the organization just wasn’t reaching the potential that so many says Lacie Thornton, Founder of Cutwork Lace people saw in it, especially its founding members. One day, Katz Distilling Co., who is the current Secretary for the decided to step aside and fully hand off the reigns to Hoskin. Women’s Distillery Guild. “That just really opened the door for me to take more of an active Though they are evolving and moving forward, the role.” organization hasn’t forgotten where it came from. Hoskin Since then, the organization has recommitted to the values presumes that it was originally called Ladies of American that have always been central to their mission: opportunities Distilleries because it was founded in the age of the Ladies United for connection, education, and advocacy on behalf of women. for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC). “LUPEC The revamp has been both originally, before it splintered, external and internal. “The had some incredible, femaleguild’s ethos is to become driven spirits events,” she “I really just hope to see the guild grow and continue to notes. Hoskin is sure that an influential assemblage grow as kind of a welcoming haven for women in the industry there is room for the guild to of experts founded on a currently, or women hoping to get into the industry.” mission-driven platform that bring their own unique brand fosters inclusion through to cocktail events and spirits— SAMANTHA KATZ mentorship, sponsorship and driven events around the DIRECTOR of COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT for NEW YORK DISTILLING education,” says Mel Heim, country. Executive Vice President of Another focal point for the Operations/Master Distiller for guild is the distillery finance Eastside Distilling and Treasurer for the Guild. “LOAD collected model; their members have witnessed or been privy to difficulty invaluable data from our peers as to what was needed to grow gaining capital. They believe that there needs to be greater opportunities for women in the space and as a guild we now have education on how to present a company, access financing, the foundation and resources to curate solutions.” access investment, and cultivate a visible profile for women who A huge part of this process has been increasing the amount are starting out or looking to expand. of mentoring relationships between established members of the The Women’s Distillery Guild remains a place where female industry and exciting young newcomers. “I’ve now mentored seven members of the industry can find the support they might lack different women who are either opening distilleries or becoming from their surrounding community. It was where the name LOAD head distillers, just really representing some leadership in their initially came from: women can carry the load, and they can also companies or starting companies, and it’s been one of the most share the load. satisfying things I’ve ever done,” Hoskin says of her experience Thornton, who’s been in the industry for nearly three years, in this role. initially found the guild when Samantha Katz was still in charge. "Karen has been incredibly generous with her time and support, She transitioned to distilling from a separate industry, which left encouraging me as I get my business started,” says Manya K. her with plenty of questions about what to expect as a female Rubinstein, owner of Industrious Spirit Company and mentee of distiller. “I really just hope to see the guild grow and continue the Women’s Distillery Guild. “[It’s] so great to have someone to grow as kind of a welcoming haven for women in the industry to go to with thorny questions for a quick gut check or longer currently, or women hoping to get into the industry.” consultation when needed.” As for Hoskin, she hopes to eventually step back from the The guild is acting as a network to connect women to mentors spotlight and refocus on the parts of this business that were that are closer to them geographically. This culminated at the always of interest to her, namely the work done at her distillery, event in March, where women from all over the country gathered Montanya Distillers. “At some point along the way I got really to exchange questions, insight, and provide inspiration. tired of people just talking about me being a woman in the world Hoskin reveals that “so many of those distillery owners and of distilling. It’s not really the story that I want to be constantly distillers that were at that lunch at ADI...have contacted me telling about my distillery because we’re so much more than afterwards or found me over the course of the week and said, that.” ‘I’ve been living in such a cave thinking I was the only one, or Perhaps now this community can call these women and the thinking there wasn’t anybody else that was dealing with some of many others like them what they actually are: distillers, or the stuff that I’m dealing with.’” entrepreneurs, or bartenders. Talented members of this industry Moving forward, Hoskin and others hope to follow the structure with a passion for what they do. of other guilds that have come before theirs and eventually open regional chapters. “Specifically in the last couple of months, If you’re interested in joining the Women’s Distillery Guild, you now that we’ve had a board elected and we’re an can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find more official non-profit, I’ve seen it grow not only in information on their website: womensdistilleryguild.wildapricot.org membership numbers but also in vision,”
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