Distilleries kick off fifth annual Virginia Spirits Month campaign
The Virginia Distillers Association is putting the finishing touches on the fifth annual month-long celebration of September Virginia Spirits Month, where it’s “5 o’clock for 30 days.”
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 percent, 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 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 percent off in-store purchases of ten select Virginia spirits as part of their Virginia-themed “Spirited Thursday” promotion on Sept. 10, 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. “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.”