Austin, Texas – Lallemand DistilaBact® LP, a first of its kind, dried bacteria product available to the distilling market, was named the grand winner of the Distilled Spirits Council’s first-ever “Innovation Showcase” competition at the 2021 DISCUS Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.

The winning product, which was presented during the Shark Tank-style competition by Mitch Codd, Technical Sales Manager at Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits, is an innovative approach to the traditional method of sour mashing.  The product is a tailored bacterial inoculant designed to be pitched alongside a yeast in the fermentation and ultimately mimics the sour mash process not always available to smaller producers.

The second place winner was Siponey, a canned cocktail on an environmental mission, presented by its CEO Amanda Victoria.  Third place was awarded to Pratt Industries for its sustainable, e-commerce packaging solution, presented by the company’s Business Development Manager Jim Bickley.

Six finalists were selected to compete in the inaugural Innovation Showcase at this year’s conference.  The finalists were chosen out of more than 50 submissions in categories spanning from spirits packaging, technology, supply chain, sustainability, marketing, structure, responsibility and product development.

Each contestant had 15 minutes to present their innovation in front of a panel of judges who scored the innovation based its concept, value, scalability and demonstrated impact.

The judges were Sarah Barrett, Executive Editor, Wine and Spirits Daily; Mark Menezes, Principal, Acadia Strategic Partners; and James Restivo, VP of Account Development, Nielsen IQ. The Showcase was hosted by Heather Firtszche, CEO and Co-Founder of The Spearhead Group.

“The Innovation Showcase generated a ton of energy and excitement at our annual conference and highlighted the creativity and ingenuity happening in the spirits sector,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of DISCUS and is happening everywhere throughout our industry – from product development to sustainability — and this was an awesome opportunity to feature some of the best and brightest ideas that will make our great industry stronger.”

The first, second and third place winners receive prize packages ranging in value from $5,000 to $20,000 including a $10,000 cash prize for the showcase winner.

Other finalists included: Daryl Grimes, Chief Operating Officer of Smart Start; Tom Lix, Founder & CEO of Cleveland Whiskey; and Gal Motzaeli, VP of R&D, Inventor, & Founder of Solido.


The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice for distilled spirits in the U.S., advocating on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues impacting the distilled spirits sector at the local, state, federal and international levels. DISCUS members are committed to responsibility and encourage adults who drink to do so in moderation.