Whisky Advocate

Distilled Spirits Council embraces craft distillers

February 23rd, 2010

I don’t usually talk about the business side of whiskey-making, but I thought this was worth mentioning. The Distilled Spirits Council is recognizing, and embracing, the efforts of craft distillers, which is nice to see (and well-deserved). They will now have a stronger, more unified voice, which I think will be beneficial to them. The details are below in the press release I just received.

Distilled Spirits Council Launches Craft Distiller

Membership for Small Producers

–Names Advisory Council Chaired by Anchor’s Fritz Maytag–

Washington, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) today announced a new Craft Distiller Affiliate Membership program designed to organize the growing number of small distilled spirits producers across the nation and alert them to public policy issues affecting the industry at every level of government.

In the last decade, the number of small distillers in the U.S. grew from a few dozen to more than two hundred today, now making an array of products from white spirits such as vodka and gin to wide varieties of liqueurs, aged whiskeys and brandies.

“The rapidly growing number of craft distillers in states across the nation represents an important grassroots base for communicating substantive messages about industry modernization, our strong marketing code and the important role distillers play in the hospitality industry,” said DISCUS President Peter Cressy. “Together, we can educate public officials and pursue positive policies that advance the interests of the hospitality industry and the jobs we create.”

The new membership group will be headed by an eleven member Advisory Council of distillers chaired by Fritz Maytag of San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling. As a leadership body, its role will be to coordinate communications with the DISCUS policy teams, and engage and activate small distillers in their respective regions.

Other members of the Advisory Council included: Scott Bush, Templeton Rye (IA); Robert Cassell, Philadelphia Distilling, (PA); Jess Graber, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (CO); Ted Huber, Huber Starlight Distillery (IN); Brett Joyce, Rogue Spirits, (OR); Marko Karakasevic, Charbay Distillery (CA); Brian McKenzie, Finger Lakes Distilling (NY); Guy Rehorst, Great Lakes Distillery (WI); Jorg Rupf, St. George Spirits (CA); and Rick Wasmund, Copper Fox Distillery (VA).

“I have long believed it is critically important for distillers of all sizes to work together to highlight the important and positive role we play in our communities,” said Chairman Maytag. “With the support of DISCUS’ public policy experts, small distillers can help ensure fair and equitable treatment for distilled spirits at the federal, state and local levels.”

The new craft distiller membership will be offered to producers under 40,000 nine-liter cases annually. They will receive numerous benefits, including a compendium of State Laws and Regulations; legislative newsletters; action alerts; consultations with DISCUS legal and regulatory experts; opportunities to showcase products at DISCUS-sponsored tasting events; ability to participate in the annual gala “Spirit of Mount Vernon” event; access to the annual industry economic briefing; and ability to participate in DISPAC.  DISCUS will also organize an annual Public Affairs Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington featuring briefings, Congressional visits and a reception featuring their products. 

For more information, contact Frank Coleman at DISCUS: 202-682-8840

9 Responses to “Distilled Spirits Council embraces craft distillers”

  1. sam k says:

    Yet another acknowledgment of the significance of our craft distillers, and an important recognition by DISCUS. This should further accelerate the momentum of the movement.

  2. Alex says:

    Small is the new big – I’m glad recognition of craft distilling is advancing.

  3. Sku says:

    It’s interesting that Templeton Rye is represented as I don’t believe they distill anything.

  4. Seth Nadel says:

    No surprise Fritz is leading the charge.

  5. sam k says:

    Good point, sku. I had the same thought and figured maybe Scott is actually getting into it.

  6. MrTH says:

    Good for DISCUS for reaching out to craft distillers. Too often, industry associations represent only the interests of large producers (SWA anybody?), and the little guys are ignored.

  7. ralfy says:

    … I read this article with interest as Scotland has no equivalent, at a time when an equivalent Organisation is required.
    There is a significant and rapid ‘shake-down’ going on between the Global multi-nationals who are investing heavily in the pursuit of better margins (profits) by investing in volume, computerised mass-production, G M ingredients and Nanotechnology applications, whilst small, artisan producers are the only ones available to preserve, protect and promote a genuine tradition of intrinsic quality.
    It’s a relatively simple situation.
    So let the consumer (or should I say ‘customer’) decide.

    Wake up Scotland !

  8. Neil Fusillo says:

    Now if only they’d help work to legalise home distilling the way they allow home brewing and wine making…

  9. […] The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is setting up an affiliate program for craft distillers. […]

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