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  • October 17, 2023 1:50 PM | Anonymous

    Max HoelkerCopy Editor •  Hilltop Views • October 17, 2023

    The Munday Library hosted a panel on craft spirit distilling on Oct. 12 to share with students the process and history behind the craft in Texas. The library has hosted events like this in the past, but this is the first time the focus has been on spirits instead of beer. The library is also host to an archive on the history of craft distilling.

    Claire Edwards, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor of biology at St. Edward’s and an avid scholar of fermentation, was the moderator of the panel. The panel was composed of Gary Kelleher and Stephanie Houston, two big names in the craft distilling industry, and Amber Hausenfluck, a professional lobbyist. 

    Kelleher is the president of Dripping Springs Distillery, located in Dripping Springs, Texas. The distillery, founded to produce vodka in 2005, was the third distillery to receive a license from the state of Texas. For context, the first official distillery in Texas was Tito’s, a well-known brand that is synonymous with vodka in the U.S. Since Dripping Springs was licensed, over 200 distilleries have been built across the state.

    Hausenfluck, who appears to be the odd woman out, was brought to the panel because of her experience dealing with the legal side of the craft distilling industry, representing the Texas Distilling Spirits Association.

    In 2013, she was put in charge of a group of representatives from various alcohol businesses in order to resolve points of tension between the state of Texas, its laws restricting alcohol production and sale and the groups making alcohol. Hausenfluck describes this as “a very novel idea.” In the first session, they were able to pass five bills, which is considered an impressive number for such a young industry.

    “That doesn’t happen in the alcohol industry,” Hausenfluck said. “The distilled spirits industry is heavily regulated, very heavily regulated, and so it takes a lot of time to sort of chip away at some of these regulations.”

    In the decade since, the legal landscape surrounding the industry has been terraformed. Distilleries are now allowed to sell on-site, alcohol buying limits were drawn back and distillers are allowed to directly advertise to retailers. Those are only a few of the changes that have been made in the past 10 years, and Hausenfluck hopes that there will be more to come.

    Houston is the CEO and co-founder of Island Getaway Rum, one of the fastest-growing distilleries in the state. Also located in Dripping Springs, her company is only 6 years old and barely survived the pandemic, but the business sprang back and Houston now travels across the world to bring her rum to countries like Japan and Spain. During the panel, Houston emphasized the struggles of getting her brand out. As a young business, it has been a constant fight against the status quo to get good product placement on shelves and to convince customers to buy Island Getaway Rum over more well-known brands like Bacardi.

    “More and more consumers want to know who they’re buying from, what’s in (the product), where did it come from, how is it made,” Houston said. “Those are the things that people want to know, especially in this generation. We are in a marketplace that wants to be conformed (to people’s changing attitudes towards alcohol).”

    The panel spent their hour-long block discussing all things alcohol. They tossed around topics like what qualifies as a “Texas distillery” or a “craft distillery,” how different types of alcohol are distinct from one another, and the struggles of producing consistent alcohol in the first place. Kelleher even gave explanations on alcohol tasting and how the different sizes of stills affect the taste and type of alcohol produced. 

    “There is an intense amount of camaraderie in this industry,” Kelleher said. 

    Those involved in the Texas distillery industry, even people on the outside like Hausenfluck, take a lot of pride in being a Texas distillery.

    COVID-19 hit the industry hard; many distilleries had to open other outlets, like hand sanitizer and food, in order to survive. Nevertheless, they refused to back down. Now, the idea of smaller distilleries, brought forth by the explosive popularity of craft beer, is no longer a strange concept to the public. 

    The panelists ended their discussion with hope. Both Kelleher and Houston say that their distilleries are putting their “heart and soul” into the production of their spirits. The increased popularity of craft spirits has brought hope to an industry that has had to fight an uphill battle against obstacles like the law, and recently COVID-19, for over two decades, and they believe that their faith will be rewarded. 

