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October 6, 2014 - 30 US Distillers Hold Tasting with Ambassador John Emerson at US Embassy in Berlin

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American distillers showcased their fine spirits products at a media briefing and American spirits tasting Oct. 6 hosted by U.S. Ambassador John Emerson at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.  At the event media previewed products from nearly 30 producers, including 24 small distillers, many of whom featured new brands for the first time in the German market. This wide variety of new distilled spirits products reflects the rapid rise in small distilling in the United States, which has grown ten-fold over the past decade. The tasting also included a pairing with American-style cuisine, reflecting the growing trend toward pairing food with cocktails in the United States. 

During the speaking program, Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President Frank Coleman discussed the unique characteristics of American whiskeys and other spirits, and traced their roots back to their German and European origins. “Germany presents a great opportunity for U.S. distillers, large and small,” said Coleman.  “It is already the fourth largest market for our exports and is the fastest growing in terms of value. But, it is also a gateway market and opinion leader in terms of taste and style for many of the emerging markets to the East, and therein lie the seeds of future growth.”

Germany is the fourth largest market for U.S. distilled spirits exports at $140.1 million in 2013 suppliers’ sales, up 114 percent since 2002. In 2013, it was the top growth market by value, increasing $19.6 million in sales.

The participating distillers included: Brown-Forman (Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve), Beam (Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam), Diageo (Bulleit Bourbon) Campari USA (Wild Turkey), and Sidney Frank Importing (American Harvest), as well as many small distillers from across the U.S., including Agave Loco (IL), Bloomery Plantation (WV), Catoctin Creek Distillery (VA), Chatham Imports (KY), Cleveland Whiskey (OH), Corsair Distillery (TN), Deaths Door Distillery (WI), Few Spirits (IL), Georgetown Trading Co. (DC), Greenbar Distillery (CA), High Ridge Spirits (AL), House Spirits, (OR), Koval Distillery (IL), Middle West Spirits (OH), Mountain Laurel Spirits (PA), Osocalis Distillery (CA), Philadelphia Distilling (PA), Prichard’s Distillery (TN), Saxtons River Distilling, (VT), Smooth Ambler Spirits (WV), Top of the Hill Distillery (NC), Vermont Spirits (VT), Vodquila, (NY), and WhistlePig (VT).

“The U.S. distilled spirits industry is undergoing a huge renaissance, both in terms of the sheer numbers of producers and in the innovative products they are bringing to the marketplace. With one leg firmly grounded in the nation’s storied distilling heritage and the other leg leading the charge into the future, we are on the edge of an historic distilling revolution of enormous diversity and quality,” Coleman concluded.

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August 27, 2014 Lively T-TIP discussion with U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner during farm visit in Reith in Alpbach, Tyrol.


Visit at a Alpine dairy farm in Reith Tyrol - From right to left: Ing. Josef Hechenberger and his wife Katharina, farmer and Praesident of the Chamber of Agriculture, Tyrol, Ambassador Wesner, Dipl. Ing. Richard Norz, Director Chamber of Agricultrue Tyrol , Andrea Fennesz-Berka, Agricultural Affairs Office, Vienna.


Visit at the Heumilchsennerei, Reith Tyrol - From left to right: Konrad Vorhofer, Chairman, Hubert Rendl, Cheese Maker, Thaler Johann,  Major of Reith in Tyrol, Ambassador Wesner, Ing. Josef Hechenberger, Farmer, Dipl. Ing. Richard Norz, Director Chamber of Agriculture Tyrol, Andrea Fennesz-Berka, Agricultural Affairs Office, Vienna.

Thursday, August 27, 2014 - U.S. Ambassador to Austria Alexa Wesner and Andrea Fennesz-Berka, from the Office of Agricultural Affairs in Vienna visited a dairy farm and the Alpbachtaler Heumilchsennerei  in Reith in Alpbachtal, Tyrol.  The invitation to visit the dairy farm and a Sennerei came from  Dipl. Ing Richard Nortz, Director  of the Tyrolean Agricultural Chamber and Ing Josef Hechenberger, President of the Tyrolean Agricultural Chamber and owner of the ”Oberhaslachhof” an alpine dairy farm.

Ambassador Wesner followed with great interest the explanations by Ing. Hechenberger how a typical Tyrolese alpine farm works.  Over homemade cake served by the hosts a lively and very frank discussion on T-TIP and it’s possible consequences for Tyrolese farmers followed.  Ambassador Wesner listened  very carefully to the concerns raised by the farmer and Dipl. Ing. Nortz. Geographical indications is among other topics an issue of great concern for the hosts. Both parties agreed that there is a need for more transparency in reference to T-TIP negotiations to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

Following the farm visit the group proceeded to the Alpbachtaler Heumilchsennerei in Reith, where they met Dir. Konrad Vorhofer and Hubert Rendl, the Cheese Maker.  The Alpbachtaler Heumilchsennerei is a Cooperative which has 61 members and processes 2.5 million kg milk per year delivered from dairy farmers from Reith in the Alpbachtal.  Ambassador Wesner toured the cheese making facility which produces 14 different types of cheese and butter of highest quality. This is due to the high quality of raw milk used in combination with careful and traditional cheese making.