I launched Brenne, a French whiskey in 2012. At the time, I was actually cycling through the streets of New York, hoping to win over retailers, restaurateurs, and bartenders with my beautiful brandy whiskey. . Last week, the company I founded and filled my soul was sold to Heaven Hill Distilleries with great fanfare. Sure, a fairytale ending (և a new beginning) that many brands are trying to make, but that does not mean that any of them were easy.
When the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation asked me to write a piece in honor of Women’s History Month, more than ten years of “whiskey” about women’s “progress” through the eyes of whiskey, I began to sit down and note the evolution of my views. this topic, many that have changed with Bren over my time. As I was writing, I was curious to hear their views on the progress (or not) of women’s whiskey. Were they different from me? How were they like? Did they see the same things I saw?
It is impossible to delve into the nuances of this topic in one article or even to emphasize the rich variety of voices that are worth listening to on this topic. To this end, I contacted some of my respected colleagues in the field to add color to the conversation, knowing that this list of women is incomplete. I hope that by highlighting some of the unique opportunities we have today, we can help pave the way for us to continue to move forward more inclusively. Maybe it can even encourage you to start your own conversations on this ever-evolving topic… maybe even the Salonnière cocktail in your hands, as created Mary Kelly Washington, DC!
This modern Rob Roy riff is inspired by the women who hosted Parisian salons during the French Revolution, where “smart” women sparked a movement that toppled the aristocracy. When artists, philosophers, aristocrats, and the public came together to exchange ideas, these huge hosts not only decided who fit into the room, but more importantly, set the agenda, led the conversation. Then, as today, women ingeniously found a way to the table, which seemed to them to be unlimited, և these women built their own. The Scottish peat moss gives the drinker the impression that the traditional single malt is already on the way, but Brenne Singular Malt whiskey is the star of this show. Beautifully designed by Brenne Estate Cask, created by women, it brings a variety of fruits with a bitter taste of apricot, which can be considered “Brennhattan”. Drambuie ends with honey, borscht and silk.
According to them, George Bell (Bacardi, UK), Tracey Franklin (NJAI Leadership Program, USA, DC / TN), Heather Green (Milam & Greene, USA, TX) and Nicola Riske (Edrington, Spain) share here.
ABOUT THE PAST
Nicola Riske. I just knew I had to work 10 times harder, that what I said when introduced to someone would be discounted if a man came into the room and said something else.
Tracy FranklinYes, a lot of Google under the table.
NR:Yes, it’s incredibly difficult, it’s still happening today.
Heather GreenOh my God, under the Google table. Yes, it still happens. I agree with Nikola, I always felt I had to hit the ball the hardest. In 2012, just when I met you և Brennie, Alison, I was virtually turned down for the job of every ambassador in whiskey companies when I was looking for. I was told by some insiders that having a wife to present a brand was “not a start”. They were terrified of the feminization of whisk (e) y. I am very excited about the progress. I do not think it’s happening anymore, at least I hope so.
AP: Did you find that you have to work ten times as much, even in the corporations where you worked?
NR: No. Fortunately. I think there are always obstacles. However, what I am always grateful for are the men and women who greeted me to study, to enter a distillery, to exchange knowledge. […] I have always been welcomed in the community by those who work in distilleries, post-production laboratories. They always said: “Do you want to study?” Come in”. For which I am grateful. But I put myself in it.
PS:I agree with Nikola here again. The people I worked for when I was hired as a woman were tremendous allies. I’m still friends with many of them.
AP: George, bring us your past, your beginning in the industry.
George Bell. So I was a bit of a double threat since I was 23 years old as a world ambassador. Which is really young. […] Age stereotypes and attitudes towards gender vary from country to country. For some I was completely normal, for others it was a complete anomaly. In one [country] I was asked if I was just a “smart marketing campaign” with complete control over my professional skills and knowledge. This was back in 2015 և I would like to think that if I had met that person for the first time today, it would never have occurred to them as times have changed. I know it’s still tiring to answer the question, “What is it like to be a woman with whiskey?” In fact, I would often write the answer I wanted to write, “Well, I was never a whiskey person, so I did not know the difference,” delete it, and then write the answer I should write. Because every time we answer it, we reduce the cases when the future generation will ask for it. we change history.
