Frankfort, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that Colleen Thomas is the new Bourbon Ambassador of the 136-year-old trade group that unites, promotes, protects and elevates the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
Thomas will oversee and execute events and special projects for the non-profit association to further enhance the industry’s rich heritage, to strengthen its community relations and to encourage the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits.
Thomas previously served as Marketing Director for Louisville-based Flavorman and its sister company, the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, where she promoted and coordinated professional training for the distilling industry and provided support for faculty, participants and graduates.
In 2014, she developed the Stave & Thief Society, the first Bourbon certification program recognized by the KDA and its iconic member companies. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville and is a certified Executive Bourbon Steward and TiPS Trainer.
“Colleen and the entire DSE organization are doing outstanding work to raise awareness and education of our legendary craft,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “She’s a perfect fit for this role and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Thomas will be based out of the KDA’s Louisville office starting March 14. Her e-mail address is [email protected].
“I am genuinely excited to join this team of tremendously dedicated individuals and to have the opportunity to further support and promote Kentucky’s distinguished Bourbon culture,” Thomas said.
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues.
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.
The KDA announced last year that the state’s inventory of aging Bourbon barrels set a
40-year high in 2014 with 5,669,682 million charred oak casks gently sleeping in Bluegrass warehouses. Barrel inventories for 2015 will be released later this spring.
Bourbon production has soared more than 170 percent since the turn of the century, with only 485,020 barrels filled in 1999. Distilleries crafted 1,306,375 barrels in 2014 – the highest production mark since 1970 and the third straight year with a million barrels born.
The KDA recently announced that its world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures set an all-time attendance mark in 2015 with nearly 900,000 guests touring the record 19 participating distilleries.
Gregory said, “The Golden Age of Kentucky Bourbon is just beginning, and we are honored to be part of this historic renaissance. We are proud to continue the momentum this year and encourage all fans of Kentucky Bourbon to drink responsibly and in moderation.”