Kentucky Distillers' Association - Announces 2018 Chairman and Board of Directors

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has appointed Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer at Maker’s Mark Distillery, as the Chairman of the historic group’s Board of Directors for 2018.

Rob Samuels is the fourth generation of his legendary family to serve as Chairman of the non-profit trade group that unites, promotes, protects and elevates Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Samuels follows in the footsteps of his father, Bill Samuels, Jr., and grandfather, the late T. William Samuels, Sr., both of whom have been bestowed the prestigious title of Lifetime Honorary Members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Board in recognition of their outstanding service and leadership.

Fourth Generation Chairman – Must Be Something in the Bourbon

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The elder Samuels served as Kentucky Distillers’ Association Chairman in 1961, not long after he founded the Maker’s Mark brand in 1953, with Bill Samuels, Jr., leading the group in 1982 and 1983. Rob Samuels said his great-grandfather, Leslie Samuels, also chaired the KDA in the early 1900s before Prohibition.

Rob Samuels will serve as KDA Chairman through December 2018. He is an 8th generation whisky maker and leads the iconic brand’s innovation strategy, offering new products, increasing production and boosting its unique and enduring tourism program.

“I’m excited about this opportunity for a couple of reasons,” Samuels said. “One, this is clearly one of the most dynamic times in the history of our industry, and the KDA is uniquely positioned to provide leadership for the greater good of the entire Commonwealth.”

“And secondly, I’m humbled to be the fourth generation of the Samuels family to chair the KDA. I’m looking forward to carrying on that tradition.”

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Appoints 2018 Board Members

The KDA Board selected officers during its 137th Annual Meeting recently in Lexington. The Board also appointed Rick Robinson, Vice President of U.S. Product Supply Chain for Wild Turkey Distillery as Vice Chairman, and Larry Kass, Director of Trade Relations for Heaven Hill Brands, as Secretary-Treasurer.

Other Board members for 2018 include:

“The entire KDA team is looking forward to an extraordinary year with many opportunities and activities to showcase America’s only native spirit and our Kentucky Bourbon Trail® adventures. We hope everyone enjoys 2018 like a true Kentuckian – responsibly.”

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. There are currently 36 members, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition, and an all-time high of 23 destinations on its popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences.

The KDA’s diverse membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft spirits.

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