  • September 01, 2023 2:01 PM | Anonymous

    San Antonio Express News

    By  Madison Iszler , Staff Writer

    Distillers in Texas are raising a glass to new laws they expect will boost sales.

    Senate Bill 2284, which was passed this year by the state Legislature, doubles the number of 750 milliliter bottles of spirits customers can buy directly from distilleries over a 30-day period to four from two. 

    That should mean distillers can double retail sales from their tasting rooms, said Mike Cameron, who pushed for the change as president of the Texas Distilled Spirits Association and co-founder of Devils River Whiskey in San Antonio. Selling directly to customers also translates to improved margins, because such sales cut out distributors and liquor stores who otherwise would take a cut.

    “The bottle bill was a big deal for distilleries,” Cameron said of the law that took effect Sept. 1.

    Another new law, created by Senate Bill 1375, allows distillers to offer samples of their spirits at events such as farmers’ markets and festivals.

    Both are a boon for the continuing growth of the industry, Cameron said.

    “The key to this business is engaging with consumers and getting liquid to lips,” he said. “That’s how you grow a brand.”

    The industry has expanded rapidly across Texas in the past decade. There were eight distilleries in the state in 2012, when Cameron and others founded the spirits association. Today there are more than 200.  Cameron attributed that growth in part to a series of changes in state and federal law. A state measure permitting distilleries to sell two bottles within a 30-day period passed in 2013 and an amendment to a federal bill in 2017 reduced the tax rate producers pay on beer, wine and spirits to $2.70 per proof gallon (a gallon of spirits that is 50% alcohol) from $13.50.

    One law that hasn’t changed: Texas is still one of seven states that bars liquor sales on Sundays.

    “I want Texas to be No. 1,” Cameron said. “That’s a tall order when you’ve got states like Kentucky and Tennessee, but I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made.”

    A study conducted by the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Community and Business Research and commissioned by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. showed that distillers in Texas generated nearly $2 billion in revenue in 2020. The industry supports 4,900 Texas jobs with $334.9 million in salaries and benefits paid to workers. The majority of those are not direct employees of distilleries, but workers in transportation or on farms that supply inputs such as grain for distilling or fruit for flavoring. Texas grain farmers supplied about 30 percent — nearly $1.7 million worth — of the grain used in spirits in 2020. 

    There’s been an increase in the number of distilleries in San Antonio over the past decade or so, as well. The list now includes Rebecca Creek Distillery, founded in 2009; Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, 2010; Azar Distilling, 2010; Artisan on Alamo Distilling, 2012; Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Co., 2013; Alamo Distilling Co., 2015; and Maverick Whiskey, 2019.  

    Devils River Whiskey opened its new distillery and tasting room in the spring of 2021 in the Burns building downtown. A chunk of its business is with visitors who sip on its product in the sprawling tasting room along Houston Street and Cameron estimated foot traffic is back to 60% or 70% of what it was before the pandemic as more tourists return and conventions and meetings are booked.

     “It’s been so refreshing to see it come back,” he said.

  • July 23, 2023 2:10 PM | Anonymous

    UTSA Today

    JUNE 23, 2022 — Researchers at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development today released “Economic Contributions of Distilled Spirits in Texas 2020,” a new study highlighting the significant economic impact Texas distillers made to their local communities and the state in 2020, despite economic hardships of the pandemic and lingering Prohibition-era laws restricting sales.

    “Over the past decade, the number of Texas distilleries has grown dramatically as has the sector’s economic impact to local economies and surrounding communities,” Javier Oyakawa, lead investigator of the study from the Center for Community and Business Research at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development. “The number of Texas distilleries has grown from just eight in 2008 to 190 today. These distillers are playing a critical role in the state’s economy by generating sales, creating jobs, and providing wages and benefits.”

     Key findings from the study show Texas distillers contributed:

    ·         Nearly $2 billion in total economic output (or revenues)

    ·         Support for close to 4,900 Texas jobs

    ·         As much as $334.9 million in salaries and benefits paid to workers

    ·         Approximately $481,450 from on-premise mixed beverage sales taxes paid. The tax paid in 2020 declined by more than $240,000, or 34%, due to COVID-19-related closures.

