Washington Cribs: Inside Frank’s Closet at the Distilled Spirits Council

Aug 30, 2011 2:57pm

After this summer of baking, shaking, and stirring – record heat, an earthquake, then a hurricane – Washington can use a drink.

That was our thinking in taking ABC’s “Top Line” inside the headquarters of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the trade association representing the American liquor industry in Washington and state capitals across the country.

Our tour guide was Frank Coleman, DISCUS’ senior vice president for public affairs, and the keeper of “Frank’s Closet” – where the choicest high-end liquor resides for sampling.

Between that and the “1797 Room” – named for the year that George Washington built his distillery at Mount Vernon – we tasted a little bit of liquid Americana.

“He was well known in Alexandria for selling the highest quality,” Coleman told us of Washington’s batches. His distillery was recently restored at Mount Vernon, with the help of DISCUS.

Coleman has a full plate of legislative business in Washington and beyond – taxation issues, import policies, Sunday sales. And your glass is never empty in his office.

He recalled a visit to China with the then-U.S. ambassador, Jon Huntsman. Huntsman, a Mormon, doesn’t drink, but was glad to meet a distiller from Utah, Coleman told us.

“He was kind of great about it,” he said. “He’s like, ‘I’m a Mormon, I don’t drink.’ But I think he said, ‘My great-grandfather was a saloon keeper and made the family fortune.’ So the origin of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation is actually some saloon somewhere in Utah.”


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