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NEW YORK NEW YORK STATE DISTILLERS GUILD The New York State Distillers Guild opened 2018 with our annual two-day meeting held just outside of our state’s capital, Albany, NY. With 30 of our member distilleries present, we welcomed the addition of our three new board members, Richard Barret—Black Button Distilling, Brian Facquet—Prohibition Distillery, and Louise Newsome—Olde York Farm. As of February 1st, registration and sample collection is open for our Inaugural New York Distilled Spirits Competition. The competition is open to all New York distillers

PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA DISTILLERS GUILD The PA Distillers Guild was able to successfully ward off legislation that would have been detrimental to the direct sales capabilities of its membership. In January, the Guild organized and held its first ever “Legislative Drive” to the state capital. We

VIRGINIA VIRGINIA DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION The Virginia Distillers Association (VDA) is in the midst of a very busy legislative season. This year’s General Assembly Session has brought about many twists and turns that will hopefully render positive fiscal impacts to VA DSPs. Bills that we are following closely include SB803/HB536, which if passed, will allow VA DSPs to keep the 69% state-imposed markup on all distillery store sales. SB486/HB654 focuses primarily on policy efforts, including: opening distillery stores (to be amended to include all ABC government stores) at 10am on Sundays, the ability to utilize a specified percentage of


and will be awarding the Governor’s Cup to the best spirit made in New York State along with first, second, and third medals in over twenty categories. To be eligible for inclusion in this competition, New York State distillers must be a member of our guild in good standing. The judging will begin late April, and NYSDG will announce results and awards at an event to be held in New York City in July. New York State has one of the highest distilled spirit excise tax rates in the country, with beer, wine and cider being offered production tax credits that in some cases eliminate all required excise tax payments. Much of our lobbying efforts this season will be spent seeking parity with our state’s other burgeoning beverage producers for this tax

credit. Now with over 140 licensed distilleries, our industry here in New York State is growing rapidly, a fact that is not lost on our elected representatives. We consider ourselves lucky to have a governor and legislator that is open to and actively engaged in making our state more business friendly for distilleries of all sizes. For more information on our Inaugural New York Distilled Spirits Competition please visit: or drop us a line at newyorkstatedistillersguild@ Cheers!

met with Governor Wolf’s office as well as 18 legislators, of whom were leaders of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, the House Liquor Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee. Members were also given a presentation by the head of category management for the Liquor Control Board. In this presentation attendees were provided with explanations of the various listing channels for products within the state, a review of application

processes for each, as well as key metrics the state uses in determining products that pass its Listing process. In the previous year, a specific subcommittee was set up within the PA Distillers Guild to assist the ACSA in this year’s conference, events, and logistics. The sub-committee has been diligent in assisting the ACSA and will continue to do so up to and throughout the conference.

spirits not produced onsite for the purpose of sampling products to consumers (i.e. Vermouth so distillers can feature their products in a proper martini), and expanding manufacturers’ special events licenses from four to eight annually. By the time the Spring 2018 issue of Artisan Spirits Magazine is published it is likely Session will have ended. Tune into for updates on Virginia legislative affairs. Additionally, the VDA recently completed the 2018 Economic and Regulatory Analysis of Virginia’s Distilled Spirits Industry in concert with the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary (to access the study, visit: industry-resources/). The economic report has helped our constituency add weight and merit to our legislative efforts. As the report

explains, our industry is growing fast, but growth does not equate to fiscal health. Lastly, the VDA wrapped up two consumer branding studies (both done 100% in-kind) with the VCU Brandcenter (the top graduate school in the nation for advertising) and the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond (U of R). The VCU study focused more on the development of creative assets and strategy for implementing marketing initiatives, and the U of R study focused on marketing research. The VDA will be pivoting all consumer initiatives (website, social media, future spirits trail development) to utilizing these assets in the coming months.

Cory Muscato Lockhouse Distillery—Buffalo, NY President, New York State Distillers Guild

Rob Cassell

Amy Ciarametaro Executive Director Virginia Distillers Association


Artisan Spirit: Spring 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.