    ·         Close to $391,000 from on-premise mixed beverage gross receipts taxes were paid. The tax paid in 2020 declined around $200,000, or 34%, due to COVID-19-related closures. 

    “What we found especially interesting was that the Texas spirits industry continued to generate significant economic support for the state between 2019 and 2020, despite substantial declines in on-premise sales due to the pandemic-related closures of distillery tasting rooms and restaurants,” said Tom Tunstall, senior director for community and business research at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development.

    The report was prepared for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

    “This study makes clear that continued growth of the Texas distilling industry presents great opportunities for the state, and that the collective economic contributions of these small businesses could be even greater if antiquated laws restricting spirits sales were updated,” said Kristi Brown, senior director of state government relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “Texas distillers still aren’t allowed to sell spirits bottles to consumers on Sundays, despite being allowed to open their doors, offer tours and provide tastings.”

    Brown added, “This simply doesn’t make sense. The decline in on-premise sales greatly impacted distillers, and it’s time to modernize Texas alcohol laws to help support this growing industry and spirits consumers throughout the state.”


    ·         Out of the $108.9 million in spirits gallonage excise taxes collected by the state in FY2020, close to $8.6 million correspond to locally made spirits.

    ·         Out of the $968.6 million mixed beverage taxes collected by the State and by local governments in FY2020, close to $42.9 million correspond to locally made spirits.


    The study also highlights the impact Texas distillers have on other local businesses. Aside from the distilleries, some of the top industries supported by the spirits industry are wholesalers of goods such as grains, machinery and equipment, glass container manufacturers and truck transportation.

    Industries Impacted:

    Total contributions in millions of dollars

    • Wholesale – nondurable goods (grain merchants, alcohol beverage merchants, etc.)


    • Wholesale – machinery, equipment and suppliers


    • Glass container manufacturers


    • Truck transportation


     Read the full report.

    “The data shows the proliferation of distilleries and their continued growth helps support other local businesses including farmers, glass manufacturers, truckers, equipment suppliers and more,” said Tunstall. “Supporting the distilling industry, therefore, has a much larger positive impact on the overall economy in Texas.”

  • June 03, 2020 7:34 PM | Anonymous

    Distillers in Houston, statewide team up to advocate for tax relief

    By Laura Gillespie

    – Reporter, Houston Business Journal

    Jun 3, 2020, 2:39pm CDT

    Distillers across the state are asking Texas' members of Congress to provide relief in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has proved devastating to their businesses.

    The Texas Distilled Spirits Association, the Texas Whiskey Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States co-signed a letter asking the Texas congressional delegation to provide tax relief.

    That includes providing federal excise tax relief, deferring federal excise taxes, suspending tariffs on distilled spirits and creating an industry stabilization fund.

    Carlos de Aldecoa, CEO of Gulf Coast Distillers in Houston, chiefly wants to be treated the same as local breweries and wineries in terms of legislature. De Aldecoa cites a number of rules imposed upon distilleries that breweries and wineries don't have, like limiting the number of bottles they can sell per person per month.

    “Why should distilleries be treated differently?” De Aldecoa said. “That’s really the biggest issue. It’s not a matter of wanting to reinvent the wheel; it’s really wanting to have a fair and level set of rules.”

    De Aldecoa estimates his company has donated $800,000 of hand sanitizer to various organizations, including first responders, the Houston Zoo, nonprofits and oil and gas companies. Because of that, he believes his economic impact is worth acknowledging.

    Michael Langan, head of distillery at Yellow Rose Distilling, also believes there’s a disparity in how breweries and wineries are treated versus distilleries.

    “The parity between spirits, wine and beer, it just doesn’t exist,” Langan said. “There’s just a huge differential in how these things are looked at and assessed, very much to our disadvantage.”

