Kentucky Distillers’ Association Announces New Board Officers, Directors

January 23, 2019

For Immediate Release – January 23, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that Rick Robinson, Vice President of Product Supply Chain at Campari America, has been named chairman of the historic group’s Board of Directors for 2019.

This marks the second time Robinson has served as chairman of the non-profit trade group that unites, promotes, protects and elevates the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. He also served as chairman in 2013.

A leading spirits company in the U.S., Campari America boasts a rich, comprehensive portfolio of more than 20 brands, including the Wild Turkey® family of Bourbon and whiskey brands made in Lawrenceburg, Ky.

Robinson will serve as KDA Chairman through December 2019. He has extensive knowledge of the spirits category with over 20 years of experience, and is an expert in Bourbon, whiskey, vodka, and rum production.

Robinson assumed his current role at Campari America in 2014, shifting from his position as Site Director at the famed Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, where he managed distillation, barrel handling, and bottling.

Before joining Campari America, Robinson was the Director of Operations for Diageo Americas’ bottling plants and blending areas. He was also the site lead for Diageo’s Lean Manufacturing Initiative, now known as the Perfect Plant.

“Bourbon is not just the hottest category in the US spirits industry, but also one of the fastest growing around the world,” Robinson said. “I look forward to working with our KDA members to promote America’s Native Spirit and all Kentucky spirits, while continuing to build the foundations for growth, supporting all of our dedicated distillers and this great Commonwealth.”

The KDA Board selected officers during its 138th Annual Meeting in downtown Louisville.

The Board also appointed Jessica Pendergrass, Corporate Counsel for Heaven Hill Brands, as Vice Chairman, and Pauline Rooney, Vice President of Distillation, Maturation & Engineering at Diageo North America, as Secretary-Treasurer.

Other Board members for 2019 include:

  • Michter’s: Joseph J. Magliocco, President
  • Brown-Forman: Campbell Brown, President, Old Forester
  • Four Roses: Ryan Ashley, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Distillery Operations
  • O.Z. Tyler: Jacob Call, Master Distiller and Director of Operations
  • Lux Row: Donn Lux, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Louisville Distilling Co.: Wes Henderson, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer
  • Bardstown Bourbon Co.: David Mandell, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Beam Suntory: Kevin Smith, Vice President, Kentucky Beam Bourbon Affairs

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. There are currently 39 members, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition, and 30 distillery stops on its popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences.

The KDA’s diverse membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft and strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true authentic home for Bourbon.

Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences.

The KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at and

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a thriving $8.5 billion economic engine that generates more than 17,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $800 million and pours $825 million into state and local coffers each year.

There are currently 7.5 million barrels of Bourbon gently aging in Kentucky warehouses – a modern record. Distillers also paid a record $23 million last year in barrel taxes that fund critical local programs such as education, public safety and health.

KDA President Eric Gregory applauded the Board for its longstanding support and global vision. “Just as our forefathers realized more than a century ago, we are stronger by coming together to work for the advancement and greater good of our industry,” he said.

“The KDA Board is a powerhouse of industry veterans and visionaries who value the tradition and bolster the integrity of Kentucky’s rich distilling heritage,” Gregory said. “Our members and the KDA staff look forward to another dynamic year for Kentucky Bourbon and distilled spirits.”


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

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®, KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™, KBT™, and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please savor our Bourbon and distilled spirits like a true Kentuckian – Responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly