Program Title: Whiskey Women
Guest: Fred Minnick
Program Date: January 8th, 2014
Location: National Arts Club
The stereotype of the ascot wearing, whiskey-drinking gentleman is well established. But as Fred Minnick, author of Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey, tells it, the spirits those mythical gents drank were developed by women. Minnick is a writer based in Louisville, Kentucky, whose work has appeared in Whisky Magazine and Whisky Advocate, and is the Bourbon Authority for the Kentucky Derby. He regaled the audience with the colorful and little-known history of women who established liquor techniques, culture and tastes as we know it today. It was women who also invented beer and distillation in early Mesopotamia. As he described some colorful tales through the early years and into the rowdy bootlegging days of prohibition, Minnick documented how women have long distilled, marketed, and owned spirits companies, including such iconic brands as Bushmills, Laphroaig and Maker’s Mark.
The reception that preceded the talk illustrated that the trend of women in the whiskey business is still alive. Female brewers from three local New York distilleries poured tastings of their spirits: Bridget Firtle Owney’s Rum, Nicole Austin of Kings County Distillery, and Bianca Miraglia of Uncouth Vermouth. Sweet and savory tastes of compatible foods were offered including Maple Candied Bacon.