Adapted from a November 2018 Interview with Babes Who Hustle, our Founder, Peggy Noe Stevens shares some crucial career and life advice for women in the bourbon industry, or women who love bourbon!

How would you say being a woman in your role has affected your experience in the industry?
Going way back, it inspired me to create Bourbon Women. I should thank that part of my life. Sometimes, even the things that seem horrible are actually good things — they help you get to where you’re going. I saw back then, in the 80s, 90s and even early 2000s, we weren’t talking to women — not only in the industry, but also consumers. We were only talking to men, because bourbon was viewed as a masculine drink. That inspired me to start Bourbon Women. First off, being a woman helps me be a better master taster because women have better olfactory tasting. It’s anatomically proven. So I personally felt that sometimes I did a better job at articulating my senses versus my male counterparts. That eventually led me to being the first female master bourbon taster in the world. I didn’t know that at the time, though. They sent out a press release about it before even telling me, and it hit 120 newspapers on the AP. I had no idea. Basically, being a woman helped me stand out.

What can we do to create a more equal, uplifting and well-paying space for women in your industry?

Women have to be supportive of each other, raise each other up, and network with one another. Just like I said that my 40s were about starting my company, I have total clarity in my 50s that my legacy is about developing women for the next generation. I will only be successful if I have brought other women along in this industry helped create a better path for them than I had.

Career advice for other babes?

Color outside of the lines. As women, I think we play it too careful; we’re so afraid of making a mistake. We feel we have to be perfect, and stay within the lines. Go outside the lines. Scribble. Figure it out. And use whatever damn color you want.

Read the full interview with Peggy by Babes Who Hustle by clicking here.

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