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Women’s History Month: Women in Spirits

The month of March is observed as Women’s History Month to highlight and celebrate the contributions of women around the world. In honor of International Women’s Day, scroll through to learn more about some of our female master blenders, distillers and founders in the spirits industry.

Uncle Nearest

About: Uncle Nearest is the proud legacy of the Godfather of Tennessee Whiskey, Nearest Green, who was a former slave and America’s first known African-American master distiller. Founded by Fawn Weaver, each blend of Uncle Nearest is curated by 5th generation Green descendant, Master Blender, Victoria Eady Butler.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville

Casa Dragones Tequila

About: Founded in 2008 by CEO Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, Casa Dragones is a small batch producer with a passion for crafting exceptional sipping tequilas. Nieves is the first female accredited Masetra Tequilera, otherwise known as “the first lady of tequila.”
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah

Betty Buzz

About: Founded by Blake Lively, Betty Buzz is a line of delicious sparkling beverages made from real fruit and clean ingredients. Betty Buzz, the flagship line, is entirely non-alcoholic, and as sippable as your favorite soda.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta and Savannah

El Guapo

About: Owned and operated by Christa Cotton, El Guapo crafts cocktail bitters, syrups and mixers made by hand with love in New Orleans, Louisiana. The ingredients are locally sourced and traceable to the farm level, or third party certified organic. The entire line is non-GMO, high fructose corn syrup free, gluten free and vegetarian, too.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah

Simple Shots

About: Founders, Dani & Makena, created SimpleShots in 2021, fresh out of college, with the hopes of bringing a better drinking option to the market. SimpleShots is a health-conscious, all natural alcoholic beverage that combines superior flavor with unprecedented convenience. SimpleShots are vegan, gluten free, and incorporate organic ingredients of only the finest quality, offering delicious flavors to fit any mood.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta and Savannah

You & Yours

About: Founded by Laura Johnson in 2017, You & Yours is California’s first urban destination distillery located in San Diego. Utilizing a custom-built hybrid eau de vie still, You & Yours strives to not only provide high-quality, transparent spirits made with sustainable practices and top-notch ingredients, but also a welcoming and enjoyable tasting experience for all. Today, all You & Yours spirits and canned cocktails can be found not just behind the bar and in retailers across California, but also throughout the United States. You & Yours was created for the purpose of bringing people together over elevated imbibing experiences, which became the foundation for the distillery’s name: by You & Yours, for you and yours.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany and Savannah


About: Founded in 2019 by Lauren Chitwood, Abbey Ferguson and Lexie Larsen, Spiritless is the the product of three entrepreneurs and entertainers with a love for Bourbon Country. It is the first distilled, non-alcoholic American spirits product, made from grain neutral spirit with the alcohol removed.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Nashville, Memphis, Asheville, Raleigh and Wilmington

Great Women Spirits

About: Great Women Spirits by the Family Coppola honors the accomplishments of women throughout history and seeks to tell their stories from their Dorothy Arzner Whiskey to their Ada Lovelace Gin. The spirits are small-batch, ultra-premium, classically styled, and proofed with pristine Napa Valley spring water.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta and Savannah

Freeland Spirits

About: Freeland Spirits is a women owned and operated gin and whiskey distillery in Portland Oregon. Meemaw Freeland (That’s what they call grandmas in Texas) was founder Jill Kuehler’s grandmother and the inspiration behind Freeland Spirits. A fiercely independent woman, Meemaw didn’t care much for limits—or shortcuts. Ironically, she didn’t care much for booze either and believed women could be anything they want. Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, Freeland is creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah and Colorado

Appleton Estate

About: Deep in the heart of Jamaica’s lush countryside is rum’s heaven, home to the first female master blender in the industry, Joy Spence. For over 260 years, Appleton Estate has been perfecting the art of making handcrafted rum that seduces the senses and inspires the soul. 
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Nashville and Knoxville

Delola Spritz

About: Delola is a ready to enjoy world class crafted cocktail, created through the visionary leadership of Jennifer Lopez.  Thoughtfully crafted with premium liquor and natural botanicals, Delola is crafted to set you free so you can have all the fun without all the effort.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville

Jeptha Creed (Coming Soon)  

About: Owned and operated by dynamic mother-and-daughter duo Joyce and Autumn Nethery, Jeptha Creed sits on 64 acres of farmland, where they grow the Bloody Butcher Corn they use for all of their products. One of the things Jeptha is most proud of is their commitment to the ground to glass concept, meaning growing as much as the ingredients they can that they use in their spirits.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Coming Soon to Georgia

OAX Mezcal

About: OAX Original is a collaborative artistic endeavor, co-founded by Laura Giraudo, presenting the distinctive flavors and raw beauty of wild agave through three limited-edition expressions by Maestro Mezcalero Enrique Hernandez Zenea: Arroqueño, Tobalá, and Tepeztate.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah and Colorado


