As March is Women’s History Month, we at Speakeasy continue to celebrate the vital role of women in American history, especially in beverage alcohol.
Women have shaped history throughout the entire drinks industry in various sectors of the industry, including not only production, but also in management, sales, and marketing. Today, I continue to see females all over the globe push our industry to be more inclusive, innovative and profitable.
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, for the past two decades, women-owned businesses have been the fastest growing segment in the U.S. economy, growing at twice the rate of all other businesses. More specifically, the Women of the Vine & Spirits organization cited that companies with more women board members experience greater financial performance such as 52% higher return on equity, 42% higher return on sales and 2x higher return on invested capital.
Despite these statistics, women have not had the easiest experience in our largely male-dominated industry.
In my own experience, when I entered the industry and early on in my career, it was difficult to find female leaders to look up to. However, I feel fortunate that I am now part of a company that not only works with female-led brands, but also champions for the empowerment of women across the global beverage industry. It’s my hope that, together, we can all continue to build this incredible industry through spreading knowledge, serving as mentors, and creating opportunities for young women entering the workforce.
When speaking to a couple of female-led brand members, Nora Ganley-Roper, Co-Founder, Lost Lantern Whiskey shared her journey saying, “Being a woman in the spirits industry, especially as the co-founder of a whiskey company, is definitely not always easy. At any whiskey event I attend, I have at least one person try to explain what whiskey is to me or ignore me and talk only to my male co-founder. So, I feel so lucky that there are so many amazing women making delicious products across the spirits industry.”
Though we as a global drinks community have a long way to go to create a more inclusive and diverse industry, female founders have continued to be resilient and large alcohol conglomerates have rallied behind them. In 2018, Constellation Brands pledged to invest at least $100 million in start-up beverage companies led by females by 2028 as part of its Focus on Female Founders campaign.
Recognizing this shift in our sector, Nora added, “It feels like we are at a tipping point when it comes to redefining the stereotypical whiskey drinker which is incredibly exciting! I'm looking forward to the day when I am simply a founder and whiskey drinker because the female modifier is no longer required!”
Other female owned brands, such as Lynxx Spirits, have seen the industry starting course correct as well. Rachel Svoboda, Founder of Lynxx Spirits explained, “Women have long been involved in the spirits industry in various ways—they just haven't been celebrated.That's changed in the last decade. Women around the world are owning alcohol companies, distilleries, and producing some of the finest spirits in the world.”
At Speakeasy, we aim to help brands succeed in a highly regulated industry. We stand with the women in our sector and support their success in any way we can. We are committed to shining a spotlight on these incredible women continuing to shape the industry for decades to come.
This post was written by Alexandra Beck, Vice President of Partnerships, Speakeasy Co. She has been in the Wine & Spirits industry for over a decade and has led Brand & Business Management for leading alcohol companies. Alex joined the Speakeasy team in August 2020 and has been an integral part in the company’s success to date.