Dear Esteemed Member,
 I lost something last month…the title of “Interim”.  I’m officially now your Executive Director.  I hope to bring you more frequent news and keep you better informed of what’s happening in your association. Contact me by  email ( or phone at: 202.669.3661. I’d love to hear from you and look forward to personally meeting you if I haven’t already.

So, the first quarter of 2016 was a blur, right?  ACSA experienced renewed energy, enthusiasm and excitement with some major initiatives.  Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to:  


ACSA, Park Street, and IWSR dropped a survey to seek your input on the first annual structured analysis of the craft distilling industry.  We hope to release a full report in July 2016.  Currently, this is an industry-wide collaborative project as we are securing data from NABCA, WSWA, ABL, TTB, and Nielsen.  If you haven’t yet taken that survey, PLEASE do so now.  Find it  HERE.   

The 2016 American Craft Spirits Competition, held for the first time in conjunction with Artisan Spirit Magazine, attracted a record number of entrants across a variety of spirits categories.  If you haven’t already seen the list of medalists you can find it HERE.  

Also in January, your current Board of Directors demonstrated their strategic and visionary leadership skills during ACSA’s annual retreat.  One important outcome: the group collectively updated our vision and mission statements to provide clearer direction on where we want to go with our 501(c)(6) and what we want to be known for.  Here’s where we stand:  

Vision:   The greatest spirits are universally recognized as coming from our member producers, and they are enjoyed responsibly everywhere in the world.

Mission:   To elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers.

For more information, visit our ABOUT PAGE.


ACSA and you, our members, were represented at the North America Whiskies & Spirits Conference in New York City.  On behalf of ACSA, I participated in a keynote panel alongside our colleagues in the industry from DISCUS and Kentucky Distiller's Association.  We shared perspective on what's up ahead for this industry.  My focus was you -- the craft spirits producer.  I outlined some of the heavy business challenges you face but made clear that the craft spirits distiller -- YOU -- are not going away.  If anything, our DSP's will continue to grow.  So, make room on the shelf!


ACSA held our largest gathering to date of craft spirits producers, suppliers, guilds, and media at our 2016 Distiller's Convention and Vendor Trade Show.  Chicago was chilly but the warmth of the event memorable as we networked, learned, and collaborated together.  We offered more than 25 educational programs with attendees from over 35 states.

You were also represented at the 23rd Annual Symposium on Alcohol Beverage Law & Regulation offered by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.  The session was entitled: "Coping with Craft".  The regulators and administrators were incredibly interested with consensus reached on only one point:  craft is a burgeoning business that continues to build in each state.  (Did you know, as of April 3rd, TTB has issued 1896 DSP permits?  Incredible, right?)


And now it’s already April with three events needing your time and attention:          


If you haven't yet done so, VOTE for your next "class" of Board of Directors.  As a voting member, you should have received a ballot with all candidates listed HERE. If you did NOT receive a ballot, please request one immediately from  Voting closes on Monday, April 11th at midnight. Please cast your ballot -- let your voice be heard.


Thursday Senators Wyden and Blunt introduced the "Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act" as an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill.  We need to help build support in the Senate until the amendment is approved and the fight moves to the House.  Please contact your Senators with a call or email. 

(Click HERE to find your Senator's contact information).  Here is suggested language if you choose to email:

Dear Senator              ,
My name is XXX. I live in CITY, STATE and I work (OR MANAGE OR OWN) for NAME OF COMPANY, an independently owned distillery in PART OF THE STATE. I am writing to ask you to cosponsor and support the Wyden-Blunt amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill, which lowers the excise tax burden on small distilleries, wineries, and breweries. This legislation will greatly help small business in these fast growing industries, spur job growth, and allow us to devote more capital to expanding our business. The craft distilling industry drives tourism to our region, with more visitors coming daily to our distillery, which means they are frequenting our restaurants and staying in our hotels in the XXX area.  And, agriculture is also benefitted as we source grain from our local farmers.  It’s a small business that has immense local and state impact.

Please help small, independent businesses like NAME OF DSP HERE, and cosponsor and support this legislation.


Your Name

Your DSP



It’s finally here.  ACSA is launching its monthly webinar series.  Take advantage of our first program, offered for FREE, on April 12th at noon Pacific Time featuring a session on Basic Safety Programming by Payne West Loss Control.  Click HERE to register.

Bring your team together to learn the steps needed to protect person and property within your distillery.

Thank you for being a part of our ACSA team.  Looking forward to growing it and your business – together.



Margie A.S. Lehrman
Executive Director
                                                  P.O. Box 701414                                                   
                                         Louisville, KY  40270