Celebrating Women in the Industry

By Alexandra Beck
Vice President of Partnerships, Speakeasy Co.

As March is Women’s History Month, we at Speakeasy continue to celebrate thevital role of women in American history, especially in beverage alcohol. 

Women have shaped history throughout theentire drinks industry in various sectors of the industry, including not only production, but also inmanagement, sales, and marketing. Today, I continue to see females all over theglobe 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 growingsegment in the U.S. economy, growing at twice the rate of all other businesses.More specifically, the Women of the Vine & Spiritsorganization cited that companies with more women board members experiencegreater financial performance such as 52% higher return on equity, 42% higherreturn on sales and 2x higher return on invested capital. 

Despite these statistics, women havenot had the easiest experience in our largely male-dominated industry. 

In my own experience, when I enteredthe industry and early on in my career, it was difficult to find female leadersto look up to. However, I feel fortunate that I am now part of a company thatnot only works with female-led brands, but also champions for the empowermentof women across the global beverage industry. It’s my hope that, together, wecan all continue to build this incredible industry through spreading knowledge,serving as mentors, and creating opportunities for young women entering theworkforce.

When speaking to a couple offemale-led brand members, Nora Ganley-Roper, Co-Founder, Lost Lantern Whiskey shared herjourney saying, “Being a woman in the spirits industry, especially as theco-founder of a whiskey company, is definitely not always easy. At any whiskeyevent I attend, I have at least one person try to explain what whiskey is to meor ignore me and talk only to my male co-founder. So, I feel so lucky thatthere are so many amazing women making delicious products across the spiritsindustry.” 

Though we as a global drinkscommunity have a long way to go to create a more inclusive and diverseindustry, female founders have continued to be resilient and large alcoholconglomerates have rallied behind them. In 2018, Constellation Brands pledged to invest at least $100million in start-up beverage companies led by females by 2028 as part of itsFocus on Female Founders campaign. 

Recognizing this shift in our sector,Nora added, “It feels like we are at a tipping point when it comes toredefining the stereotypical whiskey drinker which is incredibly exciting! I'mlooking forward to the day when I am simply a founder and whiskey drinkerbecause the female modifier is no longer required!”

Other female owned brands, such as Lynxx Spirits, have seen theindustry starting course correct as well. Rachel Svoboda, Founder of LynxxSpirits explained, “Women have long been involved in the spirits industry in variousways—they just haven't been celebrated.That's changed in the last decade. Womenaround the world are owning alcohol companies, distilleries, and producing someof the finest spirits in the world.” 

At Speakeasy, we aim to help brandssucceed in a highly regulated industry. We stand with the women in our sectorand support their success in any way we can. We are committed to shining aspotlight on these incredible women continuing to shape the industry fordecades 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 decadeand has led Brand & Business Management for leading alcohol companies. Alexjoined the Speakeasy team in August 2020 and has been an integral part in thecompany’s success to date.