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NPOs Supporting the Wine & Spirits Industry


From the COVID-19 pandemic to the West Coast wildfires, 2020 has proven to be an awful year for many. There are some efficient non-profit organizations that are working towards helping industry people.

Many hospitality employees lost their employment when restaurants and bars throughout the world remained closed.  Many countries revisited stay-at-home orders during what would ordinarily be the busiest time of year, putting their workers in financial jeopardy once more. Many in the wine and spirits business have stepped up to offer assistance in light of the numerous challenges that people worldwide are facing.


The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) is the only recognized national non-profit trade organization representing the craft spirits sector in the United States, intending to elevate and advocate for the industry's producers. The association acknowledges diversity in distillery leadership, and numerous roles within the sector continue to be a problem. As a result, it is dedicated to building and fostering a welcome and inclusive environment for all people and ensuring that all members of the community are treated with decency and respect.

Spirit Hub, a Chicago-based online direct-to-consumer marketplace for thousands of hard-to-find craft spirits from independent distilleries, has announced the creation of The Spirit Hub Independent Distillery Preservation Fund ("The Fund"), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and financial assistance to independent distilleries around the world. The Fund's creation was sped up in response to the COVID-19 outbreak when many of these firms found themselves in desperate need of assistance. The Fund was established in 2020 to relieve the pressures that independent distilleries face across the United States. The Fund helps independent distilleries affected by the pandemic by providing financial assistance and additional resources. Allowing them to continue pursuing their passions while also helping to propel the craft spirits industry to new heights.

Kentucky Distillers Association is a non-profit organization that represents member distilleries in Kentucky. It was founded in 1880. The organization works to bring the Commonwealth's unique Bourbon and distilled spirits business together, promote it, protect it, and elevate it. In addition, the KDA maintains an open membership policy, advocates for responsible and moderate alcohol consumption, and works to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving.

The Wine Market Council was founded in 1994 as a non-profit trade group that works to increase the wine market at all levels of the US wine industry. Wine Market Council now offers its members social media help and amplification and two consumer research conferences showcasing wine trends each year. In addition, the Wine Market Council has offered all tiers of the wine industry important wine market facts, trends, insights, and intelligence. Every year, the WMC conducts a segmentation study among US wine consumers and quantitative and qualitative trade and consumer surveys on matters of particular importance to their members.

The IWSC Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in October 2018 that serves as the organization's charitable arm, intending to support causes critical to the wine and spirit industry's worldwide expansion and long-term health. Since its inception in 2018, the IWSC Foundation has worked on several projects and cooperated with some organizations in the wine and spirits industry. The Wine and Spirit Trust, The Drinks Trust, and The Institute of Masters of Wine (WSET). Individuals and organizations who support and advance the Foundation's primary objectives can receive grants from the Foundation. Advancement of education, including providing access to training, education, and work experience, particularly in the study of wine and spirits, viniculture, horticulture, and sustainable agriculture. The alleviation of poverty and illness, particularly among individuals who have worked in the alcoholic beverage sector, especially among those suffering from alcoholism and other alcohol-related disorders.

Organizations run by and for people of color not only provide vital services such as education, networking, and a forum to debate business opportunities, but they also foster connection, community, and a method to nurture individuals, not just their skills. Whether you're a person of color (POC) interested in learning more about wine and viticulture, or a company seeking significant initiatives to support, these organizations are striving to normalize diversity in the wine industry.

African American Vintners

Image Source: Instagram Acc. Africanamericanvintners, Wineunify, Thehuesociety, Therootsfund, Blackwineprofessionals, Winempowered

Association of African American Vintners 

African American Vintners Association, Founded in 2002, is a non-profit organization that welcomes professionals from all aspects of the wine industry and consumers who are interested in supporting members within the organization. The AAAV recently contributed to the formation of the Black Winemakers Scholarship Fund (in collaboration with the United Negro College Fund and Urban Connoisseurs) to help African Americans enter the wine industry. It fosters a community among growers, wineries, and industry groups, increases awareness of diversity in the industry, and facilitates access to wine-related information and education. 

Wine Unify

Wine Unify, a non-profit organization, founded by industry veterans DLynn Proctor, Martin R. Reyes MW, and Mary Margaret McCamic MW, aims to enhance diversity in the wine industry through education. The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), which offers internationally recognized wine qualifications, is at the center of the projects. Wine Unify provides tuition for WSET lessons, sampling kits, and networking opportunities, as well as prizes at three levels: "Welcome, Elevate, and Amplify."

The Hue Society

Hue Society is a platform where Black wine experts may get help, acquire new skills, and find resources founded by sommelier Tahiirah Babibi (the co-founder of the Roots Fund Initiative). They work with the Roots Fund Initiative closely. Their spectacular, immersive events promote relationships and experiences while also celebrating Black brilliance. 

The Roots Fund

The Roots Fund focuses on using wine to empower and improve communities of color. Donations provide tools, financial assistance, educational scholarships, mentorships, and even job placements for people of color in the sector. In addition, roots Fund has secured pledges from dozens of venues, ranging from wineries to distributors, to hire Roots Fund students for the rest of their lives. "The future of wine is colorful," as they say.

Black Wine Professionals 

Black Wine Professionals, founded by Julia Coney, is a resource and support system for a directory of writers, lecturers, educators, sommeliers, retailers, importers, distributors, buyers, wine directors, and marketers Its mission is to elevate the diverse Black professionals in the wine industry. It is swiftly becoming the go-to resource for brands and enterprises looking for Black wine expertise. The group also offers educational resources and mentoring, and has also offered five-person scholarships to pursue the Wine Scholar Guild's Champagne Master-Level certification courses, in collaboration with Champagne Laurent-Perrier USA.

Wine Empowered

Wine Empowered, co-founded by beverage director Victoria James. It is a non-profit that offers tuition-free wine classes for women and minorities in the hospitality industry. Through its workshops, mentorship services, an extensive network of sommeliers, and other hospitality professionals, they hope to foster the industry's future leaders.

Article By Aakriti Rawat, Beverage Trade Network