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) Episode 33: Jan Westcott of Spirits Canada

Spirits Canada, our neighbor to the north, has dealt with many of the same trials and tribulations as we have state-side over the past year due to the pandemic. CEO and President of Spirits Canada Jan Westcott compares experiences with Christine LoCascio, Chief of Public Policy at DISCUS on this week's episode. The two discuss the evolution of Canadian marketplace in terms of RTDs, Cocktails-to-Go, and other changes to the hospitality industry over the past year. How do our two systems differ and how are they the same? This and more on the Spirited Advocate Podcast.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 32: Eddie Russel’s 40th Anniversary with Wild Turkey

With 40 years of experience under his belt, Eddie Russell knows a thing or two about bourbon, but is still jokingly referred to as the “new guy.” As the son of legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, and the third generation Russell to work at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Russell has an unmatched pedigree in American Whiskey. On this week's episode, Chris and Eddie discuss the evolution of Wild Turkey, his partnership with Matthew McConaughey on Long Branch Bourbon, and what we can expect to see from future generations at Wild Turkey. Don't miss Eddie Russell on the Spirited Advocate Podcast.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 31: Gregg Mineo of NABCA

What is a "control state" and how do the laws relating to distilled spirits in these states differ from other states? New National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Chairman Gregg Mineo shares his insights and how important it is to promote public health and responsibility in this space. With more than 40 years in the industry, Gregg knows a thing or two about distilled spirits. From his time at Seagrams to how we navigate the new normal, he covers it all on this week's Spirited Advocate Podcast. Gregg also serves as director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 30: National Restaurant Association’s Sean Kennedy

This week, we welcome guest host Christine LoCascio, chief of public policy for DISCUS and special guest Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. Sean talks about the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the restaurant industry and how the National Restaurant Association is helping to combat those unforeseen challenges. Christine and Sean also discuss the advantageous partnership between DISCUS and the National Restaurant Association on issues like cocktails to-go and fighting against tariffs. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 29: Sustainability with Marble Distilling

Dynamic duo Connie Baker and Carey Shanks co-founded Marble Distilling Co. with the motto of "Drink Sustainably." Now, the happily married couple is sharing how they live out that motto by reducing their carbon footprint, sourcing locally and creating the same great products without a great big impact on the environment. From the economic benefits of environmentally friendly policies, to getting involved in public policy debates and building an experience for consumers, Connie and Carey bring a lot of fun to these topics and more.

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 28: Dan Leese, Hotaling & Co.

With decades of experience in the industry, Dan Leese, CEO of DISCUS Member company Hotaling & Co. discusses the most pressing issues affecting the spirits industry. How will COVID-19 adaptations like ready-to-drink cocktails, direct-to-consumer shipping and cocktails-to-go evolve as we enter the new normal? And where do the brands in Hotaling's portfolio fit into the equation? All this and more in this week's episode of the Spirited Advocate podcast!