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Understanding Moderation

Part of responsible drinking is understanding that a standard drink of beer, distilled spirits and wine each contains the same amount of alcohol. It's not what you drink, it's how much that counts.

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Distilled Dispatch December 20, 2016

 

December 20, 2016 | Volume 1, Issue 15
 
Kraig Naasz

President’s Perspective: 
Good Tidings 

 

As my first year with the Distilled Spirits Council comes to a close, I’m pleased to share some good tidings with you.  Our advocacy efforts in support of the spirits sector in 2016 marked yet another productive and successful year.
 
As the New Year got underway, we heralded the issuance of a new set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans for its inclusion of drink equivalents relative to beer, wine and spirits and reaffirmation that alcohol consumed in moderation “can help individuals achieve healthy eating patterns.”
 
We also pressed the case for federal excise tax cuts by securing a majority of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as cosponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act.  We will welcome a new Administration and Congress in 2017 well positioned to achieve federal excise tax relief as part of efforts to overhaul our nation’s tax code.
 
Long a hallmark of the Council’s efforts on behalf of its members, we continued to thwart new tax increases and improve market access for the spirits sector at the local and state level. 
 
We were active in defeating tax increases in 10 states, which threatened to saddle the spirits sector with an additional tax burden of $180 million.  If these taxes had been approved and passed on to consumers, they would have reduced supplier revenues by $119 million and retail sales by a whopping $540 million.  Additionally, just late last week, we succeeded in soundly defeating a 2 percent drink tax in Boston.
 
Perhaps our most impressive achievement of the year was bringing disparate parties together and brokering a grocery sales compromise in Colorado.  Faced with a beer-and-wine-only ballot initiative, the Council successfully facilitated a legislative compact that gradually phases in the sale of beer, wine and spirits in grocery stores.  Had the original ballot measure been adopted by the state’s voters, the reduced foot traffic, consumer substitution and reduced outlet density would have cost spirits suppliers $27 million annually.

We also achieved 17 wet/dry election victories that increased access to spirits at bars, restaurants and retail establishments, allowed stores to open for business on Sundays and permitted the sale of spirits during brunch.  In total, 1.6 adult million consumers are benefitting from our efforts to improve their access to distilled spirits.

These are just a few notable highlights from a year that also saw extended sales hours, additional distillery sales, expanded tastings, marketing improvements and increased outlets in localities across the country.
 
As we bring this year to a close, I wish to extend my special thanks to our team at the Distilled Spirits Council and my colleagues at our fellow beverage alcohol trade associations for welcoming me to our industry.  Additionally, I’d like to express my gratitude to Council Chair Jim Clerkin of Moet Hennessy and the other members of our board and organization for their counsel and support throughout the year.  
 
I look forward to building upon our shared success in 2016 to foster an even more favorable marketplace for the spirits sector in 2017 and beyond.

Cheers and happy holidays!
 
 

Boston City Council Rejects Massive New Hospitality Tax

The Boston City Council recently rejected a substantial citywide tax increase on the sale of alcohol – beer, wine and spirits – that would have crippled Boston businesses.  The 10-3 vote against a 2 percent drink tax followed significant legislative outreach and education by the Council, a grassroots effort in conjunction with the No Boston Tax coalition and public support from Boston editorial boards.

For more information, please contact Council Regional Vice President Jay Hibbard at (207) 831-8285 or jhibbard@distilledspirits.org.

Council Testifies on Flexible Pricing; Premieres I, Whiskey in Harrisburg

Council Chief Economist David Ozgo and Council Vice President of State Government Relations David Wojnar recently testified before the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee that consumers would benefit from the PLCB convening an industry working group before implementing any new pricing structure.

The PLCB had previously stated its intention to institute flexible pricing, which would effectively negate any discounts offered by suppliers and prevent consumers from enjoying lower prices.  At the hearing, the PLCB indicated it would be reaching out to suppliers to explain their position.

The Council also screened the short film I, Whiskey during a welcome back reception for lawmakers in Harrisburg.  Attendees included the Liquor Control Committee co-chairs, state lawmakers and industry partners.

For more information, please contact Council Vice President of State Government Relations David Wojnar at (774) 417-6909 or dwojnar@distilledspirits.org.

Council Chief Economist David Ozgo and Council Vice President of State Government Relations David Wojnar explain the negative economic consequences of implementing flexible pricing before the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee.
Council Vice President of State Government Relations David Wojnar with Pennsylvania Liquor Control Committee Chair Adam Harris at the screening of I, Whiskey.

