This past week marked the actuarial midpoint of my life. Well, my current life anyway. Actuaries aren’t all that good at estimates when you add in the potential for past or future lives – their algorithms get a bit fuzzy.
And so apart from planning a midlife crisis (see the Twitter feed for details and to vote – please don’t vote for “Man Bun” I don’t think I really have the hair for it), I’m thinking about what I want – hooch related – during my next trip round the sun. Here’s an abbreviated list:
New Hooch to Try. I get to try a lot of interesting spirits. But most of those are variations on several recurring themes. This coming year, I’d like to branch out and try something really different. Maybe Raki or Baijiu, or even Kumis. Something really unusual. I’m not saying I would enjoy it – but I know I would enjoy having the chance to try it.
Clarity on FET Reductions. As part of the tax reforms passed in December 2017, smaller distillers got a significant reduction in their federal excise tax obligation. But that reduction is only for two years. Currently, the good folks with the ACSA and ADI are working diligently to lobby for an extension on that relief or, better yet, to make it permanent. But that hasn’t happened yet. To my mind, the only thing perhaps worse for business than high costs is uncertainty around costs. So in the coming year, I would very much like to see us get clarity on whether the cuts will expire or be extended so that businesses can plan accordingly.
More Learning. A couple of years ago, I had the chance to obtain a WSET certification in spirits. Since then, I’ve been pleased to followup with a few additional classes from other providers. Now, WSET has announced that it will soon launch a Level 3 certification in spirits – which will build on my existing certification. I won’t be able to do this during the current year, as it isn’t going to be offered until August 2019. But I’m betting that I’ll be signed up for the class before my next birthday.
More Fellowship. It isn’t a secret that the world of small spirits producers is very welcoming. I’ve had an amazing time over the last few years getting to know many of you. I look forward to meeting even more of you in the year ahead. To that end, I’m doubling down on my goal of visiting at least one distillery in every location where I’m fortunate enough to travel. During the remainder of 2018, I already have trips planned to California, Hawaii, Illinois (next week!) and Oregon. I’m sure more will find their way onto the calendar as the year progresses. Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.