Top female-founded distilleries

18th April, 2017 by Annie Hayes

As women continue to make strides in the spirits sector, The Spirits Business shines the spotlight on the next generation of female distillery trailblazers.

Republic Restoratives is a small batch distillery and craft cocktail bar in Washington, DC

It’s a little-known fact that a woman invented the first-ever still. In around 200 CE, Mary the Jewess invented a number of chemical instruments, one of which was the tribikos; a type of alembic still. While she might not have used the device to create spirits – Mary was attempting to make gold from base metals – an advanced model of her creation is still used to this day to create brandy, whiskey and moonshine.

And she’s far from the only industry innovator. History is awash with female distillers, bootleggers, apothecary owners and recipe refiners. Another notable name is Catherine Spears Frye Carpenter, who is credited with creating the first known recipe for sour mash in 1818. Before the Industrial Revolution mechanised the process, turning distilling into a male-dominated practice, women were behind many of the spirits on the market.

And now? Though the wider world has made leaps and bounds in terms of gender stereotypes in the workplace, the drinks industry is monopolised by men. However, in recent years a number of female pioneers are building businesses from the ground up and taking charge of the still once more.

Click through the following pages for our pick of solely female-owned distilleries.

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