At their annual meeting in November, the board of directors elected Kentucky Distillers‘ Association Chris Morris as its chairman for the year 2023. He has held this office since January 1, 2023 and until December 2023, and this, after 2010 and 2016, for the third time. Chris MorrisMaster Distiller and Vice President of Whiskey Innovation at Brown-Forman, is a Louisville native with a 46-year career in the Kentucky bourbon industry.
The Board also appointed Jessica Pendergrass, Heaven Hill’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, as Vice Chair; Kaveh Zamanian, founder, whiskey maker and CEO of Rabbit Hole Distillery as Secretary; and Ryan Ashley, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Distillery Operations at Four Roses as Treasurer.
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association was formed in 1880, and its members produce the overwhelming majority of the world’s bourbon. With more than 22,500 jobs and over $1.23 billion in annual payroll, over $285 million in local and state taxes and $1.8 billion in federal liquor taxes, bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most valuable industries. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association also developed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Visitor numbers have increased by more than 300% in the last 10 years. Total attendance in 2021 exceeded 1.5 million visits, just below the pre-COVID record of 1.7 million visits set in 2019. Visitor numbers are expected to remain high, and careful planning of the tour with pre-bookings is advised ( Book Now, Bourbon Later – we reported).