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Distilled Dispatch November 9, 2016


November 9, 2016 | Volume 1, Issue 14
Kraig Naasz

President’s Perspective:
Looking Ahead After a Stunning Election


In a stunning election, Donald Trump channeled the frustration of white males—both working class and college educated—white women without college degrees and rural Americans who feel as though they have been left behind to capture the presidency.  
He also fared better than expected among Latino and African American voters by tapping into a general resentment of the establishment.

On the other side, despite boasting a resume that made her one of the most qualified presidential candidates in U.S. history, Hillary Clinton was unable to buck the historic tendency among Americans to change things up.
In fact, Clinton would have been only the third U.S. President, and the first Democrat, to win a presidential election following a full two-term President from the same party.  The last time that happened was when George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988 to succeed Ronald Reagan.
On the Congressional level, federal lawmakers must now shift from their respective hard-fought campaigns to governing either in conflict or concert with the nation’s 45th President-elect.  National security, foreign affairs, tax policy and, presumably, at least one Supreme Court nomination will take center stage in the coming year.

In the nearer term, Congress is scheduled to return next week for a lame duck session, which will be shaped and perhaps stunted by the election’s stunning results.  Had there been a different outcome, Congress might have considered the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the nomination of Merrick Garland to the High Court.  Instead, only legislation to fund the federal government is considered “must pass” during the lame duck since the current funding bill expires on Dec. 9.
Given the election’s outcome and knowing Congressional leaders hope to conclude the lame duck session by Dec. 16, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to deal with other business.   

Be that as it may, we are actively advocating for consideration of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act before year’s end.  This important legislation, which would reduce the federal excise tax on spirits, beer and wine, has now garnered the sponsorship of a majority of both bodies of Congress.
In a positive development, many of our champions for this legislation, including U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Senator-elect Todd Young (R-Ind.), won hard-fought races and will return to Congress to fight for much needed tax reform for our sector. 
As we look to the year ahead, the Republicans control both houses of Congress knowing that their slim control of the Senate could further improve during the mid-term elections of 2018.
As you’ll recall, Senate Democrats had a favorable advantage heading into the 2016 election as they only had to defend 10 seats to the Republicans' 24 seats.  However, they appear to have picked up just two seats—with New Hampshire and Louisiana still to be decided.
In 2018, Senate Democrats will have to defend 25 seats to the Republicans’ eight.  Five of those Democratically-held seats are in deep red states—states carried by the past three Republican nominees for President.
Of the eight seats Republicans will be defending, seven are safely red.  Only Nevada represents a potential pick-up opportunity for Senate Democrats, but Sen. Dean Heller has won four statewide elections and remains very popular in this blue state.
Having said that, Republicans will need to take care to not fall victim to the midterm jinx, because the first midterm election can be rather rough on the President’s political party. 
In the midterm election of President Obama’s first term, Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats.  President Bill Clinton’s first midterm election saw Democrats lose 54 House seats and eight Senate seats.  
President George W. Bush was the exception.  His party gained eight House seats and two Senate seats in 2002, although the national reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may help explain those results.
Clearly, there are deep divisions throughout the electorate and even within both political parties, which will complicate President-elect Trump’s efforts to govern.  The first 100 days of the Trump Presidency will be telling to say the least.  We look forward to working with the Trump transition team and Congressional leaders to ensure the interests of the distilled spirits sector are front and center.

U.S. Trade Rep Touts Benefits of TPP to Spirits Sector

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman recently met with Tennessee distillers to discuss the positive impact of international trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement on the U.S. distilled spirits sector.

Ambassador Froman toured Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery and then held a round table discussion with distillers and media, resulting in coverage from the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Journal, Associated Press and Nashville Public Radio.

Tennessee is the leading state for U.S. spirits exports, accounting for nearly 44 percent of total U.S. spirits exports in 2015 and 64 percent of total whiskey exports. In 2015, whiskeys exported from Tennessee were valued at $691 million, ranking whiskey as the second largest agricultural export from the state.

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

Charlie Nelson of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery leads a tasting and tour for Ambassador Froman and the Council’s Christine LoCascio and David Culver.

The Hill Names Council’s Naasz, Gorman & Culver Top Lobbyists for 2016

The Hill, one of Washington, D.C.’s premier publications covering the Administration, Congress and politics, named the Distilled Spirits Council’s Kraig R. Naasz, Mark Gorman and David Culver to its 2016 Association Top Lobbyists List.
The publication cited the Council lobbyists’ effort to reduce the federal excise tax for spirits, wine and beer as a reason for the honor. Currently, 51 U.S. Senators and 284 U.S. Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the Council-backed Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.
For more information, please contact Council Senior Vice President for Government Relations Mark Gorman at (202) 682-8866 or


Council Hosts Spirits Tasting at Bloomberg D.C. Bureau Launch

The Distilled Spirits Council recently hosted a spirits tasting for top reporters during the Bloomberg News D.C. Bureau launch. The Council highlighted a wide-array of premium products and brands throughout the evening.

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

Council Senior Vice President Frank Coleman and Managing Editor of Bloomberg News Washington Craig Gordon at Bloomberg’s DC Bureau launch.

OECD Modeling Methodology Questioned

Health policy experts recently took part in a key OECD meeting on “The Economics of Prevention,” and exchanged views on health and innovation policy with selected permanent delegations to the OECD.

Council Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs Sam Zakhari pointed out the pitfalls of using a microsimulation model to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and questioned the appropriateness of including epidemiological studies.

With several governments contemplating population-based controls for foods they deem unhealthy, the health policy experts sought to underscore how much the business sector has done to address the potential health impacts of its products as well as consumer lifestyle choices.

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

Zakhari Addresses 2016 International Gala of NOFAS

Council Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs Sam Zakhari recently addressed the 2016 International Gala of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). NOFAS is dedicated to eliminating birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and improving the quality of life for those individuals and families impacted. The Distilled Spirits Council supports and sponsors the efforts of NOFAS in educating pregnant women to abstain from consuming alcohol.

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


November 10
Distilled Spirits Council
Executive Committee Meeting
Washington, D.C.
December 13
Distilled Spirits Council
Board of Directors Winter Meeting
Washington, D.C.
January 7-11
NABCA Board Meeting
Miami, Fla.

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