Distilling. This year we look forward to the openings of Clearwater Distilling Co. and Congregation Spirits. Solstice Malt is Utah's very own maltster and is creating a variety of fantastic locally malted grains for local distillers and brewers. Sugar House Distillery and others are already utilizing the local malt to
VIRGINIA VIRGINIA DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION The Virginia Distillers Association (VDA) continues onward with our mission to improve the economic and promotional environments for our local distillers with the support of state government agencies and the Virginia Legislature. After last year’s landslide win of increasing the commission for distillery store sales from 8% to 20% in the statute and expansion of Sunday hours for all ABC stores (including our distilleries), the VDA decided to take a lower profile approach this session to focus on strategic marketing efforts for the industry that bear no fiscal price tag, and are not viewed as divisive. That resulted in our legislative agenda initially being centered around a two-year plan to establish a commodity board (“Virginia Distilled Spirits Board” or “DSB”) embedded in state government. The mission of the DSB will be to establish and fund initiatives that support the marketing, education and research needs of the Virginia distilled spirits industry. This will include programming to support direct sales, indirect sales, in state sales and out of state sales. The Board will consist of 11 members; six will be owners or opera-
create whisky and other fine spirits. We now have the Utah Spirits Trail that offers a guide for patrons to track their experiences as they visit Utah distilleries. The guide encourages folks to visit all of Utah's distilleries. A new iteration will be released annually and will offer a different
reward each year for visiting all the destinations in the guide. Check it out at: www.utahspirittrail.com.
tors of distilleries, three will be maltsters or coopers, plus the CEO of Virginia ABC (ex-officio) and the Commissioner of Agriculture (ex-officio). The Board will be housed under the Virginia Department of Agriculture. While there are numerous models for commodity boards in-state and beyond, this is the first state operated Distilled Spirits Board in the country that we know of. In addition to promotional support for the industry, other direct and indirect advantages to establishing the DSB include: (i.) fostering greater ties with state government, (ii.) influence from the ex-officio board members (CEO of Virginia ABC and Commissioner of Agriculture), and (iii.) development of resources that will aid in the pursuit of future legislative agendas (e.g. Economic Impact Studies and other research initiatives). The DSB will also help to pave the continued path for a more “distillery-friendly environment” in state government. The development of the DSB is phased over two years. The 2020 legislation is centered around the initial establishment of the DSB, and 2021 will be focused on the funding mechanism(s) for the DSB. We also have two bills this session that will (i.) allow for Low Alcohol Beverage Coolers (LABs) produced from
distillate (vs. beer or wine-based products) to be sampled at grocery stores, and (ii.) sold to Beer & Wine Licensees. We’ve all witnessed the canned cocktail and ready-todrink boom; currently in Virginia, only those LABs produced from wine or beer, but not those produced from distillate, can be sampled in Virginia grocery stores and gourmet shops. While they are low alcohol, they cannot be sold to Beer & Wine Licensees due to the use of distillate. Lastly, the VDA is grateful for support provided by the Virginia Tourism Corporation by way of a $50,000 grant to fully fund the design and launch of our printed and digital Virginia Spirits Trail and Passport program. The printed guide was produced and distributed last fall, and the interactive digital application will go live by this summer. We would be remiss to not pay homage to our peers in Colorado — as we’ve taken numerous cues from their printed guide and website programs while structuring our trail promotions.
Ethan S. Miller Head Distiller — Co-Owner Holystone Distilling
Amy Ciarametaro Executive Director, Virginia Distillers Association
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