The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced that Master Distiller Chris Morris of Brown-Forman has been named Chairman of the 136-year-old group that unites, promotes and protects the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
Morris, an acknowledged authority on Bourbon and Kentucky history who is celebrating his 40th year in the industry, will serve through December 2016. The KDA Board of Directors selected officers during its annual meeting recently at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville.
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“It is especially a treat to serve as KDA Chair in 2016 because we will see more exciting events and programs that emphasize the heritage and great taste of Kentucky Bourbon,” said Morris, who also is Chairman of the prestigious Order of the Writ – Spirit of Kentucky Bourbon Society.
The Board also appointed John Rhea, Chief Operating Officer at Four Roses Distillery, as Vice Chairman and Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer at Beam Suntory/Maker’s Mark, as Secretary-Treasurer.
Other Board members for 2016 include:
- Wild Turkey: Rick Robinson, Vice President of U.S. Product Supply Chain
- Heaven Hill Brands: Larry Kass, Director of Trade Relations
- Diageo North America: Pauline Rooney, Vice President of Distilling, Maturation and Engineering
- Michter’s: Joseph J. Magliocco, President
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. There are currently 28 members, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition, and an all-time high of 19 members in 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 and strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true authentic home for Bourbon.
Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a thriving $3 billion economic engine that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping $700 million and pours $166 million into state and local coffers each year.
KDA President Eric Gregory thanked Morris and the Board for its leadership in transforming the non-profit trade group into a global authority on Kentucky Bourbon. “The past few years have proven that we are stronger when we work together,” he said.
“We are looking forward to numerous opportunities in 2016 that will showcase our timeless craft and build upon its worldwide resurgence,” Gregory said. “The Golden Age of Kentucky Bourbon is just beginning, and we are honored to be part of this historic renaissance.”