Written by: Chris Wilkey
A woman walks up to a bar and orders a bourbon.
Waiting for the punchline?
There isn’t one.
Women have been a crucial force in shaping and enriching the whiskey community and encouraging greater appreciation of this complex and delicious spirit.
Women make up around 30% of all bourbon/whiskey drinkers in the market and are growing at a rapid pace. And for years, women behind the scenes have been crafting some of the best bourbons out there.
Women in Whiskey
The influence of women in the bourbon community runs deeper than most people realize. Women have had a significant positive impact on the whiskey community in a variety of ways over the years. Not only are women drinking whiskey, they are the running distilleries, blending barrels, and directing the future of the industry.
Women whiskey experts and distillers, such as writers, blenders, and tasters, have increased visibility and representation within the whiskey industry, showcasing the diversity of perspectives and skill sets that can contribute to the production and appreciation of whiskey. They have helped to educate consumers, breaking down misconceptions and stereotypes about whiskey and encouraging people to try it for themselves.
In recent years, there has been an increase in women owned distilleries or startups in the whiskey industry, and their impact has been enormous in terms of changing the traditional view of whiskey being a "man's drink" and helping to create a more inclusive industry. Here are 22 different women who have been impacting the bourbon you have consumed over the past ten years that you might have not been aware of unless you were in the whiskey world.
Take Elizabeth McCall with Woodford Reserve. She is the assistant master distiller and one of the youngest female distillers in the United States. If you have had a pour of Woodford Reserve, she has had a direct hand in bringing that spirit to your glass.
Or take Nicole Austin from George Dickel. She not only distills the spirits at Dickel, she also has an active role in the advocacy of whiskey in the United States.
These are just two of the incredible women that are fueling the massive growth of the whiskey/bourbon industry. Some women have become leading experts on whiskey, writing books and articles about the history, production, and appreciation of the spirit. Others have worked as distillers, blenders, and tasters, bringing a unique perspective and skill set to the industry.
Women also have played an important role in creating a more inclusive whiskey culture, by hosting events and tastings that are welcoming and open to everyone, regardless of gender, race, or background. They also challenge the traditional way of whiskey tasting, by bringing more diverse and creative methods of how whiskey can be appreciated.
Additionally, women have played a key role in the growth of whiskey clubs and societies, which provide opportunities for enthusiasts to learn about different types of whiskey and share their passion with others. They also serve as ambassadors, introducing new people to the whiskey culture and breaking down stereotypes that may deter some women from trying whiskey.
For example, take a look at the Someone Say Whiskey Facebook group.
This type of whiskey ambassadorship is helping other women have a place where they can be an active part of the online whiskey community. And that is changing the stereotypes around whiskey and bourbon.
Women have challenged traditional expectations of whiskey in a number of ways. One way is by breaking down stereotypes that have traditionally associated whiskey with being a "man's drink." This has been achieved through education, promotion, and representation.
In addition, women have also challenged traditional whiskey marketing and advertising, which have often relied on macho or "old-fashioned" stereotypes to sell whiskey. Female-led whiskey companies and groups are now advocating and promoting whiskey in a more inclusive and diverse way, appealing to a wider audience.
Women have also brought diversity to the industry, by challenging the traditional expectations and perceptions of whiskey, and demanding more representation and inclusivity.
In this way, women have been challenging traditional expectations of whiskey, by breaking down stereotypes and creating a more inclusive, diverse and dynamic whiskey culture.
The whiskey industry has a history of being male-dominated, but women have been making significant contributions to the industry for decades. From distillers to blenders, brand ambassadors to industry leaders, women are breaking down barriers and proving that they have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the whiskey industry. While there is still work to be done to achieve true gender equality in the industry, the increasing visibility and success of women in whiskey serves as a beacon of hope for a more inclusive future. The whiskey industry, like any other, will benefit from diversity and different perspectives.
Cheers to all of the women out there who have made the world better through whiskey.