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Kentucky Distillers’ Association Unveils New Brand to Celebrate Kentucky’s Legacy as the World’s Authority on Bourbon

September 20, 2021

For Immediate Release – Sept. 20, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky.  — With all eyes on Kentucky during Bourbon Heritage Month, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association today unveiled a new brand that ensures the state’s unrivaled legacy in Bourbon only grows deeper.

The new “Kentucky Bourbon” brand and its official slogan, “The Proof Is Here®,” builds on the unparalleled, centuries-old reputation of the Commonwealth’s signature spirit and strengthens Kentucky’s position as the world’s official authority on all things Bourbon.

“Throughout time, there are certain brands that are inextricably linked with their homeplaces,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “Georgia peaches. California raisins. Maine lobsters. Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon, synonymous with whiskey excellence and elegance, and that will never change.” 

The “Kentucky Bourbon” identity offers a fresh take on the Commonwealth’s $8.6 billion homegrown industry that is hailed around the world for its time-honored traditions and incomparable craftsmanship. Features include a new logo, website and digital campaigns to reach both consumers and industry audiences. 

The new website invites enthusiasts to explore and celebrate Kentucky Bourbon, learn the basics, try recipes and food pairings, dive deep into its rich history and read stories about everything related to America’s only native spirit from a diverse perspective.

The blue in the flagship logo is based on the color of the Kentucky flag, Gregory said. The flag also features the state’s official motto – United We Stand, Divided We Fall – which was a founding principle when the KDA was created in 1880 by early distilling pioneers who championed unity and camaraderie.

Distillers, the media and other associated businesses benefit from the industry side of the site, which highlights economic impact, advocacy efforts, the growing KDA membership, responsibility and sustainability initiatives, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame® and more. 

“People love Bourbon and their fascination is only getting deeper. Millions of visitors to the world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour have shown us that,” said Pauline Rooney, Chairwoman of the KDA’s Board of Directors and Vice President of Distillation and Maturation for Diageo North America.

“But visiting Kentucky’s iconic distilleries is only the beginning. The experiences, culture and lifestyle of it all tell a story far greater than just what’s in your glass — and that’s what Kentucky Bourbon is all about.”

Chris Morris, the Hall of Fame Master Distiller for Brown-Forman and Secretary-Treasurer of the KDA Board, said, “While Bourbon can technically be made anywhere in the United States, any Bourbon lover will tell you it’s just not Bourbon unless it’s made in Kentucky.

“This brand will drive Kentucky’s stake in the global whiskey industry even deeper, reminding the world that there is only one true and authentic home of Bourbon,” he said. “It’s a tremendous milestone for our members, business partners, families and friends.”  

Bourbon is a cherished economic and tourism engine in Kentucky, generating more than 20,100 jobs with $1 billion in payroll. The Commonwealth has more aging barrels of Bourbon and other spirits than any other state in the Union. Global exports have historically surpassed more than $500 million a year. 

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences hosted nearly six million tours over the past five years with total attendance in 2019 at nearly two million, the highest number since KDA founded the KBT™ tour in 1999. 

Louisville Tourism President and CEO Cleo Battle attested to the impact Bourbon tourism has had on establishing Kentucky as a brand destination.

“Since Louisville leaned into its Bourbon heritage over a decade ago, the city has enjoyed explosive growth in distillery experiences, international brand recognition and a record number of visitation in 2019,” he said. “I applaud the effort to keep the world spotlight on our shared treasured asset of Kentucky Bourbon.” 

Amir Peay, owner of James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington, said when people hear the word Bourbon, it is not a coincidence that they automatically think of Kentucky.  

“Kentucky is not only the birthplace of Bourbon, but for hundreds of years the art of making fine Bourbon has been perfected in Kentucky and that wisdom, craft and pride has been ingrained in the people and culture who make it there every day,” Peay said.

“This brand will reinforce for the world the quality, provenance, history and authenticity of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and the depth of meaning that lies within those four words.”

To create and develop the brand, the KDA engaged an entirely Kentucky-based, multi-disciplinary team that integrated their various expertise with decades of industry knowledge to ensure that the story of Kentucky Bourbon would be told in the most authentic way.

The team included marketing agency Balance Creative, branding and design house Onefold Creative, marketing and copywriting company Squiggl, digital identity outfit Mediocre Creative, digital marketing firm McBrayer Digital and social media consultant Brand Vixen.

David Caldwell, Principal Partner of Balance Creative — and project manager for the new brand — drew on nearly 15 years of work with the KDA as the team collaborated to certify Kentucky’s amber nectar as the world’s preferred Bourbon. 

“It’s been astounding to see what the KDA and its members have accomplished,” Caldwell said. 

“Kentucky Bourbon has an extraordinary legacy of quality products, storied tradition, venerable lore and colorful characters. The exciting part is the world has only heard a small part of that success, and we are thrilled to be part of the team welcoming all to Kentucky Bourbon and sharing that story.”

KDA President Gregory said the six-figure campaign will bring the Kentucky Bourbon brand to life by building a global community of ambassadors and advocates through social media and digital platforms, along with the broad reach of its member brands.

“Above all, Kentucky Bourbon is about bringing people together and sharing in the celebration,” he said. “The culture, lifestyle and community that’s been built is truly remarkable — and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

To find out why The Proof is Here® visit

Follow Kentucky Bourbon on Facebook and Instagram


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

Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the legendary voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from historic, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s landmark economic engine and its thriving, timeless craft. 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. A 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, 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®, BOURBON TRAIL™ and KENTUCKY BOURBON HALL OF FAME® are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Make It Memorable – Enjoy Responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly