If there is anything keeping women back from working, creating, and leading companies in the liquor realm it is definitely not the lack of talent, grit, know-how, hard work, and willingness to learn.
Although women have been at the helm of the world of wines, spirits, and beer since the inception of the drinking culture, it has largely gone unrecognized up until recent years. Women who have already established themselves in the industry are still struggling for the right kind of representation, and those who want to get into the world of drinks continue to look for the segue to do so, without being overpowered by their male counterparts.
With an increasing number of women in leadership positions in the industry, the bar for women empowerment and representation keeps getting higher. From creating their own brands like Yola Mezcal to being at the realm of mammoth drinks corporations like Dr.Anne Brock — Master Distiller at Bombay Sapphire and Grand Rectifier at the Gin Guild — women are trailblazing through the beverage business like no other.
Women are going from strength to strength as large corporations are seeing a huge woman workforce, especially in management positions. 39% of leadership roles in Diageo are held by women, including 55% of the board of directors, demonstrating expertise and brilliance and paving the way for women everywhere. Bartenders such as Joanna Carpenter are making themselves heard to increase the representation of minorities, PoC, and women in the beverage industry.
In the wide world of beverages, we’re proud to be talking about these organizations and people, who are working tirelessly to bring women to the forefront of the trade, one day at a time, one woman at a time.
Women of the Vine & Spirits
Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS) is a leading organization that boldly pushes the wine, beer, and spirits industry toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive era empowering women to succeed globally. The organization was founded in 2015 by Founder & CEO Deborah Brenner, who previously worked in the television and film industry.
Over the years, WOTVS has been successful in encouraging and equipping women worldwide to advance their careers in the alcohol beverage industry. To magnify their efforts, the organization works with successful names like Carolyn Wente, Fourth Generation Winegrower & CEO, Wente Vineyards.
Women of the Vine and Spirits on Youtube
According to the WOTVS website Carolyn Wente said, “As a woman who joined the family business more than 30 years ago, I’m proud to support Women of the Vine & Spirits and its mission to empower women. It is important to acknowledge women’s achievements from previous generations and create opportunities for future generations to come.”
Wine Warehouse, one of California’s leading alco-bev distributors is a member of WOTVS, constantly working with the organization to create a larger space for women in the industry.
“I'm so proud that Wine Warehouse is a member of Women of the Vine & Spirits. You've created an incredible community that can and will change the status quo of women in the beverage alcohol space and, by extension, helps advance opportunities, equality, and safe work environments for women in general. It's a movement and you're an important influencer. Congratulations and thank you!!” says Linda Myerson Dean, Senior Vice President & Co-Owner, Wine Warehouse.
Female Founders Fund
The Female Founders Fund was created in 2014 with one aim: women will build the companies of tomorrow.
The platform is known to invest in women-owned and run businesses worldwide, across all industries, including the drinks industry. Founding Partner Anu Duggal, along with Investors Adrianna Samaniego and Emily Powers, work together to empower women and make them stronger in the business spectrum, especially in many male-dominated industries such as food and beverage, tech, entertainment, and more.
Anu Duggal, Founder, Female Founders Fund, source: Entrepreneur
One of the many companies they’ve helped find success is Minibar. Minibar, owned and run by Lindsey and Lara, is an online alcohol service, offering on-demand delivery in over 50 American cities and shipping to 40 states. Culinary Agent, a website that helps to find career-related information about the hospitality industry is also backed by Duggal and her team.
Joanna Carpenter from 86 The Barrier
Joanna Carpenter is striving to empower women, immigrants, and minorities in the drinks industry. Bartender and co-Founder of 86 The Barrier — a grassroots organization offering free, peer-led language learning for immigrant hospitality workers, Joanna is constantly at the forefront of many organizations and events that help in bringing gender equality to the drinks industry.
Joanna Carpenter, 86 The Barrier
Over the years, Joanna has spoken at Tales of the Cocktail, Bar Convent Brooklyn, Healthy Pour, and others, working every day to open a line of opportunities for women and people of color across the beverage world.
Launched in 2016, Wine Women is a non-profit organization that helps in advancing women’s professional careers in the wine industry. They work together to foster and nurture talent, providing networking and training opportunities to women in the industry, and those looking to enter the world of wine.
Wine Women Summit, source: Facebook
Today, Wine Women continues to focus on educational programming through its many forums and events. They also co-host the weekly WINE WOMEN Radio Hour, a local radio show and nationally available podcast, where the team shares wine news, tastes wines, and discusses women’s (and men’s) careers in the wine industry.
Women’s Cocktail Collective
The Women’s Cocktail Collective was formed in 2018 with a simple mission: to diversify the back bar. The movement comes as a collaboration between female liquor producers, with an aim to raise the voices of all women in the alcohol beverage industry.
The Collective highlights and promotes women-owned and women-run businesses, with events like pop-up bars and collaborations between its members. By collaborating with each other, members can work together and learn from each other, especially when it comes to marketing and being a cost-effective brand.
Members include spirits industry veterans like Claire Marin - Founder of Catskills Provision Distillery and Allison Evanow - Founder of Square One Organic Spirits, who have been in the industry for over a decade. The Collective is also supportive of younger bloomers in the industry, like Absinthia Vermut, Founder of Absinthia Absinthe, who changed her name to Absinthia in 2013 and finally sold her Absinthe legally in September 2017.
Together, these women are known to uplift and empower each other, and help in making the beverage industry comfortable and accepting for every woman.