Women In The Tequila Industry: Sarah Bowen

I have many fond memories of my first meeting Sarah Bowen during the historic Ian Chadwick Blue Agave Forum tour of tequila distilleries in 2006. She was a young student then, relentlessly recording every interview with master distillers and jimadores on a digital voice recorder, in flawless Spanish. Who knew that ten years later she would … Read more

From Babes to Boss Ladies

The title of this book “From Babes to Boss Ladies” is a reflection of the evolution of the perception of women in the tequila, and other Mexican spirits, industry over the past several decades.  

This book is being published in an effort to recognize, respect and pay tribute to the contributions of modern women in the industry and to destroy the stereotypes of the “Tequila Girl”.  Nothing in the text of this book could be implied or construed as disempowering to women. 

I first met outspoken botanist and author Ana Valenzuela in the mid-2000s on a trip to tequila distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico.  The respect and admiration this dynamo received from the male tequila producers and agaveros (agave farmers) for both her palate and plant acumen was awe inspiring.

I was determined to uncover more women in the tequila industry like her.  I figured I could learn something valuable from them that would improve my understanding of this complex world of tequila.

At that time, I was aware of only two others involved with tequila–

Carmen Villarreal and Ana Maria Romero Mena.  Both are included in this anthology.
Working Behind the Scenes
Unbeknownst to me, much like the Tequila Vinazas Crisis that I have previously exposed, women in the tequila industry were concealed from public view.

Marketing agencies hadn’t even considered advertising female master distillers as a selling point for tequila brands, preferring to concentrate instead on displaying scantily clad models.

In what was then a very male-dominated tequila industry, I had the feeling that there were women striving in the shadows waiting to be seen, heard, recognized and acknowledged.
A Woman’s Touch
Over these past few years, it has been gratifying to discover that there were plenty of women working in the Mexican spirits industries all along, guiding some of the most beloved tequila brands on the market.

And now, with the booming mezcal market and other Mexican spirits segments that have historically been inclusive of women, we are seeing more of them come to the forefront of their brands.
Pearls of Wisdom
In structuring the questionnaire, my mission was simple:  Ask what they’re happy with, or not, and what is their ultimate message–not just to women, but to all people.

What I found most interesting was in translating the Spanish only answers to English.  The more of these that I completed, the more I was gifted with a glimpse into each woman’s thought processes.

When I finished the translations, I realized that I had been handed pearls of wisdom and inspiration in each response.

Regardless of gender or language, there are lots of gems of knowledge included in the answers to our five simple questions.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all of the women in the Agave Spirits industries. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Profiled in this Volume:

Ana Maria Romero Mena
Dr. Ana Valenzuela-Zapata
Sophie Decobecq
Carmen Alicia Villarreal Treviño
Lisa Elovich
Graciela González Cortes
Lisa Barlow
Marie Sarita Gaytán
Cleo Rocos
Sarah Bowen
Kim Brandi
Judy Rivera
Melly Barajas
Anahí Rivera
Leticia Aceves Alvarez
Erika Vargas Flores
Terray Glasman
Jaclyn Jacquez
Barbara Sweetman
Karla Amtmann
Adriana Torres
Laura Espinoza Alonso
Elle France
Sofia Partida
Carey Clahan and Sydney Rainin-Smith
Isis Ramirez
Iliana Partida
Monica Sanita
Paola Basseliz
Ilana Edelstein

Review of Tequila! Distilling the Spirit of Mexico

There are too many fascinating facets to Marie Sarita Gaytan’s book, Tequila! Distilling the Spirit of Mexico. Gaytan takes the reader on a sweeping journey of Aztec myths and legends, pre-and post colonial occupation; from the Mexican Revolution to Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema, all the way up to 2014, the date of the book’s … Read more

Sotol’s Cultural Appropriation

For over the past seven years, I’ve been a huge supporter of the Mexican spirit known as sotol.  You can read what I had to say about it in Tom Barry’s excellent article, A Sotol Story. In case you’re unaware, sotol is made from the Desert Spoon plant (Dasylirion wheeleri) that grows in Northern Mexico, as … Read more

The Agave Shortage of 2017 Is Worse Than We Thought

We tried to pretend it didn’t already exist. Articles on an impending agave shortage had been showing up since late 2015, but we thought safety precautions were in place.  The Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) had it all handled. Then, this happened… Snow In Arandas On March 10, 2016, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico, considered part of the … Read more

From Babes to Boss Ladies: Women & Tequila

Tequila Aficionado Exclusive Series We’ve had a special place in our hearts for the unsung heroines and muses in tequila for a very long time.  After reading Ilana Edelstein’s The Patron Way, Mike & I felt it was time someone brought other women’s stories to light – and what better place to do that than … Read more

Women In The Tequila Industry: Marie Sarita Gaytán

Ever wonder how Tequila got to be “The Spirit of Mexico?” Dr. Marie Sarita Gaytán explains how in her landmark book, Tequila!  Distilling the Spirit of Mexico.  While we’ve interviewed other Tequila Boss Ladies who have a hand in producing their own brands, this tequila and mezcal researcher, who is also an Associate Professor at the University of … Read more