    His industry has been fighting federal excise taxes for five years, he said, and with revenue greatly reduced this year, paying those excise taxes could be devastating.

    “Many distilleries fear that return to 'normal' operations will be closely followed by a scheduled tax increase at the end of the year, creating further financial turmoil,” the letter submitted to Congress said.

    Both de Aldecoa and Langan have seen their businesses suffer due to Covid-19, though they’ve both pivoted into making and selling hand sanitizer. At Yellow Rose, half of the staff was working from home, orders had dried up, and there was no opportunity to offer the hospitality side of its business, such as tastings. Normally, this time of the year is very busy as it ramps up to the third quarter, Langan said.

    De Aldecoa has seen his suppliers affected. He’s unable to get ingredients and materials from China or from shuttered local facilities.

    "The whole supply chain, employee management and employee safety (issue) has been quite a challenge," de Aldecoa said.

  • December 19, 2019 9:14 AM | Anonymous

    Forbes - Tara Nurin

    Congress gave distillers a reprieve Thursday by voting to extend critical tax breaks to the spirits industry for one year. By passing one of two remaining spending packages by a vote of 71-23, senators affirmed a vote their House colleagues took Tuesday to let the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2019 (CBMTRA) contained within it sunset on December 31, 2020, instead of at the end of this year as previously determined by the passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. It headed to the president’s desk Thursday for his expected signature Friday.

    For Scott Harris, co-founder of the ten-year-old Catoctin Creek Distillery in Northern Virginia, failure to pass FET reform would have meant potentially reducing employees and shifts in production. Now, he plans to add equipment and 1.5 to 2 sales positions this year.

    “With it now,” he says, “we are able to keep going full steam ahead.”

    “We are so delighted that the FET relief was included in the appropriations bill,” adds his wife and head distiller, Becky Harris. “Making this relief permanent is our next priority so we can plan with more confidence every year.” 

    In an unprecedented show of solidarity between the spirits, beer, wine and cider industries, together with their raw material suppliers, six trade representative trade associations have worked together for the past several years to lobby Congress for federal excise tax (FET) relief. They won their first major battle in December 2017 when Congress voted to implement their requested reduction for two years. This year, they hoped to make the changes permanent but will have to settle for what they got, for now.

    “It has been a long, hard fight for this one-year FET extension, a critical relief that will protect our industry in the near-term, and we look forward to working towards FET relief permanence as together we protect the future success of craft spirits and the peripheral industries we support,” says Margie Lehrman, CEO of the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), which represents the nation’s 2,000 small, independent distillers.

    With taxes set to revert to their pre-2018 levels if this hadn’t passed, most of the nation’s small distillers faced what would have amounted to a 400% federal increase. Though brewers and winemakers would have also suffered grievously, distillers pay a far higher tax rate than the others. Not only is this the ACSA’s top ongoing legislative priority, its executives warned in statements earlier this week, “These numbers are grave, and the threat is real and imminent.”

    The numbers they reference come from a poll of 100 ACSA members taken before the vote. In their words:  

    ·      100% of craft distillers report that the tax hike will negatively impact their small businesses.

    ·      More than 50% of craft distillers will take action to immediately cut jobs.

    ·      15% of craft distillers will cut production.

    ·      12% of craft distillers will halt any expansion efforts.

    ·      13% of craft distillers will increase pricing.

    ·      11% will cancel or stop negotiating equipment purchases.

    ·      5% will cut grain purchases, creating a direct impact on U.S. agriculture.

    ·      5% will close their operations altogether.

    Says Ryan Perry, master blender for Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door line of whiskeys, “With our brand built in part on collaborations with smaller brands, anything that helps the industry grow is a positive. Everyone will capitalize on the reduction in a way that allows them to put money into interesting and cool things.”

    Perry and Dylan have based their brand in Tennessee. Next door, Virginia boasts an extremely proactive industry association that arguably works harder than most to promote the commonwealth’s whiskey history, along with its 70 craft distilleries.

