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Black-owned business owner builds on success, opens distillery in Uptown

CHARLOTTE — Black-owned breweries are rare and minority-owned distilleries are even harder to come by.

Charlotte native Clarence Boston said an Uptown Charlotte spot on East Brooklyn Village Avenue was the perfect location to bring his Atlanta-based Hippin Hops Brewery to the Queen City.

Boston told Channel 9′s Madison Carter the entire industry is struggling.

“What I have noticed has been very hard in the craft beer market,” he said. “Not just for Blacks. Also, a lot of white breweries are closing.”

Margie Lehrman, CEO of the American Craft Spirits Association, said the number of distillers that are from an underrepresented community does not represent consumers who enjoy the craft spirits.

Lehrman also works with the ACSA’s STEPUP Foundation.

“What the STEPUP program does is it takes those who are interested and actually apply and achieve the status of an intern through nine months-plus of distillation, from the beginning operations and how you make spirits to the front of the house, the back of the house financing, compliance issues,” she said. “And it is a fully funded program, meaning that we provide both a living stipend as well as the travel, transportation costs. So really, what we’re looking for is someone who is passionate about the industry, who wants to learn, and we take them through every element of craft distilling so they can figure out where they want to land after they finish the program.”

She also said the barriers to entering the industry are high, which include compliance and regulatory taxation issues.

“One of the biggest impediments to start right off would be financing,” Lehrman said.

It’s a big reason Boston chose to diversify his business portfolio. Hippin Hops Brewery & Distillery is the fourth business for Boston in the Queen City.

“I think Charlotte is a more creative market with not as much competition,” Boston said.

Industry projections show distilleries are expected to grow by over 20% this year.

Out of the nearly 2,700 craft distilleries in the nation, estimates show there are fewer than 100 that are Black-owned.

“Distilling and craft spirits in this country offer some of the best American innovation that small manufacturers can offer,” he said.

Boston told Carter the big idea for what he calls his “brew-stillery” came during the pandemic. He already had his brewer’s license and thought to build on that success.

“I might just get a distillery license and just go to Mexico and get our own tequila made and go to France and get our own cognac,” Boston said.

Boston’s businesses have created more than 60 jobs so far and he said the ABC Commission has been his biggest customer for years.

Lehrman said people can apply for the STEPUP program year-round.

“The STEPUP program actually has admissions taken throughout the year, but the program itself has a fall process where a selection committee looks at both the internal applications, the distillery applications, because distilleries host the interns,” she said. “Then what we’ve also done, which is kind of a unique feature, we recognize that, you may not have the softer skills that make you successful in the workplace. So we also peer mentor with the intern and we hope they become lifelong friends. So stepupinternship.org is the webinars.”

News

“STEPUP” FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES THIRD CLASS OF INTERNS, MENTORS, PARTICIPATING DISTILLERIES & NEW DONOR PARTNERS

Washington, DC (December 21, 2023) – The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP Foundation) are proud to announce the third class of interns, mentors, and participating distilleries, along with several new funding partners for the upcoming 2024 class.

STEPUP Foundation is a diversity initiative that aims to provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive eight month immersive internship program. ACSA has long recognized a lack of diversity in the alcoholic beverage industry and has been working behind the scenes for some time now to develop a comprehensive program aimed at increasing talent through the facilitation of workplace diversity. Now in its third year, STEPUP will continue to engage diverse applicants with an interest in the beverage sector and help those of different races, color, national origins, genders, disabilities, and sexual orientations to acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed in the industry.

The STEPUP internship program is primarily funded through Cornerstone Partners and other major donors. As the program gears up for its third year, the organization welcomes a host of generous new donations from partners across all tiers of the industry and distillers small and large. Newly added Donors in 2023 include; DuNord Foundation, Sagamore Spirit Distillery, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Westward Whiskey, and Prestige-Ledroit Distributing Co. at the Bricklayer level. These new contributors join STEPUP’s existing donors like Diageo North America, which serves as a Cornerstone Partner and has made a $1.2 million commitment over three years. To learn more about our tiers of support, visit https://stepupinternship.org/donors/.

2024 STEPUP INTERNS:
Alexcia Pugh
Alexcia Pugh hails from Birmingham, Alabama where she started a career in research and development in the solubility division with a focus in oncology. She is excited to use her unique set of experiences and education acquired from Dillard University, where she obtained her B.S. in chemistry. She is thrilled to use her skillset, passion for formulation, and her wish to add a different outlook to the craft spirits industry to turn her hobbyist interest in spirits into a career.

