Collaborative efforts between the Virginia Distillers Association and the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority continue to support the Commonwealth’s burgeoning distilled spirits industry.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, spirits are high amongst Virginia distillers and imbibers of local craft spirits alike, as the Virginia Distillers Association (VDA) prepares to launch the fifth annual month-long celebration of September Virginia Spirits Month, where it’s “5 O’clock for 30 days,” as the campaign tagline suggests. The annual initiative serves as a launching pad for consumer educational programs which promote the local craft spirits industry while also championing this year’s historic 400th anniversary of Virginia as the Birthplace of American Spirits; where the first batch of corn whiskey was distilled in 1620. The commonwealth has come a long way since 1620, with state support for local spirits producers that is unprecedented by national standards.
Since the inception of the September Virginia Spirits Month campaign in 2016, annual September sales of Virginia spirits have increased by more than 134%, proving Virginians have a strong thirst for local products. As the cornerstone for this year’s September campaign promotions, the VDA produced a series of 25 lighthearted and informative videos featuring product tastings and how-to instructional cocktail recipes highlighting craft spirits from across the commonwealth. VDA and featured distilleries will share daily videos throughout September on social media platforms to promote the “It’s 5 O’clock for 30 days” campaign.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted distillers and producers across the state, regulatory adjustments have provided some relief. Thanks to support from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC), Virginia residents can now temporarily order their favorite bottles of Virginia spirits online and have them safely shipped or delivered directly to their homes.
While many Virginia spirits are discounted all month long at ABC’s retail stores and distillery stores, Virginia ABC will also offer a special one-day-only 20% off in-store purchases of ten select Virginia spirits as part of their Virginia-themed “Spirited Thursday” promotion on Sept. 10, 2020, called “Virginia Spirits Day.” Customers can find more information on Virginia ABC’s website: www.abc.virginia.gov/products/promotions.
“The key to success this year, especially during these challenging times, is a willingness to adapt, support and participate in new forms of market access extended to our industry,” explains Gareth H. Moore, President of the VDA and CEO of Virginia Distillery Company, in Lovingston, Virginia. “Unlike prior September Virginia Spirits Month campaigns where we created programming that encouraged consumers to visit our distillery– this year we’re bringing the campaign directly to Virginia consumers. Promotional tastings will all be virtual, but more importantly, we’re able to utilize an impactful form of new market access, specifically Direct to Consumer shipping and delivery privileges which are a win for distilleries, consumers, and Virginia ABC.
If we don’t sell our products, the state misses out on potential revenues.” Moore said.
“Virginia’s distilleries are helping define the commonwealth as a beverage destination,” said Virginia ABC CEO Travis Hill. “We want Virginians to stay safe, and we want to support Virginia distilleries; these Virginia businesses are an extension of Virginia ABC, and supporting this new form of market access via direct shipping to customers means they can continue to employ their staff and operate their businesses during these uncertain times,” Hill added.
“The local spirits industry is a dynamic part of the state’s tourism portfolio, and we’re delighted to champion our local liquor producers throughout September and all year long,” says Rita McClenny, Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO. “We’re excited to see how the industry evolves as a result of new forms of market access, creating an even stronger signature industry for the state while embracing the rich and layered history as we surpass 400 years of crafting spirits in the commonwealth,” said McClenny.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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ABOUT THE VIRGINIA DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION (VDA): The VDA is a nonprofit private trade association focused on promotional efforts to increase awareness of Virginia’s growing craft spirits industry, as well as the regulatory and legislative needs of the industry. The Virginia spirits industry represents over $1.3 billion in economic impact to Commonwealth, hosts over 300 thousand visitors annually to state distilleries, and supports almost 2,200 Virginia jobs.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @VirginiaSpirits /@VaSpirits
ABOUT THE VIRGINIA ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL AUTHORITY (ABC):
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $2.2 billion to the general fund in the last five years. Virginia ABC currently operates 389 state stores, and provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 18,000 ABC licensed establishments. Now marking its 86th year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its vision of bringing good spirits and excellent service to Virginia.Web: www.abc.virginia.gov
Facebook and Twitter: @VirginiaABC
ABOUT THE VIRGINIA TOURISM CORPORATION (VTC): Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) strives to serve the broader interests of the economy of Virginia by supporting, maintaining and expanding the Commonwealth’s domestic and international inbound tourism and motion picture production industries in order to increase visitor expenditures, tax revenues and employment. Last year, visitors to Virginia spent $26 billion, which supported 234,000 jobs and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @VisitVa /@VirginiaisforLovers
September is Spirits Month