8 Female leaders in Beverages for International Women’s Day

4 Min Read
8 Female leaders in Beverages for International Women’s Day

International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women around the world. It's also a time to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to achieve gender equality in all industries. One field that has historically been dominated by men is the distilling and beverage industry. 

However, in recent years, more and more women have been entering this industry and making their mark. Despite this progress, women in the distilling and beverage industry still face unique challenges and barriers to success. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of supporting women in the distilling and beverage industry and highlight some of the ways we can all work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable industry for all.

Here are just a few of the women who have made an impact on this ever-changing field:

Kirsteen Campbell - Master Whisky maker at Macallan

Kirsteen Campbell is a renowned whisky maker who currently serves as the Master Whisky Maker at Macallan, a prestigious Scotch whisky distillery in Scotland. Kirsteen is also a member of the Keepers of the Quaich, a prestigious society that recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the whisky industry. Her passion, expertise, and dedication to her craft have made her a respected figure in the whisky world.

Meghan Ireland, Chief Blender, WhistlePig Whiskey

After finding her love for chemistry in high school, Meghan went on to earn her Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University. During her Freshman year she read an article in Whisky Advocate about a female Chemical Engineer turned Master Distiller, and immediately knew that she also wanted to apply science to the art of spirits. Soon after college, Meghan began her career in craft hard cider, then made the switch to whiskey in 2018, with WhistlePig Rye.

Meghan leads whiskey quality at WhistlePig, ensuring with careful testing and tasting that every barrel maintains its award-winning taste. She also directs the whiskey from barrel to bottle, and curates WhistlePig’s robust Single Barrel program – a treasure trove of cask strength whiskeys and experimental finishes that serve to incubate future WhistlePig innovation.

“I’ll put anything in a barrel once!” - Meghan Ireland, Chief Blender

Nicole Hitchcock, Winemaker, J Vineyards & Winery

Nicole Hitchcock has been named 2022 Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine. This is a tremendous honour and well-deserved recognition for Nicole, her team, and J Vineyards & Winery. This award also reflects the dedication and hard work of the vineyard and winemaking teams across our organization. 

Nicole is a leader, not only in the winery, but also within our organization as co-president of our Women of Wine & Spirits Employee Resource Group. Her forward-thinking approach to leadership and determination to push the boundaries has helped expand our ideas of the role we play and the voices our wineries represent. She’s helped build programs that promote inclusivity and create a greater level of diversity.

Julie Cavil - Chef de Cave at Krug 

Julie Cavil, an oenologist at Krug, never expected to work in the wine industry. She grew up in central France in a family of wine lovers but initially pursued a career in public relations in Paris. As she became more interested in wine, she decided to pursue it professionally and moved to Champagne to study. Despite facing skepticism due to her age and having children, she interned at Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon before joining Krug in 2006.

Joy Spence - Master Blender, Appleton Estate 

A true trailblazer, Joy Spence is the Master Blender at Appleton Estate Rum in Jamaica. Joy was the first female ever to hold such a prestigious position in the Spirits Industry. Joy’s prestige in the spirits industry rose at a time when rum was mainly made and consumed by men. Her 1997 appointment as the world’s first female Master Blender certainly served to shatter the spirits industry’s glass ceiling. An artist and a scientist, Joy has created some of the finest aged rums the world has ever seen.

Elizabeth McCall - Assistant Master Blender, Woodford Reserve 

As Assistant Master Distiller, Elizabeth McCall continues a family tradition of working in the bourbon industry. She is also one of the youngest female distillers in the United States. She received her master's degree from the University of Louisville and has focused on R&D since 2009.

Elizabeth likes to make bourbon un-intimidating and is quoted as saying, "Oh, if you want to drink it with Coca Cola, do that." She is more likely to have it on the rocks herself when she is home, though, or in a cocktail if she’s out for an evening.

Stephanie Macleod - Director of Blending at Dewar’s

Stephanie Macleod is the seventh Master Blender and has been working for Dewar's since 1998. As the Master Blender, she is responsible for crafting the finest Scotch whisky and has won multiple awards, including the 'Master Blender of the Year' for four consecutive years. She has preserved the famed blending legacy of Dewar's and built on tradition by creating new finishing methods. Stephanie oversees the quality of single malts and leads a team of assistant blenders, sharing her passion for whisky and inspiring others around the world.

Alice Tetienne - Cellar Master at Henriot 

Alice Tetienne is a highly respected Cellar Master at Henriot, a prestigious Champagne house based in Reims, France. She was born in 1985 and grew up in the Champagne region, surrounded by vineyards and winemaking traditions. Alice developed a passion for wine at a young age and decided to pursue a career in the industry. After completing her studies in viticulture and winemaking, she joined Henriot in 2007 as a winemaker. Over the years, Alice has honed her skills and expertise in blending and aging Champagne wines, becoming the first female Cellar Master at Henriot in 2019. She is known for her meticulous attention to detail and her ability to craft exceptional Champagnes that embody the house style of elegance, balance, and complexity.


Supporting female talent

As we wrap up this blog post, it is clear that International Women's Day is a powerful reminder of the progress we have made as a society in recognizing the contributions of women in all fields, including the distilling and beverage industry.

Let us all continue to work towards a more just and equal world, not just on International Women's Day, but every day.