Kentucky Distillers’ Association Announces New Board Officers, Directors

January 5, 2016

For Immediate Release – January 5, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that Master Distiller Chris Morris of Brown-Forman has been named Chairman of the 136-year-old group that unites, promotes and protects the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Morris, an acknowledged authority on Bourbon and Kentucky history who is celebrating his 40th year in the industry, will serve through December 2016. The KDA Board of Directors selected officers during its annual meeting recently at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville.

“It is especially a treat to serve as KDA Chair in 2016 because we will see more exciting events and programs that emphasize the heritage and great taste of Kentucky Bourbon,” said Morris, who also is Chairman of the prestigious Order of the Writ – Spirit of Kentucky Bourbon Society.

The Board also appointed John Rhea, Chief Operating Officer at Four Roses Distillery, as Vice Chairman and Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer at Beam Suntory/Maker’s Mark, as Secretary-Treasurer.

Other Board members for 2015 include:

  • Wild Turkey: Rick Robinson, Vice President of U.S. Product Supply Chain
  • Heaven Hill Brands: Larry Kass, Director of Trade Relations
  • Diageo North America: Pauline Rooney, Vice President of Distilling, Maturation and Engineering
  • Michter’s: Joseph J. Magliocco, President

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. There are currently

28 members, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition, and an all-time high of 19 members in 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.

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a thriving $3 billion economic engine that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping $700 million and pours $166 million into state and local coffers each year.

The KDA announced last year that the state’s inventory of aging Bourbon barrels set a

40-year high in 2014 with 5,669,682 million charred oak casks gently sleeping in Bluegrass warehouses. Barrel inventories for 2015 will be released later this spring.

Bourbon production has soared more than 170 percent since the turn of the century, with only 485,020 barrels filled in 1999. Distilleries crafted 1,306,375 barrels in 2014 – the highest production mark since 1970 and the third straight year with a million barrels born.

KDA President Eric Gregory thanked Morris and the Board for its leadership in transforming the non-profit trade group into a global authority on Kentucky Bourbon. “The past few years have proven that we are stronger when we work together,” he said.

“We are looking forward to numerous opportunities in 2016 that will showcase our timeless craft and build upon its worldwide resurgence,” Gregory said. “The Golden Age of Kentucky Bourbon is just beginning, and we are honored to be part of this historic renaissance.”


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

The KDA is a non-profit trade association founded in 1880 to promote, protect and elevate Kentucky’s signature

Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Heritage members include Beam Suntory (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark),

Brown-Forman Corp., Diageo North America, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Brands, Michter’s Distillery and Wild Turkey Distillery. Proof members include Willett Distillery.


Craft members include Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery, Barrel House Distilling Co., Bluegrass Distillers, Boone

County Distilling Company, Boundary Oak Distillery, Casey Jones Distillery, Copper & Kings American Brandy

Distillery, Corsair Artisan Distillery, Dueling Grounds Distillery, Hartfield & Co. Distillery, Kentucky Artisan

Distillery, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Limestone Branch Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, New Riff Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, Second Sight Spirits, Three Boys Farm Distillery, and Wilderness Trail Distillery. The

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


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 through the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. 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. For more information about joining the KDA’s distilling family, contact KDA President Eric Gregory at (502) 875-9351. Visit and to learn more.



AFFAIR™ and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please

drink responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly