Spirited Advocate Podcast


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) 39. Bill Samuels Jr. of Maker’s Mark Bourbon

It’s only appropriate that a bourbon behemoth would join our podcast to kick off National Bourbon Heritage Month in celebration of America’s native spirit. Few rival Bill Samuels Jr., former CEO and current Chairman Emeritus of Maker's Mark Bourbon, in life experience and industry knowledge. From growing up in Bardstown, KY next-door to other American whiskey legends, to his short-lived career as a rocket scientist, to continuing his parents' legacy at Maker's Mark, Bill is bursting with stories -- and he's not too shy to share them. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 38. Debra Crew of Diageo North America

Embarking on a new career is always demanding, but starting a role as the president of one of the largest spirits companies in the world…and during a pandemic? Now, that’s another story. Debra Crew, President of Diageo North America, joins the podcast this week and discusses her year at the helm of Diageo North America, her strategic goals and what’s in store for the future. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 37. Ivy Mix of Leyenda in Brooklyn, NY

In this episode, Chris is joined by the multi-talented Ivy Mix, co-owner and head bartender of Leyenda in Brooklyn, NY. Recognized as one of the best bartenders in the country, Ivy’s impact on our industry goes well beyond the bar as the co-founder of Speed Rack and advisory board member of Independent Restaurant Coalition. Chris and Ivy tackle some of the most relevant issues facing the hospitality industry today and emphasize the importance of being politically active on issues that matter to you and your business. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 36. Joshua Hammond of Buster’s Liquors

On this week’s episode, Joshua Hammond of Buster’s Liquors & Wines joins the show to provide a retailer perspective on some of the biggest issues facing the spirits industry today. This Memphis-based, family-run retailer offers insights on consumer trends and the benefits of the three-tier-system, all while emphasizing the importance of responsibility. Joshua is a perfect example of how leading with responsibility is not only the right thing to do but is also a great business decision. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 35: Doug Hall of Brain Brew Custom Whiskey

“Why be normal?” Asks this week’s Spirited Advocate podcast guest Doug Hall of Brain Brew Custom Whiskey and Eureka! Ranch. Researcher, engineer, innovator, whiskey blender and much more, Doug regales us on how he moved from chemical engineering to the world of whiskey, bridging the pre-prohibition history of distilling in Cincinnati, OH with modern day innovation. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 34: Meredith Meyer Grelli of Wigle Whiskey

This week’s guest joins us from a distillery 300 years in the making. On this edu-taining episode, Meredith Meyer Grelli, co-owner of Wigle Whiskey and co-founder of the Whiskey Rebellion Trail, gives listeners a fascinating lesson on the history of American Whiskey. From a brawl with a tax collector to a pardon from George Washington himself, Philip Wigle, Wigle Whiskey’s namesake, embodies the resilient spirit and history of American Whiskey. Listen now!