60 Women Who Are Shaping the Future of the Wine, Beer and Spirits Industry
Success stories

60 Women Who Are Shaping the Future of the Wine, Beer and Spirits Industry

The world of alcohol is one big boys’ club (*pretends to be shocked*). In 2021, only 24 percent of women and 4 percent of women of color held C-suite positions in the North American wine, beer and spirits industry, according to Women of the Vine & Spirits. And when it comes to independently-owned wineries, women make up only 5% in California and Oregon and only 3 percent in Washington State, per the American Association of Wine Economists.

Despite these staggering numbers, there are so many incredible alcohol brands, educational resources, apps and communities with tastemaking women at the helm. We spoke to 60 of them (honestly, we’ve lost count at this point) about what the future of the industry looks like, their favorite drink trend and how they’re blazing a trail for the next generation. You might recognize a few familiar faces…

Photo Credit: Zach Scheffer
Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Ashley Benson, Thomas Ashbourne

Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Ashley Benson
Thomas Ashbourne

How is your brand shaking things up?

Vanessa: “We’re so proud to be a part of Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits, a brand that is creating amazing, premium and high-proof cocktails with the freshest ingredients. Ashley, Rosario and I are margarita enthusiasts, so we ensured that our margarita had the perfect balance of flavors and will always be consistent every time you pour it. Plus, it’s 40 proof which really makes it stand out. Most ready-to-drink beverages, like hard seltzers, are only about 4-7% ABV.”

Rosario: “Having so much say in the process has been a cool experience, especially being able to collaborate with a group of smart women that I admire and respect. We’ve had a hand in everything from can design, to the name ‘Margalicious Margarita’ and, of course, a lot of taste tests. We are excited to share a fun, delicious cocktail that will be the life of any party!”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like?

Cara Kamenev (Thomas Ashbourne’s CEO): “It’s no secret that the spirits industry has historically been led by men, but there is a real shift right now to independent brands ideated and led by women. There have always been women involved behind the scenes, from preserving historic recipes to being on the forefront of new technologies. More recently, there are efforts being made to ensure women have their rightful place on leadership teams. People are starting to recognize the buying power of female consumers who are seeking high-quality, premium spirits with clean ingredients and realizing that they gravitate towards brands with leaders that they feel represented by.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now?

Ashley: “We all came together due to our shared love of a good margarita.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Onda
Shay Mitchell and Kelli Adams, Onda

Shay Mitchell and Kelli Adams

How is your brand shaking things up?

Shay: “Onda’s commitment to high-integrity ingredients is one of our key differentiators in the market. That’s actually why we wanted to create Onda in the first place; when we first started looking at the space, we noticed that almost all brands were using malt liquor or other cheap, mystery ingredients. We knew we wanted to use real tequila, and create a product with clean, natural ingredients. We only use premium Blanco Tequila, sparkling water and real juice. That’s it. Onda also leans into the ‘better-for-you’ trend with 5% ABV, 100 calories and no added sugar—without sacrificing taste. You know, I just really wanted to create something that my friends and I would actually want to drink.”

Kelli: “In addition to the great-tasting liquid, our unique brand identity and elevated packaging really set us apart. Onda is inspired by the surf style of the 90s and our signature ‘Onda Orange’ packaging and cans stand out amongst the sea of white and silver cans in the seltzer aisle. When creating our packaging and visual identity, this was a very intentional decision. I wanted to design something that people would be excited to take pictures of and share with friends.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like?

Shay: “We love seeing women enter the space and I hope that this movement continues! In addition to our marketing and sales teams being predominantly female, our distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, is female-owned and operated. When we went to Mexico during the launch process, we got to meet with our team, and hearing their stories about how they disrupted such a male-dominated industry to create something was really special.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now?

Shay: “Well, these days it’s more like a hot cup of tea [editor’s note: she was pregnant at the time she wrote this], but tequila sodas have always been my go-to drink, you know, thus Onda! It’s my favorite drink in a convenient can and I can’t wait to crack one open soon. Probably Mango first… or Grapefruit.”

Kelli: “I have really been loving the tropical flavors from our Paradise Collection with the weather getting warmer lately! Mango and Pineapple are two of my favorites at the moment and they seem to be fan favorites as well.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ten to One Rum
Ciara, Ten to One Rum

Ten to One Rum

Use code GIRLBOSS25 for 25% off all products purchased here, valid until August 1, 2022.

How is your brand shaking things up? “Ten To One is reimagining and reinvigorating the way people taste and talk about rum. When I first met Marc Farrell, the founder of Ten To One, I was so inspired by his passion for rum and his drive to change how rum is viewed by consumers. I knew I had to be a part of this journey. Together we're elevating rum, with a very distinct blend from multiple countries including Trinidad, Barbados, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Our blend has no added sugar, color or flavoring and is designed to challenge expectations. I'm really proud of the product we have available—a dark rum, aged in bourbon barrels and an extra proof white rum, which I love to drink in a rum-a-rita.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I think right now people have a keen eye on what ingredients are in the drinks they consume—there's a trend toward wellness and clean eating and drinking. I think the future of the spirits industry looks like cleaner spirits, less additives, less colorings and chemicals. Just getting back to the basics. I like to think Ten To One is at the forefront of this movement.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I love tropical fruit flavors—my favorite trend right now is the return of the daiquiri, and I'm not talking about the frozen daiquiris of your Cancun spring break. I'm talking about a good, shaken daiquiri, but with fun, tropical fruit twists… like strawberry and basil or watermelon. Excellent for summer, but really I can drink those year-round.”

Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith
Eva Longoria, Alejandra Pelayo and Mariana Padilla, Casa Del Sol

Eva Longoria
Casa Del Sol

Eva is pictured with co-founders Alejandra Pelayo (left) and Mariana Padilla (right).

How is your brand shaking things up? “Casa Del Sol is a luxury sipping tequila that is inspired by Mayhauel, the “Goddess of Tequila.” We respect the past and use both classic and modern techniques that set us apart from the others. We champion Mexican culture, authenticity and female empowerment, and our tequilas also have a distinct flavor profile. While most tequila is aged in American Bourbon or whiskey barrels, Casa Del Sol is aged in French Limousin Cognac barrels, which gives it a flavor profile that is heavier on natural notes of vanilla and spice.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “It has to be experiential, interactive, social and fun. The work we are doing at Casa Del Sol is unlike any other tequila brand on the market right now. Our focus is to create one-of-a-kind experiences every time you take a sip.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “The ‘Summer Sol!’ I came up with this recipe during Memorial Day Weekend in the Hamptons. We have this incredible oceanfront house dubbed ‘House of the Sun,’ where we celebrate golden hour every day. On opening weekend, we hosted a BBQ with friends of the brand and tastemakers that went crazy for the cocktail! The best part is that it is so easy to make at home, too. Here’s the recipe:


1 oz. Lemon 
2 oz. Casa Del Sol
1 oz. Water
6 blueberries, muddled
1/2 oz. agave 

Instructions: Muddle blueberries with agave. Add ice. Add lemon. Add water. Add tequila. Add agave. Shake, shake shake. Pour over ice and garnish with mint. Drink. Repeat.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kasama
Alexandra Dorda, Kasama

Alexandra Dorda

How is your brand shaking things up? “When I learned that the Philippines is one of the largest rum producers in the world, I had a lightbulb moment where I realized that I could authentically create the kind of rum that I wanted while also celebrating the Filipino heritage that I am so proud of (my mother hails from Manila). My goal with Kasama is to bring a breath of fresh air–both in branding and palate–to the rum market, while showing a global audience everything that our islands have to offer and bringing the attitude of optimism associated with island life straight to your glass.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I think the future of the spirit industry hedges on a general interest to learn more about the origin stories, ingredients and makers behind what’s in their glass. Rum has an inherent appeal with a sweeter profile than other dark spirits and positive connotations surrounding vacation and the tropics. It’s versatile enough to be used in cocktails or sipped by itself and the aging process really gives it a mellow flavor with a ton of depth. I hope that people come to respect rum in the same way they respect other dark, aged spirits like bourbon.” 

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Classic cocktails reimagined with rum. For example, the Old Fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail, but I like to swap whiskey for rum for a lighter, more tropical twist. It proves that there’s a place for rum on cocktail menus beyond just fruity tiki drinks.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of 21Seeds Tequila
Nicole Emanuel, Kat Hantas and Sarika Singh, 21Seeds Tequila

Nicole Emanuel, Kat Hantas and Sarika Singh
21Seeds Tequila

How is your brand shaking things up? “After launching the brand in 2019, 21Seeds has become one of the fastest-growing, super-premium tequilas in the US, but also the #1 best-selling infused tequila in the country, according to Nielsen. How did three moms with no prior experience in the spirits industry, no celebrity partner and small budgets accomplish this and just three years post-launch become acquired by mega spirits brand Diageo? We listened to our customer and created what they were asking for. 21Seeds is an infused tequila that’s incredibly smooth and delicious with only half the calories.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “Mindful drinking. Being conscious of how and what we drink is really what people think about now more than ever. Consumers don’t want overly complicated, overly sweet cocktails anymore.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “The Spicy Margarita is on fire right now and it doesn’t get any easier than our Spicy Seed Margarita recipe made with 21Seeds Cucumber Jalapeño-infused tequila. The cocktail requires three simple ingredients (the other two are 1 tbsp of simple syrup and 1 tbsp of fresh lime juice) and you can make it in under 21 seconds.  Who wants to waste those precious summertime minutes making cocktails in the kitchen when you can be enjoying them out by the pool!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Sip
Erica Davis and Catherine Carter, The Sip

Erica Davis and Catherine Carter
The Sip

How is your brand shaking things up? “The wine industry can feel exclusive and intimidating. That has never been our style. Rather than try to squeeze into a pre-bottled mold, we created our own table where everyone is welcome. That’s the foundation of The Sip. We curate the world’s best sparkling wines into bi-monthly subscription boxes, as well as curated boxes for one-time purchase. Each box includes two to three top sparkling wine brands, a custom gift and real talk tasting notes you can actually understand (think: “tastes like a cherry coke” vs. “notes of black currant”). We help people discover new wines from Black and women-owned brands, boutique producers and the top European houses, without breaking the bank. 

With our Take a Sip, Give a Sip giveback program, every single sale on The Sip’s site donates 16 oz. of clean drinking water to families in need. We’ve donated more than 5,000 gallons so far!”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The future of wine is technology, and not just in the way we discover, purchase or recommend. You’ll see the entire experience redesigned with tech in mind, from the initial purchase to the packaging you receive. We will start to see winemakers and growers explore innovative ways to improve and inform the growing process, resulting in quality wines available quicker and more affordable for the consumer. We’ll even see it in packaging that utilizes tech to facilitate and experience online while enjoying. A great example of this is 19 Crimes and their augmented reality label.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Full bottles (750ml) are no longer the primary format of sparkling wine. The new, single-serve wine bottle is becoming more popular. It’s no longer unusual to see shelves filled with boxed wine either, which is viewed as being more portable and convenient than glass bottles. Convenience in mobility and discovery are the biggest trends out there, and we pretty much built our business around it, because we know it's the future.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nomadica
Kristin Olszewski, Nomadica

Kristin Olszewski

How is your brand shaking things up? “Nomadica is a sommelier-curated canned wine brand dedicated to sustainability and responsible farming practices with winemakers who engage in low intervention winemaking with zero chemical manipulation. There’s a perception that wine in a can is lower quality and we’re looking to dismantle that perception thoughtfully, but completely. I use my experience as a sommelier with a decade spent in Michelin dining rooms to source premium wines from incredible winemakers that prioritize quality and sustainability.

To ensure we’re hitting all of the senses, we work with musicians and DJs like Helenor and DJ Maasha to curate playlists for each of our wines. We link to them on the back of the can and they can also be found on Spotify @nomadicaradio. Our ultimate goal is to create an experience that crosses taste, smell, sight and sound—we’d like to teleport people somewhere beautiful for a can's worth of their day.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I’m really hoping that the future of the spirits industry does not involve celebrities… haha. But, really, I think we’re heading towards a new era of authenticity, quality and transparency. Gen Z and Millennials are increasingly drinking premium and care about what the politics are behind the brand founders.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Orange wine! We just launched our first orange wine limited edition with one of my favorite winemakers: Jen from Raft Wines. At Gigi’s in Los Angeles, where I am the wine director, orange wine is all anyone asks for, and I’m here for it. I love how versatile it is with pairing—it can carry you from oysters through to steak.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Somm
Jennifer Tremblay, Somm

Jennifer Tremblay

How is your brand shaking things up? “Somm is a lifestyle app that unlocks the world of taste. We operate at the intersection of hospitality and technology by offering fast and credible wine recommendations, access to a digital wine cellar to save and rate your wines and we top it off with an ultra-physical experience for members by offering premium and often exclusive experiences for them to enjoy across our restaurants, hotels, wineries and lifestyle partners. We also have DINR which gives everyone access to reservations at the best restaurants in the country. Learn more about Tremblay’s journey from fintech to wine here.

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “As we step into a post-pandemic world, it’s clear that the consumer has a different set of expectations from their hospitality experiences. They value curation, personalization, quality and community. In essence, the bar for physical experiences is set a lot higher, and the more that technology can efficiently complement and personalize the experience, the better.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Much like fashion, food or travel, younger consumers have become very open to exploring new and interesting wines from off the beaten path regions. These consumers aren’t just caught up in just enjoying the Old World classic wines, but rather they are more interested in everything the wine world has to offer, including some of the more unique or emerging regions such as Canary Islands, Georgia, Lebanon, Croatia and New York State. Of course the classics will always play a major role, but it’s fun to experience and appreciate how universal wine can be when we open our minds and palates.”

