Distilled Spirits Council Names Craft Advisory Council

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), an advocate for the distilled spirits industry, today announced a newly constituted Craft Advisory Council to represent craft distillers’ positions on policy issues.

“DISCUS is fully committed to understanding and advancing the issues important to our craft distiller members,” says Chris Swonger, president and CEO of DISCUS and Responsibility.org.  “This new Craft Advisory Council, comprised of leaders in our industry, will help us to unite distillers of all sizes to speak with a single, powerful voice.”

As a leadership body, the Craft Advisory Council will weigh in on policy issues impacting craft distillers at the federal, state and local level. The Advisory Council will help organize and activate distillers on policy matters and help guide the organization’s craft distiller-focused programming and benefits, the organization says.

The Craft Advisory Council will be chaired by Ted Huber, co-owner of Starlight Distillery in Starlight, IN, and currently includes 22 craft distiller members.

“As one of the first DISCUS craft members, I fully understand the critical importance of distillers large and small working together to advance the spirits industry’s public policy agenda,” says Huber. “From securing a permanent federal excise tax cut to urging an end to retaliatory tariffs, there are challenging days ahead. Craft distillers play a significant role in educating lawmakers about these critical issues as well as the role we play in our communities.”

The Craft Advisory Council will hold quarterly calls and meet twice a year, aligned with the DISCUS Board schedule. Craft Advisory Council members include:

  • Ted Huber, Chair, Starlight Distillery, Starlight, IN
  • Rob Sergent, Alpine Distilling, Park City, UT
  • Scott Neil, American Freedom Distillery; St. Petersburg, FL
  • Scott Harris, Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., LLC; Purcellville, VA
  • Tom Lix, Cleveland Whiskey, LLC, Cleveland, OH
  • Marc Christensen, Dented Brick Distillery, South Salt Lake City, UT 
  • Paul Hletko, FEW Spirits, LLC, Evanston, IL
  • Brian McKenzie, Finger Lakes Distilling, LLC, Burdett, NY
  • Guy Rehorst, Great Lakes Distillery, LLC; Milwaukee, WI
  • Amir Peay, James E. Pepper Distillery, Lexington, KY
  • Mimi Buttenheim, Mad River Distillers, Waitsfield, VT
  • Brady Konya, Middle West Spirits, Columbus, OH
  • Rob Cassell, New Liberty Distillery, Philadelphia, PA
  • Phil Prichard, Prichard’s Distillery, Inc., Kelso, TN
  • Chander Arora, Red Eye Louie’s Vodquila, Jemison, AL
  • Todd Ziegenfus, Sagamore Spirit, Inc.; Baltimore, MD
  • Colin Keegan, Santa Fe Spirits, Santa Fe, NM
  • Leanne Powell, Southern Grace Distilleries, Mt Pleasant, NC
  • Philip McDaniel, St. Augustine Distillery, St. Augustine, FL
  • Gareth Moore, Virginia Distillery Co., Lovingston, VA 
  • Lisa Cloutier, Whistling Andy Distillery, Bigfork, MT 
  • Meredith Meyer Grelli, Wigle Distillery, Pittsburgh PA 

“The rapidly growing number of craft distillers across the nation represent an important grassroots base for the spirits industry,” the organization says. “In the last decade, the number of craft distillers in the U.S. grew from a few dozen to nearly 2,000 today.”


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