Cheers to the Women Behind Your Toast

At midnight we'll bid farewell to 2020 and ring in 2021! This New Year's Eve, raise a toast to the women behind the liquid libations in your glass.

Raise a Glass to Women

Here are some of the incredible women behind your favorite brands.

Joy Spence - Appleton Estate

You can't talk about women taking the spirits world by storm without mentioning Joy Spence. Spence was the first woman in the world to earn the title of Master Blender, the position she still holds today at Appleton Estate. She joined the Jamaican rum brand in 1981 as the Chief Chemist before taking on her current position in 1997. In 2018, she received the National Medal for Science and Technology, the first woman to be awarded this distinction in Jamaica. The rum is some of the finest aged rum available and is made with estate-grown sugar cane and limestone spring water. The Appleton Estate Signature Blend has aromas of tropical fruit and vanilla. The palate showcases the rich, salted caramel flavors with a long, oaky finish. Cocktail lovers should try it in a daiquiri with fresh lime and simple syrup.

You can't talk about women taking the spirits world by storm without mentioning Joy Spence | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Campari Group)

Melanie & Lizzie Asher - Macchu Pisco

In 2006, Melanie Asher and her little sister, Lizzie, started Macchu Pisco. In the mid-aughts, many Americans weren't familiar with Pisco, a Peruvian white brandy. Their efforts put Pisco on the map and earned them the 2015 Pioneer of the Year award at Tales of the Cocktail, an annual spirits industry trade conference. They're also the first women to found a Pisco export business. The nose smells of wine (which makes sense since it's made from grapes), grapefruit, and more subtle savory notes. The taste is dry and grassy. A pisco sour is an excellent way to experience this spirit for the first time.

Alice Paillard - Bruno Paillard

The male-dominated Champagne industry famously had its glass ceiling shattered by the Widow Clicquot, but women are still keeping business bubbling to this day. Alice Paillard became co-manager of the Bruno Paillard Champagne family estate in 2007. She later became a member of La Transmission, a 10-woman initiative looking to inspire the next generation of female cellar masters and CEOs in the Champagne industry. The Paillard vineyards use slow and sustainable viticulture practices to make their wines and their Premiere Cuvee smells of grapefruit and red currant. The palate has flavors of almond and toasted bread with a clean finish.

Ntsiki Biyela - Aslina Wines

Before she had ever tasted wine, Ntsiki Biyela applied for a scholarship to study winemaking at the University of Stellenboch. Now, she's the first Black female winemaker in South Africa. Inspired by her grandmother, Biyela started Aslina Wines in 2016. The brand is renowned for its world-class wines as well as Biyela's commitment to the future of South African winemaking. She sits on the board of directors of the Pinotage Youth Development Academy that provides industry training to young winemakers throughout the country. The Aslina cabernet sauvignon has a bold palate and tannins with hints of cigar box and dark fruit.

Before she had ever tasted wine, Ntsiki Biyela applied for a scholarship to study winemaking at the University of Stellenboch | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Aslina Wines)

Eilise Lane - Scarlet Lane Brewing

Eilise Lane was a homebrewer for years before getting her degree from the American Brewers Guild. In 2014, Scarlet Lane Brewing was born. There are now several locations throughout Indiana and, as head brewer and CEO, Lane has made a name for herself with stouts. Her brews are often named after literary characters, a nod to her love of reading. Her brews have been dubbed the "official beer of horror" because of their spooky labels and the brewery's macabre events calendar. Lane's flagship beer, the Dorian Espresso Stout, has notes of chocolate, lightly roasted malts, espresso, and an approachable creaminess.

Jen Cuesta, Betsy Lay, & Kate Power - Lady Justice Brewing

Jen Cuesta, Betsy Lay, and Kate Power started Lady Justice Brewing with a simple mission: make the world a better place. Each of these women comes from a background in public service and has seen firsthand how nonprofit organizations directly affect their communities. They've donated more than $10,000 to 40 different social justice and human rights organizations that help women and girls. The tap list is constantly rotating, but many beer enthusiasts have said the Lady Justice team is paying attention to aspects of beer that aren't often regarded. Head brewer Betsy Lay says research suggests that women have more taste buds and therefore may have a more sensitive palate than men but she's, "not a tongue scientist." All we know is that the beer is exceptional and the company is doing incredible work in their Aurora, Colorado community.