Spirited Advocate Podcast

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About the Show

The Spirited Advocate Podcast brings together leaders in the distilled spirits industry to discuss pressing issues of the day. The spirits industry is comprised of so much more than alcohol producers– its farmers, manufacturers, distillers and more here in the U.S. and around the globe. Host Chris Swonger and his guests explore it all while enjoying their favorite cocktail or distilled spirit.

Interested in being a guest on the show? Email us at [email protected].

About the Host

With over 25 years of experience in the public and private sector, representing elected officials and three diverse, global consumer goods companies, Chris Swonger has led integrated corporate affairs strategies with responsibility for public affairs, international government affairs, corporate reputation management, corporate communications, brand public relations, philanthropy, social responsibility policy and programming with distinction.

Chris serves as the President & CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and Responsibility.org. DISCUS is the leading voice for distilled spirits in the U.S. market and serves as the industry’s advocate in state capitals, the nation’s capital and foreign capitals around the globe. Funded by leading distillers, Responsibility.org leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 14: How LibDib is Revolutionizing the Spirits Marketplace

Ever heard of product distribution without trucks, warehouses or salespeople? That's exactly what LibDib Founder and CEO Cheryl Murphy Durzy has created by using innovation (and the internet) to connect suppliers with retailers and get more brands in front of more consumers. She joins the Spirited Advocate Podcast along with Republic National Distributing Company's CEO Tom Cole to talk about their partnership and how it is revolutionizing the spirits marketplace all within the three-tier system.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 13: WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie

Host of his own podcast, The WhiskyCast, Mark Gillespie joins the Spirited Advocate Podcast to talk about his experiences diving into the world of whiskey, some of his favorite (and most interesting) interviews over the last 15 years and what's on the horizon for the spirits industry post-COVID. WhiskyCast has a worldwide online community with listeners in more than 180 countries.

Spirited Advocate Podcast: Episode 12) Data-Driven Decision Making in the Spirits Industry

IWSR’s COO, Brandy Rand, has nearly two decades of experience in the spirits industry and joins host Chris Swonger to talk about how data should drive decision making. From building a brand online to the impacts of cannabis on the spirits industry – Rand eloquently depicts the evolving marketplace and gives insights into the future of spirits.

Spirited Advocate Podcast: Episode 11) Agave Loco’s Tom Maas on 3 Decades in the Industry

From Al Capone’s influence on the spirits industry to cosmopolitans in Sex and the City, Tom Maas, CEO of Agave Loco, shares what he’s learned over more than three decades in the distilled spirits industry. A self-proclaimed “bullish” entrepreneur, Maas dives into what it was like working for big names like Jim Beam and Jack Daniels and then going out on his own to start Agave Loco and RumChata.

Spirited Advocate Podcast: Episode 10) Breakthru Beverage with Danny Wirtz

Vice Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group Danny Wirtz joins the Spirited Advocate Podcast to bring a wholesaler's perspective. He discusses how the spirits industry must maintain responsibility as the market evolves, his family-owned and operated business and his new role as the chairman of WSWA.

Spirited Advocate Podcast: Episode 9) A Toast to Diageo’s Deirdre Mahlan

In one of her last interviews as president of Diageo North America, Deirdre Mahlan reflects on how the spirits industry has changed over the years and looks forward to all the great things to come. From trends in the marketplace to Deirdre's accomplishments and their favorite drinks, host Chris Swonger covers it all while toasting to a new chapter after Deirdre's retirement. (Note: Deirdre Mahlan officially retired on June 30, 2020.)