It should come as no surprise that women are occupying more and more of the top spots across the (historically male-dominated) drinks industry. After all, not only are women equally as capable of orchestrating the business of international sales as their male counterparts — studies have proven that they also have better palates for tasting.
Today, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we take a look at some of the women who are changing the face of their industry — from the distillers, to the mixologists, to the CEOs.
The Founder: Louise McGuane
Despite having founded The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company on the farm belonging to her parents in County Clare, Louise McGuane’s has worked in the drinks industry for over two decades, with her work taking her all across the globe.
Of her experience, she says, “in those 20 years I worked and learned from some of the best in global multinational drinks companies Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Moet Hennessey. I know the drinks industry inside out and it truly is my passion.”
Now, she’s using her extensive knowledge to create award-winning whiskey from her family farm. After all, as Louise says “Irish whiskey is ultimately an agricultural product, so why not ensure a future for the farm for the next generation by finishing and ageing whiskey in the very special place.”
Chapel Gate Whiskey
The chemistry expert: Dr. Anne Brock
Educated at Oxford University, Anne achieved a PhD in Organic Chemistry from St. Catherine’s College and joined Bacardi after spending four years as lead distiller for Bermondsey Gin Ltd.
Alongside currently holding a position on the board of Directors at the Gin Guild, Anne leads a team of 14 distillers who produce every single bottle of Bombay Sapphire enjoyed around the world.
Anne’s role allows her to use her scientific knowledge and experience to expertly taste, ‘nose’ and check every batch of this world-famous gin before it is released.
The marvellous mixologist: Phillipa Guy
Philippa Guy was appointed Senior Bartender at The Savoy’s famous American Bar last summer, making her the first woman to take on this role in over a century. This prestigious role, which was held previously by the renowned cocktail figure Ada Coleman, was awarded to the 24-year-old after she spent two years working her way up the ranks in the world-famous bar.
Guy also published her first cocktail book Let’s Get Fizzical in time for Christmas last year. The book contains over 50 recipes, some of which are Guy’s own creations, all accompanied by beautiful photography.
In a city where female bartenders are in the minority, Pippa has managed to break gender barriers at a remarkably young age, thanks to her sheer determination and considerable passion.
American Bar at The Savoy
The Champagne CEO: Maggie Henriquez
In Margareth Henríquez’s illustrious career of nearly 40 years, 28 have been spent as President and/or CEO of multinational or global companies in Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and now France.
Born in Venezuela and educated in the United States, Margareth, better known as Maggie, has been instrumental in the transformation of the wine industry of Argentina, where she became deeply connected with viticulture and winemaking over the eight years she spent at the head of Moët Hennessy’s properties in the country.
A Systems Engineer with an advanced degree in Management from Harvard Business School, Maggie is also fluent in three languages and holds the prestigious position of President & CEO of the House of Krug and Moët Hennessy Estates & Wines.
Krug Champagne House
The Master Distiller: Lesley Gracie
Born in 1956 in Hull, East Yorkshire, Lesley Gracie is the mastermind behind William Grant & Sons’ flagship gin, Hendricks. Now based close to the gin distillery’s headquarters in Girvan, Scotland, Lesley says that her love of gardening, flowers and the natural world are what drew her to the botanical-based spirit.
Gentleman’s Journal visited the recently unveiled £13 million Hendrick’s ‘gin palace’ in Girvan, which Lesley, (who holds a chemistry degree and a background in pharmaceuticals), now uses to experiment and develop new variants of the cucumber and rose infused elixir, which is often credited as being one of the leading products behind the UK’s craft gin boom.
Looking for more drink inspiration? These are the outstanding white wines we are drinking this year…