Top 10 female master distillers and blenders

9th March, 2016 by Kristiane Sherry

Despite significant progress, the spirits industry has yet to shake off a sense of patriarchal dominance. But as our collection of top [women] master distillers and blenders shows, excellence in spirits production can never be confined to just one gender.

Kirsty Black, Arbikie, spirits opener

This is our selection of some of the world’s leading [women] master distillers and blenders

Rum blending is a combination of art and science, asserts Appleton Estate’s master blender, Joy Spence. Which is why the lack of women studying and working in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) should be a concern to the spirits trade, with all four disciplines at the heart of production.

As our collection of top master distillers and blenders – who happen to be female – attests, STEM excellence, even in the often male dominated spirits trade, does not just belong to one gender. This collection of chemists, technologists and analysts are responsible for some of the world’s biggest spirits brands, and are leading the charge in pushing not just product development, but the wider industry forward.

While celebrating the talents of this group of blenders and distillers, its worth remembering that even in 2016 women associated with spirits get a raw deal. Female bartenders in the UK are paid on average 18% less than their male counterparts, according to the British Hospitality Association, and sexual harassment of staff and patrons in bars remains a real issue.

In the continuing spirit of International Women’s Day, click through to discover our top blenders and distillers, in no particular order – who happen to be female.

Have we left someone off the list? Let us know in the comments below. 

8 Responses to “Top 10 female master distillers and blenders”

  1. Benedicte says:

    By the way, the World’s Best Cognac (awarded at the World Cognac Awards, IWSC and San Francisco Spirit competition) is also aged and blended by a talented woman! Isabelle Couprie is the cellar master of Gautier Cognac House.

  2. Don A says:

    Seems you overlooked Riannon Walsh, master-blender, single malt expert, author, lecturer, founder of the Whiskies of the World Expo in San Francisco and now co-founder of Brandywine Branch Distillers in Elverson, Pennsylvania

  3. Dean says:

    Lesley Gracie the creator of Hendrick’s Gin among other things surely deserved a mention on this list?

  4. Rhonda says:

    Maggie Campbell at Privateer International needs to be on this list!!

  5. Damian Kaehler says:

    Stephanie McLeod from Dewar’s would have been at top of the list surely ? A great list of amazing talent all the same.

  6. Amanda says:

    Kirstie McCallum, blender at Burns Stewart

  7. Will Smith says:

    Surely the curator of this article’s memory stretches back to Tales of the Cocktail 2015?! Melanie Asher wins the Pioneer award as master blender & distiller of MACCHU PISCO. Good to see this honours list

  8. Eric says:

    Caley Shoemaker at Hangar 1 should be on this list

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