Photo Credit: Eric Ryan Anderson
Fawn Weaver, Uncle Nearest

Fawn Weaver
Uncle Nearest

How is your brand shaking things up? “Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is the first whiskey—ever—to commemorate an African American and it’s the first major American spirit brand to be founded by and led by a Black woman. Our entire leadership team are women and our master blender, the great-great granddaughter of our namesake, Nearest Green, is also an African-American woman. (More than 90% of spirit sales sold in the U.S. were founded by white males. There are six spirit conglomerates who sell the majority of the spirits in the U.S., and each one was founded by a white male. Uncle Nearest is the first.) Science has long proven that women have better palettes. Our whiskey proves it. And our number one consumer? Men.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The future of the spirits industry is as diverse and inclusive as America. Forty years from now, that generation will not even be able to fathom a time when this industry wasn’t as colorful and balanced in gender as America.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I love the drink trend of swapping out traditional cocktails of other base spirits (rum, vodka, cognac, tequila) with Uncle Nearest. When I sit at a bar, I like to order a classic daiquiri (hold the rum, add Uncle Nearest), a Sidecar (hold the cognac, add Uncle Nearest), a margarita (hold the tequila, add Uncle Nearest) and an espresso martini (hold the vodka, add Uncle Nearest). Of these, my favorite at the moment must be the Uncle Nearest espresso martini. I’m beginning to see people swap vodka for Uncle Nearest in this drink and it tastes SO much better.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maivino
Mai Vu, Maivino

Mai Vu

How is your brand shaking things up? Mai Vino is a female-founded company that believes that great wines can come in any vessel. We work directly with winegrowers and makers to produce organic wines fermented with Indigenous yeast. We packaged these wines with an airtight spout which keeps wine fresh for 30 days after your first glass. In addition, our lightweight packaging reduces wine's carbon footprint by 80%.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? If the spirits industry wants to continue to thrive, wine especially, it must be more inclusive. Through our language, we speak not to wine professionals but to people who love good food and drinks. We hope that by making premium wines more accessible from a language and convenience perspective, we can bring more people into the fold. 

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I'm really into orange wines made with aromatic grapes: Moscatel, Zibibbo and Gewürztraminer. Orange wines are white wines made in the style of red wines which means we ferment grapes with the skins on. The skins give the wine a bit more black tea grip, while the aromatic grapes deliver fruity aromas to balance it out. I also might be biased because we are launching one in August.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of LS Cream Liqueur
Myriam Jean-Baptiste, LS Cream Liqueur

Myriam Jean-Baptiste
LS Cream Liqueur

How is your brand shaking things up? “LS Cream is inspired by a Haitian recipe called ‘cremas’ that is typically passed on from generation to generation. We used my husband Steven’s grandmother’s recipe, which she left behind on a handwritten note in a Ziploc bag, to create LS Cream Liqueur. We came out with an award-winning product that is premium, low in lactose and gluten-free with notes of cinnamon, coconut, nutmeg and vanilla.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “Customers are more and more excited to try products that have a rich history behind them. LS Cream is a story of family, heritage and culture and we’ve seen that people are driven to it because of this and are becoming less attached to the bigger and more established brands. The industry is looking more and more diverse, whether it is the increase of women-owned, Black-owned or LGBTQ+ brands that are entering the market. Although this is true, there is still space to increase diversity in the industry, especially in decision-making positions.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “It seems like espresso martinis have been a trend for the past couple of years and I still cannot get over it! It is still my favorite pick-me-up post-dinner cocktail when I am at a restaurant or at home, and when made with LS Cream, it is simply divine. I actually cannot drink it any other way.”

Photo Credit: Nairi Amirkhanian
Rachael Petach, Current Cassis

Rachael Petach
Current Cassis

How is your brand shaking things up? “Blackcurrants were outlawed in the US for most of the 20th century which means they really haven’t had a place in the American palate. By creating something from an underutilized agricultural product, we have the joy of introducing a new generation to this amazing flavor, its unique benefits and new potential for positive environmental impact through regional economies and agroforestry development. As we grow our small team, we are creating a path to collective ownership, so that the success of the brand is the shared success of everyone who works on it. Nurturing the planet and the people we work with is central to so many of our decisions.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “More impact-driven enterprises that value and uplift the people, culture and agriculture that make the brand what it is. People are so much more open to drinking non-conforming spirits or new grape varietals now than ever before and that gives producers a beautiful opportunity to make things that are creative, smart and good for the earth.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Spritz forever! I've always loved them, their immense versatility, their endless daytime applications and there are now more options than ever to spritz away. I’m also loving nostalgic drinks made boozy: hello Dirty Shirley and Spiked Iced Tea!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of AVEC
Dee Charlemagne, AVEC

Dee Charlemagne

How is your brand shaking things up? “AVEC uses real juice and botanicals, rather than artificial ingredients or ‘natural’ flavors to give today’s generation of conscious drinkers a low-sugar, healthier choice when they drink—whether they choose to mix with alcohol or serve it solo. We believe you shouldn't have to compromise between having a really good drink and having a healthier option. Plus, we love spirits and having the choice of how much and what kind of spirit you want to add (if any!) is great.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The industry is moving to cater more  to ‘flexi-drinkers’ or people who drink but are choosing if they add alcohol or not. They want a beverage that’s occasion-worthy and makes them feel like they are taking part in the ritual of drinking, but don't necessarily alway want the booze. Secondly, I would love to say that the industry is more diverse, but it has a long way to go. I would love to see more women and BIPOC-led businesses scale in the industry.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Loving that calling things ‘skinny’ is going out of style.This is definitely a more negative, ‘diet culture’ term associated with just a more conscious way of drinking, and I am excited that people are moving away from it. I always direct people to our recipe page for some good choices. This summer I have been loving our take on the classic julep: pairing gin AVEC Hibiscus & Pomegranate with a little mint!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of KOVAL Distillery
Sonat Birnecker, KOVAL Distillery

Sonat Birnecker
KOVAL Distillery

How is your brand shaking things up? “KOVAL Distillery was among the first wave of craft distilleries in the US, and has grown to be one of the largest completely independent, woman-owned and led craft distilleries, with distribution across the US and over 50 export markets. All of KOVAL’s spirits are organic, kosher and made from local grains from directly-contracted organic farmers in the Midwest. KOVAL uses a process of enzymatic conversion of starches to sugars (common in Japan for fermentation), which is less resource intensive and affords a clean, bright, single-grain flavor, over using malted barley. And we also use other environmental techniques such as the recirculation of cooling water, composting and energy-saving elements.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The spirits industry seems to be moving toward more consolidation on all levels of the industry. Smaller brands are getting bought up by bigger brands, smaller distributors are getting bought up by bigger distributors, and there is a shift toward technology that is seeing a lot of the commerce related to liquor going online (whether wholesalers or retailers). Independent and smaller manufacturers need to remain unique, offer interesting and beautiful spirits, and appeal to their local community to compete, because the competition is getting bigger and stronger.” 

