The American Craft Spirits Association – ACSA is a relatively young organization having been founded in 2014. When a lot of folks hear about craft distilling they often picture a burley dude with a long beard but if you’ve ever been to an ACSA event in person you know that’s only part of the picture. There are not only talented men but there are many, many talented women in the industry as well.
One of those women making a difference is Becky Harris. Harris is the Co-Founder and Chief Distiller at Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in Purcellville, Virginia and she was just elected by her peers to be the first woman to serve as President of the Board of Directors of the American Craft Spirits Association.
Harris has a background as a chemical engineer having worked at companies including Amoco, YDK America, and CIBA, specializing in industrial processes and production systems before making a career move to entrepreneur and distiller. Becky and her husband Scott co-founded Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in 2009 when they became startup owners of the first legal distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia since Prohibition. Unlike many distilleries across the country Catoctin Creek’s whiskey lineup includes one kind of whiskey – rye whiskey. Rye whiskey has been distilled in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania since the days of George Washington. Catoctin Creek also prides itself on sourcing its rye whisky, gin, and seasonal brandy ingredients from local farms.
Looking Forward to Helping Craft Distillers Recover and Thrive
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“The craft distilling industry has never faced such challenging times,” said Harris. “It’s an incredible honor to be chosen as President by my fellow board members, a group of incredible leaders within our craft distilling community. I’m excited to build on ACSA’s technical and legislative leadership to help our community of more than 2,000 craft distilleries in any and every way possible to recover and thrive.”
As head of the ACSA COVID-19 task force, Harris has been instrumental in helping to build and implement sanitizer best practices. By working with the EPA and FDA to understand and streamline bureaucracy, she has been able to swiftly educate distillers across the nation, while making sure her own distillery team stays compliant and safe.
Catoctin Creek Distilling is home to Virginia’s most-awarded whisky Roundstone Rye. They also make seasonal gins, brandies and private cask offerings. Their spirits are distributed in 26 states and internationally in Finland, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore and the United Kingdom.