

Sign Up Now for Upcoming Webinars

When: Thursday, Oct. 14, 3 p.m. ET

What: Craft malt can be a significant point of differentiation for a distiller’s brand. This panel will introduce distillers to the Craft Maltsters Guild and all the resources they provide. Learn how to find craft malt producers in your area, how craft malt is produced, and ways you can leverage the Craft Malt Certified seal to distinguish your products on the shelf. The session will end with a crash course in interpreting malt certificate of analysis (COA), and testimonies from a distiller successfully utilizing craft malt in their vodka, gin and whiskey.

Who: Jesse Bussard (Craft Maltsters Guild), Hannah Turner (Montana State University), Jason Parker (Copperworks Distilling Co.)

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

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. If you need assistance, email

Follow us on Instagram for Craft Spirits Live

Join ACSA for Craft Spirits Live, our Instagram Live show highlighting producers of craft spirits.

Listen to the Latest Episodes of The Craft Spirits Podcast

Produced by ACSA and CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, The Craft Spirits Podcast features in-depth conversations with distillers and craft spirits visionaries. Our latest guest is Brian Facquet of Do Good Spirits.

Watch the Latest Episode of Craft Spirits TV

Craft Spirits TV: Last Call to Enter the 2nd Annual Craft Spirits Packaging Awards
As the Oct. 5 deadline approaches to enter the second annual Craft Spirits Packaging Awards, last year’s Best in Show honorees, Emil Jättne and Joe Santos of Brooklyn Gin, share what it means to medal in the competition. Plus, we announce the launch of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine’s new community, the V.I.P. Lounge. Please watch and be sure to subscribe.

From the Pages of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

Read the Latest Issue of CRAFT SPIRITS Magazine

In the latest issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, we explore how craft distillers are embracing local ingredients to make vodkas that are anything but neutral; investigate a shortage of cans threatening the growth of ready-to-drink cocktail programs; check in with cocktail bars and restaurants as they navigate uncertainty; and much more.

Join us in the V.I.P. Lounge

CRAFT SPIRITS magazine and the American Craft Spirits Association are excited to introduce premium reader experiences with the launch of the V.I.P. Lounge.

While the digital-only magazine will continue to be available at no charge for regular subscribers, we are launching the V.I.P. Lounge to further support our cutting-edge features, business insights and entrepreneurial advice from and for the craft spirits community. For a modest fee, participants can now unlock value-added bonuses, like early access to magazine issues and a set of CRAFT SPIRITS-branded Glencairn glasses.

Will you join us in 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 2021 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 3,886 DSPs! Find the full list here.
  • Don’t miss these upcoming drink holidays:
Oct.. 1: National Applejack Month
Oct. 2: International Scottish Gin Day
Oct. 4: National Vodka Day
Oct. 19: International Gin & Tonic Day
Oct. 20: National Brandied Fruit Day

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

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