Republic National Distributing Company (“RNDC“) announced that it plans to merge with Breakthru Beverage Group. According to RNDC’s President, Tom Cole, “the merger of RNDC and Breakthru will create strategic opportunities that will benefit our associates and our business partners in a rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace. Much more than a growth opportunity, we are entering this venture to create something that is different, sustainable and transformative.”   Breakthru Beverage Group President & CEO Greg Baird said,  “Breakthru looks forward to joining forces with RNDC to establish an even stronger foundation of industry knowledge, talent, history and heritage. We see this as the launch pad to bring innovation to life and to usher in a new era for our business and industry.” According to RNDC, under the terms of the Letter of Intent, Tom Cole will serve as Chief Executive Officer; Bob Hendrickson as Chief Operating Officer; Danny Wirtz as Chief Growth and Strategy Officer; and Greg Baird as Chief Integration Officer. E. Lloyd Sobel’s role will be announced along with other key senior management appointments prior to the close of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close late in the second calendar quarter of 2018 subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.  

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I am pleased to be participating in the American Craft Spirit Association’s upcoming webinar. The details are below:   Craft Spirits Classroom: Quenching Your Thirst for Knowledge Do You Have Questions About ACQUISITIONS? We Have Answers Have you ever considered selling your distillery? During this webinar, presented by Ryan Malkin and Dan Gasper, we will delve into various options regarding a potential acquisition. Perhaps you’re entering into a national distribution agreement with a major supplier, selling just one brand under your umbrella, a strategic partnership, or simply walking away and making a complete sale. Who: Ryan Malkin, pro bono counsel for ACSA whose practice focuses on the alcohol beverage industry (find out more below in our Q&A), and Dan Gasper, COO of Distill Ventures, who has presented webinars and classes for ACSA in the past including “Go Deep, Not Wide: Gaining Traction in One Market.” When: Wednesday, October 18, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT Where: Online! Level: All levels welcome!   In addition, please find a short  Q&A: A Q&A with Your ACSA Team We asked two members of the ACSA family to answer a few questions about their experience in the craft spirits community and the challenges facing the industry. Read below to find responses from Jim Hyland, ACSA’s lobbyist on Capitol Hill, and Ryan Malkin, pro bono counsel for ACSA whose practice focuses on the alcohol beverage industry. Can you describe the lobbying work you do for the industry? Jim Hyland: “I work very closely with the ACSA President, Mark Shilling, Executive Director Margie A.S. Lehrman and our…

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According to TTB, it conducted a joint operation with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (“ILCC”) regarding alleged “pay to play” or “slotting fee” activities. Per the TTB announcement, “this is the second large-scale trade practice enforcement joint operation that TTB has conducted this year [the other being in Miami] as part of our ongoing effort to secure a level playing field nationwide for law-abiding businesses.”