Kentucky Distillers’ Association Welcomes Winchester native as Director of Member Services

Published 12:03 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

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FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that Annie Franklin has joined the historic non-profit trade group as its first-ever Director of Member Services.

Franklin, 29, a native of Winchester, comes to the KDA from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, where she specialized in the recruitment, retention and growth of food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

Franklin worked directly with dozens of distilleries and expansion projects, leading to more than $500 million in capital investment costs and creating over 340 jobs in Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.

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t the KDA, Franklin will lead and coordinate membership activities, needs, communications and recruitment for the organization’s growing family of more than 50 of Kentucky’s finest distillers.

“Annie’s experience and personal approach in working with new and existing companies made her the perfect fit for this new position,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “It’s an added benefit that our members already know and trust her from her years at the Cabinet.  As we expand our signature industry and attract more distillers to Kentucky, Annie’s acute understanding of business recruiting and the steps needed to grow existing facilities is a key asset to the KDA and the Commonwealth as a whole. We are thrilled to welcome her to our team.”

Franklin received her Bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University. She also has a background in sales and hospitality, and previously worked at Walt Disney World in Florida and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Franklin said she is honored to join the KDA and looks forward to working with its members and growing the association.

“At the Cabinet, I witnessed first-hand the substantial growth and momentum of Kentucky’s Bourbon industry and understand its needs and challenges,” she said. “Every person I meet who works at a distillery is passionate and dedicated to ensuring that the industry’s future remains bright. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work in an industry that touches every corner of our state and I look forward to helping foster its continued success.”

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.
Bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most treasured industries, a thriving $9 billion economic and tourism engine that generates more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1.2 billion each year, over $285 million in local and state taxes and $1.8 billion in federal alcohol taxes.

A key export, the iconic industry is currently in the middle of a $5.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism experiences to expanded production facilities, bottling centers and aging warehouses, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.
Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 435% since the turn of the century.

Kentucky now boasts more than 10.3 million barrels of Bourbon aging in warehouses across the Bluegrass, the most in its revered distilling history. Distillers filled more than 2.4 million barrels in 2020 alone, the third year in a row that production topped the two million mark.

Attendance at the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences continue their rapid rebound from COVID and closures, up 160% in total attendance from last year and just down slightly from the pre-pandemic record in 2019.

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