What Role Did Women Play in the Rise of Bourbon?


As bourbon enjoys its greatest rise since the end of Prohibition, women play an integral role in the spirit category’s future. They always have, writes the Courier Journal.


  • In Kentucky, Catherine Spears Frye Carpenter operated a distillery in the early 1800s using a “sour mash” fermentation technique that is still used today.
  • Other women running a commercial distillery in the 1800s include Virginia’s Marion Radford, Pennsylvania’s Mitilda Werkheiser, Tennessee’s Louisa Nelson, Georgia’s Ida Weldon, and Kentucky’s Mary Jane Blair, who managed a 9,000-barrel-a-year distillery for the popular Blair’s Old Club brand.
  • Marjorie Samuels redefined liquor packaging when she created the name “Maker’s Mark” and developed a slender bottle with dripping red wax.

In a time when women were relegated to home duties, these whiskey-making women proved that the females could do a man’s job. Early American women also proved men could not do a woman’s job.

But men being men, a women wasn’t considered for a Master Distillers job because the guys would look up her skirt as she climbed the stairs.

Not much has changed… guys still want their bourbon broads sexy.

Read more… Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey



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