TF: The role of Glenfiddich’s ambassador, which I took on before my current role of focusing on governance, I took on because of visibility. I knew that when someone saw a black woman at a Scotch whiskey company, she was going to change her mind about who should drink and who should be part of the community. So I think sometimes we have to think, as George said, beyond the question. Think about the repercussions և in the industry: our voice, our voice, our visibility.
GB: In the last 10 years of my career I have witnessed changes. In the whiskey industry, more women are working in leading roles. There are more women attending whiskey shows. I’m proud of how far we have come, and with the same breath I realize how far we still have to go. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but if the whole industry does not move there together, և EVERYONE looks at it from the point of view of inclusion, it will be a hell of a long way.
Tracy Franklin on the topic of women in whiskey և progress in this area և does not include all women.
TF: I think the topic of “women whiskey” stops further progress. We are focused only on that և what has happened is that it has increased the attention of many white women. Where there is a push for equality, white women will actually benefit in the first place, because it is most convenient, there is not much risk. So, when do we really start pushing և to say? “Where is the real diversity in the world of whiskey?” because it did not happen. I looked at this 15 years ago, there is little progress.
ABOUT THE FUTURE
AP: Heather, you have worked in many whiskey industries to now run your own brand. What do you want to see in the future?
PS:I have also seen change, but where I would like to see more dramatic change is that women are being funded to start a business, either directly by creating a brand, or in other related fields, such as technology. It is just beginning.
AP: Tracy, I like the conversation you raised about how “women’s whiskey hinders progress.” Can you share a little more within the framework of “tomorrow”?
TF:: Yes, people think that is enough. Right? If I say, ‘Look at all the women now,’ they think they’ve done all the work. ‘ [the progress] stops. But what happens when we want to start creating more accessible space? I want to be able to involve people with physical and mental disabilities… True inclusion is much broader than we have ever imagined. This field has not imagined how inclusive we can be.
AP: I think that’s incredibly important, Tracy. Thank you for that. Nikola, what do you think about the future և progress?
NR: Progress is progress, growth, continuous improvement. To continue moving forward, one can accept the progress made in the past. Although we may not always see it, our industry has grown. Seeing progress is a bit like an exercise plan. Sometimes you have to take photos of the situation to see the results, because often they are so gradual that you do not actually see them, if you do not look at everyday photos over time, and then when you step back և see a bigger picture, you see growth and positive change. You see the general progress.
GB: As I said before, we are on a journey. For me, the future is where we no longer talk about it, where we no longer have billboards about “women whiskey” or do not answer these questions. We are all the guardians of this change. Each of us has a responsibility to achieve normalization and real inclusion. If you feel that ‘it’s not your job to do this’, please contact one of us as we will be happy to suggest how you can. Personally, I’m really proud to be a part of all this, especially these four women next to me.
PS:Frankly, I’m a little tired of talking about “women whiskey”. I recently turned down several opportunities. As I see it, if I talk about being a woman in the field, I’m not talking about other topics that really interest me: company building, growth, production, life balance, funding, my staff, awards. we won, my book, my time I spent traveling the world for whiskey. I look forward to that future.
AP: Thank you all very much. We ask our readers to note that this is a distorted section of some incredibly powerful points that are worth exploring in more detail about our whiskey industry classification. Today, I believe the idea is for all of us to step out of our categories. If we can look at our desk rooms, enlarge screens և happy hours և see real, meaningful diversity included, it’s not only good for the finish line, as studies show. it is good for the human soul.
For the whole month of Women’s History this March, please join me on Instagram @AllisonParc: as we continue this conversation with my colleagues through live chat և notes.
About Allison Parc:
Alison Park is the founder of the award winners Bren Whiskey; seed-soul, certified organic, innovative French Single Malt, which he released by bicycle in New York in 2012, acquired by Heaven Hill Distilleries in February 2022.
In 2017, 2018 և 2021, Ellison was awarded the “Icon of Whiskey” award by Whiskey Magazine. He has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Glamor Magazine, etc., and has appeared in numerous books on whiskey and entrepreneurship.
Alison is a respected speaker on entrepreneurship, consumer engagement, career change, and male-dominated prosperity while living in New York with her life partner, Clint Balcombe, a French bulldog Ernie (intern). .
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