The Bourbon Women Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 Angels Share SIP scholarships.  These women, selected from the strongest pool of applicants ever, represent the change and empowerment our consumer organization is dedicated to. The Angels Share SIP Scholarship provides support with conference ticket and lodging as well as a mentoring and professional networking program to make certain the women make lasting connections and get the full benefit of the only consumer-industry conference in the whiskey world.

If connecting and developing women in the bourbon and whiskey world is important to you, you can support this Angels Share SIP Scholarship program directly by donating here.

We are so excited to bring these women together at SIPosium and want to invite all of you who are coming to connect with them, share your network, and of course a great glass of bourbon.  We’ve included a small snippet from their application for each.  We can’t wait to meet all of these women in person! To get your ticket to SIPosium and meet these amazing women head here.

Abby Pendleton, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, Consumer & Digital Marketing Specialist: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/a-pendleton/) “Innovation and creativity is something that I am most passionate about. Whether that’s in or outside of the industry, there is something so powerful behind art and creativity – and that’s what whiskey making is, an art. While I am on the retail side of the industry, I see my role in the innovative and creative evolution story of whiskey as a storyteller. While not my story to tell, I have a captive, interested whiskey audience. I can use my social platforms to educate my market’s consumers on new innovative products available to them and can directly correlate digital content and sales performance on a local level.”

 

Akyra Davis, JDC Events, Project Support Specialist: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/akyra-davis-14327720/) “I look forward to continuing connections with women that have a similar passion and interests and that are open to building community. In this past year being a part of Bourbon Women I have been able to build connections not only in the bourbon community but outside of that. I started attending the local BW events and at those I was able to connect even more to these women. I found it so easy to find comfort and community in these women. While bourbon brought us together, I was able to connect on so many other levels with these women and they also connected me to other people.

 

Brittanea Kirby, Arboris LLC, Sales Manager: (https://linkedin.com/in/brittanea-kirby/)  “The professional benefit from being at SIP is meeting women who have paved the way for women like me to succeed. I want to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly from them. I’ve always been in male dominated professions as a sales manager in the chemical industry, but now I want to take on the spirits industry and be afforded the opportunity to show other women we can do anything we want and do it successfully. My goal with my distillery is to be 100% woman owned with a sole owner. This is a very rare and hard hurdle to overcome, but I have felt the support from the community to make it happen. I will become a trail blazer for the future women of the generation in the Bourbon community and pass along all the information I gain from meeting these women at SIP. Their legacy will be prevalent.”

 

Christine Ingari, Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey Distillery, Distillery Experience Guide: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-ingari-6b782032/) “I love what I do: getting to talk about and educate guests on whiskey, but we Retail/Hospitality employees essentially earn minimum wage, which makes the ticket to SIP quite cost prohibitive to me. Therefore, with a little more background knowledge in what other opportunities may exist in the world of whiskey, especially for women (we currently have no female sales”men” where I work, for example), my goal is an industry-wide change, where women can learn how to both work in whiskey AND make a decent living at it, without necessarily having to be a distiller with a science degree or background.”

 

Crystal Barrios, Laws Whiskey House, Tasting Room Manager and Events Coordinator: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystal-barrios-8876616/) “Diversity and inclusion, I am most passionate about, I do see myself playing a role in this evolution. In my current role at Laws I hire folks based on how passionate they are about whiskey, everything else I can teach. Our Brand Ambassador team is full of different whiskey nerds, and I do find that women apply to be a Brand Ambassador more often. I myself try to find ways to show up for women in the spirits industry and in the overall manufacturing industry. We host happy hours for women in manufacturing and we have also partnered with Bourbon Women CO for events. I encourage women I meet to try different whiskeys, and embark on the whiskey journey to figuring out what you like.”

 

Cynthia Wells, Sazerac Company, Operations Leadership Development Professional: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthia-wells/)  “I hope to draw upon the energy and inspiration from the event to make a meaningful difference in expanding the bourbon community and supporting the values of Bourbon Women. I aim to spearhead initiatives that extend the bourbon community’s reach to Eastern Kentucky. Utilizing the SIP and Bourbon Women network, I’ll connect aspiring women in the industry with mentors who can offer guidance and support. Furthermore, I’ll establish social media platforms, workshops, and educational events to educate women on bourbon topics and industry opportunities, fostering open dialogue and support. Collaborating with local businesses and organizations will further enhance community involvement, ensuring every woman feels seen, heard, and valued. Together, we all can raise a glass to the future of the bourbon industry and to empowered women.”

