About the STEPUP Foundation

The alcoholic 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.  

The pipeline to recruit qualified candidates is narrow. Underrepresented communities may lack knowledge or training to access this beverage sector.

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 one year training program with a living stipend and provide job exposure for those of different races, color, national origins, genders, and sexual orientations.

Successful interns will bring passion, motivation, and an ability to immerse in a year-long program which will expose candidates to all facets of owning and operating a distillery, including working with a distributor.

What is the STEPUP Internship Program?

A comprehensive education and training program to introduce candidates to the major segments of America’s small businesses whose focus is on the production of craft spirits. Applications will open on September 1, 2021.

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

Online applications will open on
September 1, 2021.




Applications will be reviewed and vetted by the Selection Committee with final selection and invitation from the STEPUP Board of Directors.


Initially, two applicants per year will matriculate through the program. Growing the number of placements per year will be contingent on donor funding​, with the expectation of supporting 10+ interns per year​.

UPDATED, 9/30/21:

  • September 1, 2021 – Applications Open: Interns, DSPs, and Mentors
  • October 8, 2021 – Application Closes for 2022 Cycle
  • October 19, 2021 – Selection Committee Provides Recommendations for Top Candidates to the Board of Directors and Advisory Board
  • October 21, 2021 – Successful Interns, DSPs, and Mentors Are Notified
  • November 2021 – Confirmation of Logistics for Interns, DSPs, and Mentors
  • December 6, 2021 – Introduction of Interns, DSPs, and Mentors to Craft Beverage Community at ACSA annual convention in Louisville, KY
  • January 4, 2022 – Internship Begins
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