Erica Paul

Erica’s journey into craft spirits started with a Sensory Evaluation and Urban Planning course at Alabama A&M University. Erica has forged her path making strides in education, internships, and employment opportunities with leading food manufacturers, automotive corporations, and within the agriculture industry. With a plan to merge Agriculture and Food Science with Craft Spirits, she plans to use alternative farming methods, to craft a sustainable spirit that embodies the intricacies of her journey, in every sip.

2024 STEPUP MENTORS:
Melinda Maddox
Melinda Maddox, Production Manager for Old Elk Distillery, has over two decades of management in the hospitality industry under her belt and is working towards a decade of operations and production management. Melinda is currently on the path to becoming Old Elk’s Master Blender. She is second-in-command to Master Distiller Greg Metze, learning his practice and further innovating Old Elk’s liquid. She is quickly making a name for herself having been awarded finalist in the 2023 Women of Whiskey Awards for Production Manager of the Year.

Johnny Jeffery

Formerly a Master Distiller and General Manager at Bently Heritage Estate Distillery & Public House, Johnny is now utilizing his wealth of experience in the spirits industry as an independent consultant with Feiba Peveli LLC. Johnny entered the Food Chemistry program at Michigan State University in 2008 where his advising professor was actively working in spirits. His Master’s degree in Food Chemistry led him down the rabbit hole of spirits production as an economic development tool. The passion that emerged for spirits, particularly distilleries in areas where they could fit nicely into existing agriculture has allowed him to work on distilleries all over the country, from facility design and equipment selection to product design and expansion planning. Johnny is an ex-ACSA board member, Good Deeds co-founder, contributor to the STEPUP curriculum, and a member of the first STEPUP Selection Committee.

2024 PARTICIPATING DISTILLERIES:

Sagamore Spirit Distillery (Baltimore, MD)

Returning once again as a host distillery in 2024, Sagamore Spirit is driven to craft the world’s best Rye Whiskey. As a champion of American Rye Whiskey and inspired by Maryland Rye, its mission is to establish Sagamore Spirit as the premier distiller of the modern American spirit. Sagamore Spirit’s grain-to-glass process ensures that every single product made establishes a legacy of excellence while strengthening its collective communities. Sagamore’s award-winning, five-acre waterfront distillery is located in the Baltimore Peninsula neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.

Black Button Distilling (Rochester, NY)

Black Button Distilling was founded in 2012 by Master Distiller Jason Barrett and was the first distillery to operate in “The Flour City” since prohibition. As a grain-to-glass craft spirits producer, Black Button is a licensed New York State Farm Distillery and uses nearly 100% New York State-grown ingredients that come from within 50 miles of the distillery. Best known for its Four Grain Straight Bourbon, Bespoke Bourbon Cream and botanical gins like Citrus Forward and seasonal Lilac, Black Button’s spirits are available at its new location at 1344 University Avenue in Rochester, in liquor stores throughout New York State and online at www.blackbuttondistilling.com.

2024 PARTICIPATING DISTRIBUTOR:

Republic National Distributing Company

As a top wine and spirits distributor in the nation, Republic National Distributing Company’s (RNDC) national reach helps suppliers by building strategic relationships with on- and off-premise customers to elevate their brands and reach their target consumers. RNDC currently operates in the District of Columbia and 37 states across the United States, with the expected addition of the New York market in 2022.

Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, ACSA and President, STEPUP Foundation stated, “As we gear up to kick off another year with a group of promising interns, seasoned mentors, host distilleries, and wholesale partners, we continue to be humbled by the generous contributions across all tiers of the industry — from the largest of global spirits producers to the very smallest distilleries. Together, we are united on an imperative cause: recruiting and welcoming more diverse perspectives and talent into the world of drinks.”

STEPUP LEADERSHIP

STEPUP’s Board of Directors has created an immersive internship program for underrepresented individuals in the alcoholic beverage industry. Margie A.S. Lehrman (CEO, ACSA) serves as the organization’s president, working together with Secretary Rebecca Harris (Head Distiller and Co-founder, Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. and Past President, ACSA) and Treasurer Julie Kinch (CEO/Founder, JK Leadership Advisors, LLC). They are joined by a seasoned Board of Directors, including Chris Montana (CEO and Head Distiller, Du Nord Social Spirits), Chris Underwood (CEO, Young’s Holdings), David Cid (Owner, Silver Sun Group), and Ingrid Wetzell (HR Director, Bently Enterprises). The organization also has the support of Advisory Board member Nicole Austin (General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.). These critical liaisons help identify potential partners, secure financial resources and develop training materials to ensure the program’s success. The Selection Committee members for 2024 are; Denaya “Dee” Jones-Reid of Deestilled, Tracie Franklin of Get Spirited Consulting LLC, Aswaithy Nair, Erika Hopkins, and Julie Townsend of Republic National Distributing Company, Max Hames of Sagamore Spirit Distillery, and Sydney Jones of FEW Spirits.

