More than 200 distillers from across the country gathered virtually for the distilled spirits industry’s annual Public Policy Conference, co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).
“Over the years, our policy conference has resulted in tremendous achievements for our great industry, including the passage of historic legislation reducing the federal excise tax for distillers and the lifting of debilitating tariffs on American Whiskey exports,” said DISCUS President & CEO Chris Swonger. “Working together with ACSA, this conference has become the top forum for distillers to engage with their members of Congress to discuss their concerns about issues impacting the industry and share their stories about the significant contributions they make in their communities.”
Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirits Association added, “We’re thrilled to join our industry colleagues in Washington as together we advocate for the needs of more than 2,300 craft distilleries across the country. We look forward to liaising with our elected officials to communicate the positive steps our government can take to advance the interests of our community of small businesses.”
This year’s conference featured special guest speakers Rep. Dan Newhouse, member of the House Appropriations Committee and Sen. Gary Peters, Chair of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Representative Newhouse spoke about his co-sponsorship of the USPS Shipping Equity Act (H.R. 3287/S. 1663), legislation permitting the United States Postal Service to ship beverage alcohol where permissible by state and local law, and its importance to consumers, distilleries and the financial stability of USPS.
As part of the conference, distillers from nearly all 50 states participated in more than 110 virtual congressional visits with their home state legislators to discuss the importance of distilleries to their local communities and the national economy, and policy issues impacting the industry.
Together, ACSA and DISCUS presented the inaugural Spirits Humanitarian Award to World Central Kitchen, chef José Andrés’ not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of humanitarian, climate, and community crises. Karen Peraza, Manager, Corporate & Foundation Relations at World Central Kitchen, joined to accept the award on behalf of the organization, and discussed their recent relief efforts in Kentucky and beyond.
Conference attendees included distillers, owners or operators of distilled spirits plants, sales teams, and spirits industry suppliers.
The conference was sponsored by Arryved, Wine & Spirits Shippers Association, Five x 5 Solutions and Thoroughbred Spirits Group.