 

Faith Mewborn, J. Henry & Sons, Tasting Room Manager: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/faith-mewborn-6b9b686a/) “Inspiring Recognition is something that hits home as well. I am 1 of 4 girls in our family and raised by a strong, ambitious mother who wanted to change the wrongs she saw. My grandmother raised 4 boys and was one of my biggest inspirations growing up. She was strong, resilient and remarkably graceful. Both of these women taught me that women have a lot to contribute in both big and small ways to their community, their family and the world. That if we are passionate enough to make a change then our voices deserve and should be heard and celebrated. There are always going to be people that tell us that we don’t deserve something or didn’t earn it and I want to be the person that lets someone know what they do and who they are matter.”

 

Jelisa Chatman, Sazerac Company, Associate Public Relations Manager: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jelisachatman/) As a woman, and for me, a Black woman, joy is an act of resistance and motivation to “keep on keeping on” despite the obstacles against you. Given my role as a PR manager with “joy” in mind, I am excited to support the role of women in bourbon by hosting launch events that celebrate the contributions of women in the bourbon industry. I will not hesitate to uplift women in leadership roles within the industry, whether they are connected to Sazerac Company or not. Finally, I firmly believe that if I continue to move with “joy” and navigate this industry with my head held high, I can inspire others, just as Buffalo Trace Distillery great Freddie Johnson inspired me.”

 

Jesideh Clinton, Precious Bartending, LLC, Lead Bartender/Operations Manager: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesideh-clinton-77a11b14/) “Inclusion is most important to me because, as we all are aware, not long ago when it came to bourbon, there was a lack of representation for 1) women, 2) millennial women and 3) women of color. While I proudly represent all 3 of these representations, I can genuinely say that I see far more of these characteristics making a mark in the industry. Being able to interact with bourbon enthusiasts who meet one, some, or all of these characteristics is an empowering honor. The measure of success for this would be seeing those that represent these characteristics as the face and leading representatives of Bourbon.”

 

Jill Ellison, Angel’s Envy, Distillery Guardian: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jill-ellison/) “When I first started attending Bourbon Women events in 2019, it felt as if the roles women were holding were small and far between. In the last few years there are more women being announced to large, public roles. It is great to see these women in such influential roles and provide so much inspiration for the rest of us. I am so proud to work for Angel’s Envy where 8 of 9 executives are women and I am surrounded by female coworkers every day. I hope that soon Angel’s Envy won’t be the only distillery where you see women dominating the executive board and the floor of retail and tour staff.”

 

Kendal Violette , Bardstown Bourbon Company, AR Specialist: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kendal-violette-329118a0/) “Second, I think the industry will start to become more eco-conscious. In a time when global warming is constantly talked about, it will definitely become more important for distilleries to be more aware of how they are using their resources. At my current company, we have been implementing new technologies to help offset some of our carbon footprint. We have a water reclamation facility that helps with treating and reusing our distillery waste. We have also been focused on ways to use less energy. While I have already been a part of collecting data on our company’s energy usage, I think this will only be something that becomes more important to focus on as our company (and others) grow. Continuing to receive recognition would be a sign of success for us in this area. Being a part of a team and a company that cares about sustainability feels like a success in itself.”

 

Kymberli Lander-Douglas, Republic Airways and University of Kentucky, Certified Flight Attendant and CPhT: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kymberlilander/) “The three changes of the industry I am passionate about are Women in Distilling, Women in Tasting/Blending, and Women owned brands. In my evolution I would love to reach the tasting and blending heights. My experience in the single barrel selection, sensory experiences, and my chemistry education background have propelled this desire and my interest in seeking it out as a professional.”

