American Distilling Institute

American Distilling Institute

When you begin working in a bar, or restaurant, or even desire to open your own distillery, you may begin to wonder just who you need to pay attention to. And the American Distilling Institute is an association that requires your attention.

The American Distilling Institute is one of the oldest professional trade associations dedicated to controlling and regulating craft distilling across the United States.

However, this does not make it clear what that can mean for you. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the American Distilling Institute. This includes who they are, what they do, and how they can affect the success of your craft spirit.

Let’s get into it!

Who Are The American Distilling Institute?

The largest small-batch, independently-owned artisan distillery association in the world is the American Distilling Institute (ADI). Since its founding in 2003, ADI has established itself as the premier resource for all information pertaining to the craft distilling industry.

American Distilling Institute has a primary objective to promote and support the industry of craft distilling.

The American society as whole gains more from ADI by increasing public awareness of and appreciation for the high quality and diversity of artisanal spirits.

In simple terms, the American Distilling Institute protects independent craft distilleries across America by providing the correct information on legislation, laws, and regulations.

History Of American Distilling Institute

After Prohibition, the American Distilling Institute was the country’s first organization for the craft distillery sector.

It was established in 2003 when there were just 60 distilleries when state rules in the US started to relax and small distilleries were once again permitted to operate. There were more than 2000 local distilleries before prohibition.

The three-tier system, which was carefully managed by the biggest distilleries and distributors to reduce competition when prohibition was removed, prevented the majority of distilleries from reopening.

Since 2004, an annual conference has been held and since 2007 the institute holds an annual Judging of Crafts Spirits. Allowing craft spirit distilleries to compete from all over the world.

You can find the world headquarters for the American Distilling Institute in Hayward, California.

What Do The American Distilling Institute Do?


So, other than holding competitions and annual conferences, what does this association do? At the very foundation of the American Distilling Institute is education.

The goal of ADI is to educate persons who want to start their own distillery or become professional distillers. They helped create many of the best craft distilleries in the US, Canada, and other countries by providing knowledge and training hundreds of distillers.

Throughout the year, the ADI will hold various conferences and classes to support distillers in becoming the best at their craft. They work as excellent networking opportunities and help bring the community together.

The American Distilling Institute also provides grants to academic research in distilling. This funding is provided by donors at an annual charity auction. The funds are then provided to selected students and interns researching distilled alcohol.

ADI Members

While it is not necessary to be a member of the American Distilling Institute in order to open and operate your own craft distillery, it does give you access to some incredible resources and opportunities.

  • There are various types of memberships including:
  • Distillery Membership: This comes at a cost of $350.
  • Veteran Distiller Membership: This membership has a 10% discount bringing it to $315 a year.
  • General Member: This has a cost of $350.
  • Supplier: This is a hefty $500 per year.
  • Distributing Partners: This costs $350.
  • Distiller Magazine Subscription: This is an additional $135.

While each membership comes at a different cost, they generally give access to the same resources:

  • Covers up to 3 persons per organization.
  • ADI Forums
  • ADI Member Community
  • ADI Conference (Discount)
  • ADI Craft Spirit Competition (Discount)
  • Distiller Magazine (3 Features)
  • Distiller Magazine Digital
  • Buyers Guide
  • Video Library
  • Annual Survey Results
  • GOV Affairs.
  • Classes & Workshops
  • Member Plaque
  • Phone Consultation with ADI Experts

From the information above, you can begin to determine if becoming a member of the American Distilling Institute is worth it for your business.

All memberships are not permitted a refund once they are complete.

American Distilling Institute & The Law

While the association does cover the entire United States, it is important to remember that they do have a concrete legal standing.

The American Distilling Institute is simply there to ensure anyone involved in the craft distilling industry is educated and aware of the current laws and legislation.

If a member fails to abide by the laws permitted in their state, the American Distilling Institute will not provide protection.

Each member has access to the most up-to-date information regarding licensing fees, trading regulations, and anything else permitted to their enterprise through their membership.

It is not law for distilleries to become members of the American Distilling Institute, however, it does make being aware of any changes in law or legislation easier. Ensuring you can trade in line with the law.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Legally Distill Alcohol In The U.S.?

While adults of legal drinking age may make wine or beer at home for their own consumption or that of their family, distilling distilled spirits at home is severely prohibited by federal law (see 26 United States Code) (U.S.C.).

How Many Locations Does The ADI Have?

There is only one central location for the American Distilling Institute. Hayward, California. However, the Judging of Craft Spirit award takes place across the country.


There you have it! The American Distilling Institute is at the core of distilling craft spirits across the United States. Distilleries, suppliers, traders, and everyone involved in the distilling industry can benefit from being a member of the ADI.

Although, it is not necessary to become a member. You can gain access to some of the best resources in the world to better your business and work on the right side of the law.

Access conferences, and classes, and even enter the incredible Judging of Craft Spirit Awards to be named the best spirit of the year!

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