KDA Announces Multiple Staff Promotions


July 18, 2022

KDA Staff

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) announced several staff promotions it hopes will further position the non-profit trade group as the leading voice for Bourbon in the state.

“With more members than ever before, the KDA continues to expand and position its staff to lead our signature industry into the future, address core issues and challenges, and increase value to our distilleries and partners,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. 

“We are fortunate and thankful to have a visionary Board of Directors and growing membership that works together and invests in the association as the industry flourishes,” Gregory said. “That spirit of camaraderie and collaboration is at the hallmark of everything we do.” 

Staff changes include: 

– Adam Johnson, 47, is the KDA’s first-ever Vice President of State Relations. He has led the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail experiences since 2012. In his new role, Johnson will cultivate and strengthen the KDA’s relationships with other state distilling guilds and national groups like DISCUS, the American Craft Spirits Association, and similar organizations. 

– Colleen Thomas, 47, is the KDA’s first-ever Vice President of Operations. She has been with the KDA since 2016 in a variety of roles, most recently as Senior Director of Marketing and Member Services. Thomas will now oversee KDA member services and support, responsibility and sustainability programs, research, workforce development, marketing, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tourism program. 

– Mandy Ryan, 33, will oversee KDA’s tourism initiatives as the Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences. She joined the KDA full-time in 2013 as Executive Assistant and has spent the last two years leading promotional efforts as Director of Marketing, successfully growing the organization’s online presence and building the new Kentucky Bourbon campaign. 

– Marielle McElmurray, 29, has been named Operations Manager and Executive Assistant. She joined the KDA as Special Projects Manager in 2021. She will continue to assist KDA staff in several areas, including governmental affairs, research and agricultural policy, while coordinating daily KDA operations at its headquarters in Frankfort. McElmurry also is Assistant Secretary-Treasurer to the KDA Board of Directors. 

Other KDA staff include Sara Barnes, Director of Industry Responsibility & Sustainability; Jack Mazurak, Director of Governmental & Regulatory Affairs; Annie Franklin, Director of Member Services; and Allison Delande, Director of Special Projects. 

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of America’s only native spirit.

Visit www.kybourbon.com and www.kybourbontrail.com to learn more.