Kentucky Distillers’ Association Honors Rep. Chad McCoy With “100 Proof” Award

May 2, 2018

For Immediate Release – May 2, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association honored Rep. Chad McCoy on Monday with its prestigious “100 Proof Award” for his leadership in passing historic legislation in the 2018 General Assembly that allows distillery visitors to ship spirits home.

“As the chief sponsor of House Bill 400, Rep. McCoy was instrumental in securing the successful passage of this landmark legislation that will elevate our Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences and answer visitor’s number one demand – the ability to ship souvenir bottles home,” KDA President Eric Gregory said.

“The KDA and its 39 members thank Rep. McCoy for his outstanding work to modernize our state’s archaic alcohol laws, create jobs, spur investment and strengthen Kentucky’s rightful title as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon and distilled spirits. We are honored to present him with this award.”

Rep. McCoy, R-Bardstown, is only the eighth person to ever receive the award, which the KDA created in 2009 to recognize elected officials who demonstrate tremendous care, diligence and initiative in promoting and protecting Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.

Nominees must receive a unanimous vote of both the KDA’s Governmental Affairs Advisory Group and the KDA Board of Directors. It is the highest honor that the state’s iconic Bourbon industry gives to elected officials.

Rep. McCoy has served in the House since 2017. His Nelson County district includes six KDA member distilleries: Heaven Hill, Lux Row, Willett, Bardstown Bourbon Company, Preservation Distillery and Jim Beam’s Booker Noe Distillery. The county seat is Bardstown – the “Bourbon Capital of the World.”

Gregory and KDA member executives presented Rep. McCoy with a commemorative “100 Proof Award” barrel head Monday afternoon in Frankfort during an industry reception celebrating HB 400 at the Kentucky History Center.

“Receiving this award is a huge honor,” Rep. McCoy said. “After decades of being overlooked, Kentucky’s Bourbon industry is only going to get bigger and I’m happy to support an industry that provides so many jobs and revenue for the state and my district.”

In addition to shipping, McCoy also advocated the creation of Bourbon and spirits clubs in HB 400 so distilleries can continue sending bottles to visitors throughout the year. “We felt this was a key step that will broaden our distillery’s marketing efforts and prolong visitors’ connection to our state.”

Previous recipients of the bipartisan award include:

  • Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, received the first “100 Proof Award” for her tireless efforts in the 2010 legislative session to modernize Kentucky’s Bourbon sampling laws
  • Steve Beshear earned the award in 2012 for his leadership and global support of the industry
  • Senate President Robert Stivers in 2014 for his bold leadership that led to the passage of several of the KDA’s top priorities, including the Bourbon Barrel Reinvestment Tax Credit
  • Dennis Keene accepted the award in 2015 for his tireless six-year effort in passing legislation that requires ignition interlocks for drunken drivers.
  • John Schickel and Rep. Linda Belcher received the award in 2016 for passage of sweeping tourism reforms that allowed distilleries to sell cocktails, increased sample sizes and expanded the number of bottles visitors may purchase at a distillery.
  • S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in March for championing Kentucky Bourbon at the federal level, including passage of the first decrease of the federal tax on spirits in generations.

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

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

In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.

There are now 39 companies operating 52 distilleries in the Commonwealth making 6.8 million barrels of aging Bourbon – all modern records. Distillers also paid a record $19.2 million last year in barrel taxes that fund critical local programs such as education, public safety and health.

The KDA’s famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® announced recently that visitors made more than 1 million stops at participating distilleries for the second straight year. Attendance has skyrocketed by 314 in the last 10 years.

Visit and to learn more.

KDA President Gregory said the tremendous growth and impact of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tourism attractions will increase thanks to HB 400. More than 70 percent of distillery visitors are from outside Kentucky, he said, and 86 percent purchase a souvenir bottle during their trip.

“We’re confident the impact will increase with visitors purchasing more bottles to ship home, which will boost tourism and add valuable tax dollars to local and state coffers. It’s only a matter of time before more states allow reciprocity with Kentucky and embrace the shipping of spirits, just like they have wine.

“Bourbon brings people together, and HB 400 has been a bipartisan effort with passage by historic

margins for an alcohol bill. Thanks to leaders like Rep. McCoy, the 2018 legislative session has been a win-win for Bourbon and our beloved Commonwealth.”


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

Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the historic voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s timeless craft and treasured economic engine. 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 world-famous 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. Learn more at and


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