INTERNSHIP CURRICULUM

STEPUP Foundation participants are guided through every facet of operating a distillery, with the bonus of an immersive internship opportunity with a wholesaler. Interns will experience hands-on training in and job exposure to several facets of the alcoholic beverage industry, including distillation production, safety, sales and marketing, business and finance, tasting room operations, and distribution.

Interns will begin the program at a host distillery, after which they will spend time at up to two additional distilleries, and then return to their host distillery to complete a final capstone project. Interns will begin the journey in January. In an effort to remove any financial impediments that may limit applicants, the internship will also include a living stipend, travel expenses, and lodging. In its third year, the STEPUP Foundation will have two interns matriculate through the program with the expectation to run an increased number of interns in the years to follow.

The STEPUP Foundation is a 501(c)(3). To learn more about the foundation, visit www.stepupinternship.org or contact margie@americancraftspirits.org and alexandra@gatherpr.com.

About ACSA

The American Craft Spirits Association is the only national registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. Its mission is to elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers, and membership in ACSA is open to anyone.

ACSA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the eligible voting members of the Association. Voting members must be independent, licensed distillers (DSPs) annually removing fewer than 750,000 proof gallons from bond (the amount on which a Federal Excise Tax is paid.) For information about ACSA, call 202-669-3661.

News

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company Donates to the STEPUP Foundation in Support of Women’s History Month

The Virginia Rye Whisky ℠ donates over $5000 to support underprivileged workers in the spirits industry

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (June 23, 2023) – – – Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, a leading craft spirits producer, is thrilled to announce its donation of $5,180 to the Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Under-represented Professionals (STEPUP Foundation). This donation is the result of Catoctin Creek’s successful #SipForEquality campaign, which ran throughout the month of March in honor of Women’s History Month.

The #SipForEquality program was an initiative designed to promote equality and equity within the spirits industry. For every bottle of Catoctin Creek sold and every cocktail tagged with #SipForEquality on social media during March, Catoctin Creek pledged to donate $1 to the STEPUP Foundation. With the support of our customers and distributors, we are thrilled to have raised $5,180 to contribute to this important cause.

Furthermore, we are delighted to announce that our Maryland/District of Columbia/Delaware distributor, Prestige Beverage Group, has generously pledged to match our donation for the results achieved in their region. This collaboration between Catoctin Creek and Prestige Beverage Group amplifies the impact of our collective efforts, and we commend their commitment to fostering positive change within the craft spirits community.

The STEPUP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is dedicated to promoting diversity within the alcoholic beverage industry. Through its comprehensive and immersive internship program, STEPUP provides under-served and under-represented individuals with the training, encouragement, and opportunities needed to enter the craft spirits community. By facilitating workplace diversity, STEPUP aims to address the industry’s lack of representation and increase talent from diverse backgrounds.

“We are honored to support the STEPUP Foundation and contribute to their efforts in creating a more inclusive and diverse craft spirits industry,” said Becky Harris, President & Chief Distiller of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. “By partnering with Prestige Beverage and collectively donating, we hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals seeking opportunities in our industry.”

To learn more about the STEPUP Foundation and its initiatives, please visit www.stepupinternship.org or contact Margie A.S. Lehrman at margie@americancraftspirits.org or Alexandra Sklansky at alexandra@gatherpr.com.

About Catoctin Creek Distilling: Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, The Virginia Rye Whisky ℠, was founded by Scott and Becky Harris in 2009. Inspired by the history and craft of Virginia, Catoctin Creek made a name for itself as the first legal distillery since Prohibition in Purcellville, Virginia’s Loudoun County. The craft distillery is home to Virginia’s most-awarded whisky, Roundstone Rye, which has been presented gold medals across the globe and stands out through its old-world production methods. Catoctin Creek prides itself on sourcing rye whisky, gin, and seasonal brandy from local grains and fruits, with spirits available in 47 states and 3 continents. The Harris’ intricate attention to detail results in high quality internationally acclaimed products, including seasonal releases and private cask offerings, that recognize the true craft of Virginia spirits. For more information, call (540) 751-8404 or visit CatoctinCreek.com. Follow Catoctin Creek on Instagram, Mastodon and Facebook.

News

“STEPUP” FOUNDATION CELEBRATES NEW MILESTONES: INAUGURAL GRADUATION, INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT, AND SECOND CLASS OF INTERNS

Washington, DC (March 16, 2023) – The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP Foundation) are proud to announce that as the second class of interns, mentors, and participating distilleries are well into this year’s programming, both graduates of the 2022 class have now accepted positions of employment within the drinks industry.

