FCD in the News
Aim High Sanitizer
March 17, 2020
Falls Church Distillers to Make Hand Sanitizer
The local spirits maker is switching gears and tackling supply shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak.
March 17, 2020
Hand sanitizer out of stock at your local supermarket? Falls Church Distillers is leveraging its expertise, facilities and a familiar ingredient—190-proof corn whiskey—to make its own homegrown version for public distribution. If all goes as planned, the family-owned business will be dispensing about 300 gallons of the product this weekend to customers who bring their own containers. It intends to offer portions of up to 5 ounces for free, while gallon-size shares will likely be sold for $30 or less.
Owner Michael Paluzzi says the distillery is waging the effort as a “lemons to lemonade” response to the COVID-19 epidemic. “We’re currently seeing hand sanitizer selling for $45 per gallon and up [online], with an April delivery,” he says. “We can deliver now.”
The distillery’s product will be comprised of 70% alcohol, along with glycerin and doTERRA On Guard, a botanical blend of essential oils that claims to have immune-boosting properties. Paluzzi is calling it “Aim High Sanitizer”—a nod to the U.S. Air Force motto. “We are a three-generation Air Force family,” he says. “We’re going to attack this problem like we are the military.”
Distribution is set to take place from a parking lot tent in front of the distillery (442 S. Washington Street, Falls Church) from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and from noon to 5 on Saturday, where staff and volunteers will dispense portions of hand sanitizer from a 300-gallon beverage tote on wheels.
Rachel Abbett, an integrative nutrition health coach with Falls Church-based EKOE Health, will also be on site and available to answer questions about doTERRA essential oils, as well as nutritional health and ways to avoid becoming sedentary while adhering to the recommended guidelines for social distancing.
One caveat: “We are still waiting for shipments [of glycerin and other ingredients] to arrive,” Paluzzi says. “Once we have everything in stock, we’ll have product available to the public in 24 hours. We just have to make sure everything comes in.” Check the company’s Facebook page for updates.
What about booze?
The distillery’s restaurant and bar are closed, but Paluzzi says its on-site ABC store remains open for business (credit card sales only—no cash) for patrons who may also feel compelled to stock up on locally made bourbon, whiskey, gin, apple brandy and flavor-infused vodkas. “If people are going to venture into the wild, we’re trying to offer them as much as we can in a single outing.”
ABC Channel 7
January 10, 2020
Interview discussing the tax implications impact on the micro distillery industry...
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (ABC7) — Falls Church Distillers is a family owned business relatively new to Northern Virginia. Owner Michael Paluzzi’s team makes everything from vodka to whiskey to gin. Soon after opening a few years ago his industry landed a major windfall.
“It was this amazing reduction,” says Paluzzi.
Congress passed a nationwide tax break on distilled spirits. The tax went from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon.
Paluzzi adds, “That is a lot. That’s like, in any given bottle, anywhere from 20 to 30 percent gross margin out of your product. That’s a dollar, 2 dollars profit when you are only making 3 to 4 dollars a bottle.”
Paluzzi says that tax cut spurred expansion in his and many other distilleries across the country. “I doubled my workforce based on that alone. I expanded to three new states based on that alone,” says Paluzzi.
The tax break of $2.70/proof gallon was set to return to $13.50 but Congress delayed the increase for another year. More on @ABC7News at 11.
But there was a catch. While the tax reduction infused success it also recently ran out. So, Paluzzi and other distillery owners lobbied Congress.
“Owners from all over the country came and we stormed the hill a couple months ago. Yeah, it was fun. I’d never done anything like that before,” says Paluzzi.
They succeeded. Congress extended the tax break for another year. A reprieve for Michael Paluzzi who works in a business that rewards patience.
Paluzzi says with a laugh, “Just think about the people that put a barrel of whiskey away and wait 20 years.”
He laughs because for now he can’t afford to do that. His hope is that his tax break becomes permanent so one day he can offer customers a bourbon that’s been aged by a business that to thrive must invest in the future.
Storming The Hill
July 24, 2019
For Immediate Release: Distillery Contact: M Paluzzi
July 26, 2019
Falls Church Distillers llc Goes to Capitol Hill to Urge Support for Spirits Tax Cut Bill
--Meets with Rep. Don Beyer’s office to discuss issues impacting small craft distillers--
Washington, DC – Michael E Paluzzi of Fall Church Distillers was one of more than 150 craft distillers from around the country who gathered in Washington, D.C. from July 22 through July 24 for the distilled spirits industry’s 10thAnnual Public Policy Conference, co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).
The conference featured a series of legislative and regulatory sessions on key federal and state issues impacting the distilling industry. As part of the conference, Michael E Paluzzi participated in congressional visits with representatives of Senators Warner and Kaine and the Congressional offices of Beyer, Spanberger, Griffith, McEachin, Riggleman, Wexton, Connolly, Scott and Cline to urge support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/S. 362). This critical legislation makes permanent a federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits and was enacted in 2017. Without Congressional approval, the tax cut for distillers will expire on December 31, 2019.
Paluzzi also discussed the harm that retaliatory tariffs on spirits exports are having on American distillers, large and small, and the importance of (his/her) distillery to the economic development of the surrounding community.
“Meeting with Rep. Beyer’s Legislative Correspondent was a highlight of the conference,” said Paluzzi. “I expressed to Ms. Rubinger the importance of making the tax cut on distilled spirits permanent. The reduced tax rate has had a major impact on my distillery enabling me to hire more staff and invest in more product stock. It was impactful to share with Rep Beyer’s office how this bill will continue to help my small distillery grow, as well as the devastating impact on my business if it does not pass.”
Conference speakers included: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), co-sponsor of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S.362); Senator Rob Portman (R-OH); Senator Jon Tester (D-MT); Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau officials; and Carl Hulse, New York Times chief Washington correspondent.
“This is a historic moment for our industry as more than 150 distillers from 33 states descend on Washington to rally further support for this critical, urgent legislation,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirits Association. “Without permanent and immediate Federal Excise Tax reform, the stability of this vibrant industry, and the industries that surround us – agriculture, tourism and the broader hospitality industry – are bound to be paralyzed."
“These distillers delivered a unified message to legislative leaders on Capitol Hill at a critical time,” said Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the national trade association representing producers of distilled spirits sold in the United States. “The federal tax cut on spirits is set to expire at the end of the year and the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs against U.S. spirits products are mounting.”
Distillers who attended the conference also had opportunities to showcase their craft spirits at a “Meet America’s Distillers” reception on Capitol Hill for lawmakers and a “Spirits of America” reception for journalists at the National Press Club.