Celebrating Women in the drinks industry

Today marks International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating the wonderful women of the drinks industry!

We’ve spoken to four incredibly passionate women; Joyce and Raissa de Haas the founders of Double Dutch, Laura Bartram founder of Whistlers Bar and Marie Harris co-founder of Ginfestival.com to find out how they made their mark in such a traditionally male-dominated industry and why they love working in it!

Joyce and Raissa de Haas, Founders of Double Dutch




How did you get into the Drinks industry?

R: We started off with a passion for making our own mixers as the standard offering on the market was all pretty much the same, so we realised that there was an opportunity. The name Double Dutch reflects a business that is a continuation of that original passion that we had. We have evolved from mixing our own concoctions at university get-togethers, but our purpose is the same, to create amazingly balanced mixers and tonics to go with high-quality alcohol.

What is your favourite thing about being a woman in the drinks industry?

J: I think being young female entrepreneurs in the drinks industry is an exciting prospect. While we are still young and only a few years into our journey, we feel like we have already grown as women due to the opportunities we have chased down. Being a male-dominated industry, especially the alcohol side, we have found there is a lot of room for female leadership and enterprise. The industry is no longer as conservative as it used to be, and there is a lot of room for young, energetic entrepreneurs to make their mark, especially for ambitious young women.

What would you say to women looking to get into the drinks industry?

R:I would say go for it! There is so much opportunity for women now. While it is a tough business with a lot of barriers to entry, there is also a lot of room for making a difference. The drinks category is more of a blank canvas than ever to do something special, so give it a go.

J: Yes I think Raissa is right about that, but I also think that you need to follow whatever your passion is. Whether that be drinks, advertising or being a chef, the social changes that we are seeing across the world mean it is a better time than ever to do what you really want to do. We are really excited about some of the female-led companies we are working with and have come across in the last year or so.

What’s your favourite drink?

R: I love to try new variations with our Cucumber & Watermelon as a base, or to try fresh spins on more well-known drinks such as Pimms or the Mojito. Experimenting with drinks has always been a lot of fun for us.

J: A Double Dutch Pomegranate & Basil with tequila or mescal has to be my favourite. Such a good combo!

Who is your female idol and why?

J: There are so many independent women who have shaped the food and drinks sector over the last few years, but I think I can say I draw a lot of inspiration from the Hemsley Sisters. The way they have built a thriving brand and business out of their love for food resonates a lot with us. Their obvious love for their craft has allowed them to become leaders in the food industry.

R: I think another one is Tess Posthumus who is famous hospitality professional and cocktail expert. She has been a pioneer the industry and has shown that anything is possible as a driven, independent woman.

What is a motto you live by?

J: I don’t think it is a motto particularly, but more a way of thinking that drives us. We believe that you need to follow your passion if you are going to be successful and happy in life. Your ambition can only be relentless if it is something that you truly want to do with your life.

R: Thinking big and never settling for average is another idea which we have carried with us through our lives. We want to make sure we choose where our calling is, as we want to realise our dreams, and not just imagine them. Plus having some fun along the way!

 

Laura Bartram, Founder of Whistlers Bar



How did you get into the Drinks industry?
After leaving university in 2015 and, as most graduates, struggling to find a job. I moved back to my home town and I was offered a position at a The Black Swan, Pickering. The coaching inn had recently been taken over by Philip and Jill Hall (who have since done absolute wonders to the place!) After working here for about 2 months, I found myself lost in the building (long story) I stumbled across a room with a bar in it that had not been touched for what looked to be a very long time. A short sales pitch to my bosses and a couple of months of hands on refurbishment and very little sleep, resulted in me opening what is now known as Whistlers Cocktail Bar.

What is your favourite thing about being a woman in the drinks industry?

I have never really thought about it as unusual to be a woman in the drinks industry, granted at most trade shows the majority are in fact men, but this seems to be changing and each year more and more women are joining the industry which is great! If I had to choose one thing to be a personal favourite about being in the drinks industry, it would be getting to sample the new products emerging into the market, that new spirit that everyone wants or the newest soft drink revolution. Being ahead of the curve and embracing new trends is very important for us here at Whistlers.

What would you say to women looking to get into the drinks industry?

You can always learn something new, no matter how long you have been in the industry and how much you think you might know about your field, there will always be someone who can teach you things. So be open to new things and embrace them!

What’s your favourite drink?

Gin and all things gin related! My favourite gins at the moment (because it’s too hard to pick one) have to be Slingsby London Dry- of course and Isle of Harris.

Who is your female idol and why?

There are so many inspiring women from history to modern day that it’s very difficult to choose. The girls who founded Double Dutch are a real inspiration for me, Joyce and Raissa De Haas. Witnessing the rapid growth in the spirits industry they noticed that mixers were somewhat lacking and did something about it! It is always wonderful to see young females shaking things up in any industry and the twins are certainly doing their bit for the drinks industry!

What is a motto you live by?

‘Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible!” ‘

 

Marie Harris, MD and Co-Founder of Gin Festival Ltd



How did you get into the Drinks industry?

A passion for gin led me to want to bring tasting experiences to everyone, something that didn’t exist in 2013. I love finding new flavours from around the world, learning about each brands story and botanicals. I had done beer festivals in the past and wanted to use the same concept in gin to create an awesome night of entertainment, tasting, food and more, which we have achieved through ginfestival.com events.

I love working hard to engage, educate and entertain people through the online shop and at events. I take pride in delivering the best shopping experience at ginfestival.com.

What is your favourite thing about being a woman in the drinks industry?

I don’t think I have a favourite thing about being a woman in the drinks business, I love supporting other women and helping them achieve their potential within our company. We have an equal playing field at ginfestival.com for men and women. Plus, our loyal gin community is made up of 69% women, so I have a lot in common with our customers!

What would you say to women looking to get into the drinks industry?

I would say, have fun, love what you do and support other women (and men).

What’s your favourite drink?

Gin and Tonic of course! I love Tinker Gin with a slice of fresh pear and light tonic.

Who is your female idol and why?

My grandmother Marj, who, in the 1960s, with 4 kids, sold the family home to follow her dream of setting up a music shop and teaching studio. Selling the house gave her the money to buy stock and rent a shop with a flat above where the family could live. It was a huge success with many ups and downs and she taught me so much about running your own business. My grandmother is a legend!

What is a motto you live by?

If it doesn’t work, change it.

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