“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
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.