Promoting & Protecting

Bourbon Since 1880
Kentucky Distillers' Association logo
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) is the first and only non-profit trade association dedicated to protecting Kentucky’s legacy in Bourbon and sharing it with the world. Established in 1880, we bring together distillers, businesses, educators and governmental entities to advocate for our industry and ensure that Kentucky always remains the one true home of Bourbon. The Proof Is Here®.
Our Mission

We passionately and responsibly promote, protect and elevate Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry.

Our Vision

We are globally recognized as the most effective and respected voice of Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry.

Our Purpose

We unite and lead Kentucky’s Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry.

We Started in 1880
The KDA was formed when 32 pre-Prohibition era distillers met at the Galt House in Louisville and made plans to protect Kentucky’s signature spirit from needless and obstructive laws and regulations.

A lot’s changed since then, but one thing remains: our distillers and the spirits they make tell Kentucky’s greatest story—and we all play a part in sharing it with the world.
Full Proof Impact
From job creation to capital investments and tourism to taxes, our distillers create much more than spirits. As an $8.6 billion signature industry, Kentucky Bourbon is pouring pride, prosperity and much-needed revenue into state and local economies.
Carrying Our Legacy Forward
KDA Initiatives & Experiences
Guiding The Industry Through Over 140 Years of Growth & Change
As the voice for Kentucky Bourbon in public policy, we’ve been standing with our distillers since before Prohibition. We advocate for Bourbon at state, local and international levels to support the sustainable growth of our industry for generations to come.
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association Team

Eric Gregory


It takes a lot of grit to promote and protect over 200 years of heritage—and there’s no one more passionate, tenacious and spirited than Eric to do it.

As President of the KDA, it’s hard to capture everything Eric brings to the table—but we’ll start with the basics: he’s at the helm of an association that’s redefined the very culture of spirits in the Commonwealth, taking Kentucky Bourbon from “sin” to “signature” industry.

As a veteran communicator and full proof leader to our 140+ year old association, Eric has advocated for bold, historic reforms that have made Kentucky Bourbon the thriving, global economic driver that it is today.

But it’s not just the thousands of jobs, billions in capital investment and unparalleled boost to tourism for Eric—it’s the fact that he gets to wake up and do what he loves working alongside the incredible families, talented workers, Bourbon Barons and Master Distillers who make it happen every day.

Perfect Pour
On the rocks, just as the chill hits the glass.

Bourbon Eats
Kentucky Bourbon paired with chocolate, or his wife’s famous candied bacon with Bourbon.


Colleen Thomas

Senior Director of Marketing & Member Services

From helping the team at Moonshine University develop the Stave & Thief Bourbon Certification Program to cheering on industry friends and colleagues as they cut the ribbon on a brand new distillery, Colleen’s dedication to her work reflects much of what she loves about Kentucky Bourbon itself. A culture built on hard work, the spirit of collaboration and a commitment to doing things right the first time. 

In her position with KDA, Colleen makes sure our members have everything they need to succeed in their business, grow in the industry, overcome obstacles, and in some cases, realize a dream. 

As expressive as she is efficient, Colleen’s sense of humor, practical nature and barrel strength ambition are second to none. 

Perfect Pour: On the rocks with a slice of orange at a U of L basketball home game, or in a tasting line-up during late night board games with Adam and Mandy.

Bourbon Eats: If it’s made with food and/or Bourbon, it’s Colleen’s favorite.


Adam Johnson

Senior Director of Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Experiences

For Adam, it’s all about sharing the wonders, stories and mysteries of Kentucky Bourbon with people from around the world.  Some would say he’s a Bourbon dreamer.

As Senior Director of Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Experiences, he’s seen the industry grow from cult following to global phenomenonbut it hasn’t been overnight. Since 2012, he’s been helping increase visitors, member distilleries and tourism throughout the Commonwealth. With his easy-going, creative and spirit-forward approach, Adam builds relationships as strong as his cocktails—all while ensuring that every Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience is one to remember.

He says the collective knowledge, passion and pride of the industry has made its way into the whiskeyand that’s what keeps people coming back for more. 

Perfect Pour: One rock and he’s good to go.

Bourbon Eats: A tasting fight with food pairings.


Amandalin Ryan

Director of Marketing, KDA and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®

To the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Mandy is Director of Marketing. But to everyone else, she holds another important title: Director of Cocktails. (Seriously. Just ask anyone who’s tried one of her creations.)

When she’s not flexing her mixology skills, she’s inspiring people from around the world to visit our Old Kentucky Home—all in the name of Kentucky Bourbon.

