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Breakout Session
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2016 Conference Breakout Sessions

Monday April 4
2:00 pm

The Whole Package
Raul M. Paredes, Director, New Product Development, O-I; Jack Vogel, General Manager, Spirits, Fort Dearborn; Kevin Dunbar, Area Manager, Tapì USA; Brian Christensen, Publisher & Editor, Artisan Spirits Magazine

The Technical Aspects on Selecting the Right Glass, Labels and Closures for YOUR Spirits. 

Permitting, Amendments, Recordkeeping, Alternation, Flavoring Credits & Regulations
Stacy Kula, Attorney, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC; David Bateman, Consultancy, Gray-Robinson Beverage Law Group; Charles Tull, Gray-Robinson Beverage Law Group

An alcohol attorney and two former TTB employees will walk you through the process of filing your distiller’s permits and amendments online, address proper recordkeeping required by the TTB, explain alternating premises and provide guidance on tax credits for flavorings.

Understanding & Selling Major Key Accounts
Bob Brown, Owner, Sales Systems Development

For a distiller to succeed with major accounts, the major chains and control states have to be sold. To succeed you must understand how key accounts are organized and operate, their goals and strategies and the criteria used to evaluate possible vendors as well as for seletcting new items and promotions. The reality is a distillery introducing a brand has “to get it right” the first time. Brands given an opportunity must succeed, because there are no “second chances”. It is important to know the support expected and required of a vendor in working with major customers. Participants in this interactive session will learn the proven Key Account Management principles and techniques used by consumer package goods firms and major beverage alcohol suppliers calling on key regional and national accounts.

Financing Growth: Financial Metrics for Craft Distilleries
John Fisher, Managing Director, Fisher & Company; Jeff Clark, Domain Expert, Wine & Craft Beverage, Live Oak Bank; Alexander Burns, Principal, Rational Spirits, Patrick Robinson, Business Development Manager, CircleUp

The biggest challenge according to many distiller-entrepreneurs, after managing the growth of the business, is raising capital. There have been some famous wrecks in the business where the planning went wrong. There have also been less-publicized successes where the brand owners got it right. The result of managing rapid growth is stronger valuations and support from banks, investors and ultimately partners and acquirers. Presentation with real examples will lead the panels and attendees to explore artisan brand metrics and capital raising opportunities.

Tuesday April 5
8:45 am

Keynote Address
Yussef Cherney, COO, Ballast Point

The State of the Industry
Michael Kinslick – CEO, Coppersea Distilling

10:30 am

Succeeding at Retail – Panel Discussion
Richard Wolf, Managing Principal, Wolf Consulting LLC

Business Partnerships: Avoiding Pitfalls – Real Life Examples
Karen Hoskin, Owner and President, Montanya Distillers; David Woods, Lead Distiller, Wiggly Bridge; David Esptein, Co-Founder, Tom’s Town; Steve Revare, Co-Founder, Tom’s Town; Stacy Kula, Counsel to the Firm, Stoll, Keenon Ogden

Three American Craft Distillers from Colorado, Maine and Missouri discuss and describe their business partnerships, which range from close friends to family members to a husband and wife team.  Panel members will share trials and tribulations along their journey, what they learned, problems they have solved and how, and what they wish they had known from the start.  A business attorney will address mechanisms that support good decision making.

Craft Packaging Trends for 2017 (glass and decoration)
Panel; Isabelle LeGraet, SGP Packaging

This panel will give insights from the designer’s perspective on what are the upcoming design trends in the craft spirit industry. On the glass maker side, what are the latest innovations that enable to apply these tips on the packaging and what are, on the other side, the industrial limits. At the end of this panel, the attendees will have new branding inspirations, a better understanding of the packaging development steps, and know how to successfully realize their project from the concept to the actual bottle.

Competing with The Big Boys: Rules for Underdogs, Upstarts, and Challenger Brands
Martin Pazzani, CEO, United Craft Distillers

The former global strategist and long-ago head of marketing for Smirnoff, Jose Cuervo, Black Velvet, Yukon Jack, Famous Grouse, Highland Park, Inglenook, Almaden and many more knows how the big brands think and knows how to compete against them. The key is to use their strengths against them, and create strategic sales and marketing programs that work against the most vulnerable large, mega-brands. Case studies, best practices, lessons-learned, and 30 years of stories that will show you how to succeed at being an upstart, an underdog, and a challenger brand by outsmarting larger competitors. Specially tailored to the craft distiller looking to take it to the next level — from local company to regional/national brand — and based on experience advising numerous small distillers over the last five years, including his own company’s luxury tequilas.