STEPUP Foundation is a diversity initiative that aims to provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive and immersive internship program. ACSA has long recognized a lack of diversity in the alcoholic beverage industry and has been working behind the scenes for some time now to develop a comprehensive program aimed at increasing talent through facilitation of workplace diversity. Now in its second year, STEPUP will continue to engage diverse applicants with an interest in the beverage sector and help those of different races, color, national origins, genders, disabilities, and sexual orientations to acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed in the industry.

Honored at STEPUP’s first-ever graduation ceremony, which was held on Saturday, February 11 during the 10th Annual ACSA Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show, Erin Lee and Yakntoro “Yaki” Udoumoh are now working full-time at distilleries, bringing full-circle the intention of the STEPUP internship program. Erin is working as a distiller at FEW Spirits in Evanston, IL, while Yaki has joined Sagamore Spirit Distillery in Baltimore, MD, also as a distiller. Meanwhile, STEPUP’s 2023 InternsAmy Salter and Ashley Grayson, are making great strides and excelling at their Host Distilleries, New Riff Distilling and Sagamore Spirit Distillery.

As the STEPUP internship program is primarily funded through Cornerstone Partners and donors, distilleries and industry partners are finding new and creative ways to support this important cause. Recently, Westward Whiskey hosted “Cocktails for a Cause,” a happy hour celebration during ACSA’s Distillers’ Convention and Trade Show, where 100% of proceeds benefited STEPUP. More recently, Catoctin Creek launched its #SipForEquality initiative, and will be donating $1 for each bottle sold and $1 for each cocktail tagged on social media to STEPUP throughout the month of March. Catoctin Creek and Westward Whiskey join other major donors, including Diageo North America (Cornerstone Partner), Beam Suntory (Keystone Donor), Infinium Spirits (Keystone Donor), St. George Spirits (Foundation level), and others. To learn more about our tiers of support, visit https://stepupinternship.org/donors/.

MORE DETAILS ON THE 2023 STEPUP INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

2023 STEPUP INTERNS:

Amy Salter

Amy has been in the restaurant industry since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in 2007. Her experience includes everything from managing a pizzeria owned and operated by people with hearing loss to consulting with several restaurants and breweries.

Ashley Grayson

A Cicerone Certified Beer Server and Certified Tourism Ambassador, Ashley has been in the hospitality business for 15 years. The Ohio-based based bartender’s affinity for designing and developing menus and signature cocktails led her to STEPUP.

2023 STEPUP MENTORS:

Darci Stuhlman
Darci Stuhlman’s career started in a restaurant and ultimately took her on a journey into the world of distilleries that landed her at Copper & Kings Distillery, where she drove marketing and sales strategies, client relations and recruiting. She is passionate about diversity, empowerment and inclusion, which is her focus in her current role at TKT & Associates — a leading provider of diversity management, innovative workforce and outsourcing solutions.

Nicole Shriner

Nicole Shriner brings a unique combination of education and hands-on industry experience with a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering and track record of working with brewery and distillery producers. As a current owner of consulting company Effervescent Solutions in Lansing, MI, she continues to focus on fostering quality and growth in the fermented beverage industry. Her achievements include completing the Master Brewer Program at Siebel Institute of Technology, as well as receiving a grant from the Michigan Craft Beverage Council to fund the start up of a fermented beverage analysis lab at Michigan State University.

2023 PARTICIPATING DISTILLERIES:

Sagamore Spirit Distillery (Baltimore, MD) New Riff Distilling (Newport, KY)
Glacier Distilling (Coram, MT)

2023 PARTICIPATING DISTRIBUTOR:

Republic National Distributing Company

STEPUP LEADERSHIP

STEPUP’s Board of Directors has created an immersive internship program for underrepresented individuals in the alcoholic beverage industry. Margie A.S. Lehrman (CEO, ACSA) serves as the organization’s president, working together with Secretary Rebecca Harris (Head Distiller and Co-founder, Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. and President, ACSA) and Treasurer Julie Kinch (CEO/Founder, JK Leadership Advisors, LLC). They are joined by a seasoned Board of Directors, including Chris Montana (CEO and Head Distiller, Du Nord Social Spirits), Chris Underwood (CEO, Young’s Holdings), David Cid (Owner, Silver Sun Group), and Ingrid Wetzell (HR Director, Bently Enterprises). The organization also has the support of Advisory Board member Nicole Austin (General Manager and Distiller, Cascade

Hollow Distilling Co.). These critical liaisons help identify potential partners, secure financial resources and develop training materials to ensure the program’s success. The program design was initially crafted by a committed group of volunteers, now serving as members of the STEPUP selection committee: Paul Hletko (Few Spirits), Rob Masters (The Family Jones), Jake Holshue (Rogue Ales and Spirits), Tracie Franklin (Head Distiller Apprentice NJAI), and Lucy Farber (St. George Spirits, Inc.).

