Top 10 women in whisky23rd May, 2014 by Lauren Eads
From bloggers and event organisers to distributors and distillers there are plenty of women doing their bit to shake up the typically perceived male dominated world of whisky.
In his 2013 book release, Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey, US writer Fred Minnick details how it was women, not men, who were responsible for changing the face of the Scotch whisky industry and turning distilleries into thriving businesses.
Not only did women invent the first stills, but were heavily involved in managing and modernising distilleries to increase their production capacity.
Notable influential characters, Minnick said, included Elizabeth Cumming who owned the Cardow (Cardhu) distillery in Speyside in the late 19th century, and Bessie Williamson, who owned Laphroaig in Islay in the 20th century.
Today women are once again leading the charge on many whisky fronts, be it from a managerial, blending, brand, blogging or retail whisky perspective.
According to Elizabeth Finn, Diageo category director of whiskies in Western Europe, nearly a third (29%) of all whisky drinkers in the UK are women.
However there is still a stigma that the world of whisky is dominated by men, according to Amy Seton, a woman credited with building Birmingham’s now thriving whisky scene from scratch.
In 2011 Amy stepped away from corporate life with a passion and idea to change the face of whisky in Birmingham. Through building up a network of distillers and local venues Amy started running whisky events across the UK’s and set up The Birmingham Whisky Club.
On average Amy hosts over 30 whisky themed events per year across the city ranging from distillery tastings to food and whisky matching experiences and in 2013 launched the first Birmingham’s first whisky festival which was attended by over 250 people with whisky from 15 distillers.
Late 2013 saw the birth of Birmingham’s Whisky Women which brings together a diverse group women and introduces them to the world of whisky.
Scroll through to see Seton’s pick of women making their mark in the world of whisky…
Do you know a whisky woman worthy of a mention? Leave a comment below.