Insurance: What You Know, Don’t Know, Need to Know
Aaron Linden, President, HUB International

This topic will cover a myriad of items relating insurance coverage to the ever growing craft distilleries industries through a brief history of what has happened in the past and how that relates directly to today’s marketplace. Items discussed will encompass everything from the need for surety bonding for the TTB and states to the pitfalls and tribulations associated in the navigation of the insurance marketplace. This topic has been developed to assist those not only in the start up and planning phases, but as well, those that are already well established in their distilleries. Coverage items such as tasting rooms; liquor liability; equipment; products liability; volunteer labor; adequately insuring “stock on hand” as well as many other items will be discussed.

Nosing for Faults
Nancy Fraley, Principal, Nosing Services; Julia Nourney, Independent Spirits Consultant

This in-depth two-hour session will explore the various factors that influence the development of off-flavors and taints in distillates. We will look at the entire production process from raw ingredients, operational controls in fermentation, distillation, maturation and storage, processing and product transfer, and finally, packaging materials. The class will also examine methods of sensory analysis and quality control, and we will nose through numerous samples of possible distillate faults that arise during the stages of production. Finally, we will discuss how these faults can be remedied within the production process.

Medicinal Mixology: What is it that Ails You?
Kat Valentina, Mixologist, Elemental Spirits

Join Kat Valentina for a unique class celebrating the history and medicinal value of the cocktail. With 4 ingredients and 4 steps, you can achieve mixological greatness! We will play with a variety of ingredients and medicinal bitters to perfect YOUR signature cocktail. Using the 4 elements, we will pair food and cocktail, exploring the senses to understand flavor pairings. Once you have learned the true nature of your cocktail, we will journey into the world of planetary herbology to discover what herbs are best suited for you at the present time. Learn. Play. Imbibe. Heal.

11:30 am

5 Automation Tricks to Growing Your Distillery on Social Media
Todd Buckley, Distiller, Destiny Spirits

After you attend this presentation you will know how to setup a system that automates many of your mundane social media tasks. You will reclaim a lot of time to devote back to your business while continuing to grow your distillery’s presence on Social Media. This information will help you stay focused on making great spirits while enabling a software automation solution that helps you grow your social media followers for your distillery.

Non-GMO, Organic Ingredients Sourcing
Karen Hoskin, Owner and President, Montanya Distillers; Gary Hinegardner, Owner, Wood Hat Spirits; Sean Venus, Owner, Venus Spirits; Tim Hladik, Business Development Manager, 46 Grain Company

Brewstillery Operation: Blending Beer and Spirits
Daniel Kahn, Technical Director, Minnetonka Brewing & Equipment

Learn what parts of the beer brewing and spirits production process overlap and can utilize the same equipment, labor and expertise for dual purposes, and which are distinct and require specialized equipment or specific process variations. Attendees will gain an understanding of how equipment they already have can be used to serve multiple purposes, and what additional equipment is required or helpful for additional capabilities. Alternatively, if they are planning a new startup, how to select equipment that will allow production of both beer and spirits with efficiency, control and high quality. This will be a very practical and process focused talk that should be of great interest for those interested in combing beer and spirits production in a single business.

Marketing Your Drinks Brand: The Do’s and Don’ts
Simon Difford, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Difford’s Guide

We will share experiences gained from the launch of St Germain elderflower liqueur and running one of the world’s largest and most successful spirits and cocktails websites. Every day we receive dozens of communications from PR agencies and brand owners seeking exposure for their brands…we will take you through our do’s and don’ts so that you learn the lessons from others mistakes and can successfully market your brand through the channels that matter.

Working with Distributors
Ansley Coale, President, Craft Distillers

Overcoming the challenge for small-production spirits when working with distributors

1:30 pm

Branding/Packaging: the 80/20 Rule
David Schuenman, Owner and Creative Principal, CF Napa

In this session, David will discuss the important role that packaging plays in compelling consumers to purchase your product over the competition’s. David will examine the 80/20 rule that says 80% of a consumers decision at the point of purchase is informed by the product’s packaging, and highlight considerations brand owners should take to evaluate their own packaging efforts.

International Distribution: Breaking into Overseas Markets – The Challenges and Successes
Karen Hoskin, Owner and President, Montanya Distillers; Dan Garrison, Proprietor of Garrison Brothers; John Little, Co-Founder, Smooth Ambler; Jeffrey Williamson, Statewide Director, California Center for International Trade and Development

International markets are some of the most difficult and potentially lucrative opportunities for craft spirits companies from the USA.  Demand for American craft spirits overseas is growing, but the high cost of entry into these markets, the challenges of compliance, and the cost of shipping can be a major hurdle.  Join three American Craft Distilleries from Texas, West Virginia and Colorado all exporting overseas, and one of California’s leading experts on exportation, for a panel discussion about the challenges and successes of international distribution. Learn about navigating the snake pits of exporting, how to evaluation potential opportunities, and how to not lose your shirt along the way.