INTERNSHIP CURRICULUM

STEPUP Foundation participants are guided through every facet of operating a distillery, with the added bonus of an immersive internship opportunity with a wholesaler. Interns will experience hands-on training in and job exposure to several facets of the alcoholic beverage industry, including distillation production, safety, sales and marketing, business and finance, tasting room operations, and distribution.

In its second year, the internship program will have a revised and updated curriculum design.

Interns will begin the program at a host distillery, after which they will spend time at up to three additional distilleries, and then return to their host distillery to complete a final capstone project. Interns will begin the journey in January. In an effort to remove any financial impediments that may limit applicants, the internship will also include a living stipend, travel expenses, and lodging. In its second year, the STEPUP Foundation will run an additional two candidates through the program with the expectation to run an increased number of interns in year three.

The STEPUP Foundation is a 501(c)(3). To learn more about the foundation, visit www.stepupinternship.org or contact margie@americancraftspirits.org and alexandra@gatherpr.com.

About ACSA

The American Craft Spirits Association is the only national registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. Its mission is to elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers, and membership in ACSA is open to anyone.

ACSA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the eligible voting members of the Association. Voting members must be independent, licensed distillers (DSPs) annually removing fewer than 750,000 proof gallons from bond (the amount on which a Federal Excise Tax is paid.) For information about ACSA, call 202-669-3661.

News

Good Deed Spirits Expands Availability with Big Thirst

Good Deeds Malt Whiskey, the collaborative benefit whiskey released in 2021, is now available for purchase online with shipping across the U.S. through Big Thirst Inc.the spirits industry’s most comprehensive e-commerce sales and marketing company. Big Thirst is providing its services to Good Deeds Spirits at no cost to ensure 100% of proceeds from the sale of the whiskey will benefit The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals Foundation, Inc. (STEPUP), the diversity and inclusion initiative founded by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).

Good Deeds Spirits was established in 2021, with the intention of creating interesting, collaborative spirits releases with the goal of raising money to benefit important industry causes. ‍Good Deeds Malt Whiskey, the inaugural, limited-edition malt whiskey was created as a blend from ten of the most respected craft distilleries, all of whom donated a barrel of whiskey for blending, with the purpose of increasing inclusion and diversity in the drinks industry. Fellow distilleries and industry suppliers including Saxco and Tapi provided donations of materials and expertise to contribute to the mission of helping to diversify the industry.

“Collaborating with other distillers on Good Deeds Whiskey is our way of pulling our community together to raise funds and awareness for a program we’re all incredibly excited about,” says Johnny Jeffery, industry consultant, previously General Manager, Bently Heritage Estate Distillery. “Expanding our reach by partnering with Big Thirst will better enable people all over the country to purchase this limited-edition whiskey for a good cause. We know this partnership will help us continue to generate revenue for STEPUP and other programs we support.”

“The Big Thirst team shares Good Deeds Spirits’ values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and we’re thrilled to be able to help contribute to STEPUP,” says Matt McGinnis, CEO of Big Thirst. “We are eager to provide our time, and energy, and to offer our online sales platform free of charge to help further the mission of increasing diversity in our industry.” 

Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, ACSA and President, STEPUP added, “As we gear up for our immersive internship program’s second year, we continue to be humbled by the generous contributions across the industry as together we remain united on an imperative cause: recruiting more diverse perspectives in drinks. Good Deeds Spirits and the release of their inaugural whiskey has been a testament to this mindset, and it’s created a tangible way for spirits enthusiasts and those outside our industry to get involved. We’re grateful for their efforts and grateful for the work of partners like Big Thirst who are helping to spread the word.”

To connect with the community,Sailor Guevara, a 2022 STEPUP mentor, will host three Virtual Tasting events with the first one held on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 8:00 PM EST. Guevara, who is also donating her time to process shipping requests for Good Deeds Spirits, will be joined in the virtual tasting events by Erin Lee and Yakntoro Udoumoh, 2022 interns, Paul Hletko, founder of FEW Spirits a participating STEPUP distillery, Tracie Franklin, founder of Spirited Tracie, and members of Good Deed Spirits. The tasting is free to all who have purchased a bottle, or $25 for people who have not. Tickets include samples of Good Deeds Malt Whiskey and are online at Sailor Guevara Cocktails

ABOUT GOOD DEEDS MALT WHISKEY

Good Deeds Malt Whiskey is a blend of 10 donated whiskeys from Triple Eight Distillery (Nantucket, MA), Balcones Distilling (Waco, TX), Bently Heritage Estate Distillery (Minden, NV), FEW Spirits (Evanston, IL), Headframe Spirits (Butte, MT), Rogue Spirits Distillery (Newport, OR), Santa Fe Spirits (Santa Fe, NM), Sonoma Distilling Company (Rohnert Park, CA), State Line Distillery (Madison, WI), and Thornton Distilling Company (Thornton, IL).  Blenders Johnny Jeffery (Bently Heritage Estate Distillery), Randy Hudson (Triple Eight Distillery), Reade Huddleston (Headframe Spirits), and John McKee (Headframe Spirits) blended over the course of two days in Butte, MT. All of the whiskey was blended on-site, then returned to used Bourbon barrels to marry for five months before proofing down to 46% for bottling and release.

