Top 10 women in whisky

23rd May, 2014 by Lauren Eads

Elizabeth Cumming – Distillery owner

Elizabeth CummingKicking off a few worthy mentions selected by the drinks business, Elizabeth Cumming who owned the Cardhu distillery in Speyside in the late 19th century. The distillery was set up by John Cumming, a whisky smuggler, in 1824, but its running was largely credited to his wife Helen Cumming, who used to sell bottles of whisky to passers-by through the window of their farmhouse. In 1885 it was rebuilt under the management of Elizabeth Cumming, the daughter-in-law of Helen Cumming, who was able to triple the amount of whisky it had previously produced which led to Johnnie Walker and Sons buying much of Cardhu’s output to use in its own blends. The distillery is currently run by Diageo.

14 Responses to “Top 10 women in whisky”

  1. Ryan Wyrick says:

    Regional to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky – Molly Wellmann is the leading lady in the cocktail/whiskey scene!

  2. Liza Weisstuch is one of many fine whiskey writers and judges.

  3. Ryan Maloney says:

    How about Liza Weisstuch. She is an editor of Whisky Magazine for the US, writes for Whisky Advocate as a contributor as well as a freelance drinks writer; a driving force behind Whisky Live events, plus a World Whisky Awards competition judge for 5 years. Probably should be on your radar.

  4. DavindeK says:

    Great list. Could we add the great unsung hero(ine) of the whisky press, Liza Weisstuch, US editor of Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate contributor, freelance drinks writer for many international mags and papers; a driving force behind Whisky Live and the World Whiskies Conference, and international whisky judge; Johanne McInnis, whisky blogger, writer, whisky judge, and personality; and Tish Harcus, Canadian Club brand ambassador and 2014 Icons of Whisky winner. In fact there are so many women making important contributions to the whisky world today that a list of the top 100 would not be long enough.

  5. DavindeK says:

    And of course, the ever-brilliant Martine Nouet.

  6. Great list! I agree with DavindeK, Chuck Cowdery, and Ryan Maloney. Really need to add Liza Weisstuch, to the list . She is a marvelous drinks writer and seems to have her hand in all things whiskey … from her contributions to Whiskey Advocate, and her service as US editor for Whiskey Magazine and her wonderful freelance work. Much of her service is behind the scenes … working on Whiskey Live events, judging competitions for the World Whiskey Awards and the Craft Distillers in the US, Her whiskey prose is magnificent and her behind the scene work is substantial.

  7. Robert Simonson says:

    I echo all the gents’ thoughts on Liza. She’s a whiskey girl all over.

  8. Christine Crnek, CEO of the company that invented the NEAT glass should definitely be in your list! The NEAT glass is scientifically designed to quickly dissipate off the nose numbing alcohol and lets you enjoy the beverage that the distiller intended for you. Less annoying nose burn makes this glass a must have for new drinkers and people with sensitive noses.
    The ability to linger over the glass and discern the ingredients of a carefully crafted whisky improves the overall experience.
    Christine’s passion for this approach to the whisky experience has spread. The glass is used in judging events like The New York Spirits Competition, the SIP awards and restaurants like Delmonico’s.
    Christine should be on the list for introducing a new way to enjoy whisky to the world.
    Cheers!

  9. Pam Pincow says:

    This is a wonderful list! Absolutely love The Lore of Whisky.
    Wanted to add another fantastic whisky woman…

    Maker’s Mark VP of Distillery Operations, Victoria MacRae-Samuels has more than 20 years of experience in the spirits industry and holds the unique distinction of being the only woman to currently hold the title of vice president of operations of a bourbon distillery. Quite amazing!

  10. Manuela Savona says:

    A big congrats to Rachel Barrie from MBD, a Savona Communications client, and to Cara Laing who I used to work with also. Fine ladies of whisky. And wanted to add a shout to Liza Weisstuch as well who is a top notch whisky writer thru and thru.

  11. raf says:

    The description of Bessie Williamson’s contribution leaves a lot to be desired.
    She was profoundly amazing. If it wasn’t for her, during WWII, the MoD would
    have closed down Laphroaig so they could store munitions there, dismantled
    the stills to repurpose the copper, and we probably wouldn’t have Laphroaig
    today. I can’t bear to even imagine such a horror!. Instead, she convinced the
    MoD to let her keep the stills running (to generate lots of lovely excise tax for
    them). She also convinced them to build new warehouses for their munitions
    (which now store lovely Laphroaig). So during WWII she ran Laphroaig as a
    distillery as well as a clandestine munitions facility. And, as an encore, she
    was instrumental in convincing the world’s whisky market (particularly the
    USA) that everybody should be drinking single malt whisky rather than blends.
    If Bessie isn’t #1 on any list of Whisky Women, the list is flawed. She deserves
    a Nobel prize for services to whisky!

  12. Isobel Gardiner says:

    I do not see the names of the ladies who have probably done more for whisky than the others in the photos. Kay Fleming, Distillery Manager at Blair Athol Distillery and Sarah Burgess, distillery Manager at Glenkinchie Distillery, Pencaitland. These are the ladies in charge of producing the whisky., and have worked in various parts of the process and have been with Diageo for a great many years.

  13. John McCheyne says:

    Not sure about such a list without Rachel McNeill . Many great women undoubtedly , but Rachel was first in Whisky for Girls development

  14. Tom gera says:

    Great Information Love it ! thanks for sharing this with us keep posting.. we are also looking best whisky brands in usa ! please share.

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