American Craft Spirits Association

American Craft Spirits Association

Whenever you are looking to work in the liquor and alcoholic beverage industry in any capacity, it is important that you learn about the different organizations and associations that you need to be aware of and even involved in to make the most of your career or endeavor. The American Craft Spirits Association is one of the largest, oldest, and most important associations that you need to know about if you are looking at getting involved in the spirits industry.

However, it is a lot more complicated than just knowing that this association exists. In this article, we are going to look at everything you need to know about this association.

Who Are The American Craft Spirits Association?

The American Craft Spirits Association is the only organization that is a registered national nonprofit trade group. It represents the entirety of the U.S. craft spirits industry.

Within the association, registered members vote to democratically elect 15 representatives who make up the board of directors. The elected board works collectively to govern the ACSA.

It is important that the directors work with full transparency, are responsive to members, and act in accordance with the stated bylaws of the association.

Anyone is free to join the ACSA, however, if you want to vote to elect the directors, you must be an independent, licensed distiller with a valid DSP and produce over a certain threshold of products annually.

The ACSA has the vision to ensure that the greatest spirits in the world are universally recognized as being produced by brands and distilleries that are associated with the ACSA. They also want the best spirits to be enjoyed responsibly by consumers all around the world.

History Of The American Craft Spirits Association

The American Craft Spirits Association was founded in 2013. It has been governed by 15 directors since its inception. Those 15 board directors are now democratically elected by members of the association.

The association was founded with the goal to provide a universal voice for its members within the spirits industry. The association uses its voice to help push for sound business climates that suit craft distilleries.

As the association became more and more well-known in the liquor industry, it began to host an annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show.

This annual event allows member brands and companies to showcase their products and sell them to bars, restaurants, and retailers across the world.

The association has also begun to host an annual competition in which craft spirits are judged and offered awards. Winners of the award can display the award on their products which in the world of spirits is like a badge of honor.

The headquarters of the American Craft Spirits Association can be found in Oakton, Virginia.

What Do The American Craft Spirits Association Do?

The American Craft Spirits Association does a lot more than just host conventions and judges craft spirits. The main goal of the association is to provide a voice for vendors and distillers in the industry.

The ACSA does a lot of work with congress to make sure that the business environment is as supportive as possible for small craft businesses and independent distillers.

The American Craft Spirits Association was a passionate advocate for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. This is an act that helped to significantly reduce federal excise tax rates for craft distillers. The act was made permanent at the end of 2020.

Before the act was made permanent, it was originally approved in 2017 for a fixed term of two years. It was then extended through to the end of 2020 in a larger tax package that was signed by the president at the end of 2019.

Throughout the fight for federal excise tax relief, the ACSA co-hosted public policy conferences in Washington, D.C. Along with a broad group of industry associations, the ACSA also organized several days of action and sent letters to Congress to help ensure that the act was passed.

American Craft Spirits Association Members

It is not mandatory to become a member of the American Craft Spirits Association in order to work in the distilled spirits industry, it does open the door to plenty of opportunities and benefits that can help to further your business.

There are a few different memberships that are available from the ACSA, including:

  • Voting – 0-1,000 gallons – This is priced at around $300
  • Voting – 1,001 – 10,000 – This is priced at around $600
  • Voting – 10,001 – 20,000 – This is priced at around $1000
  • Voting – 20,001 – 50,000 – This is priced at around $1500
  • Voting – 50,001 – 100,000 – This is priced at around $1700
  • Voting – 100,001+ – This is priced at around $2000
  • Advocate – priced at around $300
  • Candidate – priced at around $250
  • Alumni – priced from $600 – $3000

Although the prices of the memberships vary wildly between levels, there are some standard things that are covered by each membership tier, including:

  • Covering up to 15 employees per DSP or business
  • Ability to vote in the election of board members
  • Access to the vendor trade show
  • Access to spirits judging
  • Access to other industry events
  • Access to educational materials
  • Access to media relations resources
  • Members-only industry reports
  • Access to the ACSA magazine

All of the memberships available for the ACSA last for a year and require renewal annually. The different levels of membership mostly depend on the amount of product that your business produces in a year. You can upgrade your membership at any time should you need to.

American Craft Spirits Association And The Law

The ACSA covers the entirety of North America. However, this does not mean that they have legal standing in any individual state. Although the ACSA works closely with congress and the government, they don’t have any significant say in the laws that are passed and how they are policed.

The main purpose of the association is to provide a voice for those working in the distilled spirits industry. If any member of the ACSA steps out of line in terms of the law surrounding production and trading, the association cannot provide any form of protection or counsel.

It is also not a legal requirement for a liquor business to become a member of the ACSA in order to trade and produce liquor.

Final Thoughts

The ACSA is a great association that can help to provide support to businesses in the distilled liquor industry. There are many benefits to becoming a member of this association to help further your business.

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