Craft Spirits Weekly
Welcome to the 109th issue of Craft Spirits Weekly , a service dedicated to bringing you the news most important to the craft spirits distiller. Check your inbox every Thursday to find a curated selection of articles and news pieces from the American Craft Spirits Association.
Senators Wyden and Blunt Reintroduce Craft Beverage Modernization Act
The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate today with strong support from a broad group of industry trade associations including the spirits, beer, wine and cider sectors.
 
The legislation, which was first introduced in 2015 to recalibrate federal excise taxes and streamline regulations on alcohol beverage producers, was reintroduced in 2017 by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), garnering strong support from the majority of Congress as well as industry groups. Legislation that included a two-year provision of CBMTRA passed in December 2017 with backing from 56 senators. Senators Wyden and Blunt are once again co-sponsors of the bill upon its reintroduction today.
 
“People around the world enjoy Oregon wine, craft beer, cider and spirits—providing not only a serious source of home state pride but also a huge boon to our state’s economy,” Wyden said. “By modernizing burdensome rules and taxes for craft beverage producers, this legislation will level the playing field and allow these innovators to further grow and thrive.”

“The craft beverage industry is driven by small businesses that support thousands of jobs and contribute billions in economic output,” said Blunt. “This bill will remove tax and regulatory barriers that are making it harder for Missouri’s brewers, distillers, and winemakers to grow and compete. I’m encouraged by the strong, bipartisan support this measure had in the previous Congress and look forward to working with our colleagues to get it to the president’s desk.”
 
Leaders from the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), Brewers Association (BA), Beer Institute, WineAmerica, Wine Institute, Distilled Spirits Council and U.S. Association of Cider Makers agree that the legislation creates a more fair and equitable tax structure for beverage alcohol producers and their consumers. The legislation empowers these key economic players to continue to invest in their businesses and boost jobs across the country. 

"Federal excise tax reform has dramatically helped to stimulate craft spirits growth, and a permanent relief is critically important to securing the future of our industry,” added ACSA CEO Margie A.S. Lehrman. “As of August 2018, the number of active craft distillers in the U.S. had grown by 15.5% over the last year to nearly 2,000, yet without permanent and immediate reform, the stability of this vibrant industry is bound to be paralyzed. Without the certainty of a long-term reduction, it is impossible for any new or existing distillery to implement a business plan when the wide tax variable threatens the ability to hire new employees, purchase equipment, provide staff benefits, and continue to grow."
Constellation Acquires Stake in Rochester, N.Y.'s Black Button
Constellation Brands announced Tuesday that it had acquired a minority stake in craft spirits maker Black Button Distilling.The investment was made through Constellation’s venture capital group that invests in premium, emerging brands in categories that provide strong scalability, consumer appeal and a unique niche in the market. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. (Democrat & Chronicle) 
Room Block Closing Soon! Safety Management 101 in Orlando, Fla.
Don’t miss our next safety regional program which takes place in sunny Orlando, Florida on March 7 and 8, 2019. This program is presented by Industrial Safety & Training Services, which provides strategic safety and consulting services to chemical, petrochemical, education, public emergency responders, power generation, construction, distillery, automotive, warehousing, hospital, environmental, maritime, gas drilling, transportation, other commercial and industrial clients across the US.  We have secured a discount room rate of $159 per night at Hyatt Place Orlando/Lake Buena Vista. The room block closes on February 13 .

Topics covered will include:
  • Introduction to OSHA
  • Record keeping (injury and illness)
  • Differences between first aid/OSHA recordable
  • Requirements of written policies (what OSHA expects)
  • Hazard recognition
  • Elements of a safety management program
  • Regulatory training requirements
  • Auditing and assessment skills
  • General OSHA compliance

Here is what past registrants in Ohio, during the June 2018 program, are saying about Distillery Safety Management 101:

  • “I thought it was exceptionally well done and I learned a lot, coming back inspired, invigorated, and ready to make our workplace safer and more compliant. ISTS did an amazing job, I really can’t say enough.”
  • “I thought the training was extremely useful and I’d recommend it, along with any other ACSA seminar to anyone.”
Bently Heritage Opens in Nevada
Tiny Minden, Nevada, a short drive from Lake Tahoe near the California border, has just gotten its first craft spirits producer, Bently Heritage Estate Distillery. The start-up distillery is located in the Minden Flour Mill and Creamery buildings, a century-old site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Owners Christopher and Camille Bently restored the site to “state-of-the-art standards,” which included getting a LEED Gold certification. (The Whiskey Wash)
ACSA 6th Annual Convention & Vendor Trade Show in 3 Days!
There's still time to join fellow producers and other industry experts for the largest gathering of licensed craft spirits producers in the U.S. We'll be in Minneapolis, Minnesota February 10-12 with some cool pre-convention programs planned.
Baltimore Spirits Co. Expands Distribution to Illinois
Inspired to bring a culture of rye whiskey and spirits manufacturing back to Maryland and beyond, the Baltimore Spirits Co. announces expanded distribution into Illinois, with plans to continue growth in Louisiana and three other states throughout 2019. (BevNet)
Gate 11 Distillery Opens at Chattanooga Choo Choo
Fifty years ago, a traveler could arrive at Chattanooga's Terminal Station, now known as the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and head through Gate 11 to hop on their train. Now a tourist—or local—can walk up to Gate 11 and purchase a cocktail of their choosing and sit at a bar while resting their feet on a refurbished track rail. The new Gate 11 Distillery at the Choo Choo opened Friday in the former space, which will have a cocktail bar, tours and classes and provide a whole range of products, including gin, vodka, rum and whiskey, said owner Bill Lee. (Times Free Press)
Colorado's State 38 Distilling Launches Impeach Vodka
Craft distillery State 38 Distilling has released a new vodka that is inciting impassioned responses from both sides of the aisle. Impeach Vodka is made with real peach puree to imbue a rich fruity flavor to the smooth vodka spirit. (BevNet)
Fort Worth's Blackland to Open March 20
News of Blackland Distillery has been out there for a while, but according to a press release, it will open to the public on March 20. The distillery will make four small-batch spirits—a vodka, bourbon, gin and rye whiskey—and will have a full-service cocktail bar and tasting room. (Dallas-Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) 
Peat Week from Seattle's Westland Returns
Snagging a bottle of Westland’s annual Peat Week is no easy feat—no matter the bottling year. Try as you might, there are only two things that can help you when you’re dead set on acquiring this Westland prize of a bottle: an extraordinary stroke of good luck or very useful connections in the spirits world. (Forbes)
Twin Creeks Distillery Opening Tasting Room in Rocky Mount, Va.
A Franklin County distillery plans to move into downtown Rocky Mount, Virginia in March. Twin Creeks Distillery, previously located in Henry, has signed a lease for approximately 1,200 square feet in the Jones Building beside the Harvester Performance Center, said Susan Carter, marketing manager. (The Roanoke Times)
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