The Bardstown Bourbon Company Announces the Appointment of Mark W. Erwin to Its Board of Directors

The Largest New Distillery in America Adds Accomplished Retired Military and Commercial Leader to its Team

The Bardstown Bourbon Company, the largest new distillery in America, announced today the appointment of Colonel (Ret.) Mark W. Erwin to its Board of Directors. (Photo: Business Wire)

BARDSTOWN, Ky.--()--The Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo), the largest new distillery in America, announced today the appointment of Colonel (Ret.) Mark W. Erwin to its Board of Directors. Mr. Erwin is the President of Karakoram Group, an independent risk advisory firm, and previously served 25 years in the U.S. Army.

“We are honored to have Colonel Mark Erwin join the Bardstown Bourbon Company Board,” said Peter Loftin, Chairman of BBCo. “Mark is an outstanding and highly accomplished business and military leader. His decades of leadership in the United States Army’s Special Operations Command, followed by his successful commercial career with both public and private companies, bring a huge amount of experience to our team and our company as we continue to grow rapidly. We will benefit greatly from his leadership, judgment, and guidance.”

Mr. Erwin currently serves as President of the Karakoram Group, an international risk advisory firm, which provides strategic consulting to Fortune 500 companies. He previously served as an Independent Board Director of Heritage Oil Plc, an independent upstream exploration and production company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Erwin served for 25 years in the United States Army, culminating his career as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army Special Operations Command, which oversees all Special Forces Operations of the U.S. Army, where he oversaw a budget in excess of $1.5 billion and coordinated a headquarters staff of more than 1,000 employees. He commanded at every level of the United States Army’s most elite Special Mission Unit from Captain to Colonel and was deployed numerous times to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.

Mr. Erwin’s appointment expands the BBCo Board to five directors, including Peter Loftin, Founder and Chairman of BBCo; John Mack, Prior Chairman & CEO of Morgan Stanley; David Mandell, Founder and President & CEO of BBCo; and Jeff Hopmayer, Managing Partner of the Brindiamo Group.


The Bardstown Bourbon Company is a celebration of the art of making whiskey. No secrets, mythical stories, or fabricated legends, the Bardstown Bourbon Company celebrates the craft of making great whiskey and the Bardstown community that brings bourbon to the world. Located on 100 acres of active farmland in the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” the Bardstown Bourbon Company is the largest new distillery in the country that produces high-quality, authentic Kentucky bourbon, whiskey, and rye brands; offers custom whiskey production for the craft distillers and non-distilling brand owners interested in creating new whiskey products and improving the quality and scale of their current brands; and provides a completely unique, entertaining, educational, and interactive destination experience for visitors on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

BBCo recently announced the opening of Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar, the first full-service Kentucky Bourbon Trail restaurant and bar in a distillery. Bottle & Bond’s scratch kitchen combines seasonal, local ingredients with regional flair and features comfort food, exceptional salads, and farm fresh meats and cheeses. Its craft cocktail program, one-of-a-kind whiskey and vintage whiskey library with more than 400 vintage American whiskeys curated by renowned whiskey author Fred Minnick (including some dating back to the 1800s), unique wine collection, and a selection of local draft beers, provides the perfect foundation for a memorable afternoon or evening.

The company was founded in 2014 by Peter Loftin, David Mandell, Daniel Linde, and Garnett Black. To learn more about The Bardstown Bourbon Company and Bottle & Bond, visit:


Peter Loftin, Founding Member and Chairman, Bardstown Bourbon Company

Peter Loftin is a founding member and Chairman of the Bardstown Bourbon Company. Before entering the spirits business, Mr. Loftin made his mark in the telecommunications industry after the Bell telephone monopoly break up. In 1983, he founded and led Raleigh, NC based Business Telecom Inc. (BTI) to the successful expansion of the corporation to one of the nation’s top telecommunications companies as well as the largest private employer in the city of Raleigh, NC.

Business North Carolina Magazine named Mr. Loftin “North Carolina Entrepreneur of the Year”. In addition, NCEITA, the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technologies Association, awarded Mr. Loftin and BTI the “Corporate Citizen of the Year Award” for generously providing free Internet services to the disabled in rural schools throughout North Carolina. In 1999, independent research group New Paradigm Resources ranked Mr. Loftin’s company, BTI seventh nationally among competitive local exchange carriers with approximately $400 million in annual revenues.

During Mr. Loftin’s tenure at BTI, he successfully completed a $250 million high yield bond issue as well as the sale of an additional $200 million of BTI stock to a private equity firm. Mr. Loftin served as Chairman of the Board of BTI whose board members consisted of such prestigious businessmen as Paul J. Rizzo, former Vice-Chairman of IBM and the former Dean of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Peter Loftin served on numerous Boards, including the National Board of Governors of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., The American Lung Association, Board of Visitors of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC – Chapel Hill, the Advisory Board of the Duke Heart Center at Duke University Medical Center, Board of Directors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. He was also a Founding contributor and Board Member of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.

Mr. Loftin is also a major contributor to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, which provides a unique educational experience on United States history and basic core values through the preservation interpretation and recognition of U.S. Army airborne and special operations history, equipment, technology, legend, art and weaponry. Mr. Loftin also serves on the Board of the Miami Beach Police Athletic League.

