Artisan Spirit: Summer 2014

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Page 53

“I have many ‘whiskey sisters’ from whom I rely on for support in various ways. And I believe that we’re all friends not because we’re perhaps a minority but because we all have a deep love for whiskey and a desire to share our passions with others.” ALLISON PATEL BRENNE WHISKEY

Blazer follows up that thought with, “I guess I haven’t really delineated myself as a woman vs. man in the industry. I’ve distillery owner.” Blazer is right in pointing out that there really shouldn’t be a difference between her as a female distiller and that of a distiller that happens to be male. Beyond the distinction that men and women are both welcoming women distillers into the field, many of the women in the industry are still happy to have female counterparts for support and camaraderie. “I have many ‘whiskey sisters’ from whom I rely on for support in various ways,” Allison Patel of Brenne Whiskey shares. “And I believe that we’re all friends

PHOTO PROVIDED BY BRENNE WHISKEY

always been regarded as a distillery owner and not a ‘woman’

not because we’re perhaps a minority but because we all have a deep love for whiskey and a desire to share our passions with others.” Troy Ball of Asheville Distilling Company came into

woman’s voice on the phone that I am in a secretarial role, and

distilling after leaving her work in real estate to do something

are thrown off when they find out I am the one they need to

for herself after lovingly caring for her two special needs sons.

speak to,” Caitlin Bartlemay of Clear Creek Distillery shares.

Troy shares, “When I got started in 2008, I didn’t know any

Overall, Bartlemay is able to laugh it off and says she feels that

other women in the industry…in the past year I have begun

she came into the business with many women already in the

to meet more women in distilling and am loving it. We are

field that she could work alongside.

organizing a Women in Whiskey retreat in Asheville this fall.”

Elizabeth Serage of Wyoming Whiskey adds, “Making a place for oneself in distilling is not easy and the women who

OVERCOMING BARRIERS

accomplish it deserve support and respect; but I challenge folks

While support is abundant for these distillers, they have also

these women are excelling while also handling challenges

faced many barriers. The barriers can be as small as an off-

unique to being a female in our industry.” While some barriers

to consider whether they find it a remarkable novelty or realize

the-cuff comment, to being completely ignored when asking

will remain for now, the hope is that with more women entering

questions at events. “The one thing that comes to mind is

the field of distilling, it will be less of a novelty and women

when answering the phone at the distillery things get a little

will be viewed less as tokens in the industry and more as just

interesting. People always assume that because they hear a

hardworking individuals in their field.

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