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Just read this on John Hansell's blog...


Distilled Spirits Council Launches Craft Distiller

Membership for Small Producers

–Names Advisory Council Chaired by Anchor’s Fritz Maytag–

Washington, DC – 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.

For more information, contact Frank Coleman at DISCUS: 202-682-8840

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Thanks, Bryan...

DG Blackburn - ADI Staff member with his ear to the ground - forwarded the above press release to me at about noon today, so I called Frank Coleman at DISCUS to find-out what's up.

It's $500 per year for facilities making less than 40,000 cases (9 liter) per year.

Legislation and regulation affect producers large and small. ADI members have made great strides toward broadening privileges enjoyed by small distilleries in several states. Some of them are on the DISCUS Advisory Council...a new special interest group within DISCUS. Please note that DISCUS is a very different organization than ADI. DISCUS focuses on politics while ADI focuses on the craft.

Consider arguments by members who are now part of the Advisory Council who earlier posted their arguments here: http://adiforums.com/index.php?showtopic=803

...and if you're interested, contact Frank Coleman at the phone number above, and he will send you an invitation letter that reads like this:


Thank you for your interest in a new affiliate membership opportunity for Craft Distillers offered by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Inc. (DISCUS). This membership is available to small distillers selling less than 40,000 nine-liter cases annually.

The Distilled Spirits Council is a national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States. Since the repeal of Prohibition, DISCUS and its predecessor organizations have advocated on behalf of the distilled spirits industry on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues that impact the industry, its consumers, and its business partners in the hospitality industry. The association’s team of lobbyists, lawyers, scientists, economists and public affairs professionals works to support public policy that ensures and expands fair and equitable treatment of distilled spirits products and prevents burdensome taxation.

We invite you to join us in playing a major part in educating federal, state and local officials about the positive and responsible role that distillers, large and small, make in communities across the country. As a small business owner, employer and member of the hospitality industry, you have a unique perspective on issues affecting the industry and can play an important role in helping to pursue positive public policy.

The benefits of the Craft Distillers Membership include:

· The opportunity to participate with the nation’s largest distillers in fighting taxes and affecting state and federal public policy integral to our industry;

· An exclusive monthly electronic newsletter on emerging state and federal public policies and tax issues affecting the distilled spirits industry prepared by our legislative field representatives;

· Grassroots “Action Alerts” on state and federal legislative issues that require urgent action from our team of legislative and public affairs staff;

· A copy of the Summary of State Laws & Regulations Relating to Distilled Spirits, a compendium of beverage alcohol regulations covering trade practices, promotional activities, retail sales channels, taxes, licenses, and other areas of state regulation in DVD format ($150 value);

· An opportunity to participate in a DISCUS-organized annual Public Affairs Conference, featuring Congressional visits and a reception showcasing your products on Capitol Hill;

· Opportunities to showcase your brands at DISCUS-sponsored tastings events for public officials and opinion leaders across the country;

· Access to the annual distilled spirits industry’s Issue Briefing, Economic Review and Forecast conference call with key business media and Wall Street analysts;

· A free legal or regulatory consultation each year;

· A free international trade consultation each year;

· An opportunity to showcase your brands in emerging international markets at DISCUS-sponsored product promotion events throughout the world;

· An ability to participate in DISPAC, the distilled spirits industry’s political action committee that supports candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to the industry;

· An opportunity to support and participate in the “Spirit of Mount Vernon,” including an annual VIP reception and dinner gala at George Washington’s Historic Mount Vernon Estate with industry partners, Members of Congress, and representatives from the diplomatic corps;

· An opportunity to participate in a briefing on the DISCUS Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing with Council experts.

We appreciate your consideration in joining the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. With your support, we will continue our efforts to ensure fair and equitable treatment for distillers, uphold our strong commitment to responsible consumption of our products, and promote our proud heritage.

I would also like to note that Fritz Maytag of Anchor Distilling in San Francisco is the chairman of our Craft Distiller Advisory Council, and we are honored by his leadership.

The annual dues for the Craft Distiller Membership are $500 and final membership will be granted after approval by our Board of Directors. Please return the attached membership application with a check for your annual dues to the address below:

Distilled Spirits Council

1250 Eye Street, NW S. 400

Washington, DC 20005

Attn: Cheryl Hecht

Best regards,

Peter H. Cressy

President and CEO

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