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.