Distilled Spirits Council of the United States - CEO and President Kraig R. Naasz Anounces Departure

The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing more than 170 leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits products in the United States. After two and a half years at the helm, the Council has announced President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz will depart the Council at the end of June 2018.

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States - 2018 logo
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“Leading the Distilled Spirits Council during this time of transition for the association and the distilled spirits sector has been one of the most gratifying professional experiences of my career,” said Naasz.  “It’s been an honor to represent many of the world’s most iconic beverage alcohol companies, while spearheading the Council’s Vision 2033 strategic modernization effort to position the spirits sector for ongoing success in lead up to the hundred-year anniversary of the repeal of prohibition.”

Naasz plans to rejoin his partners of 10 years at Washington2 Advocates, an issues management company with offices in the nation’s capital and the Pacific Northwest.

“The distilled spirits sector of the United States achieved both record sales and exports, while also capturing beverage alcohol market share for an eighth consecutive year,” said Distilled Spirits Council Chair Jim Clerkin, President & CEO of Moët Hennessy North America. “Our sector’s growth has been facilitated, in part, by the tax victories, market access gains, export promotion, regulatory reforms and overall advancement of our public policy agenda supported by Kraig and the Council’s talented team. Kraig leaves the organization in a very strong position, and he will move on with our deepest thanks and very best wishes for future success.”

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Major Accomplishments Includes Reduction of FET

The Council recently helped secure the first federal excise tax reduction on spirits since the Civil War as part of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, while defeating tax increases at the state and local level and improving consumer convenience through the sale of spirits seven days a week in Indiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Tennessee and in Colorado grocery stores. The Council also recently launched its new visual identity, website and digital advocacy platform that reflect and leverage today’s consumer enthusiasm for distilled spirits and cocktail culture.

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States - 2016 Economic Briefing
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“I’m privileged to have led such a dedicated and talented team of professionals at the Council, and extremely proud of our many accomplishments and modernization efforts,” said Naasz.  “I now look forward to rejoining my partners at W2A as the firm’s strategic advisor and seeking out new challenges both here in the nation’s capital and back home in the Pacific Northwest.”

Naasz joined the Council January 1, 2016 after serving as the chief executive of the American Frozen Food Institute, Fertilizer Institute, National Mining Association and U.S. Apple Association.  He also worked for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

The Council’s Board is initiating an executive search to identify the Council’s next leader.

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