The result of this unique blend is a whiskey with a medium amber color highlighted with flashes of gold and copper. It has gorgeous scents of dried apple, brûlée sugar, brown butter, toasted walnut, biscuit, hay, and golden raisin, with notes of dried cherry, orange peel, and warming spice. It is silky, confident, and broad, with balanced earthy, savory and dry, candied notes. Its flavors of dried apple, dried cherry, heather, toasted brioche, toasted walnut, savory leather, and black tobacco leaf evolve in the glass showing hay, caramel, singed cinnamon, and orange. It has a long finish, with evolution on the back palate.‍

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Good Deeds Malt Whiskey is available for purchase exclusively online for a retail price of $75.00, with 100% of the bottle price benefiting STEPUP.  

ABOUT GOOD DEEDS SPIRITS

Good Deeds Spirits is a passionate collective of distillers and friends, committed to supporting causes that lead to positive change. From coast to coast, our distilleries have shared their spirits, time, and energy in an effort to raise funds for causes that share our values and mission: to be a force for good.

ABOUT STEPUP 

The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP) is a diversity initiative that aims to provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive year-long, immersive internship program. Created by ACSA, STEPUP will engage diverse applicants with an interest in the beverage sector and help those of different races, color, national origins, genders, and sexual orientations to acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed in the industry.

ABOUT BIG THIRST, INC.

Big Thirst, Inc. is a three-tier compliant integrated e-commerce platform for spirits brands to conveniently expand sales and ship products to consumers in more than 40 states. Big Thirst is the spirits industry’s most comprehensive e-commerce sales and marketing company powered by a compliance, distribution and sales consultancy, Big Thirst Consultingand a full-service marketing agency, Big Thirst Marketing. It is a one-stop shop for spirits brands and distilleries to accelerate e-commerce sales to consumers with an online sales solution, website and website store design, distribution management, customer service, digital advertising, email marketing, business analytics, and retailer partner relations for order fulfillment. Connect with Big Thirst on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

News

Good Deed Spirits Expands Availability With Big Thirst E-Commerce Platform

AUSTIN, Texas (PRWEB) 
December 19, 2022

Good Deeds Malt Whiskey, the collaborative benefit whiskey released in 2021, is now available for purchase online with shipping across the U.S. through Big Thirst Inc., the spirits industry’s most comprehensive e-commerce sales and marketing company. Big Thirst is providing its services to Good Deeds Spirits at no cost to ensure 100% of proceeds from the sale of the whiskey will benefit The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals Foundation, Inc. (STEPUP), the diversity and inclusion initiative founded by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).

Good Deeds Spirits was established in 2021, with the intention of creating interesting, collaborative spirits releases with the goal of raising money to benefit important industry causes. ‍Good Deeds Malt Whiskey, the inaugural, limited-edition malt whiskey was created as a blend from ten of the most respected craft distilleries, all of whom donated a barrel of whiskey for blending, with the purpose of increasing inclusion and diversity in the drinks industry. Fellow distilleries and industry suppliers including Saxco and Tapi provided donations of materials and expertise to contribute to the mission of helping to diversify the industry.

“Collaborating with other distillers on Good Deeds Whiskey is our way of pulling our community together to raise funds and awareness for a program we’re all incredibly excited about,” says Johnny Jeffery, industry consultant, previously General Manager, Bently Heritage Estate Distillery. “Expanding our reach by partnering with Big Thirst will better enable people all over the country to purchase this limited-edition whiskey for a good cause. We know this partnership will help us continue to generate revenue for STEPUP and other programs we support.”

“The Big Thirst team shares Good Deeds Spirits’ values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and we’re thrilled to be able to help contribute to STEPUP,” says Matt McGinnis, CEO of Big Thirst. “We are eager to provide our time, and energy, and to offer our online sales platform free of charge to help further the mission of increasing diversity in our industry.” 

Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, ACSA and President, STEPUP added, “As we gear up for our immersive internship program’s second year, we continue to be humbled by the generous contributions across the industry as together we remain united on an imperative cause: recruiting more diverse perspectives in drinks. Good Deeds Spirits and the release of their inaugural whiskey has been a testament to this mindset, and it’s created a tangible way for spirits enthusiasts and those outside our industry to get involved. We’re grateful for their efforts and grateful for the work of partners like Big Thirst who are helping to spread the word.”