About: Cincoro Tequila is a brand founded by five NBA owners, including CEO and co-founder Emilia Fazzalari and NBA team owner Jeanie Buss of the LA Lakers. The name Cincoro translating to “five gold” in Spanish (cinco meaning five, oro meaning gold) pays homage to the five founding partners and their pursuit to create the gold standard in tequila. Cincoro Tequila is uniquely made with the highest quality 100% Weber Blue agave from both the highland and lowland regions of Jalisco, Mexico. The agave is hand-selected, slow-cooked, distilled and barrel-aged separately in underground cellars before being artfully blended into a single exceptional tequila.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville


About: Family-owned and operated, The Nonino Distillery is currently run by three sisters, Elisabetta, Cristina, and Antonella. They are the fifth generation of the Nonino family to make grappa. Nonino is composed of five artisanal distilleries with batch steam stills for the production of the inimitable Nonino Distillates, respecting the tradition and the rhythms of true craftsmanship. The Nonino family personally takes care of the purchase of the primary product and follows the various phases of distillation to guarantee the maximum quality of the distillate.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah and Chattanooga

818 Tequila

About: Founded by Kendall Jenner, 818 Tequila is an award-winning, hand-crafted premium tequila brand produced in Jalisco, Mexico. Sustainably produced from one hundred percent Weber Blue agaves, 818 Tequila features four variations – a Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Eight Reserve by 818, an ultra-premium, painstakingly crafted Añejo Reserve.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga

New Riff (Coming Soon)    

About: Established in 2014 by Ken Lewis, New Riff Distilling is a premier family-owned Kentucky whiskey distillery with a new riff on an old tradition. Lewis recently retired and a next generation of leadership is underway with Ken’s daughter, Mollie Lewis, being appointed President and previous VP of Operations, Hannah Lowen taking on the role of CEO.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Coming Soon to Georgia

Brugal Rum

About: Based in the Dominican Republic, Brugal is a family-owned company in the fifth generation with Jassil Villanueva serving as the first female master blender in Brugal Rum history.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Chattanooga


About: Freshie is the world’s first organic tequila seltzer crafted and co-founded by Paige Iseminger on a family trip in Mexico. Fresh from the first sip, Freshie is sustainably farmed and distilled at a family-owned distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville


About: Michter’s is proud to honor a historical legacy tracing back to the founding of America’s first whiskey company in 1753, with Andrea Wilson serving as Michter’s Master of Maturation as well as its Chief Operating Officer and Pam Heilmann serving as Michter’s Master Distiller Emerita. On a mission to make the best American whiskey, Michter’s takes costly extraordinary steps to ensure that their products are of the absolute highest quality from their signature filtration to toasting before charring.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville

Austin Cocktails

About: Founded by independently accomplished entrepreneurs and sisters, Jill Burns and Kelly Gasink, Austin Cocktails is a Texas-based, cocktail company inspired by a lifelong family tradition. The founders pay homage to their farmer grandfather, Fred, who gathered friends and family at 5 pm on summer nights after a long day working in the fields. These small gatherings became known as ‘Cocktail Time’ and were Fred’s way of making time for joy and connection. Austin Cocktails is proud to share Fred’s legacy with cocktails that are original, full of flavor, and can be a bar staple year-round.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville

Happenstance Whiskey

About: Paige Parker is the Founder and CEO of Happenstance Whiskey, Nashville’s only 100% women-owned whiskey company! Parker wanted a brand that pays homage to the tradition of American bourbons that have come before us, but with an unexpected punch of today’s most sought out flavors.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta and Savannah

George Dickel

About: George Dickel Whisky is one of the oldest Tennessee distilleries. Distilled for generations in the hills of Cascade Hollow, Nicole Austin leads the strategic direction of the company in her role as General Manager and Distiller of Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. Since joining the Cascade Hollow team in 2018, she’s been instrumental in the latest innovations from George Dickel including the George Dickel Bottled in Bond Series.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Chattanooga

MB Roland

About: MB Roland Distillery is a completely “grain to glass” craft distillery, co-founded by Merry Beth Tomaszewski. Located in Pembroke, Kentucky, MB Roland uses local white corn to hand make each of their products ranging from their very unique “distillation & barrel proof” Kentucky Bourbon to their naturally-flavored Kentucky Pink Lemonade.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Nashville

Mule 2.0

About: Mule 2.0 was launched in 2015 by Lisa Marlow with the goal of providing an excellent Moscow Mule that was ready to enjoy at home or on the go. Marlow, a geologist by profession, loved Moscow Mules, but became frustrated at the inconsistency of preparation. She decided to develop her own formula that was crafted in the spirit of the original 1941 Moscow Mule. Mule 2.0 Moscow Mule has the consistent flavor of the authentic Moscow Mule every time. It led the resurgence of the Ready to Drink spirits- based cocktails in 2015 and is now a favorite of Moscow Mule fans everywhere.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta and Savannah

18.21 Bitters

About: Missy and Kristin Koefod founded 18.21 Bitters during Atlanta’s Snowpocolypse in 2014. After Missys bout with cancer a few years earlier, she decided to give up the practice of law and do something she was passionate about. During that “snow storm” they played with all the ingredients they could get their hands on and started making bitters at home. Next came syrups and shrubs and the rest is history.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta and Savannah

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