For Mandy, the glass is always half full. Maybe it’s getting to do what she loves with the passionate, hard-working, fun-loving Kentuckians she works with every day. Or maybe it’s just the Bourbon. We’re lucky to have her either way.  

Perfect Pour: With one large rock and someone she loves. 

Bourbon Eats: Ginger molasses cookies to pair, and Derby Day Burgoo to cook. 


Sara Barnes

Director of Industry Responsibility & Sustainability

Meet Sara: She’s sassy, Southern, and like our Bourbon, she’s 100% genuine. She’s also the perfect person to spark meaningful change in our industry as the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s Director of Industry Responsibility & Sustainability.

Sara has worked hard to make a name for herself in Bourbon and looks forward to continuing to move the industry forward to a more sustainable, diverse and inclusive future. 

To Sara, the Bourbon community has always felt like home, and it’s her goal to build an even stronger foundation for generations to come. 

Perfect Pour: Sipping with her husband, alongside their pups, chickens and barn cats, together on their little farm.

Bourbon Eats: Derby pie—Kentucky comfort food at its finest.


Marielle McElmurray

Special Projects Manager

Don’t let the fact that she’s originally from Georgia fool youMarielle is a Kentuckian at heart. With her deep roots in agriculture, love of fast horses and passion for fine Bourbon, our culture is practically in her DNA. 

As Special Projects Manager for the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Marielle brings the unbridled ambition and enthusiasm we need to strengthen our state’s signature industry.

From the farmers who grow the grains to the distillers who transform them—Marielle enjoys building relationships with the people who bring America’s native spirit to life. When she’s not connecting with KDA members and partners, you’ll find Marielle on her couch with her Bourbon and her pup—the coziest pairing. 

Perfect Pour: Never met a Bourbon she didn’t like.

Bourbon Eats: Goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto to go with any Bourbon drink.


Director of Gov’t Affairs Job Opening

Director of Governmental & Regulatory Affairs

*Serious Inquiries Only*

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association, a 141-year-old non-profit organization that unites, promotes, protects and elevates the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry, is accepting applications for a Director of Governmental & Regulatory Affairs.

This critical position will support the KDA, its Board of Directors and member companies in developing, leading and coordinating the industry’s public affairs strategies and initiatives at all levels of government. This position is based in Frankfort, the Capital city of Kentucky.

Learn More

Communications Manager Job Opening

Communications Manager

*Serious Inquiries Only*

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association, a 141-year-old non-profit organization that unites, promotes, protects and elevates the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry, is accepting applications for a Communications Manager.

This critical position will support the KDA in developing, leading and coordinating its internal and external communications needs and strategies.This position is based in Frankfort, the Capital city of Kentucky.

Learn More

Board of Directors

Mark Erwin


Bardstown Bourbon Co.
President & CEO

Kevin Smith


Beam Suntory
VP Kentucky Beam Bourbon Affairs

Chris Morris

2021 Secretary-Treasurer

Master Distiller

Will Arvin


Castle & Key
Owner & Co-Founder

Pauline Rooney

2021 Chair

VP Distillation, Maturation & Engineering

Ryan Ashley


Four Roses Distillery
COO & Director, Distillery Operations

Jacob Call


Green River Distilling Co.
Master Distiller / Director of Operations

Jessica Pendergrass


Heaven Hill Distillery
General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer

Wes Henderson


Louisville Distilling Co.
Co-founder, Chief Innovation Officer

David Bratcher


Lux Row Distillers
President of Branded Spirits

Joseph Magliocco

2021 Vice Chair

Michter’s Distillery

Kaveh Zamanian


Rabbit Hole Distillery
Founder, President & CEO

Larry Krift


Wild Turkey Distillery
Plant Director

Shane Baker


Wilderness Trail Distillery
Co-Founder, President & CEO

Britt Kulsveen


Willett Distillery

Ken Lewis

Proof Level Representative

New Riff Distilling
Co-founder, CEO

Mark Coffman

Proof Level Representative

Town Branch Distillery
Master Distiller

Mark Harris

Proof Level Representative

White Dog Trading Co.
Director of Operations

Kevin Hall

Educational Representative

Moonshine University
Corporate Development

Jeff Wiseman

2021 Chair of Craft Membership

Barrel House Distilling

Gooch House
The KDA Headquarters are located in the historic Gooch House in Frankfort, Ky.

Built in 1895, this house is where the Bourbon ball was invented, and we’re all happy about that.
Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly
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Enjoy like a true Kentuckian: Responsibly.