To connect with the community, Sailor Guevara, a 2022 STEPUP mentor, will host three Virtual Tasting events with the first one held on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 8:00 PM EST. Guevara, who is also donating her time to process shipping requests for Good Deeds Spirits, will be joined in the virtual tasting events by Erin Lee and Yakntoro Udoumoh, 2022 interns, Paul Hletko, founder of FEW Spirits a participating STEPUP distillery, Tracie Franklin, founder of Spirited Tracie, and members of Good Deed Spirits. The tasting is free to all who have purchased a bottle, or $25 for people who have not. Tickets include samples of Good Deeds Malt Whiskey and are online at Sailor Guevara Cocktails

ABOUT GOOD DEEDS MALT WHISKEY 

‍Good Deeds Malt Whiskey is a blend of 10 donated whiskeys from Triple Eight Distillery (Nantucket, MA), Balcones Distilling (Waco, TX), Bently Heritage Estate Distillery (Minden, NV), FEW Spirits (Evanston, IL), Headframe Spirits (Butte, MT), Rogue Spirits Distillery (Newport, OR), Santa Fe Spirits (Santa Fe, NM), Sonoma Distilling Company (Rohnert Park, CA), State Line Distillery (Madison, WI), and Thornton Distilling Company (Thornton, IL). Blenders Johnny Jeffery (Bently Heritage Estate Distillery), Randy Hudson (Triple Eight Distillery), Reade Huddleston (Headframe Spirits), and John McKee (Headframe Spirits) blended over the course of two days in Butte, MT. All of the whiskey was blended on-site, then returned to used Bourbon barrels to marry for five months before proofing down to 46% for bottling and release.

The result of this unique blend is a whiskey with a medium amber color highlighted with flashes of gold and copper. It has gorgeous scents of dried apple, brûlée sugar, brown butter, toasted walnut, biscuit, hay, and golden raisin, with notes of dried cherry, orange peel, and warming spice. It is silky, confident, and broad, with balanced earthy, savory and dry, candied notes. Its flavors of dried apple, dried cherry, heather, toasted brioche, toasted walnut, savory leather, and black tobacco leaf evolve in the glass showing hay, caramel, singed cinnamon, and orange. It has a long finish, with evolution on the back palate. 

‍ 

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY 

Good Deeds Malt Whiskey is available for purchase exclusively online for a retail price of $75.00, with 100% of the bottle price benefiting STEPUP. 

ABOUT GOOD DEEDS SPIRITS 

Good Deeds Spirits is a passionate collective of distillers and friends, committed to supporting causes that lead to positive change. From coast to coast, our distilleries have shared their spirits, time, and energy in an effort to raise funds for causes that share our values and mission: to be a force for good.

ABOUT STEPUP 

The Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP) is a diversity initiative that aims to provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive year-long, immersive internship program. Created by ACSA, STEPUP will engage diverse applicants with an interest in the beverage sector and help those of different races, color, national origins, genders, and sexual orientations to acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed in the industry.

ABOUT BIG THIRST, INC. 

Big Thirst, Inc. is a three-tier compliant integrated e-commerce platform for spirits brands to conveniently expand sales and ship products to consumers in more than 40 states. Big Thirst is the spirits industry’s most comprehensive e-commerce sales and marketing company powered by compliance, distribution, and sales consultancy, Big Thirst Consulting, and a full-service marketing agency, Big Thirst Marketing. It is a one-stop shop for spirits brands and distilleries to accelerate e-commerce sales to consumers with an online sales solution, website and website store design, distribution management, customer service, digital advertising, email marketing, business analytics, and retailer partner relations for order fulfillment. Connect with Big Thirst on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

–end–

Contact: 

Big Thirst 

Jennifer Swanson 

Big Thirst Marketing 

jennifer@bigthirstmarketing.com 

512-731-9486

-or-

Good Deeds, ACSA, STEPUP 

Alexandra Sklansky Clough 

Gather PR 

Alexandra@gatherpr.com 

516-428-7210

News

ST. GEORGE SPIRITS RELEASES 40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION SINGLE MALT WHISKEY

ARTISAN DISTILLERS MARK MAJOR MILESTONE WITH SPIRIT THAT SPEAKS TO HERITAGE

ALAMEDA, CA (October 24, 2022) – St. George Spirits, the artisan distiller known for its innovative distillates and pioneering of the American craft spirits revolution, has announced the release of a special-edition Single Malt Whiskey in honor of the distillery’s 40th anniversary. St. George’s 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey is a highly limited bottling that celebrates a major milestone in the distillery’s history and pays homage to the creative spirit that has driven the distillery to push categorical boundaries since its inception.