Upstream Process Optimization and the Unknown Unknowns
Elizabeht Rhoades, Research Scientist, Diageo

Fermentation Optimization: tips and tricks for continuous improvement, and exposing the unknown unknowns of mashing and fermentation operations

A Contractor’s Guide to Building a Distillery
Steve Boehner, Co-Owner, Alchemy Distillery

Steve Bohner is co-owner of Alchemy Distillery and Alchemy Construction with his wife Amy. These two entrepreneurs set up their distillery completely by themselves. Their scope of work included: Researching and purchasing American Made equipment, equipment design and layout, City, State and Federal permits, receiving, assembling and installing distillery equipment, repairing and installing new cementous topping, electrical including explosion-proof switches, plumbing, steam boiler installation, roof framing and venting. Learn tricks and tips from a licensed contractor and ask any pressing questions you have.

Basic Lab Analysis Methods for Craft Distillers
Robert Cassell, Distiller, New Liberty Distillery

Basic Analytical techniques for distilled spirits using a spectrophotometer.

Liquors & Cordials
Ryan Hembree, Owner, Distiller, SkipRock Distillers

New millennial’s may rave all over a new whiskey but that takes years to do it correctly but a berry liqueur release done right can literally bring bus loads of people in from retirement homes (we did that!) and then of course they buy your other goods as well. And this can be done with a 3-9 month old product. Coffee liqueur takes one month so there are lots of options. Start up distilleries should look to liqueurs as some of their first products instead of a vodka as a way to create a unique identity and set themselves apart from the “masses” and to established distilleries to use liqueurs as an additional draw for their tasting room and another addition to their portfolio for their distributor for on/off premise. SkipRock’s flagship is still my potato vodka but our best selling spirit in the tasting room is a liqueur, year round.

2:30 pm

Distilling the Process for Starting Up a New Distillery
Merrill Moter, Architect, Joseph & Joseph Architects; Cash Moter, Partner, Joseph & Joseph Architects; Jeff McKenvie, Partner, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

Now that I know how to distill, what do I do when I move out of the basement? My distillery is so successful that I need to move into bigger quarters – now what?
Codes, regulations, zoning, insurance, safety of my people (and customers) – all the things that are necessary, but not as fun as distilling. What do I need to consider when I decide to build or rent a space for my distillery? What do I need to know to stay out of trouble? Where do I start? Who can help me? How much will this cost? What can I do on my own? How do I make the distillery a destination for customers?
A panel of experts (architect, attorney, contractor, distiller, equipment designer) with experience throughout the country will present a road map of where to go, what to do, and how to get from “It’s time to build a distillery” to “Our Grand Opening is next week!”

A History of American Brandy
Joe Heron, President & CEO, Copper & Kings; Dan Farber, Osocalis Brandy; Hubert Germain-Robin, master distiller, author; Moderated by Bill Owens, American Distilling Institute

A short history of America brandy followed by a panel discussion on the future of American Brandy, featuring panelists: Joe Heron/Copper & Kings American Brandy Co; Dan Faber/Osocalis Brandy, and Hubert Germain-Robin/American Brandy legend. Moderated by Sir William Owens of ADI.

Effects of Agitation on Whiskey Maturation
Matt Wrosch, President, Hertzbier, LLC

Hertzbier and Liberty Call Distilling (San Diego, CA) have been collaborating on a research effort to quantify the impacts of in-barrel agitation on the characteristics of whiskey aged in barrels of non-traditional volume (15G & 30G). This presentation summarizes the results of both chemical and sensorial testing over a 6-month period.

The Alchemy of Gin: Explore the World of Gin Botanicals Through the Art of Olfaction
Kim Lahiri, Global Head of Training, Aroma Academy

One of the most under rated senses is that of smell. Explore the diverse world of aromas through nosing gin botanicals; create synergies of perfection that delight the palette. Learn to recognise those elusive nuances, transform your aroma vocabulary by naming those notes. 95% of all Flavour comes from your Sense of Smell. Whether it is Orris or Meadowsweet, Cucumber or Liquorice, familiarise your nose with the single notes that go to make the complex synergy of the finished gin. This short Master Class gives the audience an insight into the importance of the sense of smell in the world of food and drinks.

Packaging Personality
David Bourne, Ignite Beverage – Reid Olive, Universal Packaging

The packaging development phase might very well be the most important aspect of launching a new brand in the spirits industry. Our goal with this presentation will be to teach audience members how to utilize all of the tools available to them during this critical process. Our backgrounds in graphic design and in glass decoration gives us the unique perspective to share success stories (as well as failures and how we learned from them). We will present cutting edge technology, and lay out some of the newest trends in the marketplace. We will discuss the pros and cons of online pay services such as, utilizing paid focus groups, and review some of the most recent product launches from Diageo and other “giants” of the industry. We will also discuss how 3-D printing may end up revolutionizing the glass design world. This will be a fun and engaging presentation with elements of comedy intertwined with poignant content. In end, it is all about knowing your target audience, and developing your brand to appeal to them. We will help you chart those uncertain waters.

