Promoting & Protecting
We passionately and responsibly promote, protect and elevate Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry.
We are globally recognized as the most effective and respected voice of Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry.
We unite and lead Kentucky’s Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry.
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.
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.
On the rocks, just as the chill hits the glass.
Kentucky Bourbon paired with chocolate, or his wife’s famous candied bacon with Bourbon.
Vice President of Operations
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.
Vice President of State Relations
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 Vice President of State Relations, he’s seen the industry grow from cult following to global phenomenon—but it hasn’t been overnight. Since 2012, he’s been helping increase visitors and tourism throughout the Commonwealth as the Senior Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experiences. With his easy-going, creative and spirit-forward approach, Adam now helps build relationships as strong as his cocktails with his outreach to other spirits guilds and distilling organizations in his new role as Vice President of State Relations.
He says the collective knowledge, passion and pride of the industry has made its way into the whiskey—and that passion motivates him to help that industry grow far and wide.
Perfect Pour: One rock and he’s good to go.
Bourbon Eats: A tasting fight with food pairings.
Director of Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Experiences
To the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Mandy is Director. 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.
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.
Director of Governmental & Regulatory Affairs
With his extensive background in economic development, it’s only natural that Jack now leads government and regulatory affairs for Kentucky’s $9 billion signature industry. Sure, Jack’s experience in reporting, public relations and strengthening local economies doesn’t hurt. But it’s his passion for people, prosperity–and you guessed it, Bourbon–that stands out to us the most.
For years, Jack’s been building relationships with elected officials with a deep understanding that Kentucky Bourbon is more than just a drink. In fact, his dedication to helping create jobs, drive tourism, increase investments and grow Kentucky’s Bourbon industry is so strong, you’d never know he’s originally from upstate New York (Don’t worry, Jack–your secret is safe with us.).
Jack says he’s energized by the team at the KDA, but we’re just trying to keep up with him.
Perfect Pour: Neat, after chores.
Bourbon Eats: Paired with rich, smoky local BBQ.
Director of Member Services
Is the glass half full, or half empty? For Annie, it doesn’t really matter as long as there’s Bourbon in it. As the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s (KDA) first-ever Director of Member Services, Annie brings the energy, work ethic and experience our members need to strengthen their position as industry leaders. Prior to joining KDA, Annie gained experience working with dozens of distilleries on expansion projects that created hundreds of jobs and drove millions in capital investment.
Annie says it’s no coincidence that Kentucky is the one, true authentic home of Bourbon–and obviously, we agree. But beyond our ideal landscape, that pure limestone water and those unpredictable seasons, it’s the people behind the Bourbon–like Annie–who make our industry so unique.
When asked, “Why do you love what you do?” Annie’s response was just what we needed: “I love Bourbon and I love Kentucky.” And for us, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Perfect Pour: Bourbon eggnog, all year round.
Bourbon Eats: Paired with candied bacon or dark chocolate.
Director of Special Projects
Allison would rather be someone’s sip of Bourbon than everyone’s cup of tea–and that’s just fine by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA). Joining us from Minnick Media, Allison brings over 20 years of hospitality, event planning, marketing and fundraising experience to the team. While Allison has worked with some of the industry’s very best (Did someone say Fred Minnick?) it’s her drive, caring nature and dedication that drew us in.
As Director of Special Projects, Allison ensures that KDA member meetings, events and experiences are all run as smooth as Kentucky Bourbon. Okay, maybe not that smooth–but she does handle logistics, communication and project management like a pro. Also an avid marketer, fundraiser and supporter of the industry, Allison is vital to key initiatives like KDA’s Bourbon Trail® PAC and the Lifting Spirits Foundation.
With a true passion for Bourbon and the drive to succeed, Allison’s career has been filled with rewarding moments–but there’s one that stands out the most. As part of the team that assembled the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit Auction in 2021, Allison helped shape an effort that raised $3.4 million for Western Kentucky families and businesses that were impacted by a devastating tornado.
Perfect Pour: Shared with good friends and loved ones.
Bourbon Eats: Cinnamon Apple Bourbon Hand Pie, or Bourbon Brown Sugar Maple Bacon.
Operations Manager & Executive Assistant
Don’t let the fact that she’s originally from Georgia fool you—Marielle 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 Operations 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.
Bardstown Bourbon Co.
Immediate Past Chair
VP Kentucky Beam Bourbon Affairs
Government Relations & Sustainability Director
Castle & Key
Owner & Co-Founder
Four Roses Distillery
COO & Director, Distillery Operations
Heaven Hill Distillery
General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer
Louisville Distilling Co.
Lux Row Distillers
VP of Human Resources
COO & Master of Maturation
Rabbit Hole Distillery
Founder, President & CEO
Proof Level Representative
New Riff Distilling
Proof Level Representative
Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.
Proof Level Representative
White Dog Trading & Storage
Chair of Craft Membership
The Old Pogue Distillery
Built in 1895, this house is where the Bourbon ball was invented, and we’re all happy about that.