Author: Alexandra Russell

Register Now for Northern California Spirits Trade Event on February 27

Santa Rosa, Calif. (February 8, 2018). Members of the spirits and wine trade are invited to register soon for seminars and trade show tickets for the Spirited International Spirits Trade Tasting & Show. Just a few short weeks away, the event will be held on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, in Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The event is expected to draw makers and potential makers of distilled spirits, wholesalers, distributors, restaurateurs, members of the media and interested members of the trade who want to learn about spirits. Trade & Tasting Ticket pricing is $35. The cost for...

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Show Time: Cris Steller on getting the most from a trade show experience

Remember the adage, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”? Cris Steller is a busy guy. Not only is he a founding partner of Dry Diggings Distillery, a growing venture located in California’s El Dorado Hills, he’s also executive director of the California Artisanal Distillers Guild (CADG). Steller came to the beverage industry nearly a decade ago after a career in association management—basically, helping businesses and nonprofits optimize their strengths via support services including educational programming, government relations, sales, marketing, and more. When asked about the drastic change in professional direction, he says, “I’d been living and working in Mexico for a time, where I started to learn about the tequila industry, and when I returned to California I needed a change.” Taking a leap of faith, Steller and partner Gordon Helm launched Dry Diggings in 2008, with a focus on using locally grown fruit and grains. Adam Stratton founded Amador Distillery in Jackson, Calif., in 2012; both operations were consolidated under the Aurum Sierra Inc. umbrella in 2015. As the company grew, Steller recognized a need for small distilleries across the state to align efforts for more effective governmental representation at the state level. In 2012, Dry Diggings became one of five charter members of CADG. “[A grassroots association] had been trying to get it off the ground for about 20 years,” he...

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Inside Beer: Crafting a Better Can

When Peter Love, founder of Cask Global Canning Solutions, debuted a manual canner that could fill and seal two cans at a time at the 2002 Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo in Cleveland, Ohio, the response was less than encouraging. Love recalls, “One guy came by the booth and said, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. What respectable brewer would put their beer in an aluminum can?’” Dale Katechis, founder of Oskar Blues Brewery, for one. He bought one of Cask’s machines and debuted Dale’s Pale Ale in cans later that year. Marty Jones, Oskar Blues’ marketing...

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Suit Filed to Change Interstate Wine Shipping Laws

Lawsuits have been filed in three states to challenge restrictions barring retailers from shipping wine direct to customers. Currently, residents of only 13 states and the District of Columbia can legally order wine online from an out-of-state retail store (as opposed to 42 states that let residents order direct from out-of-state wineries). In response, Indianapolis-based attorneys Bob Epstein and Alex Tanford filed suit in Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri, three of the largest states in question. Epstein and Tanford were the attorneys behind the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case that opened direct shipping from local wineries in Michigan and Florida. That decision led to many states also legalizing shipments from out-of-state producers. Their strategy this time is much the same. Because liquor laws differ from state to state, each lawsuit is also different and will be litigated separately. Ultimately, the hope is to take the question to SCOTUS for a blanket decision. It may take years, but the process has been set in...

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Congress Passes CBMTRA

No matter their personal opinion on the sweeping overall tax reform passed in December, one bright spot for craft beverage producers was inclusion of the bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) in the larger legislation. Trade organizations in all alcohol beverage industries worked together to move the bill forward, and CBMTRA was supported by more than two-thirds of House members and a majority in the Senate. When it passed, advocacy organizations across the industry released statements praising the achievement. Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, called it “a monumental day for small and...

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January/February 2018

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