The Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its members are deeply saddened over the loss of Black lives like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others, including Breonna Taylor who died in our own backyard.
These recent deaths, and the ongoing protests for justice and equality, have led us to look inward and start asking the tough but necessary questions about what actions we must take to expand diversity and inclusion within Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
We know we must do better.
There are too few diverse voices in our industry, so we are working to gain a better understanding of how we can create real change and take measurable action. We are still working to define these actions, but as the lead trade association for our industry, this is where we commit to begin:
- Create and fund diversity scholarships and internships in distilling for people of color, women, and other minority groups to build a workforce more reflective of our country’s population and culture.
- Establish an Advisory Panel with partners outside our industry to work directly with the KDA Board of Directors on developing diversity programs and initiatives.
- Continue to offer more diversity and inclusion training opportunities to educate our members on how to best counter implicit bias and build cultures of inclusion to sustain diverse change.
To contribute in an immediate and tangible way, KDA donated to a Black-owned distillery that was severely damaged during the riots in Minneapolis, and we are auctioning special bottles to raise money for the Breonna Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Louisville.
We stand with our communities in working toward sustainable, systemic reforms required to heal and correct long-standing racial injustice, inequality, and the subversion of human rights.
To live our values, we know we must work to cultivate a culture of diversity, inclusivity, meaningful engagement, and collaboration.
We are committed to these initiatives and doing more to create long-term, permanent, and historic change in the Kentucky Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
We have a lot of work to do – but we can and will do more to lead our industry, starting now.