In what was once an industry dominated by men, many women paved the way for others, and today they continue to fizzle into every aspect of the alcohol beverage industry. We at Toast!, a woman owned company, celebrate and thank these ladies for never listening to the voices that tried to hold them back. Here are just a few of the women in our industry we would like call attention to, not only today, but everyday. We are featuring items by these women, as well as many others, owned or crafted by our fellow females in the field. Please stop in for a more detailed list of all our products that are woman owned, distilled or crafted and drink up the equality!
Marianne Eaves-Master Distiller at Castle & Key Frankfurt, Kentucky
As many industry professionals questioned if Marianne had the right to take the title of Master Distiller, the first woman in history to do so, she stepped up and is slaying it at what she calls her "fairy tale job." Castle & Key is known for their bourbon, but they have an incredible vodka and gin as well that you will consistently find on the shelves at Toast! The bourbon industry is very insular, largely ran by white men with legacies handed down generation to generation. Marianne ruffled feathers when she accepted the role of master distiller after receiving a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Louisville, followed by five years at Brown-Forman, the company behind whiskey brands such as: Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, and Jack Daniels. There, she climbed from intern to master taster, mentored by master distiller Chris Morrison. The rest, as they say, is history, as she will now go down as the first female in history to receive the honorary title of Kentucky bourbon's master distiller.
Marilena Barbera- Winemaker and Owner of Cantine Barbera Menfi, Agrigento • Sicily - Italy
Marilena produces her wines using only organic farming and natural winemaking. She chooses to only work with spontaneous fermentation and non-invasive wine practices in order to respect the native grape varietals and the unique land and soil from which they come. If ever you have the opportunity to meet Ms. Marilena Barbera she will most likely greet you with a large smile and bright eyes, which light up even brighter as she speaks about the art of her craft. A third generation winemaker in her family, she still grows the experimental varietals her father chose over 30 years ago, but adds to them the grape varieties known well in the region. Her white wines are vibrant, with zestful salinity, and her reds are big, round, and juicy. They explode on your palate with notes of the soil and sea of the area. To love is to drink Marilena Barbera's Nero D'Avola, which can be found on the shelves at Toast! this very moment. Perhaps tonight is the night you prepare a steamy pot of bolognese and open a bottle of her Nero d'Avola, only to be transported to Sicily in your mind, spirit and taste.
Brigid, Moira, Roisin and Marie-Therese O'Reilly Nomen Wine Newburg, Oregon
The sisters who started a winery by women, for women (that's ok, men can drink it too!) The girls grew up helping their parents do it all in the family-owned winery, Owen Roe, started by their parents in the 1980's. Their parents instilled the value that women can do anything and the girls took it to heart. They did everything from pulling weeds, planting vines, sorting grapes, lab analysis, running the tasting rooms and selling the wine. They took this knowledge and ran with it, creating the ground-breaking sustainable Nomen Winery, a sly nod that there are no men in the creation of the brand. Contained in the ground-breaking, low carbon footprint, PET plastic bottle there is spectacular juice, a black sheep idea in the mainstream landscape of the Oregon wine world. The bottle they use has 77% less carbon emission than glass bottles, and contains no hormone disrupters, so, no health issues, and no mood swings. Here, here sisters! A wine we can hike with, take to the pool, the park, drink at home, embrace equality and not get moody! Drink up women of the world! Thank you O'Reilly sisters for your ingenious business idea!
Virginia Willcock Vasse Felix Margaret River, Australia
As a teenager, Virginia saw the happiness and joy wine brought her parents and their friends after a long, hard days work in their small family vineyard. Fast-forward several years, and now Virginia is the chief winemaker behind some of Australia's most widely awarded wines. She has driven the revolutionary development of wild yeast fermentation in their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. She's quoted as saying "Make the wines you love to drink." “I loved the idea of growing fruit, and then turning it into something that could be more beautiful and would make people happy.” A regular on our new-world Cabernet Sauvignon rack, you will find the Vasse Felix very reasonably priced, especially knowing the accolades it has received.
Melly Barajas La Gritonia Reposado Tequila Valle de Guadalupe, Jalisco Mexico
From clothing designer to business owner and distiller. Melly fought her way into the world of tequila, literally knocking on doors to find those who would teach her. Once she broke her way through those closed doors she went to work making tequila where she found she loved the smell, taste and the industry. She had found her new passion, profession and her home. She eventually opened her own distillery, Raza Azteca, being one of only 8 or 9 female distillers out of the 79 producers of tequila at the time. Raza Azteca produces 100 percent tequila, which is not mixed with sugar or flavors, for three in-house brands, as well as for other companies, such as La Gritona. She only uses mature agave of 9 to 10 years, and the pinas must mature in the iron-rich red soil of the local Jalisco highlands. Not only is La Gritonia produced by a woman distiller, but Melly also only employs women, making it a 100% woman-owned and ran company. Wether it's in a margarita, neat, or on the rocks, we can say Salud! to Melly, her devotion to her craft, and to other women in the industry with each sip of her meticulously crafted tequila. We've received word her blanco is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it to hit our shelves. The reposado is regular staple found in 750ml bottles as well as in 375ml format.