Inspiration Found: Women of Distilling

Yesterday, we attended DSTILL’s Women of Distilling Cocktails & Culinary panel at the RINO Yacht Club, inside The Source. This is the first event we attended for DSTILL, a serious celebration of the American Craft Spirit in Denver, April 13-19. Tomorrow night we head to The Showcase, a signature tasting event with over 50 distillers from all across the country.

The panel was a 90-minute Q&A with 5280’s Amanda Faison as moderator, discussing the rising influence of the female distiller, bartender and chef and how the industry is changing for the better because of it. We were in the presence of Mary Allison Wright, owner of RINO Yacht Club; Elizabeth Serage, distiller for Peach Street Distillers; Rayme Rossello, owner of Comida; Shae Whitney, owner of DRAM Apothecary; and Renee Newton, distiller for Montanya Distillers.

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Amy and I went in expecting an education in distilling, and we certainly learned a lot about the industry but what we were left with, ultimately, was a feeling of empowerment. Here are a few of our highlights:

The message among the panel was very clear. Feminism is about getting up and loving what you do. Women need to rise and shine with an empowered spirit, a spirit that allows them to go work fueled with passion for what they do and how they do it. Women want to be taken seriously and have the ability to pave their career path with their own set of rules, while still gaining respect.

The panel agreed that they would love to see the women-are-bitchy-when-trying-to-get-shit-done stereotype thrown out the window. There shouldn’t be a double standard for how a male or female business owner takes charge – both have to make the same decisions and devise the same solutions for success. Nice doesn’t always get the job done, it’s a requirement of running a successful business.

While the panel admitted they would love to see more women working in the distillery business, they were also firm believers that it’s not about hitting a women quota but rather about the hiring the right people for the right position. 

People may not realize the important role women played in alcohol’s history. Women often created their own at-home remedies for medicinal and herbal use. This panel made it loud and clear that they want to help reclaim the woman’s place at the distillery table.

Women tend to work twice as hard, to get half the credit. Which is fine, because we’re not working for the credit, we are doing what we do because we love it.
Just don’t go without the credit for too long. Because you do deserve it.

Don’t be afraid to push. Because the people who see you push are going to see it as ambition and drive and, ultimately, they will be your champion because of it.

A slow clap for the entire panel – thank you for doing what you do and breaking down stereotypes. You are truly an inspiration to us.

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