3:30 pm

Distribution: What do Distributors Look for in a New Brand?
Jake Hegeman, VP Regulatory Affairs, WSWA – Kate Palmer, Regional AVP, Craft Spirits, Horizon Beverage Group – Alessandro Bermudez, Vice President, Craft Spirits California, Young’s Market Company – Joel Teitelbaum, Director, Artisanal Group, Southern Wine & Spirits of America  –  Drew Levinson, Director of Strategic Activation, Breakthru Beverage Nevada

This panel presentation facilitated by Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) staff featuring 2 WSWA wholesaler members. The panel will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from established wholesalers with dedicated craft spirits programs about what traits they look for in a new brand as well as suggestions regarding how to best position products for success. Panelists will present their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges they see for new suppliers looking to grow a brand and answer questions from their attendees.

California’s Type 74 license: What Does it Mean?
Andrew Faulkner, Vice President, American Distilling Institute; Jim Harrelson, Co-Founder, Do Good Distillery/President California Distillers Guild; Rebecca Stamey, White Hinman Carmichael LLP

When California’s AB-1295 passed last year, allowing direct consumer sales and taking the state from one of the most restrictive to one of the most liberated states of craft distillers, there was great rejoicing but, as the law goes into effect, the interpretation and implementation by the state’s ABC is different from what was anticipated, causing much frustration on the part of some DSPs who contributed heavily to lobbying effort.


Grains are Grapes (Why don’t distillers give grains the same consideration that vintners give grapes?)
Joel Elder, Quinta Essentia Alchemy

Craft Distillers today have a unique opportunity before them. In the sum of distillation history there has never been a time in which a distiller or distillery was asked to produce such a vast array of spirits. The modern distiller is expected to become a master of non only alembic distillation but also high-proof distillation, cellaring, blending, botanicals and a host of other crafts that historically were the sole focus of a craftsman and refined over generations. The challenge is great, but the opportunity this presents is greater. Because of the limited scale and direct-to-consumer approach of craft spirits, the distiller has the chance to vastly expand the heretofore limited palette from which they create. In the pantheon of craft spirits, non receive the attention that whiskey does, yet the quality, provenance and varietal character of the grain is almost never a topic of discussion. I believe that grain varietals and their provenance are the future of American Whiskey and the distillers that begin to treat grains with the same consideration a vintner does grapes will own the future of whiskey innovation.

New Products and Trends with Sourced Spirits: Credibility and Authenticity / High Proof Spirits in Your Distillery
Chip Weissmiller, CEO, Ultrapure LLC; Alyssa Gianino & Roger Nelson, UltraPure LLC

The Mystics of Tonic Making
Natashe Bahrami, Owner, The Gin Room; David T. Smith,

Whether you love gin or vodka with your tonic or just straight up goodness of the nectar, learn the history of the tonic, how to pair with spirits and to concoct your very own. Attendees will learn strategic G & T pairings, understand the pleasurable and health benefits of tonic and leave with the skills to make homemade tonic.

4:30 pm

Monthly TTB Reporting and Compliance
Donald Snyder, Whiskey Resources; Jack Sigan, Principal Engineer, Whiskey Systems Online

An in-depth review of how to complete the TTB Monthly Operations Reports and Federal Excise Tax Return

Panel TBA

The $160,000 Distillery
Casey Miles, Founder, Distiller, California Spirits Co.

The Chemistry of the Barrel House
Bryan Davis, Head of R&D, Lost Spirits Technology

Massive spirits come from hot and dirty fermentations. This talk breaks down the most important scientific papers on fermentation engineering, and turns those papers into real world techniques. Making the jump from a cool and sanitary world to one that is hot and dirty never tasted so good.

Distillation Flavor Production
Gary Spedding, Managing Owner, BDAS, LLC

The production of distilled beverages is a very complex process. Involving many raw materials, fermentation, distillation and aging hundreds of components need to come together to create a harmony or a disaster from a consumer aroma and flavor acceptance. The presentation will cover process, flavor origins and controls. Positive, negative and not so nice flavors will be covered.

The Role of Earth Science in Historical American Whiskey Production
Joe Elkins, Partner/Head Distiller, Elkins Distilling Co.

