Kentucky Distillers’ Association Promotes Staff Members to Further Advance the Commonwealth’s Signature Bourbon and Spirits Industry
For Immediate Release – July 13, 2022
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced several staff promotions to further position the historic non-profit trade group as the leading voice for Bourbon, America’s only native spirit and a thriving economic engine for the Bluegrass State.
“With more members than ever before, the KDA continues to expand and position its staff to lead our signature industry into the future, address core issues and challenges, and increase value to our distilleries and partners,” KDA President Eric Gregory said.
“We are fortunate and thankful to have a visionary Board of Directors and growing membership that works together and invests in the association as the industry flourishes,” Gregory said. “That spirit of camaraderie and collaboration is at the hallmark of everything we do.”
Staff changes include:
– Adam Johnson, 47, is the KDA’s first-ever Vice President of State Relations. He has led the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences since 2012. In his new role, Johnson will cultivate and strengthen the KDA’s relationships with other state distilling guilds and national groups like DISCUS, the American Craft Spirits Association, and similar organizations.
– Colleen Thomas, 47, is the KDA’s first-ever Vice President of Operations. She has been with the KDA since 2016 in a variety of roles, most recently as Senior Director of Marketing and Member Services. Thomas will now oversee KDA member services and support, responsibility and sustainability programs, research, workforce development, marketing, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tourism program.
– Mandy Ryan, 34, will oversee KDA’s tourism initiatives as the Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences. She joined the KDA full-time in 2013 as Executive Assistant and has spent the last two years leading promotional efforts as Director of Marketing, successfully growing the organization’s online presence and building the new Kentucky Bourbon campaign.
– Marielle McElmurray, 29, has been named Operations Manager and Executive Assistant. She joined the KDA as Special Projects Manager in 2021. She will continue to assist KDA staff in several areas, including governmental affairs, research and agricultural policy, while coordinating daily KDA operations at its headquarters in Frankfort. McElmurry also is Assistant Secretary-Treasurer to the KDA Board of Directors.
Other KDA staff include Sara Barnes, Director of Industry Responsibility & Sustainability; Jack Mazurak, Director of Governmental & Regulatory Affairs; Annie Franklin, Director of Member Services; and Allison Delande, Director of Special Projects.
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of America’s only native spirit.
Bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most treasured industries, a booming $9 billion economic and tourism engine sustaining more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1.23 billion each year, over $285 million in local and state taxes and $1.8 billion in federal alcohol taxes.
A key export, the iconic industry is currently in the middle of a $5.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism experiences to expanded production facilities, bottling centers and aging warehouses, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.
Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 435% since the turn of the century.
Kentucky now boasts more than 10.3 million barrels of Bourbon aging in warehouses across the Bluegrass, the most in its revered distilling history. Distillers filled more than 2.4 million barrels in 2020 alone, the third year in a row that production topped the two million mark.
Attendance at the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences continue their rapid rebound from COVID and closures, up 160% in total attendance from last year and just down slightly from the pre-pandemic record in 2019.
For more information, contact: KDA Vice President of Operations Colleen Thomas at [email protected].
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association that passionately unites, promotes, protects and elevates the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. 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.
KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®,, KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™, KBT®,, BOURBON TRAIL™, KENTUCKY BOURBON HALL OF FAME®,, ORDER OF THE WRIT®,, KENTUCKY BOURBON TALES®,, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL WELCOME CENTER®,, URBAN BOURBON TRAIL® and THE PROOF IS HERE®are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
Please enjoy Bourbon like a true Kentuckian – Responsibly.