Kentucky Distillers’ Association Gives Esprit de Corps Award to Longtime Lobbyist


November 15, 2021

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced that Chris Nolan of MML&K Government Solutions is the recipient of this year’s award honoring industry leaders who personify the association’s spirit of camaraderie and integrity. 

The esteemed 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 spirits industry, KDA President Eric Gregory said in a news release. 

KDA Board Chairwoman Pauline Rooney conferred the award to Nolan last week at the KDA’s annual State Dinner at Bardstown Bourbon Company. Nolan, who has lobbied for the KDA for 12 years, received an engraved medal in recognition of his exceptional service. 

MML&K Government Solutions, founded by the late W. Terry McBrayer, is a bipartisan government relations firm with decades of government relations and lobbying experience located in Frankfort, the Capital City of Kentucky. 

Nolan, 53, of Louisville, utilizes his 21 years of lobbying experience to help lead MML&K’s diverse team of seven government affairs professionals representing dozens of clients in both business and politics.

“This prestigious award recognizes the passion and commitment Chris has demonstrated over a number of years to the KDA and our industry,” Rooney said. “It is also an acknowledgement of the tenacity and dedication he displayed this year to keep the pace on our challenging legislative agenda in the ongoing Covid-19 environment. The resulting achievements that continue to advance positive change in our policies and laws speak to Chris’s resilience and spirit of collaboration.

Gregory added, “Chris’s keen leadership paved the way for the passing of landmark legislation that has made Kentucky a model for spirits shipping and further modernized the state’s Prohibition-era laws and policies, which are longtime barriers to growth for Kentucky distillers. Accomplishments such as these take an extraordinary commitment of time, the ability to inspire collaboration and unwavering perseverance in the face of adversity. Chris is in the trenches every day, guiding our efforts even during a global pandemic. This is a well-deserved honor.”

The Board’s Resolution saluted Nolan for spending “countless hours tirelessly promoting and protecting the KDA’s legislative agenda across our beloved Commonwealth, including many long nights and weekends during the annual sessions of the General Assembly. 

“It was a surprise and humbling honor to be recognized for such a prestigious award,” Nolan said. “As a native Kentuckian, Bourbon runs in my blood and I have a true passion for Kentucky’s signature industry. We’ve accomplished so much over the last decade, but there is much more to do and I look forward to seeing how we can shape this next wave of Bourbon growth in Kentucky.”