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Distilled Dispatch May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017 | Volume 2, Issue 4
Kraig Naasz

President’s Perspective: Spirited Community  

It was recently my privilege to represent the Distilled Spirits Council at the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 74th Annual Convention & Exposition. While everyone enjoyed hearing from Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace as the convention’s keynote speaker, the biggest highlight for me was hearing immediate-past Council Chair Gerry Ruvo accept the Sidney Frank Innovation Award.

As presented by Mast-Jägermeister’s Jeff Popkin, the WSWA Educational Foundation honored Gerry for his exceptional contributions to the spirits sector and noteworthy philanthropy and community service. The award is named for Sidney Frank, a leading innovator and marketer who also set records for philanthropic contributions and service.

As Gerry pointed out in his remarks, he was particularly proud to receive such a prestigious honor because of the list of luminaries in the sector that accepted the honor before him. The inclusive nature of our companies was on full display as Gerry went on to praise Sidney Frank for his determination, innovation and generosity before describing the admiration he had for his many colleagues in the audience and the industry. 

As Gerry highlighted the generosity of those in the audience, and members of the spirits sector in general, his heartfelt remarks underscored the spirit of community and congeniality that distinguishes our sector from other industries.  

Gerry provided a thoughtful take on the need to share your time, experience, knowledge and caring when building the relationships necessary to succeed long-term in business. I enjoyed his presentation immensely and wish to add our congratulations to Gerry on this much-deserved recognition.
WSWA Chairman Carmine Martignetti, Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace, WSWA President & CEO Craig Wolf and Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz pose backstage at the WSWA 74th Annual Convention.

Governor McAuliffe Joins Council in Launching 10th Anniversary Celebration of George Washington’s Distillery Reopening

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently joined representatives from the Distilled Spirits Council and Mount Vernon at a special event to launch a yearlong celebration of the 10th anniversary of the reopening of George Washington’s Distillery.

The event featured a ceremonial bill signing by Governor McAuliffe declaring George Washington’s Rye Whiskey the official spirit of the Commonwealth, and an exclusive spirits tasting for business, political and lifestyle media attending the event.

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

Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz discusses the historical significance of having George Washington as the father of distilling in America.
Governor Terry McAuliffe salutes the growing Virginia distilling community and names George Washington’s Rye Whiskey the official state spirit.
Virginia Delegate Paul Krizek, Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin, Governor Terry McAuliffe, GW Distillery Master Distiller Steve Bashore, Mount Vernon President & CEO Curt Viebranz, Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz and Virginia Delegate Scott Surovell stand in front of George Washington’s Distillery with the newly named state spirit.

Council Hosts “Toast to the First Amendment” Reception During White House Correspondents Dinner Weekend  

The Council hosted hundreds of top-tier journalists and other guests the night before the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner at an event featuring signature cocktails and a rare spirits tasting. Co-hosted by Real Clear Politics, the National Restaurant Association and the Beer Institute, our highly successful event kicked off the weekend and was covered by several Washington, D.C., publications including Politico and Roll Call.

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

Beer Institute President & CEO Jim McGreevy and Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz share a Toast to the First Amendment.
Patrón Spirits Vice President of Corporate Communications Greg Cohen with Real Clear Politics Managing Editor Emily Goodin.

Distilled Spirits Council Commends JobsOhio for Supplier Reconciliation Payments 

The Distilled Spirits Council worked closely with JobsOhio Beverage System (JOBS) and the Ohio Division of Liquor Control (DLC) and the NABCA Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) to ensure full reconciliation and payment to suppliers during the warehouse transition. 

Ohio is an important spirits market and the Council will continue to work with the state and its contractors to create a robust spirits market that serves the consumer with a great selection and value.

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


Reporters Travel on American Whiskey Trail 

One dozen top-tier international and U.S. journalists, representing publications such as Town & Country, New York Daily News, Men’s Health, Maxim and Toronto Star, joined us for a tour of whiskey making along the American Whiskey Trail.
The six-day journey, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program, kicked off at George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon. The tour included visits to Bulleit, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel, as well as a dinner hosted by Pernod Ricard and Smooth Ambler.
The journalists also met several small distillers and made stops at Vendome Copper & Brass, Brown-Forman Cooperage and Keeneland Racetrack.  The international journalists participating in the tour represented Canada, China, France, Spain and the Netherlands.  
For more information please contact Council Director of Public Relations Kelley McDonough at (845) 494-3784 or

American Whiskey Trail media attend a Smooth Ambler and Pernod Richard hosted dinner at Proof on Main in Louisville with Smooth Ambler Head Distiller John Little. 
Seventh-generation Master Distiller Fred Noe hosts U.S. and international media at the Jim Beam Distillery. 

