It’s International Women’s Day and I simply can’t let it pass without mentioning some of the women making the whiskey world go round. Women working in whiskey is certainty not a new fad, but recognizing their contributions hasn’t always been on trend. These are some of the amazing women I’m keeping an eye on.
*Shameless Plug- you can get up close and personal with these ladies at my event, Women In Whiskey, as part of the 2019 Nashville Whiskey Festival on Thursday, September 12. Watch this space for details.
With a family hailing from Mexico, Ale became interested in Scotch whisky in an undergrad history class at Texas A&M before earning a masters in flavor chemistry and sensory science. Definitely not the typical Kentucky story of being born into a multi-generational whiskey lineage! Ale is the resident Whiskey Scientist at Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. in Fort Worth, Texas.
As a whiskey blender for Diageo, Eboni is one of the expert blenders behind brands like Bulleit, George Dickel, and I.W. Harper. A B.S. in food science and technology from Alabama A&M led to a brief stint as an intern with Kettle Chips in Oregon before the whiskey whispers lured Eboni to Louisville. Three years into the job, she’s certain she’s found her calling… to whiskey.
If you haven’t had your head under a rock for the last few years, you’ve likely seen Marianne’s name a time or ten. Under the tutelage of Woodford Reserve’s Master Distiller Chris Morris, she worked her way from research and development intern, through plant production, to process engineering, and finally landed in the role of Master Taster. Marianne is now a partner at the Castle & Key Distillery where she was named the first female Master Distiller in Kentucky since Prohibition.
Portland, Oregon’s Freeland Spirits is owned and operated by women with Molly at the helm as Master Distiller. She acquired both a B.S. in Chemistry from Southern Oregon University and a M.Sc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh before taking on that monumental role. No stranger to the Oregon distillery scene, Molly began her career with Hood River Distillers as a Quality Control Assistant and then with Oregon Spirit Distillers as Production Manager, Lead Distiller, and Chemist. She somehow also finds time to sit on the board of the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).
Some More of My Friends…
Let’s not forget my girls Allisa Henley with Sazerac Tennessee, Ashley Barnes with the Spirits Group, and Nicole Austin with George Dickel! Check out The Bar Belle, Whisky Chicks, LeNell’s, and Bourbon Women, too! Whatever you do, raise a glass to all the women making their way in the (whiskey) world today.