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It is with deep sadness and shock that I am writing to share with my friends and colleagues the passing of our beloved friend, Brad Brunson of Amorim Cork America, this week.

Many of you in the wine, spirits, and beverage industry knew Brad. Whether you knew him professionally as a client using Amorim Cork or attended the Craft Beverage Expo, ADI, or any American Craft Spirits Association event, you likely met him.

Below, Iā€™m including the announcement made public by his wife Ann. I encourage you to share your stories in the comments to remember him. We will all keep his family in our thoughts and prayers.

I am also including a live video above and this link here which I streamed on Facebook in 2018 at the Craft Beverage Expo, where Brad spoke about Amorim, sustainability practices, and the Expo itself. During this interview, he showcased a bottle of Bourbon from one of his clients. This expo, now held in Reno, Nevada, was filmed when it was in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brad’s positive attitude, love for making new friends in the business, his passion for what whiskey represents, and his commitment to keeping interactions classy were reflective of his admirable character. They also stood as a true testament to the importance of what we do in the spirits industry to bring people together.

To me, Brad embodied the elegance, integrity, and heart that are foundational to our industry. He was a class act and a good soul.

I was lucky to know Brad over the last 10 years or so and judge a number of spirit competitions with him, including the Concours d’Spirits this past September 2023 (including a photo below from this). Our shared moments tasting Bourbon and deepening our acquaintance were always meaningful. I can still hear him saying, “Want to head to the bar and grab a drink?” before the evening came to a close.

No one would want to decline the invitation from Brad because the conversation was always so intriguing and his warm sense of humor.

Knowing Brad was a blessing. He introduced me to many people, including Kellie Shelvin, founder of Craft Beverage Expo – which led to my involvement in the Expo for over a decade. Brad’s impact was profound, both in his approach to life and the industry, and just seeing his smile was uplifting.

A countless number of distilleries in Kentucky and beyond use Amorin Cork. Thus, consumers and everyone who enjoys spirits and wine, even those who never met him, have been touched by his work.

by Tom Fischer

The Jacobs and Brunson families are saddened to announce the unexpected passing of Bradly Dean Brunson after a sudden illness. He was a beloved husband, father,
son-in-law, uncle, and ā€” above all else – a phenomenal human being.

Brad is survived by his wife of 31 years, Ann Jacobs, and their three children, Oliver, Julia, and Jacob Brunson.

Brad was 56 years old. He traveled the world for business and pleasure, charming clients and making friends everywhere he went.

He will be sorely missed.


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One Response to “In Memoriam: Brad Brunson, Spirits Industry Icon at Amorim Cork, Passes Away at age 56”

  1. Rhonda Kallman

    Tom, Thank you for sharing this memory of Brad. His passing leaves a big hole in my heart that will be difficult to fill. His affable style and his lust for life was truly unequalled. His quest to find the best, most authentic people to share industry knowledge and current events with was one of a kind. Brad was one of the first people to welcome me into the industry. Through Brad, I got the experience of a lifetime upon his invitation for me to join him and another dozen distillery executives for a trip to Amorim in Portugal shortly before the opening of my new venture Boston Harbor Distillery in 2015. Every since, Brad always went the extra mile to reach out to ensure that I was doing ok, offering to help or urge me to attend CBE and other conferences. Brad Brunson was always a gentleman, a proud family man and an honorable person. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues. I will be raising a glass to Brad in his memory. Cheers