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I am loving our Cranberry Gin in a spritz, whether with just sparkling water and a lime or prosecco—it is our Midwest answer to Italian spritzes. Cheers!”

Photo Credit: McBride Sisters Wine Company
Robin and Andréa McBride, McBride Sisters Wine Company

Robin and Andréa McBride
McBride Sisters Wine Company

How is your brand shaking things up? “When we founded McBride Sisters Wine Company in 2005, we were looking to pursue a passion but also make wines for people we knew the wine industry wasn’t catering to. We’ve since grown to become the largest Black-owned wine brand in the US, making world-class wines in two hemispheres. 

We have also created a space for anyone to grow their knowledge and love of wine with our McBride Certified Wine 101 Wine School, which now has more than 11K members. In 2019 we founded the McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund, a professional development grant program to support women in the wine and spirits industry, in a concerted effort to help close the gender and race gap.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The future of the wine and spirits industry can be a diverse and inclusive one, but there is still a lot of growth and change that needs to happen. When we started out, we didn’t see anyone that looked like us in the business. While the industry has come a long way, there is still a long way to go. We hope to see more women and people of color in leadership roles behind wine and spirit brands, and we’ve made it our core mission as a company to do our part in transforming the industry, leading by example, and cultivating community, one delicious glass of wine at a time.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “We are loving sparkling wine cocktails! They are bright, refreshing and a fun way to showcase the versatility of a wine. They’re ideal for hot summer nights or a Sunday brunch. One of our favorite takes on the wine cocktail is our Oakland 75 with Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut.”

Photo Credit: Curt Saunders
Marva and Myriam Babel, Ode to Babel

Marva and Myriam Babel
Ode to Babel

How is your brand shaking things up? “During the pandemic, like many bars, our main goal was to ensure that we kept our business alive, and stay connected with our community during that rough time. We were one of the first small local bars to quickly pivot and begin ‘to go’ cocktails, complete with garnishes and hand-written notes to our patrons. During that time, we were also feverishly looking for grants and small loans, specifically from larger corporate spirit brands and corporations that we purchased from in volume—however, to our dismay, we realized these brands were not offering small bars/cafés like ours any support. This fueled us to create our own spirit, and we decided to start with Ode to Babel Gin. We are one of very few Black-owned, women-owned and operated spirit brands in the US.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The future of the spirits industry looks much more diverse with budding homegrown legacy brands building their foundation today, specifically women, Black, Brown, POC and/or LGBTQ+ owned. These brands are building from the ground up, with a direct connection to the communities they are serving. There will be a more authentic approach to the industry that is being served. The days of spirit brand loyalty are fading away, and making room for a more nuanced approach to the spirits on shelves, and what patrons are interested in enjoying.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “We love canned cocktails, specifically with premium products. It goes back to smaller spirit brands creating wonderful ready-to-drink options on the go. We’re also into the low- or no-ABV canned mixing options available now. While that may seem counterintuitive coming from a spirits brand, it actually works incredibly well for our industry, as it really elevates the spirit/mixer combo.”

Photo Credit: Dimitri Crowder
Tahiirah Habibi, The Hue Society

Tahiirah Habibi
The Hue Society

How are you shaking things up? “I founded a community-based wine organization called The Hue Society. I def shake things up by taking up space. I am unapologetic about who I am and what I do, while simultaneously (and fashionably) dismantling barriers in the wine industry. I have found the balance between wine and culture. I am true to myself no matter what room I walk in, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I am predicting more that women will lead. I see a spirits industry that will reflect the world we live in. It's inspiring and necessary.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I'm loving wine cocktails! It's the best of both worlds. They are beautiful and delicious too!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Two Sisters Vineyard
Angela Marotta and Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli, Two Sisters Vineyard

Angela Marotta and Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli
Two Sisters Vineyard

How is your brand shaking things up? “At Two Sisters Vineyards, we are focused on producing world-class wines with a commitment to responsible farming practices, unparalleled growing standards, extended barrel aging and small lot production, and as a result, our wines have garnered many accolades and awards.

However the business doesn’t stop at just producing wines. Our winery is a place where those who love and appreciate the finer things in life or looking for an escape can be sure to experience a memorable journey in wine and food. Our team is here to give our guests a thorough education on the wine and our terroir, so guests leave here confident to speak to their favorite wines when entertaining at home or for their own self pleasure when wanting to pair with their food of choice.

We are almost 90% female run and have committed to ensuring all of our team members feel valued and pivotal to the amazing growth in success the winery has achieved; setting a landscape for success so all are determined to be their best selves in their field and work hard.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “As it pertains to wine, we are confident that a larger segment of the younger demographic (25+) will start to appreciate wines as time goes by, so this market will grow. There is a gained sense of pride to buy local, especially where the value and quality is so prevalent.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “We are both loving our Margo Rosé and Unoaked Chardonnay given the season! When not drinking wine, we are both big scotch drinkers (on ice), loving spicy skinny margaritas and clean vodka martinis always with small onions shaken ice cold! As you can see we are not really onto any fruity sweet cocktail trends.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cha McCoy
Cha McCoy, Cha Squared LLC

Cha McCoy
Cha Squared LLC

How are you shaking things up? “I started working in the wine industry 10 years ago. I learned that I was never going to ‘fit in,’ after working hard to get an equitable space at the table. The industry has thrived off of elitist and classist ideals and the gatekeepers who perpetuate them. Since most of my work celebrates underrepresented regions and people in the industry, I have decided to add a brick and mortar to my business to support the work that we do with the wine tasting and dinner series: The Communion. I believe it is essential to educate and promote diverse styles of wine, from people and places that are often overlooked.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I hope the future of wine and spirits includes more consumers supporting and imbibing more locally made wine and spirits brands. Local winemakers and distillers have tremendous potential, especially since the pandemic, restaurants, bars and retailers have looked locally to avoid shipping delays to keep up with consumer demands. Great quality speaks for itself! In addition, I hope that more women and Black and Brown producers are given an opportunity as well to have a place on menus and retail shelves as we look more locally.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Hybrid grapes using local, native grapes are becoming more accepted by sommeliers and retailers, instead of international grape varietals, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Consumers will need to be educated on these grapes, but since climate change is very real, having grapes that are Indigenous to its terroir will help the industry to survive and promote healthier plantings that are more resilient. I believe this will open the doors for more underrepresented wine regions and winemakers to gain recognition.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chandon
Pauline Lhote, Chandon

