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Understanding Moderation

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There's no beverage of moderation, only the practice of moderation.

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Distilled Dispatch May 18 2016


May 18, 2016 | Volume 1, Issue 7
Kraig Naasz

The Recipe for Shared Success

The Colorado General Assembly last week made history in adopting the Colorado Liquor Compromise (SB 197), which modernizes the state’s beverage alcohol laws by allowing the sale of spirits, wine and beer in grocery stores.  While the legislation awaits Governor John Hickenlooper’s signature, we are optimistic that Colorado consumers will soon have greater choice and convenience.

The experience in Colorado offers a testament to the value of bringing all stakeholders to the table when addressing a challenging and complex public policy issue. 

Following several years of failed campaigns, a new push was launched in October 2015 to allow wine and full-strength beer sales in grocery stores, but not spirits.  Unhappy about the prospects of that potential outcome, the Distilled Spirits Council undertook a collaborative effort to bring together allied grocers, package store owners, local producers and wholesalers to craft a compromise that would benefit all interested parties while serving the needs of the state’s consumers.

Together, we worked with Senator Pat Steadman who crafted a strong and fair bill.
Ultimately the coalition that backed the compromise included the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, Coloradans for Safety, Korean Licensed Beverage Association, Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association, Colorado Distillers Guild, Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology, Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Colorado and the Colorado Beer Distributors Association.

Of course, none of this would have been possible had our members not opted to authorize the resources needed to better inform ourselves of the landscape and possible pathways to success, commit their people to the front lines in Denver and, at every level of their companies, personally engage other stakeholders.
As a result of our efforts, the legislation benefits both small and large suppliers, grocers, retailers and, importantly, Colorado’s consumers.  It received strong bipartisan support in the Senate with a vote of 31-4-0 and the House of Representatives with a vote of 57-7-1.  

Our shared success in modernizing Colorado’s beverage alcohol laws is a testament to the benefits of working together to find an equitable solution.  We hope and expect the Governor will come to the same conclusion and sign SB 197 into law.

Distilled Spirits Council Helps Broker Deal for Spirits, Wine and Beer Sales in Colorado Grocery Stores

The Colorado Legislature last week passed historic legislation (SB 197), which modernizes Colorado’s alcohol laws by allowing the sale of spirits, wine and beer in grocery stores.

A Council-led effort helped bring together allied grocers, package store owners, local producers and wholesalers to craft a compromise to modernize Colorado’s alcohol marketplace. 

Among the key points of the legislation is that each grocery store chain will be allowed to have a total of 20 liquor stores licenses over the course of the next 20 years, compared to a single license today. As part of the compromise, a grocery store chain must first purchase all current licenses for any liquor stores within a 1,500-foot radius of a grocery store before the grocery store is able to receive a license. If there are no retail liquor licenses within the 1,500-foot radius, the grocery store must still purchase two retail liquor licenses within the local jurisdiction before being allowed to have a liquor license.

The bill is awaiting the signature of Governor John Hickenlooper.

For more information, please contact Council Regional Vice President Dale Szyndrowski at (214) 914-8865 or

Bottle Deposit Expansion Defeated in Connecticut

In the final days of the session, the Democratic Caucus of the Connecticut General Assembly put forward a proposal to expand the existing Connecticut bottle deposit law to include wine and spirits bottles. A Council-led coalition met with Assembly leadership and issued strong letters of objection to the Speaker of the House and Senate President. The letters, which were also circulated to media, detailed the significant increased costs to suppliers, wholesalers and retailers and reminded leadership of its 2015 pledge to not increase taxes or fees on Connecticut businesses.

Governor Malloy stood with our coalition in opposing the expansion of the bottle deposit bill, and instead proposed a repeal of the state's minimum bottle pricing scheme for spirits and wine. Both provisions were ultimately scrapped and the Assembly last week adjourned without reaching a budget agreement.

The legislature has reconvened for a special session to consider a new budget proposal,which is unlikely to include the bottle deposit provision.

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


Register Today for Distilled Spirits Council Public Policy Conference

Make sure to register for the Distilled Spirits Council’s 2016 Public Policy Conference, which will take place June 7-8 in Washington, D.C. The conference is co-hosted by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), and members of the Council and ACSA are invited to participate.

The program will include an economic overview of the spirits sector by Council Chief Economist David Ozgo and a panel discussion with TTB Administrator John Manfreda and his senior staff on how to correct common filing errors.

The Distilled Spirits Political Action Committee (DISPAC) breakfast, held in conjunction with the Public Policy Conference, will feature keynote speaker Ron Wyden (D-OR), the lead sponsor of legislation to reduce the federal excise tax on spirits, wine and beer.

In addition to an informative lineup of speakers, distillers will head to Capitol Hill to conduct meetings with their members of Congress. Those meetings will focus on pushing for a reduction of the federal excise tax on spirits; stressing the importance of trade legislation in bringing American spirits to international markets; and conveying the positive economic impact the spirits category contributes to the U.S. economy at the federal, state and local level.

Please complete this form to register.

For more information, please contact Council Vice President of Government Relations Michele Famiglietti at (202) 682-8819 or

Public Affairs

Council CEO Meets with HHS Assistant Secretary on World Health Issues 

Distilled Spirits President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz last week met with Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to discuss international alcohol and health policies.

The meeting focused on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA), the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use, Economics and Public Health Policy, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

For more information, please contact Council Senior Vice President Sam Zakhari at (202) 682-8837 or

Industry Relations

Council’s Advertising Code Held Up as Model at Better Business Bureau Conference

Distilled Spirits Council General Counsel Lynne Omlie recently participated in a panel discussion on successful models of industry self-regulation at the 2016 Better Business Conference in Washington, D.C. Omlie highlighted the effectiveness of the Council’s Code of Responsible Practices through case studies of previous complaint decisions by the Council's Code Review Board. First adopted in 1934, the Code has been pointed to as a model by the Federal Trade Commission and has been commended on numerous occasions by regulators, industry watchdogs and the media. 

For more information, please contact Council General Counsel Lynne Omlie at (202) 682-8824 or

Industry Relations
Distilled Spirits Council President Kraig R. Naasz meets with Merle Lindsey, Chairman Rob Patridge, Steve Marks and Brian Flemming of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
Industry Relations

Gooding Appointed to ASAE Council

Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration Jean Gooding has been appointed to the Finance & Business Operations Section Council of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The ASAE Council promotes professional development and peer networking related to financial, human resources and administration/operations management issues. 

For more information, please contact Council Senior Vice President Finance & Administration Jean Gooding at (202) 681-8829 or

Distilled Spirits Council Vice President of Government Relations David Culver hosts a tequila tasting for Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA).

May 20-23
NABCA 79th Annual Conference
Orlando, Fla.
May 21

Tennessee Whiskey Festival
Chattanooga, Tenn. 
June 7-8

Distilled Spirits Council
Public Policy Conference
Washington, D.C.

July 19-24
Tales of the Cocktail
New Orleans, La.


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