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Chicago's Bourbon-Loving Women Unite

Gina Caruso, an urban planner and artist, remembers the loneliness she felt when she’d take a seat at a bar and order a shot of Maker’s Mark. As the sole bourbon-drinking woman among her circle of friends, she longed to connect with peers who shared her love of the complex spirit.

Caruso—deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Small Business Center—is now the Chicago ambassador for the Louisville, KY-based Bourbon Women Association, a national group with some 700 members around the country that just launched a Chicago chapter with a well-attended kick-off event at John Barleycorn in River North.

“Over the last 100 years or so, bourbon was marketed to men,” Caruso says. “The industry is looking for an opportunity to engage women. It doesn’t have to be a pink drink to attract women.”

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