Pauline Lhote
Head winemaker, Chandon

How is your brand shaking things up? “Chandon is a global community of winemakers who have been crafting exceptional sparkling wines since 1959. With over more than 60 years of excellence, our pioneering spirit has taken us all over the globe—extending from Argentina to California, Brazil, Australia, China and India. Chandon was also one of the first sparkling wineries in the US, and the first French-owned sparkling wine house in Napa, so I am extremely proud to be part of this historic sparkling wine legacy.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “As a global leader in the sparkling wine category, Chandon expects the drive towards premiumization and innovation in sparkling wine to continue into the foreseeable future. We continue to see premium sparkling wines promoting industry growth, with consumers more willing to ‘trade up’ to our terroir-specific wines and elevated offerings. We also expect consumers to continue embracing a new view of bubbles that goes beyond traditional uses and celebratory occasions—becoming their own at-home chefs and mixologists, and enjoying sparkling wines anytime, anywhere.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I am so excited to see the trend towards naturally delicious, ready-to-drink aperitifs and am personally enjoying a new and refined summer spritz experience. Our winemaking team at Chandon Argentina, led by winemaker Ana Paula Bartolucci, took Chandon’s exceptional sparkling wine and added a sophisticated twist: a house-made ‘garden liqueur,’ handcrafted using locally sourced, handpicked Valencia oranges, fresh herbs and spices to create the Chandon Garden Spritz (SRP $21.00). It’s a naturally delicious balance of bubbles, bitters and botanicals with no artificial flavors or colors.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wine Empowered
Victoria James, Cynthia Cheng and Amy Zhou, Wine Empowered

Victoria James, Cynthia Cheng and Amy Zhou
Wine Empowered

How is your brand shaking things up? “Wine Empowered is a non-profit that offers tuition-free wine education to women and BIPOC in the hospitality industry.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “We believe the future of the wine industry is one where those who were previously on the margins of this Old Boy’s Club are brought into the center, where diverse voices can bring unique perspectives and enrich the hospitality industry for the better.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “We love voting with our dollars, and as female sommeliers, we are always trying to buy drinks made by women and BIPOC. We love that there is a trend towards more investment in these circles. We hope to see this sector grow!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of OAX Original
Laura Giraudo, OAX Original

Laura Giraudo
OAX Original

How is your brand shaking things up? “We are an independent company that was born as an art project and evolved into a brand. We focused on the full experience and are not scared of breaking barriers or stereotypes. Probably this disruption is more evident in our bottle—it’s certainly not conventional, it’s unexpected and maybe even provocative. Our mezcales are meant to be experienced, engaging all of your senses and the bottle is the first step of that journey. As a brand, we have a deep connection with art, culture and heritage, and we intend to keep on celebrating this by pushing boundaries, and by supporting our partners and customers alike.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “Very diverse and a little crowded, but interesting. I’m relatively new to this industry, I have just a couple of years under my belt already. I come from the design world,and when we started this company, the amount of female leaders and founders was very discouraging. I can definitely see how this is changing and more women are coming forward because the path is finally being cleared, and the idea of having a woman leading a liquor company is becoming more and more common. I can’t wait for more successful stories to follow.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I’m loving the fact that people, and especially women, are opening their palates beyond cocktails and wine. There’s a full world of flavor profiles waiting to be tasted and enjoyed. Now, straight high-end liquors are making their way onto tables and into homes. I see this as self-care in a way—stopping for a second to enjoy something that is not only delicious, but also tells a story that’s worth telling. Behind each great drink, there’s a lot of work, passion and dedication to bring it to you, and that is becoming more and more appreciated.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sool
Carol Pak, Sool

Carol Pak

How is your brand shaking things up? “My company, Sool, is a provider of premium Korean alcoholic beverages. Asian culture is increasingly gaining a foothold around the world, and Asian-inspired products are emerging in the US with much success. There is almost no presence or awareness of Korean alcohol in the US, despite the uniqueness and drinkability of the products Korea has to offer, and Jinro Soju (Korean distilled liquor) being the best-selling liquor in the world. Merging tradition with accessibility, we are offering the first craft makgeolli and soju-based cocktails in the US.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “As we saw in the beer industry, I believe there will be an expansion of the market as we see entrepreneurs and corporations innovating on the more traditional spirits, and finding inspiration and products from other countries. The brands with the strongest (and differentiated) products, stories and route to market will survive.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I love that consumers are moving towards values-based purchasing, even in the alcohol industry. They care about the quality of the liquid and ingredients, the production process, the founding story, the product story and what a product stands for. This enables entrepreneurs like myself to create products and find a place in the market.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Abisola Whiskey
Abisola Abidemi, Abisola Whiskey

Abisola Abidemi
Abisola Whiskey

How is your brand shaking things up? “Everything about my brand is probably the antithesis of a typical whiskey brand. From the label on the bottle to the blend and age, I've gone against all of the ‘rules’ of whiskey. My goal with Abisola Whiskey was to create a whiskey that celebrates the modern-day whiskey drinker. The general rule of thumb with whiskey has always been ‘the longer you age it, the better in quality and taste it will be.’ That's just not true. There are some aged whiskies out there that just didn't work for my palette and there are some younger whiskies that taste incredible. It all depends on the person. Well, my whiskey is young but rich in quality and tastes incredible. There's a customer out there that enjoys the smooth taste, the notes of vanilla and waffle cone and the malted chocolate finish.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “With more women spirits producers/distillers, more women-owned brands and more women of color a part of the industry, I'd say the future is as beautiful and diverse as it has ever been. And the fact that the spirits industry is not shying away from discussing current events or creating events that serve to educate on several matters. The spirits industry has a rich history, with most of the brands having been legacy brands, but now we're all creating our own legacies, doing things are way, providing space for others and allowing each other to be as unique as we like, and I am so proud to be a part of this bright future in spirits.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I love that classic cocktails are being recreated with different twists—different or unique flavors added to an Old Fashion or rare spirits at the base of Negronis. With respect to the original, everyone's trying to add their own take or flavor to it. And as an honorable mention, putting drinks/cocktails in the caprisun-like bags because as someone who went through three caprisuns a day when I was younger, this takes me back.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Coconut Cartel
Dani Zig, Coconut Cartel

Dani Zig
Coconut Cartel

How is your brand shaking things up? “Coconut Cartel is here to shake up the rum aisle! I grew up in Central America where rum is revered as a top-shelf spirit. It's a huge part of our culture and cuisine. At Coconut Cartel, we're on a mission to take consumers on an adventure to expand their perception of rum and introduce them to new flavors and expressions unlike anything they've ever had before! Our rum is made with the highest quality locally grown sugarcane and aged in barrels to acquire the oaky notes we often taste in other dark spirits like bourbon. What really sets our Coconut Cartel Añejo Rum apart from all other rums, and all spirits for that matter, is our unique ‘proofing’ process. We use fresh, locally sourced coconut water to ‘proof’ our aged rum blend from ‘cask strength’ to ‘bottle strength.’ This innovative process makes our rum insanely smooth and easy to sip on its own.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “We're going to see a lot more innovative, independent, small-batch products come to market because emerging brands now have access to more support and infrastructure to get their businesses off the ground. Ten years ago, it was virtually impossible for a small player to launch a liquor brand due all the red tape and lack of viable go-to-market strategies. However, within the last few years, there has been a proliferation of launchpads and services specifically designed to assist new brands in starting, growing and scaling businesses in the liquor industry.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I'm really into Mexican tepache. It's a delicious gut-friendly beverage that also mixes great with rum!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Avaline
Jessica Blumenthal, VP of Brand & Innovation at Avaline

