We’re returning to Pier A Harbor House for yet another Good Spirits (#EdibleGoodSpirits) on Thursday, March 8, our annual all you can eat and drink celebration of some of our favorite booze. We’re doing things a little differently this year, though. In recognition of International Women’s Day, which happens to be on the same date, we’re celebrating the women of the drinks world.
This year’s Good Spirits will include the first ever Gramercy Tavern and Maison Premiere collaboration pop-up as well as an all-women panel moderated by Louise Newsome, co-owner of Olde York Farm Distillery, the business development officer of Trade and Prosper and the only woman on the New York Distillers Guild’s board of directors. In anticipation of the event, we chatted with Louise about what topics she’s looking forward to exploring with the panel and what the future has in store for women in the spirits industry.
See a full list of Good Spirits participants and get your tickets here.
Edible Manhattan: The panel you’re moderating is called “Spirited Women and Their Role in the Food and Beverage Industry.” Who are these spirited women and what do you hope each will bring to the conversation?
Louise Newsome: I’m curious to learn how each of them arrived in the industry, about the choices they’ve made, the hurdles they’ve overcome and how they see their sustainability in the space. Liz Neumark of Great Performances is a farm owner and on the board of GrowNYC, is very immersed in the field of food politics and has a good sense of the history and future of the industry. Bridget Fertile of the Noble Experiment left investment banking to work in spirits, and I’m curious about her advice on how to grow a company, especially for women, in the industry. Lauren Wilson, your Edible editor, is going to bring a wealth of expertise about the industry from a media/news perspective, especially given her work with food justice media. And Ivy Mix of Speed Rack will be a rich resource for understanding more about advocacy for women in the industry.
EM: What excites you about the future of women in the spirits industry?
LN: Historically, women have had a profound impact on food and beverage industries—we are 80 percent of the consumer market—but aren’t in leadership roles. We are innovators by nature, and I see new opportunities to educate and provide more robust experiences as we step into leadership positions. We’re also seeing more millennials shifting into craft industries aka “old timey” careers, with increased concerns for sustainability and community, and that’s really exciting.
EM: What else are you looking forward to about Good Spirits this year?
LN: The Speed Rack cocktail contest! Hosting the event on International Women’s Day provides a beautiful opportunity to shine a light on women in the spirits world. I’m looking forward to experiencing the diversity of NYC’s food and beverage industry under one roof, and to get feedback from the public and experts in the field alike. And, as the only woman on the board of the NY Distillers Guild—which is quite jarring after working with the National Association of Professional Women for many years—I’m excited to use the opportunity to recruit more women to get involved in distilling.