    Says Virginia Distillers Association (VDA) executive director Amy Ciarametaro:

    “Tax reform uncertainty is the single greatest threat faced by American craft distillers. It’s been an emotional whirlwind, continually asking Congress to support FET reform since the original passage in 2017 and now the pending one-year tax extenders package. While we are grateful for the one-year extension, it continues to be an interim fix.”

    Despite ranking 46th in the nation for spirits consumption in 2016, Virginia’s distillers contributed $163 million in economic impact to the commonwealth in 2018 and anticipate spending $86 million on capital investments by 2021. Yet even before factoring in federal taxes, the state’s distillers net a mere $4-$7 per $30 bottle sold. FET uncertainty has created what Ciarametaro calls “an industry-wide bottleneck” because distillers can’t accurately budget for the future.

    “Our industry is abnormally capital intensive; couple that with state-by-state regulations that severely impact the economics and then compound that with the highest federal tax rates across the various beverage sectors. If the tax rate reverts back to pre-2017 reform, or $13.50 per proof gallon, that’s an additional expense of approximately $3/bottle in expenses. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for additional expenses to support employees, capital investments, brand development, etc.,” she emails.

    Both of Virginia’s (Democratic) senators voted to pass the bill, as did all seven Democratic congressional representatives. The commonwealth’s four Republican representatives voted no, however CMBTRA’s inclusion in a much larger tax package makes it inaccurate to gauge a lawmaker’s support based on his or her vote. In fact, all three Republican co-sponsors (of the seven total from across party lines) voted no, and all but one of the representatives who didn’t co-sponsor voted yes. The lone nay-sayer comes from within Republican party ranks; the rest are Democrats. Neither senator co-sponsored.

    According to Ciarametaro, some members of Virginia’s delegation opposed CMBTRA because they mistakenly believe it almost exclusively benefits multi-national distillers rather than independent American ones. The Brookings Institution is among those making this case in an argument against giving tax breaks to foreign importers and large U.S. producers that don’t need it.

    In a lengthy web article entitled, “How to close the loopholes in the Craft Beverage Modernization Act,” the author writes, “According to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation, updated to reflect what they’ve learned from the tax cut’s first-year impacts, most of the $1.2 billion cost of a one-year extension of the bill is associated with producers of distilled spirits who use this loophole, rather than true craft distillers.”

    He describes this loophole as one that “allows large producers of distilled spirits to ship their product tax free through smaller firms, importers, or even shell company intermediaries, allowing them to claim the lower tax rate that was supposed to be reserved for small, craft businesses.”

    He points to distilleries that legally buy and blend and/or bottle product from others while branding them as their own. The sticking point comes as a result of the act’s three-tiered approach to the tax cuts, which assesses distillers at $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 100,000 to leave the production site or warehouse, and $13.34 per proof gallon on the first 22,130,000 after that. Anything over 22,130,000 proof gallons gets taxed at the pre-2018 rate of $13.50.

    Brookings advocates several alternatives, including lowering the first-tier ceiling to 10,000 proof gallons instead of 100,000. But what the think tank doesn’t take into account is that the bill likely wouldn’t have passed in the first place if it weren’t for these specific numbers, which might be viewed as a necessary evil that convinced large spirits corporations to compromise and join ranks with their smaller peers in getting behind just one tax reform bill rather than diffusing their power into multiple ones.

    Plus, according to ACSA, 92% of craft spirits producers remove 10,000 proof gallons from bond annually, and just two percent remove more than 100,000. So while large-scale producers do benefit enormously from the tiered structure, almost every craft producer gets to take advantage of it as well.

    In Virginia, 69 of 70 distilleries fall entirely below the 100,000 level.

    “Having worked with Virginia distillers for some time now, I hear and see the economic pains they face on a continual basis,” says Ciarametaro. “They’re not running out and buying yachts as a result of tax reform.”