Jessica Blumenthal
VP of Brand & Innovation at Avaline

How is your brand shaking things up? “Avaline aims to raise the standard of what goes into your wine glass by offering a range of wines that are made with organic grapes and little else. The idea for the company came out of a question: ‘What is actually in our wine and is it the best version of what we could be putting in our bodies?’ Well, it turns out it's difficult to find organically farmed wine at the grocery store, and there are a number of additives that are used in winemaking that aren't what our founders expected, including sugars, colors and concentrates. Avaline starts with organic grapes and eliminates all of the unwanted extras, while disclosing everything used in our winemaking process right on the bottle. We also aim to make the category accessible to more consumers. Wine has a reputation for being a bit elitist and hard to understand, that's why we keep our portfolio of wines very simple and tell you exactly what it tastes like right on the front of the botte.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “In the near future, you're going to see more brands disclosing nutritional information, ingredients and sourcing information. Many people don't even notice that this information isn't disclosed in these categories, but awareness is picking up and companies will need to respond.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I am loving a nice chilled orange wine this summer. I think it's almost made the jump from trend to forever favorite.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Doña Vega Mezcal
Sonya Vega Auvray, Doña Vega Mezcal

Sonya Vega Auvray
Doña Vega Mezcal

How is your brand shaking things up? “First off, this is definitely a male-dominated industry, and us being an all-female, minority brand is setting us apart there. Second, mezcal is a growing category with many still getting educated and knowing the difference between tequila vs. mezcal. We bring to market one that is both playful and more ‘approachable’ at first sip and has been widely awarded for it quality and craftsmanship.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I see an increased consumer shift towards craft and quality, however the industry is increasingly shaping up to be dominated by large multinationals, making it harder for privately owned artisanal brands like us to stand a chance... especially being female and minority owned.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Mezcal is the trending spirit across the board.  There was a recent article on Bloomberg noting that Americans will consume more agave (mezcal and tequila) over whiskey. With this, I feel many are trying mezcal in a variety of cocktails. My personal favorite is a Mezcal Negroni, and what I find trending is a Bloody Mary with mezcal.”

Photo Credit: Noa Griffel
Jordan Salcito, Drink Ramona

Jordan Salcito
Drink Ramona

How is your brand shaking things up? “We're women run, owned and founded. I believe we're the only beverage company with a global footprint that can say that! We are also really committed to our Italian production and are very proud to be able to make wines and spritzes from organically-grown Italian grapes and Sicilian citrus.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “The future of the spirits industry has to take a long-term view and invest in our planet by using organic ingredients, sustainable farming and production methods—and making products that actually taste good and rely on quality instead of fluffy marketing speak. I hope that we’re helping to pave the way!”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Aside from the ever-in-fashion great glass of wine (Chablis is a summer go-to, as are Galician whites), I'm all about a good spritz!”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lorenza
Michèle Ouellet and Melinda Kearney, Lorenza

Michèle Ouellet and Melinda Kearney

How is your brand shaking things up? “In the mostly male-dominated, corporate alcohol beverage world, Lorenza is a company run by us, a mother and a daughter. Female lead winemakers make up only 14% of the US wine industry, and female wine owners account for only 6% of the industry. We’ve been pioneers of True Rosé that we make by hand since 2008. We’re proud to know and work with our growers who farm organically and sustainably in Lodi, California.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “It is our hope that more people follow their curiosity and learn to value pure hand-crafted products made with integrity by people who care for their place on earth, equality and their employees.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Grower bubbles, chillable reds and our favorite for summer, Michele’s Sbagliato Spritz.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Camila Soriano
Camila Soriano, Volley

Camila Soriano

How is your brand shaking things up? “Team Volley is on a mission to bring ingredient transparency to the alcohol category. Our three simple ingredients are each deliberate and have a story behind them: we use organic single-strength juice (meaning not from concentrate)—this is as close as you can get on a mass production level to squeezing a lime and immediately freezing the juice—carbonated purified water and 100% blue agave tequila. We are proud to be a part of the additive-free movement, using top shelf tequila that can stand on its own next to some of the best brands out there.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “There is no doubt that tequila is going to be the largest selling liquor in the US, the question is when—and we think sooner than the predictions. Lastly, e-commerce is growing and the lawmakers are waking up. It’s going to play a large role in how liquor gets into people’s hands, and that is probably the most interesting and drastic change we will see in the future. We are excited.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Being able to find additive-free, 100% agave tequila almost anywhere. A lot of people are getting educated and are starting to request the good stuff, which means it is more accessible. I love trying new tequilas out there and really enjoy seeing smaller producers we know in Mexico gain traction in the US!”

Photo Credit: Alex Aristei
Martha Stoumen

Martha Stoumen
Martha Stoumen

How is your brand shaking things up? “We’re a small, majority female-owned and operated business, and this fact alone sets us apart from most of the bottles you’ll find in your local wine shop! My background is in environmental studies and farming, so we don’t take shortcuts when it comes to farming and winemaking. In a region that’s dominated by Chardonnay, Pinot and Cabernet Sauvignon, I choose to work with unexpected Mediterranean varietals that thrive in Northern California’s shifting climate. Prioritizing soil health, vine longevity and fruit quality in the vineyards ensures that our grapes come into the winery with their full complement of complexity. We use a light hand in the cellar to let Mother Nature do her thing, rather than craft a formulated product. Each season, our customers and club members discover these inviting expressions of our harvest through limited seasonal releases.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I think the future of the spirits industry looks more environmentally responsible, equitable, and supportive of small producers.  While Martha Stoumen Wines has grown in tandem with the natural wine movement, this business is a part of a larger movement towards greater transparency and environmental responsibility in what we consume. If you’ve ever made a decision to buy grass-fed beef, fair-trade coffee, cage-free eggs, craft beer or any qualitative product, then you are already part of the natural wine movement.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I love showcasing a wider spectrum of what’s possible with grapes. Beyond our small-batch wines and mainstay cuveés, we’ve produced a muscatel (fortified wine), a handful of piquettes (low-ABV sparklers made from pressed grape skins and stems) and a natural wine spritzer (grape based spirit, meyer lemon juice and bubbles). These beverages provide me with endless creative outlets. They blur the boundaries between familiar classifications and integrate contemporary cravings with traditional techniques. More importantly, they allow us to stick to our natural ethos without wasting anything on the vine or in the cellar.”

Photo Credit: Studio Carré Photographie
Hilary Cocalis, Sipwell Wine Co.

