KDA Honors Two with Newly-Created Esprit de Corps Awards

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The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced it has awarded Esprit de Corps Awards to KDA Board Chairwoman Jessica Pendergrass of Heaven Hill Distllery and Shane Baker of Wilderness Trail Distillery; the new award honors industry leaders who personify the group’s spirit of camaraderie and integrity, according to a news release.

Baker was honored at the KDA’s 140th Annual Meeting of Members, held virtually. One of the founders of Wilderness Trail in Danville, he received an engraved medal in recognition. Later in the meeting, the board surprised Pendergrass with the award.

Baker specifically was recognized for his role in producing and distributing hand sanitizer during the pandemic, while Pendergrass was recognized for her leadership in 2020.

According to the announcement, a Esprit de Corps Award can be bestowed by the KDA board chair to individuals who have, “by demonstrable and honorable action,” gone above and beyond the call of duty to advance the mission of the KDA and Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry, per KDA President Eric Gregory.

“Throughout our industry’s history, KDA members have risen to meet unforeseen challenges and this year was no different,” Gregory said. “The technical expertise of Shane Baker was instrumental in protecting Kentuckians against COVID-19 and the leadership of Jessica Pendergrass was vital in addressing deep-seated social issues.

“Their vision, dedication and unrelenting efforts have strengthened our venerable Association and our historic, homegrown industry. They symbolize our maxim that we are stronger by working together than standing apart. For that, we are proud to honor them with this new award and offer our utmost and truest thanks.” 

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