Though the spirits industry is often characterized as one dominated by men, that isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of women who are currently at the helm of some of the world’s most notable liquor brands. From master distillers, brand ambassadors and owners to those at the forefront of marketing, innovation and every role in between, these women haven't let stereotypical industry “norms” hold them back. Today they are leaders in their respective fields, shaking up the world of liquor, all while proving gender is irrelevant when it comes to crafting the perfect libation.
As a part of an ongoing series, we chatted with the badass women running the liquor world to talk humble beginnings, career paths, “made it” moments, favorite cocktails and more. This is edition five of Women Running The Liquor World. For edition four, click here.
Nicole Austin, General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.
How did you get started in the spirits world?
A combination of luck, grit and perseverance led me to my first job in the industry at Kings County Distillery. When I started out, I very aggressively pursued any and every craft distiller I could find. It was very difficult to break into such a small group with rigorous resume requirements, but after more than a year of trying to get into the industry with no success, I saw a notice in the paper that the first distilling license in New York City since Prohibition had just been granted. I showed up on their very first day selling corn whiskey in public and insisted that they hire me. At the time, they weren’t able to bring me on with a salary, so I accepted equity and became a partner. That was the beginning of it all!
To read all of Women Running the Liquor World: Edition Five, including Karen’s feature, click here!