5 BIG things I learned today about Craft Distilling

5 BIG things I learned today about Craft Distilling

So friends, lets get down to it, this pretty cool non profit called the American Craft Spirits Association put together an awesome collection of just about every single interesting statistic about craft distilleries in the US.

Naturally I saw the words craft distilling and I clicked on it.

Living in a smaller yet hip city, the word craft is definitely one of the more overused yet completely exciting words social alcoholics love to throw around.

Something about imagining some dude in a flannel named John dumping thousands of gallons of mash into a fermenter just really gets the people going.

It’s also pretty cool to be able to support something that is more local, natural, and hip that many larger alcohol companies have shied away from. Hell, I can name several distilleries right now that I could drive too and be wasted by 10 o’clock.

Anyways, potential drinking issues aside, the 44 page document (mostly nice pictures and graphs) shed some very interesting light on the very much GROWING industry of craft distilling. With that said, let’s dive into it.

1. Definition of a craft distillery.

Basically, all you need to know is a craft distillery is a USA based and licensed distilled spirits facility that doesn’t produce more than 750,000 proof gallons of liquor.

From there we have small, medium and large distilleries, each with their own size classification based on how many gallons they produce. But what I found more interesting was the tax range on small and large distilleries. This leads us to number 2.

2. The massive tax reduction from late last year.

Before December 22, 2017 the tax on all spirits was 13.50 per proof gallon, but very recently the federal tax was GREATLY reduced for smaller distilleries.

For the first 100,000 gallons of spirits, the alcohol tax is now 2.70 per gallon. But for 100,000 gallons and beyond (up to a whopping 22,230,000) will still be charged 13.50 per proof gallon. This tax reduction expires in December 31st 2019.

For many, the act is an opportunity to increase production and growth, hiring more staff and purchasing more equipment that will lead to more product that will continue to further the market increase.

In fact, 95 percent of distilleries interviewed have laid definite steps down to build their business directly using the Federal tax break.

3. 2018 was a banner year.

Nearly one whole distillery has opened every day this year as of August.

In fact this is the biggest growth this industry has ever seen, with an industry wide 15.5% increase in distilleries in JUST this year alone.

The opportunity for a new business has never been better.

In fact there was another article about colleges even offering degrees in distilling and brewing! Talk about an industry wide increase.

4. Employment has increased rapidly.

From 2015 to 2017 the average industry employment increase of full time employees was 38.2%! Jobs are healthy and well, very good news for the industry as a whole.

With the Federal Tax Reduction in place, NOW is the time to take advantage if you’ve been thinking about working in this field.

Bottom line is if you’re passionate about making quality liquor, and want to pursue a career, now is a very good time to be alive.

5. The future is very bright.

The projections up until 2021 show an increase of 36.9% of distillers, very much following the current trend of production well into the future. It will be interesting to see how the end of the tax decrease will affect the influx of newer distilleries.

Most likely though, there will be less entrants and the market can focus less on new business but rather an industry wide increase of product per distillery.


That's all for now folks, stay tuned for more spur of the moment knowledge about everything liquor, distilling, and moonshine!

For further research, highly recommend checking out the full project here.

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