When I heard that Sazerac had withdrawn from the KDA, I sent a note to Sazerac spokesperson Angela Traver asking why. Here is her reply:
"After being a member of the KDA for a long period of time, we elected to evaluate that membership and decided that it is in the best interests of all our distilleries to chart a course independently of the KDA. Tours at Buffalo Trace and Tom Moore will continue. We have even added some new and fun stuff to our Trace Tour—a Cooperage Display provided by Independent Stave and a trip into Warehouse D, which has a few surprises. We also will be opening some riverfront hiking trail and the Firehouse Café this spring. Lots of good stuff!"
That may be all the explanation we are going to get for now. I won't speculate, but it's worth noting that the primary work of the KDA isn't tourism promotion, it's lobbying the Kentucky legislature and other parts of state government. Buffalo Trace is the only distillery in Frankfort, the state capital. There clearly is some kind of disagreement at work here, although no one so far is saying what it is.