the INTERNSHIP Written by Molly Troupe
ven with the difficulties that 2020 has brought, new distilleries are still entering the craft space. More distilleries means more jobs and more opportunities, but it also means more competition. With more competition, it is more important than ever to distinguish yourself. To be a great distillery, great spirits are a necessity. Great spirits are made with a great production team that has a strong work ethic and a refined palate, people who do everything from clean the floors to painstakingly package bottles of liquor. With the attraction of spirits, a casual work environment, and colleagues that can be best described as the coolest nerds, itâ€™s no wonder distilling has proven to be a popular career aspiration, but it remains a competitive field to enter. One problem that distillery production spaces continue to face is a lack of diversity. Despite recent distillery growth, our industry still does not represent the makeup of most Americans. As leaders in production spaces, it is our responsibility to look around us and see who is not there. It is our job to create opportunities and open doors for those who may have had access denied to them.
the PROBLEM Imagine you are developing a new spirit. You have spent countless hours sampling and distilling, trying to reach a new elevation in flavor. Your mind is consumed with this product and how to make it the best. Before leaving development, this product would need to be sampled by other people. The best practice would be to set up a panel of more than ten people, and to give strict tasting parameters. You would want to give them some structure on the feedback you require. Possible questions might include: what did you like? What did you dislike? Would you buy this? What would you spend? What, if anything, would you mix it with? Those panels that help us structure our spirits are most effective when they consist of a diverse
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groupset. Different backgrounds, education, ethnicities, races, etc., all make a better panel, and therefore, can make better spirits. As distillers, we understand that our palate can betray us. We understand that we have our own implicit bias that can take us in the wrong direction when developing a product. The same understanding needs to be developed when approaching hiring practices. Our bias affects our decisions when it comes to hiring. We want to hire people we can be friends with, someone we can share a dram with and enjoy a laugh. We often hire those who are familiar, either by race, education, or background, to ease our pathway to friendship. This is often done subconsciously, with little recognition that we are actively sabotaging the diversity we desperately need. For minorities looking to enter the spirits
As distillers, we understand that our palate can betray us. We understand that we have our own implicit bias that can take us in the wrong direction when developing a product. The same understanding needs to be developed when approaching hiring practices. 47
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