About the STEPUP Foundation

The alcohol beverage sector captures the best of what Americans offer within a manufacturing community: passion, innovation, creativity, collaboration, independence, a marriage of skills and disciplines, and outreach among multiple industries from agriculture, to hospitality and tourism, to marketing and sales to industrial processes.  

What is the STEPUP Internship Program?

The purpose of STEPUP is to increase talent through facilitation of workplace diversity. Specifically, STEPUP, working with distilleries and wholesalers throughout the United States, will provide a comprehensive, hands-on training program with a living stipend and provide job exposure for those of different races, color, national origins, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.

Mission, Values, and Vision Statements

Mission Statement

To provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with hands-on training and education, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the spirits community through a comprehensive internship program like no other in the alcohol beverage industry.

  • To support, train, develop, and economically empower underserved and underrepresented individuals to advance diversity within the spirits industry to better reflect our society.
  • To help the spirits industry prevent the harmful impacts of racism and cultural bias
  • To challenge and change structures that create inequality.
  • To celebrate our diverse cultures.
Vision Statement

To diversify the spirits & distilling industry – one face at a time – by providing a hands-on, comprehensive internship program for underrepresented professionals.

Eligibility for Interns

  • Member of an underrepresented or underserved demographic
  • U.S. Citizen or able to demonstrate proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. with a green card or work permit/visa
  • 21 years of age or older
  • Have earned at least a high school degree or its equivalent
  • Acceptance of a background check in states which allow
  • Willingness to commit to up to a full year of training
  • Commitment to following procedures, including health protocols, at each individual distillery/wholesaler in which the intern is placed
  • Agree to serve in a graduate alumni group

Eligibility for Mentors

  • Passion, willingness, guide, and coach the intern throughout the internship
  • Mentors must have experience in the hospitality industry
  • No prior mentorship experience is required

Eligibility for Distilled Spirits Producers & Wholesale Distributors

  • Member of ACSA (Not a Member? Join ACSA)
  • Willingness to host an intern for a period of 8-12 weeks
  • Able to demonstrate a formal safety program
  • Proof of distillery insurance and safety plan
  • Demonstrated strong industry experience in one of four areas:
    • Operations
    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • Finance
  • Commitment to assisting with lodging and transportation logistics for the term of stay
  • Ability to designate a program instructor


Applications for 2024 will open April 15th, 2023 at 12:00am EST and close on September 15th, 2023 at 12:00am EST.*

*NEW application extension: Applications close on October 6th, 2023 at 12:00am EST.

Applications for 2025 will resume on September 16th, 2023 at 12:01am EST.*

*Applications for 2025 will now resume on October 7th, 2023 at 12:01am EST.

Click on the links below to apply:






Initially, two applicants will matriculate through the program in 2023, with the anticipation of four interns in 2024.

Growing the number of placements per year will be contingent on donor funding, with the expectation of supporting 10+ interns per year.


Applications will be reviewed and vetted by the Selection Committee with final selection and invitation from the STEPUP Board of Directors and Advisory Board during the month of November 2023. Internships will begin in January 2024.



  • April 15th, 2023 – Applications Open for 2024: Interns, DSPs, Wholesalers, and Mentors

  • September 15th, 2023 – Applications Close for the 2023 year October 6th, 2023 – Applications Close for the 2023 year
  • October 2023 – Selection Committee provides recommendations for Top Candidates to the Board of Directors and Advisory Board
  • November 2023 – Final Selection of Interns, DSPs, Wholesalers, and Mentors are chosen by the Board of Directors
  • December 2023 – Successful Interns, DSPs, Wholesalers, and Mentors are notified and logistics are confirmed
  • January 2024 – Internship Begins for Class of 2024
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