Kathy Manderino
PADG Executive Director

Kathy Manderino

The Pennsylvania Distillers Guild has enlisted former Pennsylvania labor and industry secretary Kathy Manderino as executive director to help grow the membership and organizational efforts of the Guild, effective immediately.

With the new appointment, Manderino brings a wealth of experience in state government, nonprofit management, and leadership in voluntary member organizations to the table. In addition to serving as labor and industry’s chief executive, Manderino, an attorney, has quite the resume. She was a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, a state legislator, executive VP of a human services organization, manager of a state-wide education advocacy campaign, director of membership services for a labor-management group, and member of the governing board of a voluntary membership organization.

“We are excited to have Kathy working with us to help grow our Guild to the next level,” said Guild president Robert Cassell, president of New Liberty Distilling in Philadelphia, in a press release.

Since the Guild was founded roughly six years ago, it has been an all-volunteer effort, and the membership has grown to over 30 Pennsylvania distillers. With so much interest in craft distilling, local agri-business, and travel and tourism built around the industry, the Guild is pleased to be able to tap into Kathy’s expertise to help further grow and mature our organization to enhance benefits to our members, as well as to the Pennsylvania growing economy.

PADG President

Robert Cassell

Founder & Distiller, New Liberty Distillery
Robert Cassell is an entrepreneur, president of New Liberty Distillery in Pennsylvania, co-founder of Connacht Whiskey Company in Ireland and helped found Philadelphia Distilling, producer of Bluecoat Gin. With a growing passion for craft spirits, Rob gave testimony in 2011 to the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee arguing for reform of Pennsylvania’s 1951 liquor code, which banned craft distilleries from selling their products on-site. Since then, he has advocated for issues affecting the industry at large and particularly for small distillers. Rob’s advocacy efforts have opened world of opportunity to the distilling community in Pennsylvania and beyond.

PADG Treasurer

Herman Mihalich

Founder & Distiller, Dad’s Hat Rye Distillery
Herman Mihalich’s childhood in Monessen, PA predicted his future as the founder of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey. It was there, living in an apartment above his family’s bar, where Mihalich experienced the sights, sounds and stories that would inspire him to reintroduce the world to Pennsylvania’s once-rich rye whiskey heritage. Before coming full circle back to these roots, Mihalich made his mark as a Chemical Engineer. Fond memories of his father’s bar remained a constant in Herman’s life and ultimately led him to realize his life’s ambition in 2010, when he launched the Dad’s Hat Distillery in Bristol, PA.

PADG Secretary

Mark Meyer

Co-Owner and Manager Member, Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider & Mead
After retiring as a trial lawyer in 2010, Mark Meyer and his family opened Wigle Whiskey, Pittsburgh’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition. Mark worked with Robert Cassell and others to change Pennsylvania law to allow distilleries to sell directly to consumers. In subsequent years, Mark and others worked to expand the rights of small craft distilleries including the right to ship spirits to consumers. In 2016 Mark and his family were recognized as Entrepreneurs of the Year by Washington and Jefferson College. In 2017 Mark and his family opened Threadbare Ciders and Meads. Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider celebrate and continue the history of whiskey and cider production in the culture of Western Pennsylvania.