The distribution of American whisky distillers in the pre-industrial era and the prevalence of bourbon and Tennessee whisky may have been influenced by the geochemistry of natural waters and the average ambient temperatures of fermentation. This talk considers the influence of fermentation temperatures on regional brewing vs. distilling traditions as well as how the geochemistry of ground water may have influenced the quality and process of whisky production in the southern U.S. The question of why most American whisky distilleries that have endured prior to the industrial revolution are confined to a small region of Kentucky and Tennessee and not other areas of the southern U.S. with suitable climates for whisky feedstock productions will be discussed.

6:15 pm

California Guild Spirits Tasting

7:45 pm

ADI’s Spirits Judging Awards Gala

Wednesday April 6
8:30 am

50 Ways to Love your Liver
Judy Bennett, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Wicked Smart Wellness

Most of us in the industry drink every single day, and no no one knows that better than our livers. Learning how to properly care for your liver is the key to feeling your best so you can enjoy a long career and a happy, busy, boozy life.

10:30 am

The Day our Still Exploded
Spencer Balentine, Founder, Silver Trail Distillery, and Jay Rogers, Distiller, Silver Trail Distillery

On April 24, 2015, the still at the Silver Trail Distillery exploded. Distillers Jay Rogers and his cousin Kyle Rogers were helicoptered to the hospital with third degree burns over most of their bodies. Kyle did not survive. Jay’s life is forever changed. Jay Rogers and distillery founder Spencer Balentine will present the events of that day and the causes of the explosion and fire, in the hope that other distillers can take steps to prevent a similar tragedy.

The Status of Class Action Litigation Against Spirits Producers and What You Can Learn to Avoid Being Sued
Thomas J. Cunningham, Partner, Locke Lord LLP; Simon Fleischmann, Partner, Locke Lord LLP; Robert Lehrman, Principal, Lehrman Beverage Law

Last year Tom, Simon and Robert made separate but similar presentations covering the rash of lawsuits filed against Tito’s, Templeton, Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Angel’s Envy, Whistlepig, Tin Cup and several other producers of spirits. These class action cases challenge the use of terms such as “handmade,” “small batch” and claims related to the geographic origin of spirits. Since last year’s presentation a lot has happened. There have been some wins, some losses, and some draws. These two experienced industry lawyers will summarize the developments in these important cases and highlight the things craft producers can learn to avoid become victims themselves.

Distilled Spirits Mandatory Labeling
Tracy McNeill, Labeling Specialist, Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Tracy McNeill is labeling specialist with the TTB Advertising Labeling & Formulation Division (ALFD). She has worked at TTB and its predecessor (ATF) for twenty-seven years. She is experienced in alcohol beverage labeling, and currently provides assistance to industry as a member of the ALFD Technical Information Center. Ms. McNeill is a native of Washington D.C., who now resides near Raleigh, NC.

Nosing for Faults
Nancy Fraley, Principal, Nosing Services; Julia Nourney, Independent Spirits Consultant

This in-depth two-hour session will explore the various factors that influence the development of off-flavors and taints in distillates. We will look at the entire production process from raw ingredients, operational controls in fermentation, distillation, maturation and storage, processing and product transfer, and finally, packaging materials. The class will also examine methods of sensory analysis and quality control, and we will nose through numerous samples of possible distillate faults that arise during the stages of production. Finally, we will discuss how these faults can be remedied within the production process.

Kat Valentina, Mixologist, Elemental Elemental Spirits

“liquor …with the sharp pungent taste of plant extracts…used as an additive in cocktails or as a medicinal substance…”
Welcome to the best adult art class EVER! Immersed in the world of bitters, you will create cocktails that are bitters friendly, learn the history and purpose of bitters, and ultimately build your own jar of bitters to take home. Using gentle suggestions and your own creativity, you will be ready to wow your guests with homemade bitters before you know it. Learn. Play. Imbibe. Heal.

Foreign Distilleries Panel
Nicolas Jules, Owner & Distiller, La Distillerie de Paris (France)- Peter Bignell, Belgrove Distillery (Australia)

11:30 am

Farm Distilling
Ken Winchester, Distiller, deVine Vineyards; Charles West, Orcas Island Distillery , Peter Bignell, Belgrove Distillery (Australia)

Vineyard, orchard, field and hive… Whether a wheat farm in Texas, an apple orchard in Maine, an apiary in California, or a vineyard on Vancouver Island, Farm Distilling is where our industry started. This distinguished panel of Farmer/Distillers will explore the variety of approaches of “field to flask;” the challenges and opportunities of doing it all yourself; lessons learned in growing, harvesting, mashing, fermenting and distilling. We’ll also explore the wide variety of spirits that can be made from homegrown and wild-gathered fruits, berries, grains, tubers, even sunchokes. If it can be mashed and fermented it can be distilled!