Hilary Cocalis
Sipwell Wine Co.

How is your brand shaking things up? “At Sipwell Wine Company, we're challenging the status quo for the wine industry on multiple levels: we're putting award-winning wine in an unconventional, more sustainable format (cans). We're also cutting out the middle man by shipping wine directly to customers. Lastly, we're a woman-owned and Black-owned winery (fewer than 1% of American wineries are Black-owned), and we're out to make high-quality wine accessible and fun for a younger, more diverse wine drinker.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “It's more inclusive, both within the industry and in the customers it appeals to. And it's more sustainable, embracing unconventional packaging methods, utilizing different distribution channels and emphasizing sustainable ingredients and production methods.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I am loving the new options for lower-alcohol wines, either in wine that's produced at around 10-11% (or less), or the creative spins on wine cocktails and spritzes that are low ABV.”

Photo Credit: Walking Eagle Photography
Brittany Merrill Yeng, Skrewball

Brittany Merrill Yeng

How is your brand shaking things up? “Skrewball has always sought to shake up the industry by bringing novel offerings. When we introduced peanut butter whiskey to the market many people thought it should not exist—either we were ruining peanut butter or we were ruining whiskey. But, just as we have fallen in love with the unexpected combination, so has America.  We want to bring that same fresh approach to everything that we do.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “More and more independent brands like Skrewball will be joining the market. My husband and I took the leap and started this business with no formal industry experience. What I thought was our greatest weakness, has actually been our greatest strength. We were willing to try things that go against conventional wisdom and connect with customers in different ways. I hope to see other small companies like us bring new concepts to the market.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “People are active and want a drink that compliments their lifestyle without making any tradeoffs in taste. We are seeing a rise in spirits-based pre-mixed drinks.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pomp & Whimsy
Dr. Nicola Nice, Pomp & Whimsy

Dr. Nicola Nice
Pomp & Whimsy

How is your brand shaking things up? “Pomp & Whimsy is on a mission to rewrite the history of the cocktail with women at the center. It also means a collaborative mission with other women founders to bring more gender diversity to the back bar—plus, elevating women’s role as the chief entertainers and chief mixologists of the home with our award-winning gins.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? "Firstly, I would like to think that one day, the future of the spirits industry will look more like the diversity of the consumer base that it serves. Secondly, it will be an industry where the responsibility that comes with consuming alcohol will be tightly woven into the DNA of every brand and consumer touchpoint, and not just bolted on as a legal afterthought. And thirdly, it will be an industry where entrepreneurialism and innovation will flourish within a fundraising ecosystem that supports and rewards hard work, passion and great ideas versus celebrity status. We have a long way to go, but I think there are steps in the right direction."

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “The last three to five years, we’ve seen a big push towards ready-to-drink cocktails and hard seltzers that is being driven by convenience, simplicity and a reaction to the overly fussy and borderline elitist craft cocktail movement of the past 20 years. But the truth is you don’t have to be a bartender mixologist to know how to mix a great drink. I think the future is in simple drinks flawlessly executed with a personal touch.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Halo 7 Craft Rum
Ashley Jackson and JeNai Stanley, Halo 7 Craft Rum

Ashley Jackson and JeNai Stanley
Halo 7 Craft Rum

How is your brand shaking things up? “With roots in the Caribbean and avid rum drinkers, we sought to develop a rum that honored our ancestors and built on the craft spirit movement. Halo 7 is a premium craft rum exquisitely distilled to perfection and flavored with natural vanilla, caramel and coconut flavors. Unlike other rums, which are typically mixed with juices, Halo 7 stands alone and is meant to be a sipping rum. Mimicking the experience of a premium whisky or cognac, Halo 7 bursts with richness in flavor of an aged spirit, without the harsh burn typically experienced with spirits.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? As barriers to entry loosen, our hope is that it looks more like us and that we continue to see an increase in the people of color at the helm. We also think there will continue to be a proliferation of craft spirits that encapsulate the creativity and innovation of their creators.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? People have definitely been embracing cocktails with prosecco or champagne, so, of course. our favorite is a Halo 7 mimosa. We call it the Breezy Billionaire: it’s a shot of Halo 7, filled with your favorite bubbles (prosecco, cava, champagne) and an optional splash of pineapple juice.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Inspiro Tequila
Mara Smith, Inspiro Tequila

Mara Smith
Inspiro Tequila

How is your brand shaking things up? “Inspiro Tequila was born with a vision to redefine what it means to enjoy tequila, by crafting a clean, smooth and sippable 100% Blue Weber Agave tequila without any additives. The goal was not just to create a one-of-a-kind tequila, it was also to bring another female voice to the spirits industry. Women are a part of every aspect of Inspiro Tequila's process from having the legendary master distiller, Ana Maria Romero Mena, meticulously handcraft our tequila to the women responsible for getting it on the shelves. Inspiro is proudly owned, operated and created by women.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “We see trends for consumers seeking ‘better for you’ drink options, premiumization and innovation. Our thoughtful female consumers care about what they eat and drink and the brands they support. They are seeking quality products with transparency about the ingredients in those products. In addition, consumers are looking for higher quality spirits and the ultra-premium category of tequila is the fastest growing.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “We love a simple spritz. This drink highlights the taste profile of tequila by using just fresh, seasonal fruit and topping it off with soda. This refreshing summer drink is what we’re sipping on.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of YOLA Mezcal
Yola Jimenez, YOLA Mezcal

Yola Jimenez
YOLA Mezcal

How is your brand shaking things up? “YOLA Mezcal was founded by Lykke Li, Gina Correll Aglietti, and myself on the principles of respecting traditional mezcal production, while cultivating modernized economic and social autonomy for Oaxacan women. In 2016, we set out to share my grandfather's recipe, unchanged since 1971, with a mission to provide economic independence for women across borders. 

I think what sets us apart is that we care deeply about every part of the process, from the ideas to production to where our product ends up. We do everything by hand in Oaxaca, respecting the traditional mezcal making methods, as well as the environment and our community. We created a system that directly pays the women who work with us to promote economic independence and recognition.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “Sadly, the industry is still very male-dominated with few companies having control of all their distribution channels. But consumers have become more aware about how they want their products to be produced, and they care about the people that make them and how it affects their bodies and the planet. This has led to smaller companies being able to self-distribute and to keep creating quality products. I hope and trust that this approach will continue to grow.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “I love that the michelada, which is one of my favorite drinks, has started to become popular in places outside of Mexico. It made me happy to see a few people having them in New York and Paris. The best way to have one is with a mezcal.”