  • October 31, 2019 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    We are please to present the November 2019 TDSA Newsletter. Inside you will read:

    • Legislative Update
    • November Election Information
    • Federal Update - CBMTRA & USMCA
    • Spirits United
    • HB 1997 Implementation
    • October 2019 Principal Member Meeting Recap
    • New Member Welcome
    • Winter Social & Prospective Member Reception

  • October 15, 2019 2:06 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON –  The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), America’s leading advocate for the distilled spirits industry, today announced that the Texas Distilled Spirits Association (TDSA) and the Texas Whiskey Association (TXWA) have joined Spirits United as partners to expand the grassroots network in the Lone Star State.

    The Spirits United platform features important information on key issues facing the spirits industry, hospitality professionals and consumers, and provides advocates with an easy-to-use website to weigh in on issues that matter to them. DISCUS launched the platform in August with founding partners American Distilling Institute and TIPS.

    “We are thrilled to have TDSA and TXWA join DISCUS, ADI and TIPS as Spirits United partners. Texas is a vital market for small and large distillers. Both organizations have a critical role in advocating for the distilled spirits industry in the Texas State Legislature, and they will be valued partners as we work together on market modernization opportunities for the industry in the state,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO, DISCUS and

    “The distilled spirits industry is a major contributor to the Texas economy.  We support more than 82,000 jobs and make a $7.5 billion impact on the state’s gross domestic product,” said Swonger. “We invite all Texas adults who are passionate about spirits to join Spirits United, including distillers, supply chain partners, bartenders, mixologists and consumers. We need everyone’s participation to pursue a competitive and free market to benefit consumers and businesses in Texas.”

    “Spirits United is an exciting new way to mobilize advocates for the distilled spirits industry in Texas, and we look forward to partnering with our industry colleagues on this innovative initiative,” said TDSA President Mike Cameron. “Expanding this grassroots network in Texas will help our distillers grow and bring adult consumers more convenient access to their favorite distilled spirits products, many of which are made proudly right here in the Lone Star State.”

    “In Texas, we have a great amount of pride for the whiskey we produce,” said TXWA Executive Director Spencer Whelan. “We are excited to join Spirits United to harness that pride and turn it into action on issues like the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act and market modernization in our state. Texans are brought up with a spirit for freedom, and we are the best and most passionate advocates for this industry.

    Spirits United Continues to Mobilize Support for Craft Beverage Bill

    Spirits United  already has begun mobilizing advocates in support of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/ S. 362), legislation making permanent the federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits that was enacted in 2017.  Without congressional approval, the tax cut will expire on December 31, 2019.  Using the Spirits United platform, advocates are actively sending letters to their members of Congress urging passage of the legislation.

    “We urge Congress to act as soon as possible on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act to ensure that distillers in Texas and across the nation can continue to invest in their businesses, hire more employees and boost tourism and economic development,” said Swonger. “Through Spirits United, we are working to get as many letters, social media interactions and phone calls to Congress as possible in support of this bill.”

    Commitment to Responsibility

    A strong commitment to responsibility is the foundation of Spirits United. Through Spirits United’s social media content and information on its site, spirits advocates will be encouraged to join industry efforts to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving and to promote the responsible consumption of beverage alcohol.


    Join Spirits United

    Spirits United is an inclusive community for anyone and everyone over the age of 21. To join Spirits United, please click here. Spirits United is also on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.  Watch “I am Spirits United” here.

    About the Texas Distilled Spirits Association

    The mission of TDSA is to grow the market for Texas spirits through education, marketing and regulatory influence.

    About the Texas Whiskey Association

    The Texas Whiskey Association is established by a group of whiskey makers with the common goal to promote Texas Whiskey, educate consumers and support distilleries that produce whiskey all within the territorial boundaries of the State of Texas.



    DISCUS Public Affairs

    (202) 682-8840

    Ainsley Holyfield

    (240) 232‑8108

    Stefanie Scott

    (512) 784-8833

  • October 15, 2019 8:59 AM | Anonymous

    Today, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Spirits United Texas, along with the Texas Whiskey Association.

