American Craft Spirits Association & DISCU - 2018 Washington D.C. Fly-in

On January 1, 2018 distillers discovered a little extra jingle in their pockets. That extra cash was a direct result of the combined legislative efforts of DISCUS and the American Craft Spirits Association. Though the effort was heroic and the results were monumental, let’s not forget, it’s only temporary. Now is the time to let the people in Washington, D.C. know that the reduction in FET was not just a rounding error but a life changing event for distillers and their communities across the U.S.

This week, May 14-16, 2018 distilled spirits producers from across the country are gathering in Washington, D.C. for the ninth annual Public Policy Conference hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council and the American Craft Spirits Association.

“The spirits sector achieved a significant win last year with the first tax cut since the Civil War,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz. “It is critical that we bring a unified voice to Capitol Hill to ensure this job-boosting tax cut is extended and made permanent.”

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“Over the past few months, we have heard firsthand from nearly 200 small, independent distillers from across the nation about the about the benefits of this historic tax relief,” added Margie A.S. Lehrman, Executive Director, American Craft Spirit Association. “Their message to us has been clear: first and foremost, they are reinvesting their savings primarily to create new jobs and purchase new manufacturing equipment. We are taking that message to lawmakers in Washington, and look forward to continuing this conversation as we look towards a more permanent tax reduction.”

Distillers will participate in more than 100 congressional visits to thank their home state legislators for lowering the punitively high federal excise tax on spirits such as vodka, rum and whiskey, as part of last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Make the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Relief Act Permanent

Distillers will ask lawmakers to make this temporary cut permanent by supporting the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Relief Act, which extends the lower federal excise tax for beer, wine and spirits producers of all sizes. They will also invite lawmakers to visit their distilleries in their home state and district to see firsthand the importance of distilleries to the local hospitality sector and surrounding community.

2018 Distillers Public Policy Summit Schedule

Monday, May 14

4:00 pm – 6:30 pm – Registration
Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Welcome Reception
One Eight Distilling, 1135 Okie Street NE, Washington, DC

Tuesday, May 15

8:00 am – 9:00 am – Breakfast
Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom

8:45 am – 11:45 am
Welcome from American Craft Spirits Association Executive Director Margie A.S. Lehrman and Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President Government Relations Mark Gorman
Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom

State of the Industry & Economic Trends 

  • David Ozgo, Chief Economist, Distilled Spirits Council
  • Harry Kohlmann, Ph.D., CEO & Founder, Park Street

Federal Government Relations Update 

  • Permanent Reduction of FET
  • International Trade
  • Military Sales of Alcohol

Direct Ship Legislation

  • Art DeCelle, Counsel, McDermott, Will & Emery


  • John J. Manfreda, Administrator, TTB

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Grab and Go Lunch
Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Meetings with Leadership and Senior Staff
485 Russell Senate Office Building, Capitol Hill

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm – “Meet America’s Distillers” Reception
2060 Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill

Wednesday, May 16

7:30 am – 8:30 am – Breakfast
Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom

8:30 am – 9:30 am – Featured Speaker: Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent, ABC News
Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Congressional Office Visits
Capitol Hill

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Lunch on Your Own
Capitol Hill

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Congressional Office Visits
Capitol Hill

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm – American Whiskey Magazine Launch
American Trucking Association, 430 First Street SE, Suite 100, Washington, DC

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