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U.S. Distilleries Applaud Federal Ruling to Designate American Single Malt Category

Virginia Distillery Company and members of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC), an organization designed to define, establish, promote and protect the category of American Single Malts, are celebrating a new ruling based on the notice of rulemaking process by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that will formally define American Single Malt whisky.

The rule ensures that any spirit labeled American Single Malt must be made from 100% malted barley, mashed, distilled and matured in one distillery, produced entirely in the U.S., distilled to a proof not exceeding 160, matured in oak casks not exceeding 700 liters and bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV.

On July 29, the TTB issued the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register and will enter a 60-day comment period for the public and industry to suggest changes to the proposed rules.

“Announcing American Single Malts as a formal category by the TTB is a historic moment for the industry, as it has been decades since a new whisky category of this magnitude has been added to the Beverage Alcohol Manual,” said Virginia Distillery Company CEO and ASMWC Treasurer Gareth H. Moore. “The American whisky category was synonymous with bourbon just 15 years ago, but the resurgence of rye diversified that view. The American Single Malt category will further broaden the view of the American whisky consumer and fuel innovation and premiumization across domestic products.”

Virginia Distillery Company, the largest independently owned American Single Malt distillery in the U.S. and one of the co-founding members of the ASMWC has been highly active in advocacy efforts leading up to the recent announcement. The distillery has worked in close alignment for several years with advocates at Westland, Balcones and Copperworks distilleries to push for the designation.

Moore added: “Formally defining American Single Malt will enable retailers and ultimately consumers to recognize the growing category that might otherwise be lost in the broad array of spirits on the market.”

Producers anticipate that the designation will accelerate U.S. Trade association efforts for American Single Malts to be recognized as a category by other countries and expect growth in both export as well as competitors small and large.

In 2020, Virginia Distillery Company launched Courage & Conviction, its signature American Single Malt whisky, and in 2021 added three new whiskies to the Courage & Conviction lineup featuring individual bottlings of the core trio of casks – bourbon, sherry and cuvée – that make up Courage & Conviction. Last fall, the distillery released its inaugural cask strength whisky, Courage & Conviction Cuvée Single Cask and in 2022 began rolling out Courage & Conviction PX Sherry Single Cask and Courage & Conviction Bourbon Single Cask.

The Courage & Conviction line is the most awarded American Single Malt with more than 100 accolades earned over the last five years, including a 98-point rating – the highest awarded in 2022 – and #12 in the Top 100 in the 2022 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Best American Single Malt in the 2022 International Whisky Competition, and a best of class gold medal at the 2022 LA International Spirits Competition. The line was produced to meet the standards that the ASMWC proposed in anticipation for the category designation. Coinciding with the rollout of Courage & Conviction, the distillery launched a complete guide to American Single Malt whisky.

For more information about the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission, visit https://www.americansinglemaltwhiskey.org/.

For more information about Virginia Distillery Company, visit https://vadistillery.com.

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