10th Annual American Distilling Institute’s Craft Spirits Conference

10th Annual American Distilling Institute’s Craft Spirits Conference

I had the great honor of speaking at the 10th Craft Spirits Conference put on by the American Distilling Institute this week.  ADI’s mission is to

The American Distilling Institute’s mission is to disseminate essential information regarding the art and science of distilling.

American Distilling Institute
I must say, the energy at this conference was palpable.  There are so many exciting things happening in craft spirits.  The growth in craft spirits is a continuation and natural extension of what we have seen first in the winery space and later in the craft beer space.  Today’s consumers more than ever before are interested in trying new hand crafted, unique expressions of wine, beer and spirits.  ADI tracks the new distilleries across the US.  Check this map out:
Directory of Craft Distillers from ADI
Truly amazing.  One of the challenges a craft spirits brand owner has is route to market.  You can do everything right in terms of setting up production, coming up with a great liquid, branding and packaging, but if you cannot get your brand into distribution, into retail and ultimately in front of the consumer, it is all for naught.

I participated on a panel of industry experts from distribution and retail and moderated by Craig Wolf, my friend and the CEO of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America WSWA.  Craig did a great job of bring together knowledgable people to give insights into this route to market challenge for young brands.  Our panel included contributions from

Gary Keimach of Martingnetti in New England

David Jabour of Twin Liquors in Texas

Sam Rubenstein of Horizon Beverage in New England

Scott McKee of RNDC in Florida

Ken Fredrickson of Tenzing Wine & Spirits in Illinois

Here are my remarks on how a young craft brand can think about the challenge of route to market with some simple things to focus on for success.

 

Thanks to Bill Owens and Penn Jensen of ADI for leading the charge for craft distilling!  It is a great movement that will only continue to thrive.

Craft Spirits Conference 2013 Craft Spirits Conference 2013  Craft Spirits Conference 2013  Craft Spirits Conference 2013

Smoke Wallin Vanderbilt Address – 2008

I came across this video of my address at Vanderbilt back in 2008.  I had tremendous feedback from this from those in the audience.  I thought I’d share…

 Vanderbilt University – Alumni Weekend 2008  J. Smoke Wallin the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus and incoming President of the Vanderbilt Owen Alumni Board introduced by Jim Bradford, Dean of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.  Smoke addresses students, faculty, staff and prospective students on what matters in life, business and friendship.  He reflects on some difficult experiences.

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