A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Wild Turkey provides $20,000 donation to fund Lifting Spirits Foundation minority-focused scholarships

The Wild Turkey Distilling Co. and Russell’s Reserve Bourbon have announced a donation of $20,000 to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s Lifting Spirits Foundation, a program aimed at increasing diversity in distilled spirits through scholarships and externships. The donation will cover credits for students attending Bourbon-related certification courses at the University of Louisville, the...

Brough Brother’s Distillery becomes 42nd member, first African-American owned distillery to join KDA

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association on Monday announced that Brough Brothers Distillery in Louisville as the newest and 42nd member of the non-profit trade group.. Brough Brothers Distillery is the first and only African American-owned, licensed and operating distillery in the state of Kentucky. It was founded by Victor, Bryson and Christian Yarbrough, three brothers who were born and raised in...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association cancels annual Bourbon Affair for second year due to pandemic

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association on Thursday announced the cancelation of its annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair fantasy camp for a second consecutive year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “While we are encouraged with vaccinations and declining cases, it would be difficult to hold such intimate, elegant events that attract people from all over the world,” KDA President Eric Gregory said....

Bourbon Conference panel to explore diversity, equity and inclusion in the spirits industry

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky As chairwoman of the board for the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Jessica Pendergrass said 2020 was a year that required action and change, not just words, when it came to diversity, equity and inclusion. She is only the third woman chair of the board in its 140 years. Pendergrass will co-chair a panel discussion March 12 during the James B. Beam Institute...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association celebrate passage of 3 bills, championed by Rep. Koenig, Sen. Schickel

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association celebrated the final passage of three KDA priority measures, including House Bill 415, the update to last year’s historic direct-to-consumer alcohol shipping law that has become a model for the country. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, HB 415 passed the Senate last week by a bipartisan vote of 29-5 and heads to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk for consideration....

Kentucky bourbon exports decline by 35 percent in 2020 as tariff’s result in unrelated trade disputes

Tariffs imposed on U.S. spirits as a result of unrelated trade disputes slashed exports of Kentucky Bourbon by 35% in 2020, with shipments to the European Union tumbling by nearly 50%, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced Tuesday. The situation could deteriorate further in June when the EU expects to double tariffs on American Whiskey to 50%, KDA President Eric Gregory said. The EU had...

Kentucky Distillers see Bourbon Trail attendance drop during pandemic, seek legislative remedies

For the first time in its 21-year history, total attendance at Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries fell sharply in 2020 amidst the global pandemic that has pummeled the state tourism and hospitality industries, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced. Visitors took a total of 587,307 tours at Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® distilleries last year, compared...

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...

KDA welcomes industry veteran Sara Barnes as Director of Industry Responsibility and Sustainability

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association on Tuesday announced that industry veteran Sara Barnes has joined the nonprofit trade group as Director of Industry Responsibility and Sustainability. Barnes comes to the KDA from the Bourbon Women Association where she spent two years as Managing Director. She previously served for four years at Boone County Distilling Co. as Marketing and Events Coordinator...

Kentucky now boasts nearly 10 million aging barrels of Bourbon and distilled spirits, fuels state economy

Kentucky Bourbon continues to fuel the Commonwealth’s economy with nearly 10 million barrels of Bourbon and other distilled spirits aging in warehouses across the state, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced. The barrel inventory for 2020 broke several state records, the KDA said, including:   • Total barrels of Bourbon and other spirits: 9,864,197 • Total barrels of just Bourbon:...

UofL College of Business, KDA partner to increase diversity in Kentucky bourbon industry

The University of Louisville College of Business and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) have established the Kentucky Distillers’ Association/University of Louisville Scholars Program to increase diversity in the commonwealth’s signature bourbon industry. The partnership will award five full-tuition scholarships for UofL’s Distilled Spirits Business Certificate, with preference...

KDA establishes annual scholars fund with UK distillation, wine and brewing studies program

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The Kentucky Distillers’ Association is establishing a scholars program to fund scholarships aimed at increasing diversity in the distilled spirits industry. The KDA UK Scholars Program Fund will annually support full tuition for up to four students in the University of Kentucky’s distillation, wine and brewing studies program. “As there are too few diverse...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association honors five legislators with ‘100 Proof Award’ for leadership

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association is honoring five state lawmakers with its prestigious “100 Proof Award” for their bold leadership in championing landmark legislation in the 2020 session that elevates Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. The five legislators are, in alphabetical order: • Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, Chairman of the House Licensing, Occupations...

Bourbon Women, KDA celebrate groundbreaking industry champion Christy Trout Van Tatenhove

Christy Trout Van Tatenhove, Special Counsel to Kentucky’s Speaker of the House, received the seventh annual “Lois Mateus Networking Award” last week in honor of her distinguished contributions to Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and spirits industry. Prior to her current role, Van Tatenhove served as the first woman Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, where she...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association cancels Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame ceremony due to pandemic

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced Friday that its Board of Directors has unanimously decided to cancel this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame induction and ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the KDA in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in 2001, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and organizations that have made a significant and...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to provide sanitizer to businesses

As Gov. Andy Beshear outlined the plan for Phase 1 of reopening Kentucky’s economy on Wednesday, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce are partnering to help businesses make sure they have the hand sanitizer needed to protect Kentuckians as they reopen. In the last few weeks, members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association have produced and donated more than 125,000...

Kentucky Bourbon Affair fantasy camp canceled due to pandemic; event to resume in 2021

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced that it has canceled its annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair fantasy camp in 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, but plans to resume the event in September 2021. The prestigious seventh annual event was scheduled for September 21–26. Ticket sales were set to open last week for more than 30 rare, one-of-a-kind experiences at 22 participating KDA distilleries,...

Kentucky distilleries donate nearly 125,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to frontline coronavirus organizations

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has announced that member distilleries have produced and donated nearly 125,000 gallons of desperately needed hand sanitizer across the Commonwealth to frontline workers, hospitals and healthcare facilities. In the last few weeks, KDA distillers – from the largest to the smallest – retooled their facilities, sourced necessary supplies, battled regulatory and...

Kentucky Bourbon Trail destinations enjoy record-breaking 2019 with nearly two million visits

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has announced that the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour destinations welcomed nearly two million visits in 2019. What started as a handful of distillery stops and a few hundred visitors two decades ago has exploded into a globally recognized, bucket-list journey for visitors from all over the world who want to experience Kentucky’s...

Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville joins Bourbon Trail, becomes 18th stop on world-famous tour

Wilderness Trail, one of the founding distillery destinations on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, has advanced to join the Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure, becoming the 18th stop on the world-famous journey that showcases America’s only native spirit. Launched in 2012 as a premium craft distillery in Danville, Wilderness Trail has expanded its production and grown its distinctive visitor experience...