Trail News

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association Selects Lewis For Brand Refresh Of Its Legendary Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Program

By:Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Posted: June 6, 2023

By:Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Posted: June 6, 2023

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced its selection of Lewis to refresh its Kentucky Bourbon Trail® branding assets ahead of the world-famous tourism attraction’s 25-year anniversary next year.

Founded in 1951, Lewis is a full-service marketing agency that delivers business growth at pivotal times for organizations in categories from healthcare to beverage marketing to education, based on insights from their own proprietary business intelligence and data science, to deliver provable results with measurable return on investment.

Lewis is located in Nashville, Tenn. and has 100 total employees working across three offices including Birmingham, Ala. and Mobile, Ala. Creative work from Lewis has won hundreds of local, regional and national awards, and the agency has been internationally recognized with feature stories in Communication Arts, Graphis, and Novum. Graphis ranked Lewis as one of the top 15 advertising agencies worldwide for its creative product.

Mandy Ryan, the KDA’s Director of Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Experiences, said the historic non-profit trade group received dozens of proposals from around the world to refresh the hallmark tourism program that the KDA founded in 1999.

“It was impressive to see the breadth of talent and incredible enthusiasm this project evoked from so many great agencies,” she said. “ Within that accomplished field, Lewis’ proposal immediately caught our attention.”

Ryan said the selection committee also was swayed by the Lewis team’s personable and passionate approach. “Their work is modern and engaging, and their excitement about this project put them over the top.

“We believe the expertise Lewis brings will provide the perfect approach to shepherd us into the KBT®’s next era.”

The last branding project took place in 2009 when only eight distilleries participated in the KBT® program. That number is now 42 distilleries, including 24 on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®, created in 2012 as the first tour in the country to showcase smaller distilleries.

“It’s been incredible to witness how much KBT® has grown and evolved in the last 13 years,” Ryan said. “As we near the KBT’s 25th anniversary, we needed a refreshed look, feel and voice reflecting today’s Kentucky Bourbon culture and its affluent, diverse demographic.”

Additionally, Lewis and the KDA are exploring new digital tools to help tourists plan and guide their way across the birthplace of Bourbon. “In 2009, smart phones had just reached the market and there wasn’t much demand for digital assets,” Ryan said.

“Now people rely on their phones to plan their trips and navigate the Commonwealth’s scenic byways. Our new image must uphold our rich distilling legacy but help move tourism resources into the modern age, reflecting and welcoming the contemporary Bourbon consumer.”

Katie Peninger, VP Account Service at Lewis, said, “We were already thrilled about the opportunity to work on something as legendary as the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, but the minute we met them in person, there was an instant connection that just felt comfortable. We knew they were our people.”

Peninger said the agency’s work would build upon their previous brand experience with successful beverage companies as well as Lewis’ considerable tourism, economic development and placemaking experience. “It’s the perfect combination of needs for an agency like ours.”

About Lewis

Lewis is a full-service marketing agency that delivers business growth at pivotal moments for companies. With more than 100 employees at offices in Nashville, Tenn., Birmingham, Ala., and Mobile, Ala., Lewis develops internationally-acclaimed branding and creative advertising campaigns, based on our own business intelligence and data science, to deliver provable results with measurable ROI. Learn more at

About The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® are among the region’s most popular tourism attractions, with total attendance exceeding 2 million visits each year.

Guests come from all 50 states and around the world, with more than 70 percent from outside Kentucky.

The KBT® has advanced Kentucky’s hospitality industry through Bourbon-themed restaurants, hotels, tour companies and more. And, the KDA has led the way in modernizing Kentucky’s archaic alcohol laws to help distilleries reach a Napa Valley level of amenities and attractions.

Bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most treasured industries, a booming $9 billion economic and tourism powerhouse sustaining more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1.23 billion each year.

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 soared more than 475% since the turn of the century.

Kentucky now boasts more than 11.4 million barrels of Bourbon aging in warehouses across the Bluegrass, the most in its revered distilling history. Distillers filled more than 2.6 million barrels last year alone, the fourth year in a row that production topped the 2 million mark.

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For more information, contact Mandy Ryan at

Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the legendary voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from historic, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s landmark economic engine and its thriving, timeless craft. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. A 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, the KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at and 


Please Enjoy Bourbon like a true Kentuckian – Responsibly