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 25: Brough Brother’s Distillery

Two of the three "Brough Brothers" discuss what it's like to create the first Black-owned bourbon brand in Kentucky, giving back to their community and making their mark in history among other Louisville greats like Muhammad Ali. From making a smooth bourbon loved by all drinkers to dealing with the challenges of starting a business amid a global pandemic, Victor and Chris Yarborough speak to their experiences charting their own path in the distilled spirits industry. All that and more on this episode of the Spirited Advocate Podcast.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 24: Ron Gomes, Painted Stave Distillery

As owner of the only Black-owned distillery in Delaware, Ron Gomes is redefining the spirits industry and making great drinks along the way. His path to craft distiller is unlike any other and his background in science makes for an interesting perspective on how spirits should be made. Gomes speaks to the challenges he’s faced in starting Painted Stave Distillery to remaining viable during the pandemic, noting that part of surviving as a small business is always remaining nimble.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 23: John Ralph, Intrepid Spirits

John Ralph, CEO and founder of Intrepid Spirits, got his start in the spirits industry nearly 20 years ago and has worked in Ireland, China and now the U.S. From reviving old brands to building new ones, John covers his "digital-first" approach during COVID times and what shifts in the market we can expect to see even after the end of the pandemic. From comparing different markets to describing his favorite bar, he and host Chris Swonger dive into all things spirits on this episode.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 22: Wilbur’s Total Beverage

With more than 20 years of experience in the retail industry, Mat Dinsmore, managing partner of Wilbur's Total Beverage in Fort Collins, Colorado, joins the Spirited Advocate podcast to discuss how COVID flipped retail operations upside down, what changes he has seen in consumer habits and how to bring brands to life through cultivating relationships. Dinsmore also speaks to operating as a responsible alcohol retailer in a college town and maintaining those guardrails with his expansion into home delivery.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 21: The Spirits Network

Nick Buzzell, CEO and founder of Spirits Network, discusses how he came up with the idea for a shoppable entertainment platform specifically related to distilled spirits. With original series, mini-documentaries, and cocktail how-to videos, Spirits Network has a broad range of content for spirits enthusiasts and novices alike. The platform is expanding the world of spirits into the homes of consumers and helping brands reach more people. All that and more on this week's Spirited Advocate Podcast.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 20: Ann Mukherjee with Pernod Ricard

CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, Ann Mukherjee, joins the Spirited Advocate Podcast to discuss the many ventures the company is undertaking and how her leadership style is changing the game. From focusing on “Return on Responsibility” in addition to “Return on Investment,” to her personal drive to uphold high standards in the spirits industry, Mukherjee holds nothing back. She also covers finding better balance on the diversity front, Black Lives Matter and how cocktails can offer connection despite physical distancing.