Kentucky Distillers’ Association Welcomes First-Ever Director of Kentucky Bourbon Affair™

June 7, 2017

For Immediate Release – Tuesday, June 6, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today named Mary Gratzer, a veteran leader of Louisville’s marketing and association management scene, as its first-ever Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair showcase happening this week.

A Louisville native and graduate of Murray State University, Gratzer comes to KDA from the American Advertising Federation- Louisville, where she has been Executive Director for the past eight years. The AAF named Louisville its Division 1 Chapter of the Year the last three years.

She previously spent 10 years at FSA Group in Louisville, a professional management firm specializing in national trade associations, where she developed strategic plans and guided marketing efforts for a host of clients, including the Distinguished Restaurants of North America.

“In just four short years, the Kentucky Bourbon Affair has become the most dynamic whiskey event in the world, and we needed a spirited leader to steer its growth and success,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “Mary’s strong career makes her the perfect fit.

“She has experience in marketing, brand development, event management, revenue generation through sponsorships and advertising, and what it takes to run the daily business of an organization. She’s an active and engaging leader, and we proudly welcome her to the team.”

Gratzer will start July 5. Her e-mail address is [email protected].

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to have worked in such diverse industries and with some of the most talented people in them. That good fortune continues with this opportunity,” Gratzer said.

“Kentucky’s Bourbon and spirits industry encompasses hospitality, tourism, culture, and history, making it even more fascinating. The potential for growth is limitless.”

The Kentucky Bourbon Affair™, created and curated by the KDA, is an exclusive, six-day Bourbon fantasy camp revered for its intimate, one-of-a-kind experiences. It is the only event hosted by the legendary distilleries themselves.

This year’s Affair is June 6 – 11 and will once again welcome WhiskyLive, an

international celebration of the world’s finest whiskies, to Louisville. The Louisville

Convention & Visitors Bureau is the Official Host City Sponsor.

Events include private tours and experiences at the world’s most iconic distilleries, nightcap events featuring top chefs and the company of Bourbon Barons and Master Distillers, rare tastings, souvenir bottles and specialty barrel selections.

Seventeen Kentucky Bourbon brands are hosting events this year in addition to the VIP

opening reception and the closing brunch hosted by the Bourbon Women association.

New for 2017 is the Higher Proof Expo, an all-day workshop, featuring deep dives into Bourbon craft and culture, with top industry professionals offering rare tastings and experiences over 18 elite learning sessions.

The Higher Proof Expo will be held on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Marriott Louisville East, the official host hotel for the annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair showcase.

Tickets are still available to the Higher Proof Expo and a limited number of events.

Visit for more information.

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces 95 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.

The KDA recently unveiled a University of Louisville study that shows the industry is in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom. There are now 52 distilleries in the Commonwealth and 6.7 million barrels of aging Bourbon – both modern records.

The KDA’s famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® also made history last year, with tourists recording a record one million stops at 20 participating distilleries. The booming attraction has increased attendance by 300 percent in the last 10 years.

Visit and to learn more.


Media contact: KDA President Eric Gregory, (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. (Old Forester and Woodford Reserve), Diageo North America, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Brands, Michter’s Distillery and Wild Turkey Distillery. Proof members include the Louisville Distilling Company and Willett Distillery.

Craft members include Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery, Bardstown Bourbon Company, 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, Jeptha Creed Distillery, Kentucky Artisan Distillery, Kentucky Mist Moonshine, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Limestone Branch Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, New Riff Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, O.Z. Tyler Distillery, Second Sight Spirits, Wadelyn Ranch 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™, KBT™ and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please drink responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly