How ADI lost our support …

We empower the craft distilling industry with advanced distilling technology, science-based education, and medal-winning recipe development. Our focus on creating competitive advantages for craft distillers has made us the world’s leading still manufacturer, educational facility, and laboratory. Over the last 7 1/2 years, we have produced over 850 iStills, educated over a 1,000 students, and developed more than 300 recipes.

A few weeks ago we have informed ADI (American Distilling Institute) that they lost our support. Why? ADI’s behavior, over the years, has raised more and more questions with our supporters, our customers, and the iStill Management Team. Questions that needed to be asked and that deserve answers in order to establish if ADI supports our mission of empowering the craft distilling industry:

How does the craft distilling industry benefit from ADI never reporting on our technological break-throughs in its magazine “Distiller”?

Each and everyone of our innovations – our square boilers, Jet Propulsion Agitator System, copper waffle design, liquid management controls, insulation, packed column design, air pressure sensors, software, automation, robotization, stainless steel manufacturing proces, indirect heating systems, Odin’s theories of distillation and fermentation, and the iStill Distilling University, to name but a few – have presented the craft distilling industry with important competitive advantages. Yet never, over the past 7 1/2 years, has one word been written about these advancements or has even one iStill customer featured the front-page of “Distiller”. We find this neglect of crucial and beneficial developments a gross shortcoming, that doesn’t do the craft distilling industry nor our huge customer-base justice.

How does the craft distilling industry benefit from ADI limiting the free flow of information on ADI Forums?

In answering questions posed by distillers on ADI Forums on how iStill is doing, we have meticulously, and often on a day-to-day basis, informed the community about our advancements in a factual manner. And in answering questions on how to make gin, our CEO has meticulously, and often on a day-to-day basis, taught and trained the distilling community present on ADI Forums. ADI’s decision to close topics and to restrict our CEO’s ability to post, hampers the free flow of information and – again – negates essential information, that would otherwise further empower the craft distilling industry, from spreading. We find this a gross shortcoming, that harms the industry.

How does the craft distilling industry benefit from ADI allowing sponsors to influence its policy?

ADI pretends to support and even represent the craft distilling industry. As such, the craft distillers’ interests should sit center stage. Instead, sponsors severely influence ADI’s decisions, which compromises its role as industry supporter or representative. We have been informed by ADI that we are not allowed to set-up our booth in ADI’s tradeshow hall, because DYE and Mueller didn’t want us near. ADI’s owner has also informed us that some sponsors get to pick the medal winners at the tradeshow competition. We find letting the interests of some sponsors prevail over the interests of the craft distillers a gross shortcoming, that harms the industry.

How does the craft distilling industry benefit from ADI not following up on its financial obligations?

In the past we have supported ADI’s young distiller traineeship program, by supplying an iStill for its auction. We agreed we would get a financial compensation to cover some of our costs. Even though the iStill got auctioned, and the young distiller got his traineeship, we never got our money back, despite the fact that we complained several times. In the past, we supported ADI’s “The Farm Distiller” magazine initiative with a large purchase of advertising space. When “The Farm Distiller” didn’t get published, we didn’t get reimbursed. We expect from those that pretend to represent us no less than the highest ethical business behavior. Where business ethics are compromised, by those that should lead by example, the whole industry stands to suffer.

How does the craft distilling industry benefit from ADI not releasing its financial annual statements? 

If ADI is to support and represent the industry, the interests of the craft distillers should be the one and only focus point. In choosing to be a company, instead of a nonprofit, making money becomes a goal in itself. To prevent any conflict of interest, we feel that ADI releasing its financial annual statements is a great step forward. It allows ADI to show if and how their profits flow back into the craft distilling industry and how much of a difference they make. It allows craft distillers to establish how ADI is managing its profitability and if it is living up to the industry’s expectations.

The questions and issues raised above have previously been communicated to Bill Owens, owner of ADI, and Erik Owens, CEO of ADI. So far no satisfactory answers have been received.

4 thoughts on “How ADI lost our support …

  1. I have to congratulate you on your courage for being blunt and taking on the issue head-on! The ADI has proven over the years that its only purpose is to be a simple “showroom” for the various industry suppliers and “experts” and inevitably whatever disrupts that relationship is deemed “harmful” or in plain terms “not profitable”. God forbid any deviation from the “traditional” party line!

  2. Maybe it’s the right time to publish “iSpirits the true voice of international craft distilling” šŸ™‚

  3. yup, same reason I stopped supporting them 5+ years ago. Told Bill as much, was told they were making too much money from the current model to care.

  4. Pingback: How ADI lost our support (2) … | The iStill Blog

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