Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz today announced he will depart the Council at the end of June to rejoin his partners of 10 years at Washington2 Advocates (W2A), an issues management company with offices in the nation’s capital and the Pacific Northwest.

“Leading the Distilled Spirits Council during this time of transition for the association and the distilled spirits sector has been one of the most gratifying professional experiences of my career,” said Naasz.  “It’s been an honor to represent many of the world’s most iconic beverage alcohol companies, while spearheading the Council’s Vision 2033 strategic modernization effort to position the spirits sector for ongoing success in lead up to the hundred-year anniversary of the repeal of prohibition.”

“The distilled spirits sector of the United States achieved both record sales and exports, while also capturing beverage alcohol market share for an eighth consecutive year,” said Distilled Spirits Council Chair Jim Clerkin, President & CEO of Moët Hennessy North America.  “Our sector’s growth has been facilitated, in part, by the tax victories, market access gains, export promotion, regulatory reforms and overall advancement of our public policy agenda supported by Kraig and the Council’s talented team.  Kraig leaves the organization in a very strong position, and he will move on with our deepest thanks and very best wishes for future success.”

Of note, the Council recently helped secure the first federal excise tax reduction on spirits since the Civil War as part of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, while defeating tax increases at the state and local level and improving consumer convenience through the sale of spirits seven days a week in Indiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Tennessee and in Colorado grocery stores.  The Council also recently launched its new visual identity, website and digital advocacy platform that reflect and leverage today’s consumer enthusiasm for distilled spirits and cocktail culture.

“I’m privileged to have led such a dedicated and talented team of professionals at the Council, and extremely proud of our many accomplishments and modernization efforts,” said Naasz.  “I now look forward to rejoining my partners at W2A as the firm’s strategic advisor and seeking out new challenges both here in the nation’s capital and back home in the Pacific Northwest.”

Naasz joined the Council after serving as the chief executive of the American Frozen Food Institute, Fertilizer Institute, National Mining Association and U.S. Apple Association.  He also worked for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

The Council’s Board is initiating an executive search to identify the Council’s next leader.