Filtration of Distilled Spirits
Introduction to depth filtration: The filter media and equipment used for startup distillers and distillers who are ready to go to the next level.
George Quigley, CEO, ErtelAlsop; Brad Botner, Research Engineer, Beam Suntory, Global Innovation Center; Greg Smith, Commercial Director, Imerys Advanced Minerals Corporation; Alex Findlow, Findlow Filtration

Distilleries have long used cellulose based depth filtration for chill haze removal in brown spirits; to activated carbon treatment in white spirits; to final filtration in low-alcohol beverages. Introduction to depth filtration will cover removal of particulate, barrel char, and loose activated carbon. Participants will also grasp concepts of chill haze removal, final filtration, and filtration temperatures for different spirits.

This course will also discuss a combination of surface and depth filtration as well as adsorption; and nominal retentions of depth filter media, and characteristics of filter aids including Diatomaceous Earth, Perlite, Silica adsorbents, and activated carbon. In addition to depth media characteristics, participants will be taught the process of depth filtration, flow rates, and the different equipment which depth filter sheets can be utilized in. We will have on hand for demonstration a sheet filter and a plate and frame filter, and a filter housing.

Basic Safety for Pot Still and Continuous Still Systems
John McKee, Owner/Distiller, Headframe Spirits

This presentation by John McKee, Owner of Headframe Spirits, will review the similarity and differences between technological approaches to distillation. What are the safety concerns in batch and what are the safety concerns in continuous? We will review:
• Proper safety devices and their appropriate locations on the systems
• Proper operating guidelines, “what to do”, “what not to do”.
• Daily, Monthly, Quarterly Preventative Maintenance Practices
• Common equipment failure and how to avoid
• Examples of accidents and changes that could have helped prevent them.

Lost Spirits Technology
Bryan Davis, Head of R&D, Lost Spirits Technology

Massive spirits come from hot and dirty fermentations. This talk breaks down the most important scientific papers on fermentation engineering, and turns those papers into real world techniques. Making the jump from a cool and sanitary world to one that is hot and dirty never tasted so good.

Own Your Market: Bring Life to Your Craft Spirit Brand
Raul M. Paredes, Director, New Product Development, Owens-Illinois

Packaging provides the first visual and tactile interaction consumers have with a product and serves as a key facilitator of the consumption experience. But are brand owners missing opportunities to fully leverage packaging design and packaging materials in support of their brands? Learn how full collaboration between brand owners, packaging designers and packaging manufacturers can lead to packaging solutions that result in game-changing designs and innovations.

Is Your Spirit Bottle Ready? Need a Final Touch?
Eglantine Chauffour, Winemaker, Enartis Winquiry

Many spirits would benefit from a final touch to achieve the quality. The use of tannins, polysaccharides or even gums can be a solution. Tannins can increase structure, correct faults, boost fruit, floral or oak aromas, reduce burning sensation, and balance body. The addition of polysaccharides is usually associated with softening and increasing volume, aromatic intensity and length. Enartis Vinquiry has a long experience in the use of tannins and polysaccharides to meet all needs. In order to select the perfect and appropriate combination of products, lab-scale trials and tastings should be performed. In this workshop, we will play with tannins and polysaccharide and taste some ‘last minute’ adjustments, prior to bottling.

1:30 pm

Beyond Tax Rebates: Five Legislative Goals We Can Win
Scott Winters, Founder, American Spirits Exchange

In addition to rebates for boutique producers, there are a suite of core issues that if adopted will provide US producers with an even playing field with imported products (yes, there are issues where we are disadvantaged), provide boutique distilleries a financial foundation to build their business, and promote craft production, experimentation and new entrants into the market. This session will cover five legislative issues that, if put into effect, will promote craft distilling across the country.

Quality Considerations and Options for American Oak Cooperage
Bruno Remy, Vice President of Sales, Canton Cooperage; Brian Geagan, Sr Area Sales, Canton Cooperage

This presentation will explore the basics of what should be considered when selecting a barrel for the aging of spirits and will also explore contemporary options in barrel and oak aging. Topics will include sourcing of oak, drying and seasoning of oak, coopering techniques, and toasting / charring of barrels. The beneficial flavor, aroma, and functions of the barrel in spirit production will also be addressed. Attendees will leave this presentation with the information they need to make knowledgeable decisions about barrel selection for their spirits programs.