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Passes Important Liquor Bill

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed Council-backed legislation that would expand the number of outlets permitted to sell spirits in Pennsylvania.

The spirits legislation, HB 438 and HB 991, allows limited off-premise spirits sales in restaurant licenses and creates additional off-premise outlets, known as “franchise licenses,” for wine and spirits.

According to an economic analysis by the Council, adding 900 spirits outlets would net the state $100 million in additional revenue.

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

WSWA President & CEO Craig Wolf, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz at a Bourbon Caucus reception ahead of the Kentucky Derby.

Council Joins Coalition to Engage International Organizations

The Council is participating in the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) newly-launched coalition Engaging America’s Global Leadership (EAGL). The coalition, whose membership includes both cross-sector and sector-specific industry associations representing key segments of the economy, was created to address a wave of activities at U.S.-funded international organizations that are undermining U.S. manufacturing and jobs.

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

Representatives from the Indian Government Tour Distilleries

The Council, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recently hosted officials from the Indian government for an educational tour of the production processes and the regulation of the alcohol sector in the United States.

India is in the process of finalizing its comprehensive mandatory alcohol regulation, which includes product standards and labeling requirements. Council staff worked closely with Brown-Forman and Beam Suntory to coordinate visits to the Woodford Reserve and Jim Beam distilleries for the representatives.

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

U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Affairs Officer Barrett Bumpas, Council International Trade Specialist Robert Maron, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Deputy Secretary Ashish Vinayakrao Gawai and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Advisor (Standards) Kumar Anil tour Woodford Reserve Distillery.
The Council hosted representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and officials from the Indian government at a reception in the Council’s offices in Washington, D.C.

Florida Legislature Passes “Take Down the Wall” Legislation

The Florida Legislature recently passed Council-backed legislation to allow spirits sales in grocery stores.

Known as the “take down the wall” bill, the legislation allows spirits to be sold alongside wine and beer in grocery stores. Currently, retailers must segregate spirits into a side store separated by a wall, inconveniencing consumers.

The bill currently awaits consideration by Florida Governor Rick Scott who has until midnight Wednesday, May 24, to act. Absent a veto, Florida would become the 28th state to allow the sale of spirits, wine and beer in large retail locations such as grocery stores and big-box retailers.

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

Oregon Liquor Control Commission Plans Outlet Expansion

The Distilled Spirits Council recently lauded the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC) effort to significantly increase the number of spirits outlets by considering new and innovative retail settings.
This newest phase of the OLCC’s outlet expansion is critical to better serving 14 counties in central, eastern and northeastern Oregon. As outlined by the OLCC, expanding spirits sales into grocery stores and other nontraditional retail settings will better serve consumers in Oregon.
The spirits business is a critical part of the Oregon economy and hospitality sector, providing nearly 15,000 jobs in the state.

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


U.S. Representative John Rutherford Tours St. Augustine Distillery 

St. Augustine Distillery recently hosted U.S. Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) for a distillery tour and to discuss the benefits of lowering the federal excise tax on distilleries of all sizes. The Florida Craft Distillers Guild is actively courting members of the Florida delegation to support the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 747/S. 236).

For more information, please contact Council Vice President of Government Relations Kelly Poulsen at (202) 682-8831 or

St. Augustine Distillery CEO Philip McDaniel hosted Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) and his Deputy District Director Chris Miller on a distillery tour.

May is National Tavern Month 

May is Tavern Month, and the Council is joining with our industry partners, including the American Beverage Licensees, to celebrate America’s historic tradition of hospitality. Since 1953, Tavern Month has served to support local hospitality businesses, promote the responsible service and enjoyment of beverage alcohol, and educate the public about the economic engine formed by the tens of thousands of on-premise beverage licensees throughout the United States.

Direct retail alcohol sales in on-premise, licensed establishments account for as many as 1.41 million jobs; $35.9 billion in wages and benefits; and more than $76 billion in economic output according to the 2016 Economic Impact Study of America’s Beer, Wine & Spirits Retailers. When including all sales by on-premise, full-service restaurants and drinking places, those numbers climb to 5.66 million jobs; $136.7 billion in wages and benefits; and more than $275 billion in economic impact.

Please visit the American Beverage Licensees website for more information.


June 20 & 21
Distilled Spirits Council Annual Public Policy Conference
Washington, D.C.

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