“Our 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey represents the cumulative experience of 40 years of boundary-pushing distillation, as well as our decades-long love affair with making single malt,” says master distiller Lance Winters. “It’s the pure essence of passionate self-expression—and it’s also delicious.”


As with all of St. George Spirits’ distillates, the 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey is the product of the distillers’ passion for capturing the intangible: sense of place, the emotion of a moment, and the thrill of pursuing something never done before. It comes as an addition to the distillery’s portfolio of American Single Malts: Baller Single Malt Whiskey and the Lot Series, a yearly release which the distillery began making in 1996 and first released in 2000, a time when no other American distillers dared to make whiskey from heavily roasted grain.


In preparation for its release, Winters and head distiller and blender Dave Smith sampled more than 600 casks over a period of several months, ultimately selecting only 14 to draw from for the 40th Anniversary Edition. Sourced from barrels that range from four years old to one of the earliest casks the distillery ever laid down, the rigorous selection process speaks to the distillery’s approach of melding precision with imagination. Each individual barrel offers a range of unique characteristics that complete the whiskey’s flavor profile. For example, a California Sauternes-style cask imparts notes of stone fruit and rose geranium.

Some barrels are nods to important pieces of St. George’s heritage, like the umeshu casks that serve as a tribute to Baller Single Malt Whiskey.

“Special releases are about sharing our heritage and making a statement about where we are today, as well as where we are going,” says Smith. “We were inspired to finish a portion of our anniversary single malt in umeshu cask as we discovered that our Lot Series mash bill married perfectly with the stone fruit tones of umeshu and brought balance to the rich weight of Lance’s house-made tawny port casks.”

St. George Spirits 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey opens with a complex nose of vibrant cola, dark chocolate, and lager; with creamy notes of brown butter, salted caramel, sandalwood, and sweet coconut emerging with time exposed to air. The palate reveals bold notes of dark chocolate, walnut fudge, latte, and Amber malt mingled with buttered wae; joined by secondary notes of coconut, spice, cinnamon, clove, candied ginger, stone fruit, and soft smoke. Only 1,982 bottles were produced.

To further honor 40 years of craft distilling, St. George Spirits will be donating $40,000 to the STEPUP Foundation, an organization that aims to provide underserved individuals with opportunities, training, and mentorship to enter the spirits industry.

St. George Spirits 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey ($500; 48% ABV) is expected to start reaching fine spirits retailers in early November, although rollout timing will vary from market to market. It can also be purchased in-person at the distillery during a special release event November 12—quantities are very limited. For additional information, visit StGeorgeSpirits.com.


ABOUT ST. GEORGE SPIRITS


St. George Spirits is a true American original, defining and propelling the art of distillation in the United States for the last 40 years. Today, the extensive St. George portfolio of gins, vodkas, whiskeys, liqueurs, and brandies stands apart for not only its excellence in every category but also its expression of creativity and an uncompromising point of view. The exacting standards established by founder Jörg Rupf in 1982 form the foundations by which the distillery still operates. Independent in spirit and in fact, St. George Spirits remains owner-operated by master distiller Lance Winters and head distiller Dave Smith. St. George Spirits is proudly located in Alameda, California.


St. George’s family of spirits has grown over the decades, and the American craft distillation movement has grown with it. The more that the landscape has changed, the more important St. George’s philosophy has become: make amazing spirits, unlike anything else available on the market, with innovation, quality, and integrity.


ABOUT STEPUP FOUNDATION
SPIRITS TRAINING ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM FOR UNDERREPRESENTED PROFESSIONALS, INC. aka STEPUP Foundation

PURPOSE: The purpose of STEPUP is to increase diversity in the spirits industry by providing individuals with an extensive training program that will help them find their passion, and furnish them with the knowledge necessary to immediately make an impact in their career. Specifically, STEPUP, working with distilleries of all sizes and distributors throughout the United States, provides a comprehensive multi-site spirits training program. MISSION: To provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive internship program.


HOW IT WORKS: STEPUP Foundation participants will be guided through every facet of operating a distillery, with the added bonus of an immersive internship opportunity with a wholesaler. Interns will experience hands-on training and job exposure to several facets of the alcoholic beverage industry, including distillation production and safety, sales and marketing, business and finance, tasting rooms operations, and distribution.

News

ACSA Unveils New DEI Initiative

After more than 18 months of planning, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) is proud to launch the Spirits Training Entrepreneurship Program for Underrepresented Professionals (STEPUP Foundation), a diversity initiative that aims to provide underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community…

News

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR 2022

Are you interested in joining us? Are you seeking to gain an understanding of, relevant skills and hands-on training in the craft spirits industry? Are you ready to enter a vibrant entrepreneurial community? Do you want to challenge yourself with a year-long educational experience?

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