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) 43. Travis Barnes and Nick Ladig of Hotel Tango

From a school bus in Indiana to the front lines to a distillery named Hotel Tango, our guests this week took an exciting path to get where they are today. Travis Barnes, Marine Veteran and Founder of Hotel Tango, joins the podcast alongside his childhood friend, Nick Ladig, President of Hotel Tango, as we commemorate Veteran's Day this month. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 42. Alex Alvarez of Brown-Forman

From water to soil to grains, our environment affects every part of the spirits industry. At Brown-Forman, sustainability is key to their longevity. This week on the podcast, we welcome Alex Alvarez, Chief Production and Sustainability Officer at Brown-Forman, to discuss Brown-Forman's ongoing commitment to protect the world and the people and employees who inhabit it. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) Episode 41. Dr. Joy Spence of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum

It's not hard to love your job when you're Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum's Master Blender - and this next guest has been in the rum business for 40 years! This week we have the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Joy Spence, the industry's first female Master Blender. Dr. Spence, or "Auntie Joy " as her Appleton colleagues refer to her, tells us about how her love of science and chemistry landed her at Appleton Estate and her ongoing pursuit of the perfect blend. Listen now!

Spirited Advocate Podcast) 40. Steve Bashore of The Distillery at Mount Vernon

Where America has been, so has American whiskey. Even our Founding Father George Washington ran one of the largest whiskey distilleries in the early years of the nation at Mount Vernon. Steve Bashore, Miller, Distiller and Historian at Mount Vernon Distillery, helps us close out Bourbon Heritage Month to discuss the beginnings of whiskey distilling in America, and its lasting impact on our country. That and more on the Spirited Advocate Podcast, listen now!

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!