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According to Guest Metrics, craft spirits continue to outpace mainstream brands. Year-to-date, craft spirit brands (which by Guest Metrics’ definition includes Tito’s) grew volumes by 26%, while mainstream brands are down about 3.5%. Even excluding Tito’s from craft, craft grew 12-13% during 2013 versus 2012. Of overall spirits, craft volume has grown from 2.5% in 2012 to about 3.7% during the most recent quarter.

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December 5th marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. The current alcohol beverage regulatory environment and many of the laws are in place to avoid the “evils” of pre-prohibition days. The Distilled Spirits Counsel of the United States has a great infographic explaining the rise and fall of prohibition (http://www.discus.org/assets/1/7/Prohibition-Repeal-Infographic.pdf). Below is a news release, in substance, discussing prohibition, its repeal and some of the legacies that remain. The full release can be reviewed at: http://www.discus.org/december-5th-marks-80th-anniversary-of-prohibition-repeal/?CategoryId=3. In 1920, the 18thAmendment, popularly known as “Prohibition,” outlawed alcohol in the United States making America a “dry” country. Thirteen years later on December 5th, 1933, most of the country agreed Prohibition was a complete policy debacle and overwhelmingly ratified the 21stAmendment repealing the 18th– to this day the only Constitutional amendment repealing another amendment. “While the Government originally envisioned Prohibition to be a ‘noble experiment in social engineering,’ the effort completely failed to deliver its promised benefits and actually made things much worse,” said DISCUS President Peter Cressy, noting that Prohibition increased crime and exacerbated alcohol abuse. “Consumer demand for greater choice and convenience has resulted in a more modern marketplace across the country and a boom in innovative spirits products around the globe,” Cressy said. Prohibition’s Lingering Legacies Dry Counties. Eighty years later, there are still hundreds of dry counties across the United States today that partially or completely restrict alcohol consumption – mostly across the South and West. Sunday Sales. Twelve states still ban Sunday spirits sales, including: AL,…

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New York Senator Charles Schumer announced that he is introducing legislation that will cut the excise tax on small breweries in half. Currently, brewers pay a $7 excise tax for the first 60,000 barrels they brew per year. Under the Small BREW (Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce) Act of 2013 , that rate is reduced to $3.50 per barrel, resulting in potential savings of $210,000 per year for that brewery. The bill also cuts the tax by $2 on the next 1,940,000 barrels produced, resulting in potential savings of $3,880,000 each year. The question remains whether a similar bill will be introduced to reduce excise tax for craft spirit producers.

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