 

Morgan Egnater, Take Flight spiritEd Consultants, Owner: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/morgan-egnater-53335870/) “Actively changing the “look” of the bourbon drinker and showing this group is more than just a group of women who drink together. We are builders, learners, and supporters of each other and our communities. The power of our Bourbon Women community has opened doors and supported change in the communities around us, the spirits industry, and legislation. . . . I would like to use my time at SIP to network, and hear other women’s amazing stories of growth and perseverance. I would also like to support them by being a place where I can help re-tell their stories using my platform as well as taking those stories back to my local chapter.”

 

Rachel Sykes, High Wire Distilling Co., Distiller: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachaelmsykes/): I hope to bring my knowledge back to South Carolina and grow the bourbon community here. I was on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Distillers Guild and a part of the Bourbon Women community in TN for over 7 years and it was a strong group of women. I hope to have that kind of community here in SC. With this knowledge I gain from SIP and the women I meet, I feel like that will guide me, fuel me, and only help me grow in my position as distiller at High Wire Distilling Co. and spread it to other like-minded women.”

 

Sarah Lee, Black Frost Distilling, Head Distiller: (https://www.instagram.com/sarah2lee/) “Three changes that I am passionate about: 1) creating safe spaces and contributing to communities that share their successes and barriers. 2) Pushing the boundaries of what bourbon can be and where it can come from; mashing/distilling with nontraditional grains alongside the corn and utilizing different yeasts besides Red Star or Distillers yeast. 3) Changing the traditional, United States, idea of what a distiller can look like – not all distillers are white men in overalls. I want to show the industry and its consumers that women can make and enjoy award-winning bourbon all over the country. As a queer, gender-non-conforming, woman my presence and perseverance is expanding the visibility of a bourbon maker in rural farm country where there are few women in visible roles surrounding bourbon.”

 

Shauna Der, Bar Minty Media, Founder: (https://www.instagram.com/theminty/) “As an Asian American woman in spirits and specifically, whiskey, I don’t see very many people like myself and I want to change that perception. I am hugely grateful for the community I have connected with locally and online. I want to recognize all the contributions women have made so far and highlight future ones as a writer.“

 

Sherri Jenkins, Epiphany Bar, Bartender & Experience Curator: (https://www.instagram.com/poetickj/) Bourbon culture is a male dominated business making up 70% while 30% are women. We are starting to see change as the numbers continue to shift with more women falling in love with Bourbon and having more accessibility and visibility within the culture. As a marginalized, historically underrepresented, person of color, and a woman, gaining visibility and acquiring accessibility within Bourbon culture is crucial. I cannot do all that I hope to accomplish without a village taking me in and affording me opportunity. It is nearly impossible for an individual of my demographic to separate personal and professional. It all blends after so long. I operate and navigate in this world from a dual unified approach. Two things are always true at the same time and interconnected. What I trust and believe in is that attending this conference will provide me with substantial resources and advantages to execute stellar work and make impactful change in the spirit world.”

 

Toni Davis, Ohio Valley Wine & Beer, One Premise Sales Professional:(https://www.instagram.com/the_sip_life/)  Bourbon and whiskey have so many nuances and misconceptions. I would like to be able to help expand the market by dismantling people’s preconceived notions of spirits. I think once we see more BIPOC and/or female influencers, producers, distillers, and stewards, we can truly say the industry is making diversity a priority. I’m really excited about the innovation happening in the spirits industry. It’s also super exciting that there is a push on terroir and sustainability. The wine and spirits industry have so many similarities so it will be cool for a sommelier such as myself to start comparing those similarities and making it clear for consumers. This is what the industry needs all around – new ideas and new efforts to be different and interesting.”

 

Yakira Bristol, Own It Ventures, Inc., President (https://www.linkedin.com/in/yakiracbristol/) lists the changes she wants to see: “1. The More Conscious and Intelligent Bourbon Sipper: I aim to cultivate a community of informed and conscious consumers who not only enjoy bourbon but understand its intricacies. By organizing educational sessions, I can measure success through increased social media engagement and feedback from community discussions. 2. The Maturation of Craft Distillery Awareness: Promoting small-scale distilleries is crucial for diversity in the industry. Success can be gauged by tracking the increase in craft spirit sales and mentions across various media. 3. The Rise of Independent Bottling: As an aspiring independent bottler, I plan to highlight lesser-known distilleries. I would measure success by the reach and visibility of these distilleries, aiming for broader recognition and distribution.”

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