John J. Mack

John J. Mack is a Senior Advisor of Morgan Stanley. He retired as Chairman of the Board of Morgan Stanley at the end of 2011 and also served as Chief Executive Officer of Morgan Stanley from June 2005 until December 2009.

Before rejoining Morgan Stanley as Chairman and CEO in June 2005, Mr. Mack served as Co- Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse Group and Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse First Boston.

Mr. Mack is a graduate of Duke University. He serves as Chairman of Lantern Credit and on the Board of Tri Alpha Energy, a Board Member of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, Glencore International AG, and Lending Club. In addition, Mr. Mack serves on the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the University Hospital of both Columbia and Cornell.

Mark W. Erwin

Colonel (Ret.) Mark W. Erwin is the President of The Karakoram Group, an international advisory firm that provides strategic consulting to Fortune 500 companies with a focus on the identification, mitigation and management of risk. Prior to founding the Karakoram Group in 2015, Mr. Erwin served as CEO of A&K Global Health, a Fortress Investments portfolio company providing medical travel services across the globe, which he grew from startup into a multinational operation with 60 employees. Mr. Erwin’s corporate leadership experience includes a role as Non-Executive Director for Heritage Oil, an oil & gas upstream exploration & production company which was listed in the London Stock Exchange until June 2014, when the company was purchased and taken private. Mr. Erwin currently serves on the board of directors of Aspen Medical International which provides healthcare services in challenging environments around the globe.

Prior to his commercial career, Mr. Erwin served in the United States Army for over 25 years completing his career as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army Special Operations Command. After being commissioned into the Infantry from ROTC at Wake Forest University, he held leadership positions throughout his career to include command of an 82nd Airborne Company in Desert Storm. He commanded at every level of one of our nation’s most elite Counter-Terrorism Units from 1995 to 2009. He became a key player in the Global War on Terrorism deploying numerous times to Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries throughout the Middle East and Africa leading our nation’s most sensitive operations.

Mr. Erwin graduated from Wake Forest University in 1984 where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. He completed the United States Army War College through a fellowship at the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington D.C in 2007.

David Mandell, Founding Member and President & CEO, The Bardstown Bourbon Company

David Mandell is the President & CEO and founding member of The Bardstown Bourbon Company in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Prior to founding and leading The Bardstown Bourbon Company, David was in both the beverage alcohol and the aerospace and defense industries. David was the founder, President & CEO of The p.i.n.k. Spirits Company, where he developed, created, and launched the first line of ultra-premium spirits infused with caffeine and guarana. David and his team built an organization of 27 full-time employees, achieved distribution in 44 states and five international markets, sold over 75,000 4.5 L cases of p.i.n.k. vodka in 3 years. The Company was awarded the prestigious “Rising Star Growth Brand” Award from the Beverage Information Group in 2008 and 2009 and was named “Top 50 Spirits” and one of the “12 Most Fascinating Vodkas” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The p.i.n.k. Spirits Company was successfully sold in May 2009.

Prior to founding p.i.n.k., David was the Chief of Staff to Administrator, Marion C. Blakey, of the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) in Washington, DC. In this role, David was responsible for assisting the Administrator in the day-to-day management of the Federal Aviation Administration - - a 50,000-person organization, with a 14-billion-dollar budget. He was a key advisor to the Administrator on all policy, press, legal, and management issues and helped lead the development and execution of the first five-year strategic business plan for the agency that tied organizational goals to employees’ pay. Before joining the FAA, David was Counsel to the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and a corporate litigator at the law firm of Blank Rome in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jeff Hopmayer, Managing Partner, The Brindiamo Group

Jeff Hopmayer’s entire career has been about the entrepreneurial spirit while building companies and brands – first as the creator and president of Original American Scones, then as the founder and president of an adult beverage company, and then as the public company CEO in London, England and a California winery owner. Today at 54 years old, he is the Managing Partner of Brindiamo Group, a leading beverage consultancy group headquartered in Nashville, TN.

Hopmayer believes in the power of giving back. He has been actively involved in Meals on Wheels in Chicago where his family received the Life Time Achievement Award, the Mansfield Foundation, which supports social justice causes. He is a past recipient of the Ammi Hyde Award for Young Alumni Achievement from the University of Denver. In the past, Hopmayer extended his charitable giving to the corporate side where he was involved with many causes including preserving the aquatic coastline of California, supporting AIDS research and working with the American Cancer Society, the Junior League, the American Diabetes Organization, Boys and Girls Clubs, Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, and the Rape and Sexual Abuse Center.

Hopmayer remains on several private company boards including SPI Group (Stoli), Boston Harbor Distilling and others.

Originally schooled in hotel management at the University of Denver, where he got his BSBA degree, Hopmayer resides in Nashville, Tenn.


Aaron Brost | Ro-Bro Marketing & PR
312.576.5315 |

Joe Stark | Ro-Bro Marketing & PR
440.465.3143 |

Release Summary

Bardstown Bourbon Company, the largest new distillery in America, announced the appointment of Colonel (Ret.) Mark W. Erwin to its Board of Directors


Aaron Brost | Ro-Bro Marketing & PR
312.576.5315 |

Joe Stark | Ro-Bro Marketing & PR
440.465.3143 |