KDA Announces New Board Officers, Directors

January 8, 2015

For Immediate Release – January 8, 2015

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Announces New Board Officers, Directors

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that Pauline Rooney of Diageo North America has been named Chairwoman of the 135-year-old group that unites, promotes and protects the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Rooney, who is Vice President of Distillation, Maturation and Engineering, will serve through December 2015. The KDA Board of Directors selected officers during its annual meeting recently at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville.

Rooney said one of the main goals during her tenure will be an updated strategic plan called “Bourbon 2020,” which will outline the vision for the group and the industry over the next five years.

“I’m proud to say that the KDA has far exceeded the goals and objectives outlined in our last strategic plan from 2009,” she said. “With the Kentucky Bourbon renaissance in full swing, and with more distilleries coming to the Commonwealth, it’s time to take a renewed look at our future.

“It’s an honor to serve as Chairwoman of this venerable organization, and I look forward to working with the new generation of distilleries to continue promoting the heritage of our industry while celebrating innovation within it. We truly are stronger when we all work together.”

The Board also appointed Chris Morris, Master Distiller at Brown-Forman Corp., as Vice Chairman and John Rhea, Chief Operating Officer of Four Roses Distillery, as Secretary-Treasurer.

Other Board members for 2015 include:

  • Beam Suntory: Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer, Maker’s Mark
  • Wild Turkey: Rick Robinson, Vice President of U.S. Product Supply Chain
  • Heaven Hill Brands: Joe Fraser, Vice President of Operations

The KDA, a non-profit trade association founded in 1880, is the state’s voice for Bourbon and distilled spirits issues. Its mission includes governmental and regulatory advocacy, technical assistance, international trade development, media relations, economic development support, legal defense and integrated marketing strategies.

Its 27 members – the most since the repeal of Prohibition – produce 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon and have transformed the legendary industry into a thriving, global economic engine and major tourism attraction.

Since 2012, the industry has nearly doubled its workforce, tripled the number of distilleries and set major new benchmarks in payroll, exports and production, according to an economic impact study released in October by the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute.

Kentucky Bourbon is now a $3 billion industry that generates 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll of $707 million. Distillers have invested more than $400 million in the last five years, and expect to spend another $630 million in the next five as the Bourbon boom continues its momentum.

The world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, created by the KDA in 1999, continues to attract more visitors than ever before, with more than one million people exploring the nine participating distilleries in the last two years alone.

KDA President Eric Gregory said the group will be rolling out a host of new programs and initiatives in 2015 to build upon Bourbon’s increasing success, including the second annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair® in Louisville, June 3 through 7.

“Our objective is simple – promote and protect our industry while strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon,” Gregory said. “It’s going to be a great year, and we hope everyone enjoys our iconic brands responsibly and in moderation.”


For more information, contact KDA President Eric Gregory at (502) 875-9351.

Visit the KDA online at www.kybourbon.com and www.kybourbontrail.com. Heritage members include Beam Suntory (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark), Brown-Forman Corp., Diageo North America, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Brands and Wild Turkey Distillery. Proof members include Michter’s Distillery.


Craft members include Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery, Barrel House Distilling Co., Bluegrass Distillers, Boundary Oak Distillery, Casey Jones Distillery, Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery, Corsair Artisan Distillery, Dueling Grounds Distillery, Kentucky Artisan Distillery, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Limestone Branch Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, New Riff Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, Silver Trail Distillery, The Gentleman Distillery, Three Boys Farm Distillery, Wilderness Trail Distillery and Willett Distillery.


The Distilled Spirits Epicenter is the KDA’s official educational distillery.


KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, BOURBON TRAIL™, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR® and KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please drink responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly