One month from now, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) will hold its annual Distiller’s Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., and there are still a few tickets available.
The two-day convention runs Thursday through Friday, February 16-17, and additional events, tastings, and classes will precede the show on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Pre-show events include a two-day distillery master class and certification exam presented by the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust. “This is an in-depth look at distillation and things that truly impact that final character of the spirit,” ACSA executive director Margie A.S. Lehrman explained. The class is limited to fewer than 30 students and several tickets are still available, though they must be purchased separately.
On Wednesday, a separately-ticketed private Tennessee whiskey bus tour will take attendees to several area distilleries, as well as Corsair Distillery’s malthouse. After the bus tour, a consumer tasting event, The Tennessee Toast, will run through the evening. It is presented jointly by ACSA and the Tennessee Distillers Guild, and discounted tickets are available through several industry organizations. Lehrman says that about 50 distilleries will be pouring samples, and a silent auction will benefit victims of the Tennessee wildfires.
After breakfast on Thursday morning, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. co-founder Ken Grossman will deliver his keynote speech about how to take a craft beverage business to the next level. Those who wish to spend more time with Grossman may purchase tickets to a meet and greet breakfast preceding the keynote which includes a photo op with him and a signed copy of his book “Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.”
A town hall meeting for ACSA members and supporters will follow the keynote, then a legislative update will precede the opening of the exhibit hall. Educational programs fill the afternoon before an exhibitor happy hour and networking session.
During Thursday’s dinner, ACSA spirits competition awards for Best in Class and Best of Show will be presented. Lehrman said they had a record number of entries for this year’s judging, and some of the top picks will be available to taste for free after dinner.
Friday begins with breakfast, an open exhibit hall, and a guild meeting. Educational programs fill most of the day before a briefing on the Craft Spirits Data Project. At the Last Call Reception, 2017 ACSA Board of Directors nominees will be introduced, then a closing party at BB King’s Blues Club will wrap up the convention.
This year’s educational programming will be divided into three tracks: Technical/Distilling; Safety, Compliance, and Growth; and Marketing and Finance. Last year over 750 people attended the show to learn, network, share ideas, and have fun, and ACSA expects this year to be even better.
For more information, visit americancraftspirits.org/convention.