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Kentucky Distillers’ Association names Pauline Rooney as Chairwoman; will serve through December


The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has announced that Pauline Rooney of Diageo North America has been named Chairwoman of the 141-year-old nonprofit trade group that unites, promotes and protects the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Rooney, who is Vice President of Distillation and Maturation for Diageo North America, will serve through December 2021. She was the second woman to ever serve as Chair in 2015. The KDA Board of Directors selected officers during its annual meeting recently.

Pauline Rooney

“It’s a distinguished honor to serve as Chairwoman of the KDA for a second term,” Rooney said. “This past year has sparked initiatives by the KDA that will better secure the sustainability and growth of our homegrown industry and instill a culture of inclusivity and meaningful engagement for the future.

“We’ve experienced a tremendous amount of global growth and success in the years since my first term, and I look forward to working with the KDA Board and our expanding membership to build on this extraordinary momentum.”

The Board also appointed Joseph Magliocco, President of Michter’s Distillery, as Vice Chairman. Chris Morris, Vice President and Master Distiller for Brown-Forman Corp., is the Board’s new Secretary-Treasurer.

Other Board members for 2021 include:

● Four Roses: Ryan Ashley, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Distillery Operations
● Green River Distilling Co.: Jacob Call, Master Distiller and Director of Operations
● Lux Row Distillers: Donn Lux, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
● Louisville Distilling Co.: Wes Henderson, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer
● Bardstown Bourbon Co.: Mark Erwin, President and Chief Executive Officer
● Beam Suntory: Kevin Smith, Vice President, Kentucky Bourbon Affairs
● Heaven Hill Distillers: Jessica Pendergrass, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer
● Rabbit Hole Distillers: Kaveh Zamanian, Founder, Whiskey Maker & CEO
● Willett Distillery: Britt Kulsveen, President
● Wild Turkey: Rick Robinson, Vice President of U.S. Supply Chain at Campari America
● Wilderness Trail Distillery: Shane Baker, Co-Founder & CEO
● Craft Director: Jeff Wiseman, Co-Founder, Barrel House Distilling Co.
● Proof Director: Mark Coffman, Master Distiller, Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority 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 $8.6 billion economic engine that generates more than 20,100 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1 billion million each year.

In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $2.3 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.

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There are now nearly 10 million barrels of Bourbon and other spirits aging in Kentucky warehouses, the highest number in the modern era of American Whiskey. Of that, 9.3 million are just Bourbon, the first time since 1967 that the number of Bourbon barrels topped nine million.

Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 360 percent since the turn of the century, with Kentucky distillers filling 2.1 million barrels in 2019. That was the second year in a row that distillers filled two million barrels – and the first time in the modern era.

KDA President Eric Gregory extolled the work the Board has accomplished, especially faced with the challenges brought on by trade wars and a worldwide pandemic. Gregory noted that the KDA Board now includes 14 Heritage distillers and new full voting seats for Craft and Proof level members.

“We are fortunate to work with such a diverse group of talented visionaries who continue to secure Kentucky as a global leader in the distilled spirits industry,” said Gregory, who is entering his 14th year as KDA President.

“Our venerable Bourbon heritage will thrive for generations to come thanks to the strategic vision of our Board and the hard work of our members. I look forward to working with Chairwoman Rooney this year to continue to promote, protect, and elevate Kentucky’s iconic Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.”

From Kentucky Distillers’ Association


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