University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Making Space for Women in Bourbon: Insights from Female Industry Insiders

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Management

Minor

Spanish, International Business, and Economics

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

59

KY Senate District #

26

Department

Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to document the experiences of women in the bourbon industry, as this project fills a gap in both scholarly and popular attention to the many women who play a role in Kentucky’s 8.6 billion-dollar bourbon industry. This research emerged from the larger Women in Bourbon Oral History Project, launched in Spring 2021, in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits, and advanced by Dr. Fernheimer and students in Bourbon Oral History. A total of twenty-one interviews were completed. To date, nineteen of those interviews have been digitally indexed, transcribed, and authenticated (accesible here). Through the process of working to index and authenticate transcripts for these interviews, I and other undergraduate researchers identified key themes such as: “who gets a seat” at the proverbial leadership table and “how do we expand who counts” as bourbon industry leaders. Based on the key quotes identified and organized, our team crafted pre-production materials for two podcast episodes. The creation of podcasts and transcriptions from these primary interview materials will allow a broader audience to access these insights into the prominent bourbon industry. By giving a voice to these female business professionals through the oral history interviews, our team was able to call attention to the importance of personal narratives and industry representation. Based on our research, there are important ways that women within this industry break the conventionally accepted mold of “white, male bourbon executive”, but this shift is in its early phases, and there is a strong need to continue “making space” for women of all backgrounds by giving more of them an opportunity to have a “seat at the table.”

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Making Space for Women in Bourbon: Insights from Female Industry Insiders

The purpose of this project was to document the experiences of women in the bourbon industry, as this project fills a gap in both scholarly and popular attention to the many women who play a role in Kentucky’s 8.6 billion-dollar bourbon industry. This research emerged from the larger Women in Bourbon Oral History Project, launched in Spring 2021, in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits, and advanced by Dr. Fernheimer and students in Bourbon Oral History. A total of twenty-one interviews were completed. To date, nineteen of those interviews have been digitally indexed, transcribed, and authenticated (accesible here). Through the process of working to index and authenticate transcripts for these interviews, I and other undergraduate researchers identified key themes such as: “who gets a seat” at the proverbial leadership table and “how do we expand who counts” as bourbon industry leaders. Based on the key quotes identified and organized, our team crafted pre-production materials for two podcast episodes. The creation of podcasts and transcriptions from these primary interview materials will allow a broader audience to access these insights into the prominent bourbon industry. By giving a voice to these female business professionals through the oral history interviews, our team was able to call attention to the importance of personal narratives and industry representation. Based on our research, there are important ways that women within this industry break the conventionally accepted mold of “white, male bourbon executive”, but this shift is in its early phases, and there is a strong need to continue “making space” for women of all backgrounds by giving more of them an opportunity to have a “seat at the table.”