Market Access Trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai Huge Success

The Distilled Spirits Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture under its Market Access Program (MAP), recently conducted a series of successful American spirits promotions in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The Distilled Spirits Council hosted a booth at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair that featured an array of products from the Council’s membership.  The Consul General of the United States to Hong Kong and Macau Kurt Tong toured the booth and provided opening remarks during the Council’s American Whiskey tasting and seminar, which attracted approximately 60 attendees.

The Council also conducted an American Whiskey tasting, seminar and cocktail demonstration in Shanghai November 14, which drew approximately 100 key media representatives and influential mixologists and retailers.  Director of the Agricultural Trade Office at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai Valerie Brown provided opening remarks and a leading Shanghai-based mixologist conducted the tasting and cocktail demonstration.  CNBC and several Chinese publications covered the events.

For more information, please contact Council International Trade Specialist Robert Maron at (202) 682-8826 or rmaron@distilledspirits.org.

Consul General of the United States to Hong Kong and Macau Kurt Tong and Director of the Agricultural Trade Office in Hong Kong Melinda Meador tour the Council’s booth at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair. 
Director of the Agricultural Trade Office at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai Valerie Brown provides opening remarks at an American Whiskey demonstration.
International

2016 Holiday Media Event Attracts Top-Tier Media

The Council recently held its annual holiday media event in New York City at a trendy new cocktail bar, The VNYL, featuring the world’s leading spirits brands from 12 member companies (Agave Loco, Beam-Suntory, Brown-Forman, Campari, Constellation, Diageo, Edrington, Moet Hennessy, Patron, Pernod Ricard, Remy Cointreau and Sidney Frank).

Eighty-five top-tier business, lifestyle, health and trade media toasted the spirits sector as they sampled spirits and cocktails across every category.  Notable attendees included; Bloomberg Senior Executive Editor Marty Schenker, New York Times Digital Political Editor Dagny Salas, and The Street CEO David Callaway, among other editors, producers and writers.

For more information, please contact Council Director of Public Relations Kelley McDonough at (845) 494-3784 or kelley@distilledspirits.org.

2016 Distilled Spirits Council Holiday Media Event
Council Senior Vice President Frank Coleman with Osocalis Distillery’s Dan Farber (l) and Daily Meal Editor in Chief Colman Andrews and his daughter (r)
Council Vice President of Public Affairs Lisa Hawkins (center) with trade reporters Francine Cohen (l) and Amanda Schuster (r)
Entertainment Tonight producers enjoying cocktails at the 2016 Holiday Media Event
International

Agricultural Export Development Conference Features Discussion of Internal Regulatory Impact

Council Senior Vice President for International Affairs Christine LoCascio recently discussed the emerging trends in trade related to the distilled spirits sector during the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Conference in Baltimore.

LoCascio presented an overview of the regulatory interference and mission creep increasingly seen among international organizations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, among others.

For more information, please contact Council Senior Vice President for International Affairs Christine LoCascio at (202) 682-8894 or clocascio@distilledspirits.org.

International

Council and News Media Alliance Partner Toast Campaign Press

The Distilled Spirits Council, in conjunction with the News Media Alliance, recently hosted an event toasting the work of the political and campaign press following the 2016 elections.  The Council supplied an array of member products and had mixologists craft high-end cocktails for more than 150 top reporters.  

For more information, please contact Council Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Frank Coleman at (202) 682-8840 or fcoleman@distilledspirits.org.

Council Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Frank Coleman with Republican corporate consultant Juleanna Glover and News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern.

Holiday Event Generates Fox Business Trend Coverage

Fox Business filmed a holiday whiskey guide segment featuring Council-member products at The VNYL, with New York City’s leading mixologist Gareth Howells. The segment highlighted top whisk(e)y categories including American, Irish, Canadian, Scotch and Japanese.
 
Watch the video segment here.

For more information, please contact Council Director of Public Relations Kelley McDonough at (845) 494-3784 or kelley@distilledspirits.org.

International
Council Vice Presidents for Government Relations Kelly Poulsen and David Culver join U.S. Representative John Duncan (R-TN) and Second Secretary for Scottish Affairs at the British Embassy Kate Perkins for a St. Andrew's Day celebration on Capitol Hill with the Friends of Scotland Caucus.
Council Vice President of State Government Relations David Wojnar is joined by Heather Calio of WSWA and Bill Helfferich of Pernod Ricard USA during the I, Whiskey screening and reception in Pennsylvania.
Council Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Frank Coleman discusses Japanese whiskey with the Ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Kenichiro Sasae at the official residence for the birthday of the Emperor of Japan.
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
Calendar

January 7-11
NABCA Board Meeting
Miami, Fla.
 
February 23
Distilled Spirits Council
Annual Board Meeting
Palm Beach, Fla.

 
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