Troubleshooting and Optimizing Mash Yields
Steve Wildberger, Product Manager, Gusmer Enterprises; Jason McCammon, Technical Representative, Gusmer Enterprises

Learn how to get the best yield out of your grain mashes instead of being satisfied with “good enough”. Go step by step through the mashing process to discover points where potential losses can occur, and how those losses can be avoided. Know what you should expect from your mash, and how to get it. Starting with grain evaluation, moving into the mash, starch conversion, healthy fermentation, and evaluating the alcohol yield.
• How to calculate potential yield
• Perform cost/ benefit analysis of optimizing options
• Techniques that will pay back in time and profit with every mash

No More Tiers: Successful Passage of Direct Distribution Law in South Dakota
Patrick Rounds, President, Dakota Spirits Distillery

Chemical Engineering in Still House Design
Henric Molin, Owner & Master Blender, Spirit of Hven Backafallsbyn AB; Scott Allen, Allen Associates

How does chemical engineering affect taste and scent? This presentation will cover the chemistry of pot still design (effect of reflux, cut-points etc.) , that of the condenser design ( surface area, material of construction, worm tubs vs condenser, etc.), Health and safety concerns for workers as well as consumers. It will also cover the still house layout for process design, compliance and visitor experience as well as the process engineering and pot still and condenser/worm tub design.

2:30 pm

Destination Distilling: the Benefits of Distillery Tasting Rooms
Valerie Tergerson, General Manager, Great Lakes Distillery; Chris Moyer, Co-Founder, Hudson Valley Distillers, LLC; Tom Yozze, CoFounder, Hudson Valley Distillers, LLC

A brief presentation about the benefits of having a tasting room and tours in your distillery, followed by Q&A Panel.

Prohibited Trade Practices. Framework of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act identifying Part 8, Exclusive Outlet, Part 6 Tied House, Part 10 Commercial Bribery, and Part 11 Consignment Sales
David Bateman, Consultancy, Gray-Robinson Beverage Law Group; Charles Tull, Gray-Robinson Beverage Law Group

Prohibited Trade Practices. Framework of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act identifying Part 8, Exclusive Outlet, Part 6 Tied House, Part 10 Commercial Bribery, and Part 11 Consignment sales. Within each of these areas there are allowable and prohibited practices listed. What does a craft distiller need to know about marketing their products to retailers and distributors? What are allowable participations? What are the parameters of providing items of value to trade buyers? What is a trade buyer? Why do these laws exist? Is there a uniform presentation I can make to trade buyers in all states? Are there really two parallel fair trade laws; one for federal law and one for state?

Re-Defining Craft with Donkeys and Grinding Stones
Victor Matthews, Master Chef and Distiller, Black Bear Distillery

In an effort to reproduce whiskey as it was in the very beginning about 1000 years ago in Ireland we have dug ancient stones out of theground, recruited organic grain farmers, rigged a house malting floor, reverse engineered the extinct grinding housing, and rescued donkeys to turn the wheels.

What to do Before the OSHA Inspector Arrives
Brian Lee, Founding Partner, Tuthilltown Spirits – Lee Palleschi, Owner, Master Distiller, Valley Spirits

Considerations for safe operation of a small scale distillery; Alcohol Vapor Zone, Transportation of high proof alcohol, Explosion proof equipment alternatives and “used” sources of properly coded equipment, Confined space permitting.

Barrels & Exceptions in the Building and Fire Codes
Scott Moore, President, Dalkita Construction

Barrels enjoy limited exceptions from parts of the building and fire codes . Learn which elements are exempt from which part of the codes, the classifications of whiskey barrels, key thresholds, limits and regulations in the building and fire codes regarding aging spirits in barrels.

TTB: A User Guide
Christopher Thiemann, Distilled Spirits Program Manager, Regulations and Rulings Division , TTB

To many new distillers, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is a new agency requiring a variety of steps for getting your business up and running. This session will give you an overview of TTB, including steps you’ll take getting into business and information about what various parts of the agency do. It will also cover who to reach out to when you need assistance as your distillery begins and grows.

3:30 pm

David and Goliath Walk Into a Bar…
John Foster, Director of Sales, Smooth Ambler Spirits; John Little, VP, Head Distiller, Smooth Ambler Spirits

A celebration of understanding the differences between small producers and large distilleries, and how and why we must go to market differently. We will explore the value that smaller or more esoteric distillers bring to the retail and bar shelf, and examine the various sales, marketing, and karmic benefits to positioning a small brand to be among quality selections offered by the bottle, and by the glass, all over the world. We feel it’s not only possible, but important, to cherish the differences between what craft distillers do, and what the “big boys” do, and give a nod to the simple notion that while we want to compete with and surpass their quality, it is not a sin to admire some of the bottles ours hope to sit beside.

Tapping into the Agri-Culinary Tourism Industry
Dianna Stampfler, President, Promote Michigan

Agricultural and culinary tourism are among the fastest growing sectors of the overall travel industry in the world! Distilleries are part of that mix. From tours, to festivals and events, to spirit dinners and tastings, there are plenty of ways for distilleries to tap into these collaborative marketing partnerships.

