The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has announced Jessica Pendergrass, General Counsel for Heaven Hill Brands has been named Chairwoman of the historic group’s Board of Directors for 2020. This marks the third time in the associations 139 year history they have selected a woman to this important leadership position.
Pendergrass is relatively new to be working in the industry although the industry has always been around her as she grew up in Bardstown, Kentucky. Bardstown is also home to the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center. She joined Heaven Hill as the company’s first in-house Corporate Counsel in 2018. In addition to legal and commercial services, she is responsible for the development and implementation of trade and policy strategies for the company.
“When I became an attorney, my dream was to work for a Bourbon company, and I work for the best Bourbon company in the world at Heaven Hill, based in my hometown of Bardstown,” Pendergrass said. “I have an incredible opportunity to lead our industry’s key trade group and make a lasting impact. To continue the legacy held by only two other women is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. I’m honored to further the mission of our organization and help realize the vision of our members.”
Heaven Hill named Pendergrass to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Board in 2019. Her term as Chairwoman began on January 1 and runs through December 31, 2020.
Family owned and operated since 1935, Heaven Hill Brands was founded in Bardstown, by the Shapira family to produce and market Bourbon and premium American Whiskeys, including the second-largest selling Bourbon, Evan Williams.
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Kentucky Distillers’ Association Selects 2020 Board of Directors
In its long history, the Association has been the voice for Bourbon and spirits issues since 1880. There are currently 39 members, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition, and 37 distillery stops on its popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour experiences.
The Board also appointed Pauline Rooney of Diageo North America, as Vice Chair. Rooney was the second woman to ever serve as Chair in 2015. Andrea Wilson, now the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Michter’s Distillery, was the first in 2009.
Joseph Magliocco, President of Michter’s Distillery, is the Board’s new Secretary-Treasurer.
Other Board members for 2020 include:
- Bardstown Bourbon Company – President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Erwin
- Beam Suntory – Vice President, Kentucky Beam Bourbon Affairs Kevin Smith
- Brown-Forman – Old Forester Distillery President Campbell Brown
- Four Roses Distillery – Chief Operating Officer and Director of Distillery Operations Ryan Ashley
- Louisville Distilling Co. – Angel’s Envy Distillery Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Wes Henderson
- Lux Row Distillery – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Donn Lux
- O.Z. Tyler Distillery – Master Distiller and Director of Operations Jacob Call
- Wild Turkey Distillery – Rick Robinson, Vice President, Global Supply Chain
Bourbon’s Economic Impact on the State of Kentucky
Kentucky Bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most historic and treasured industries, a thriving $8.6 billion economic engine that generates more than 20,100 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1 billion and is in the middle of a $2.3 billion building boom.
Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory commended the Board for its visionary leadership and strategic insight, noting the decades of global industry experience brought to the group by its Directors. “We are fortunate to have this team of dedicated individuals to guide our industry,” he said.
“It’s an honor to work with such distinguished professionals who are passionate about advancing the KDA’s mission to promote, protect and elevate our distilled spirits industry and securing Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon.
“We look forward to working with Chairwoman Pendergrass and our Board as we prepare for another dynamic and successful year.”
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