    As you know, craft distillers in Texas play a unique and powerful role in the distilled spirits industry by creating diversity, excitement, and increasing the spirits consumer base. Craft distillers attract visitors with their specialized spirits and create jobs, thereby increasing tourism and enhancing the economy in their local communities. The distilled spirits industry would not be as strong and vibrant as it is today without Texas craft distillers like you.

    However, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and at the Texas Legislature in Austin, laws are enacted and kept in place that can have an impact on your business, like bans on Sunday Sales and punitive federal excise taxes. 

    Here’s the good news: you have the power to change these laws. You can educate our lawmakers on how these laws harm us and the best policies to ensure you can succeed – and now you have the tool to do so! TDSA is proud partner with Spirits United Texas, with special thanks to

    Spirits United Texas is a community of advocates united to harness the great pride and political equity within the industry to ensure adult consumers can enjoy distilled spirits where they want, how they want, and when they want. At Spirits United, you will be able to send PRE-DRAFTED letters and tweets, as well as make phone calls, to your elected officials on the various issues that impact your business. It’s simple and takes less than five minutes to do.

    Craft distillers are a critically important and powerful part of that community. Your strong, collective voice should be heard by elected officials to ensure your business is well represented at all levels of government!

    Join Spirits United TODAY by visiting

  • September 16, 2019 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    BENDT Distilling Co Launches BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey

    Launch Party Includes Craft Cocktails, BBQ and Live Music


    What: BENDT Distilling Co. will host a launch party on September 21st for the introduction of BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey – the first-ever blend of five distinct small batch Texas whiskeys (Bourbon, Rye, Malt, Wheat, Light) distilled, aged individually and blended together under one roof in Lewisville, Texas


    The family-friendly event is free to the public and will include the following:

    ·       BENDT No. 5 craft cocktail menu, samples and snow cones

    ·       Custom hand-etched bottle engraving by Air Style Art

    ·       Live music from Hightower Band and Denver Williams Band

    ·       BBQ by Chasin Tail BBQ

    ·       Behind-the-scenes whiskey production tours (21+)

    ·       Photobooth by Smile for the Camper + Texas Photobooth Company


    Who: Co-Founders Ryan and Natasha DeHart will raise a glass to celebrate the launch of new BENDT No. 5 – a smooth, perfectly balanced blended whiskey that captures the essence of each whiskeys finest characteristics


    Why: BENDT No. 5 is perfect for diverse whiskey drinkers seeking a smooth, flavorful and balanced blend of hand-crafted whiskeys. As one of the few female distillery founders and whiskey blenders in the U.S., Natasha DeHart is elevating the category of blended whiskey beyond neutral or artificially flavored whiskey-based spirits. BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey is all grain, all whiskey


    When:              Saturday, September 21, 2019

                                1:00PM – 9:00PM 


    Where:               BENDT Distilling Co (formerly Witherspoon Distillery)

                                225 S. Charles Street

                                Lewisville, TX 75057

    Instagram:         @bendtno5


    Contact:             David Abrams, StuntmanPR

                       , 201-993-8426 (mobile)

  • August 27, 2019 11:21 AM | Anonymous

    As you may be aware, one of the most important pieces of federal legislation for our industry is currently being proposed in DC.  The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (HR 117/S.362) will make permanent a federal excise tax of $2.70 per proof gallon.  If this legislation is not passed, the federal excise tax will increase 400% to $13.50 per proof gallon.  Members of Congress return to Washington DC on September 1st.  Now is the perfect time for you to send a letter to your member of Congress and US Senators explaining the importance of passing the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. 

    Click here for a sample letter
    for you to use when contacting your member of Congress.  We also ask you to send letters to both US Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.  Here is a list of addresses for the Texas federal delegation You may use this website to help you find your member of Congress:

    TDSA also sent a separate letter to each member of Congress and US Senator urging the importance of this legislation.  If you have any questions or concerns on how to contact your federal representative, please call Amber at 512-617-4523 or email her at

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