Monday, July 15, 2013

New ADI Certification Program to Differentiate between Craft Spirits and Blends

The American Distilling Institute (ADI), the largest trade association for craft distillers, yesterday announced a new program for certifying spirits as either "Craft Distilled Spirits" or  "Craft Blended Spirits."  The ADI defines the terms as follows:

  • Craft Spirits are the product of an independently owned distillery with maximum annual sales of 52,500 cases where the product is PHYSICALLY distilled and bottled on site. (emphasis in original)
  • A Craft Blender is independently owned and operates a facility that uses any combination of traditional and/or innovative techniques such as: fermenting, distilling, re-distilling, blending, infusing and warehousing to create products with unique flavor profiles. Craft blending is not merely mixing high-proof spirits with water or sweetening. Many craft distillers both distill and blend products and must identify them as such on their TTB approved label.
The terms used in these definitions are further defined on the ADI website.  

This is an important step by ADI to provide some clarification to consumers of craft spirits, and kudos to them for excluding those brands who buy sourced whiskey and just add water.  While it's not quite as blunt as the totally honest whiskey labels I'd envisioned, it's a very good step for consumers.

3 comments: said...

This is good news. I hope they're able to educate the general consumer about the difference. I've been getting so frustrated lately when I go to a bar that has a craft blend, and I hear the bartender or someone rave about the "amazing distillery" that makes the whiskey. I ranted about this at a whiskey pairing dinner I led last week. I think I scared some people.

sam k said...

I'm guessing that ADI is already trying to play catch-up with the newly-formed American Craft Distillers Association (an offshoot organization that represents DSPs only), but that horse is already out of the barn, so to speak.

sam k said...

I'm also reminded of the Brewers Association's conveniently sliding scale for what is and isn't "small."

Back in the day, the original benchmark was 50,000 barrels, and as qualified members have thrived and outgrown successive random benchmarks, the number for "small" is now 6 million barrels. Pretty "big" for "small."

I'd expect the number provided by ADI to follow suit, along with the success of its members, eventually making this parameter equally meaningless.