Melissa Rift named as Old Forester brand ambassador/master taster

Melissa Rift

The Louisville native brings significant industry experience to her new role, as well as a passion for the Old Forester brand itself

Kentucky-based distiller Old Forester has announced that Louisville local Melissa Rift has been named its new brand ambassador/master taster. Rift will play an integral role in continuing the revitalization of Old Forester.

“Melissa brings a dynamic personality, a devotion to the bourbon industry and an enthusiasm for the rich heritage of our 152-year-old brand,” said Mark Bacon, senior vice president and managing director of super-premium American whiskey. “We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Brown-Forman family and are excited for her insights to amplify this new chapter in Old Forester’s legacy.” 

This announcement is not only a milestone in her career, but also a dream come true for Rift, who gained a holistic understanding of the growing bourbon industry from her beginnings as a bourbon tour guide. Most recently, she held a leadership role at Beam Suntory and previously served as single barrel program director at Bulleit Distilling Co.

“As the country’s first bottled bourbon, Old Forester has such a history –  but also an opportunity to usher in a new era for the entire industry,” Rift said. “There’s nothing better in the market than Old Forester – and I look forward to introducing more people to this authentic brand.”

Born in Louisville, Rift has an in-depth understanding of the rich culture of Kentucky bourbon and looks forward to sharing it with consumers, bartenders, media – and diverse consumers across the nation. She and her wife, Brittany, live in Louisville with their two dogs and two cats.

“I’m extremely excited to create a more inclusive bourbon industry to reflect the changing face of our beloved consumers and represent the Old Forester legacy so many love,” Rift said.

For more information on Old Forester, please visit

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