The existence of the new American Craft Distillers Association (ACDA) was announced on Tuesday, from Denver, Colorado, just four days after the conclusion of the American Distilling Institute's (ADI) annual conference in that same city.
In Tuesday's announcement, Rory Donovan, interim president of ACDA, explained that ACDA was formed "of, by, and for licensed craft distillers" in order to "promote and protect craft distilling in the United States."
It noted that craft distilling is a phenomenon that is sweeping the country. With more than 320 distilleries in existence and more on the way, products run the full gamut from brandy to bourbon, and all are gaining popularity with mixologists, restaurants, and consumers around the country.
According to Penn Jensen, ACDA executive director, "Our focus will be on brand building, public outreach, and legislative action on national and state levels to support the entrepreneur craft distillers everywhere in the U.S."
Officers and directors of the new organization are:
Rory Donovan, Peach Street Distillery;
Ted Huber, Starlight Distillery; Secretary/Treasurer
Brett Joyce, Rogue Brewing and Distilling;
Ralph Erenzo, Tuthilltown Distillery;
Lee Medoff, Bull Run Distillery;
Tom Potter, NY Distilling Co.;
Chip Tate, Balcones Distillery;
Rick Wasmund, Copper Fox Distillery;
Andrew Weber, Corsair Distillery; and (Ex Officio)
David Pickerell, Oakview Consulting.
The ACDA website is AmericanCraftDistillers.org.
The elephant in the room, of course, is the aforementioned ADI, which would seem to occupy most of the same space ACDA is claiming for itself. Penn Jensen, ACDA's new executive director, just retired from a similar position at ADI. Many of the new organization's directors have been active in ADI, some since its formation ten years ago. Huber Distillery, represented by ACDA Vice President Ted Huber, has been the site of many past ADI conferences. Unless the two groups differentiate, there's probably no need for both of them. The marketplace will decide who survives.
If you've read this far expecting to get the inside skinny, you're about to be disappointed. All will be revealed in the fullness of time, perhaps.