Photo Credit: Talea
Tara Hakinson, Talea

Tara Hakinson

How is your brand shaking things up? “We are NYC's first fully female-founded brewery! We specialize in sour beers brewed with fruit, drawing inspiration from cocktails, wine and our favorite foods (think: Strawberry Colada Sour brewed with strawberry, pineapple and coconut flakes). Our beers are a great gateway into craft beer, especially via our beer cocktails. Our most popular cocktail is the Gin Crush made with locally distilled Greenhook Gin, our Raspberry Mango Crush Gose (a salty-sour ale) and lemon. It's refreshing and tart yet still gin-forward.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “Ease and convenience. We see this happening whether customers are buying a bulk cocktail to-go for drinking on a picnic blanket or seeking easy but delicious recipes to make at home.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Anything spicy! We love waking up the palate. Our Haba Haba Splash Sour Ale is brewed with mango, key lime and habanero for a kick. We'll be releasing a barrel-aged Spicy Hot Chocolate Stout aged in bourbon barrels this fall.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Green Owl Vodka
Carmen Sandor, Green Owl Vodka

Carmen Sandor
Green Owl Vodka

How is your brand shaking things up? “Our brand was created out of a passion. We spent three years developing the recipe, and because of my passion for fitness, I was very committed to using the best ingredients possible in Green Owl. What you see on the shelf today is one of the smoothest vodkas on the market and the only green tea-flavored vodka in Canada. We are lower ABV, vegan and use all natural ingredients and real cane sugar.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I really see more and more consumers having better taste, and although alcohol of any kind is never going to be 100% healthy, the reality is most people drink. So, why not pick the higher quality product? Just like we have seen in food goods, more and more consumers want to enjoy something that tastes good, but doesn’t compromise on quality.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Everything is tea flavored these days. For us, it’s not a trend or the thing of the moment. We are the first. I drink matcha and green tea and saw it as a better alternative to the overly sugary, fruity products on the market. We are happy that now more people are catching on to how amazing tea-flavored products can be—we have always believed in it, it was just a matter of time.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Darling Mimosa
Kim Tarlo and Cait Patrick, Darling Mimosa

Kim Tarlo and Cait Patrick
Darling Mimosa

How is your brand shaking things up? “Darling Mimosa is all about celebrating life on the bright side. To us as a brand, that means embodying eternal optimism and celebrating everyday life. As founders, we are close friends who get a huge kick out of each other, so I think the fun we have permeates from the brand as well. As far as what we do, we create delicious mimosas made with real juice and local wine, and put them into gorgeously bright and convenient cans.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “Female. More and more women are entering the industry and doing their thing. Beverage has been so male dominated since its inception that it is so incredible to see so many talented women start beverage companies. And because of that, we are seeing new perspectives on drinks and the marketing that supports them. We are excited to be a part of this trend and to see where this divergence goes.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Purpose and creativity. It’s not enough to just be a liquid, you need to have way more substance to your brand and what you represent. It’s about how you package it and tell its story. People are demanding it, so brands need to deliver.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lobos 1707
Dia Simms, Lobos 1707

Dia Simms
Lobos 1707

How is your brand shaking things up? “We are minority owned and woman led. Our company is over 50% women and over 60% ethnically diverse, and our success is because of that diversity, not despite it. All of our expressions, our Joven, Reposado, Extra Añejo and Mezcal are finished in sherry casks. We were the first to bring this methodology forward to the mainstream in 2020. It brings out the beauty in our liquid profile. Lastly, we have an incredible pack (“lobos” means “wolves” in Spanish). We work with an amazing group of people, including LeBron James as our lead investor, our two master distillers from Spain and Mexico, the jimadors in Mexico and our incredible founder, Diego Osorio. It's more than a brand—it’s a movement!”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? Beyond tequila, agave spirits at large are a growing, booming business. Tequila is finally getting the respect it deserves. We know the industry is ripe for growth. Seeing the incredibly positive response from the mixology community about Lobos 1707 has been so inspiring, and we’re so excited for what’s to come in the future for the brand.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? A Smoky Paloma with Lobos 1707 Mezcal.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wölffer Estates
Joey Wölffer, Wölffer Estates

Joey Wölffer
Wölffer Estate Vineyard

How is your brand shaking things up? “We don’t limit ourselves to what is on trend or what we feel like we should do. Rather, we try to think outside the box with our production innovation and partnerships. We’re working on a cider that is unlike anything on the market—just really stuff that we know our customers will love.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “More women. From bartenders to winemakers, I think it’s important that we support one another and start to change the way this industry is shaped.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “We’re dipping our toes into the world of sake. It’s exciting and new for us. We are really looking forward to sharing what we’ve come up with.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noble 33
Carla Lorenzo Corporate beverage director of Noble 33

Carla Lorenzo
Corporate beverage director of
Noble 33 (brands include Casa Madera and Toca Madera)

How is your brand shaking things up? “Our motto is ‘every last detail’ and we are very much driven by that in everything that we do. When you visit any one of our venues, you can see it everywhere. From the ambiance and interior design, to the smallest detail in a garnish, you can bet every detail is something we have thoughtfully vetted out. We also have an us vs. us mentality. We are always challenging ourselves to evolve in all aspects, whether it's re-imagining our menus or changing our training programs to take the guest experience to another level.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “I think the spirits industry is becoming much more inclusive and will continue to evolve in that direction in the coming years. During the initial craft cocktail movement, there were almost no women present in any aspect of the industry, it was very much a ‘boys club.’ Now, there are women dominating every aspect of the market and are also mentoring the next generation of tastemakers and educators.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “The amount of high-quality non-alcoholic beverage offerings coming into the market and showing up on cocktail menus. When designing a cocktail menu, I always include a zero-proof section in which the mocktails are on the same level as full-proof cocktails in every aspect. Even in the retail space, there are entire stores devoted to zero ABV items, and the variety of products available are endless. I can’t wait to see how it evolves in the next five years.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Heaven Hill Brands
Kate Latts, Incoming co-president of Heaven Hill Brands

Kate Latts
Incoming co-president of Heaven Hill Brands

How is your brand shaking things up? “Heaven Hill is an enduring, family-owned and led business first established in 1935. We just recently announced the succession plan to elevate the third generation of the company. I am excited to step into the role of co-president on September 1st, not only to continue the Shapira family legacy, but also as the first female president of Heaven Hill. For the past 20 years, I’ve navigated a very male-dominated industry and look forward to continuing to be a role model for the up-and-coming female leaders both in the company and in our family. I’m also passionate about our continued efforts in the diversity, equity and inclusion space, as well as environmental sustainability. From our culture to our partners and neighbors, we want to create thriving communities for generations to come.”

What does the future of the spirits industry look like? “As consumer appreciation for brand quality and heritage increases, so does their desire for more premium products across all categories. We saw the emergence of e-commerce through COVID, which continues to be an interesting space as we see greater accessibility to brands in a responsible way. We will continue to see increased diversity amongst the leadership in the industry as more focus is given to recruiting and elevating diverse perspectives.”

What’s a drink trend you’re loving right now? “Consumers are leaning more toward spirit-based seltzers within the ready-to-drink category, with this segment driving some of the largest growth. These spirits-based seltzer products often act as a trade-up alternative to the plethora of lower-priced and malt-based options.”

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