Cost Analysis – From Grain to Retail Shelf: What is the Cost to Get Product onto the Retail Shelf?
Frank Maher, Partner, Millstone Spirits Group

This presentation covers all major components of Cost of Goods, and also discusses Inventory and Supply Chain issues, and Excise Taxes.

Alternative Separation Solutions to Dewatering Mash and Spent Grain
Martyn Smith, Sales Manager, Russell Finex Inc.

The production of spirits such as gin, vodka and whiskey in the craft distillery industry requires the mash to be separated either before or after the still to remove as much liquid as possible. Typically this process, known as dewatering spent grains/mash, is a time consuming and costly operation. The presentation will provide a thorough overview of the various separation technologies available to dewater distillers’ grains and mash/stillageas well as a step-by-step guide to selecting the right stillage separator, with a discussion of the major drawbacks and advantages of each.

Distillation Options for Proofing
Alex White, Product Specialist, Anton Paar

Which distillation method is best for proofing: steam or traditional?

4:30 pm

Top 5 TTB Red Flags: What (in)Actions Can Get You a Date with Your Local TTB Agent
Jason Lippa, President & Founder, Distillery Solutions

The hurdles associated with starting a Craft Distillery are overwhelming. From getting funding to finding a suitable production space to procuring production equipment to sourcing raw materials, hiring the right people, dealing with fire codes, rules, regulations, laws and permitting – the daunting list seems endless. However, when you finally get over the hurdles, have jumped through all the hoops, and it’s finally time to open your doors to the public, there are a few more things you want to make sure you haven’t forgotten. What tends to get most overlooked in the fine print of opening your distillery are the countless rules and regulations that outline recordkeeping and compliance requirements. What is it that the TTB will be looking for when they stop by for a visit? What questions will they ask? What information do you need?

Too big? Too small? Just right! How to Research and Select the Ideal Still
Wayne Curtis, Columnist, Imbibe Magazine; Christian Krogstad, House Spirits; Robert Birnecker, Kothe Distilling Technologies; Rob Sherman , Vendome Copper & Brass Works

Anyone launching a distillery makes dozens of critical decisions — a brand name, a product focus, planning for utilities and permitting. But the single most important decision may be: What still do I buy? How do I figure out appropriate capacity? How do I decide who to buy from? Should I purchase a separate stripping still and spirit still? What style still should I order? Answers to those questions will define everything from taste profiles to the potential rate of future expansion. This panel includes makers of stills (including representatives from Vendome and Kothe) who will talk about pitfalls they’ve seen, along with a longtime craft distiller, who will recount their experiences, helping you decide the right questions to ask, and which answers you can trust.

A New Path for Aging in Micro-Distilleries
Nicolas Julhès, Founder, Distillerie de Paris

Nicolas Julhès, Founder at Distillerie de Paris will speak about the properties of oak in spirits aging, current oak use and opportunities for micro-distilleries as well as an application of a specific tool available to micro-distillers – barrels & Oak Alternatives and its effect on ROI.

The Art and Science of Stone Milling
Brad Swancy, Farmer/Miller, Riverview Farms

Learn the ins and outs of stone milling for distillery brewing. Mill selection and stone maintenance, advantages of stone milling, and control of particle size for product quality will be discussed.

5:30 pm

Spirited Roots
Jesse Smith, Owner, Five by Five Tonics Co.; Remy Colombatto, Five by Five Tonics Co.

Come discover the literal roots of roots in spirits, from ancient medicinal wines to Victorian soda fountain remedies from two trained herbalists. Learn how popular products like cocktail bitters and amaros are created. We will discuss our own experiences working with herbs and botanicals, including how you can easily create and introduce herbal products into your current or future product lines. Examples of different botanicals infused in spirits will be on hand to taste and discuss.

Comparative Rum Tasting
Andrew Faulkner, Vice President, American Distilling Institute; Ken Lee, Malahat Spirits; Neva Parker, VP of Operatins, White Labs

How do yeast different yeast stains effect production of flavor congeners in rum? In connection with White Labs, Malahat Spirits has distilled molasses rum washes using four different strains of yeast. Attendees will get to taste the difference that the yeast strain made in these four similarly-prepared rums. Presented by Ken Lee, of Malahat Spirits, Neva Parker, VP of Operations for White Labs, and ADI Vice President Andrew Faulkner.

The Wide World of Gins: Tasting Session
Natasha Bahrami, Owner, The Gin Room; David T Smith,

Attendees will leave with an understanding of the wide spectrum of gin including: Wood Aged Gin, Pine Forward Gin, American Dry Gin, London Dry Gin, Old Tom Gin, Naval Strength Gin, Nosing and tasting strategies and obstacles for gin, Differences and nuances in gin and the distilled botanicals that create them.

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