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OurWhisky launches foundation for women in whisky

Whisky organisation OurWhisky is launching a non-profit foundation to support women in the global whisky industry to coincide with International Women's Day (8 March).

The OurWhisky Foundation is dedicated to supporting, recognising and empowering professional women in whisky, while advocating for a more inclusive and diverse industry.

The foundation will offer qualification and internship schemes, a mentorship programme, semiars and workshops to help women progress in the industry. It will also host an annual summit and awards, to showcase key speakers, industry leaders and rising talent, and be supported be an online magazine, The Cut, including interviews and industry features.

The organisation has been launched by OurWhisky founder and whisky communicator Becky Paskin, and its advisory board includes Jennifer Robertson, founder of award-winning PR ageny SPEY; Gráinne Saunders, global marketing manager for Glenfiddich; spirits educator Tracie Franklin; and Jennie Norish, founder of Yellow Shoes consultancy.

OurWhisky started in 2018 as a social media movement calling for greater diversity and inclusion among whisky drinkers and those in the whisky industry. Now, Paskin said, it was time for the movement to "evolve". 

"By working in collaboration with the global whisky community, the OurWhisky Foundation's aim is to challenge whisky's outdated gendered image and help women to thrive in their careers.

"This is such an exciting time to be a woman in whisky, and it's my ambition that the foundation will be a positive driver in ensuring the current and next generation reach their potential and be celebrated as part of the wonderful world of whisky."

The foundation is now inviting applications for its mentoriship programme, covering areas including distilling, blending, brand ownership, bartending, marketing and journalism. Confirmed mentors including Dhavall Gandhi, whisky maker at The Lakes; Paul Hletko, founder of F.E.W. Spirits; Louise McGuane, founder of JJ Cory; Dawn Davies, head buyer at The Whisky Exchange; Nicola Riske, brand ambassador for The Macallan; and Lew Bryson, whisky journalist and author; and Ryan Chetiyawardana, founder of My Lyan.

The foundation also plans to work with industry stakeholders to provide diversity and inclusion training and workshops. One of its first initiatives will be with Glenfiddich, on an ongoing programme exploring this year's International Women's Day theme, Break the Bias.

Gráinne Saunders at Glenfiddich said: "We are extremely proud to come on board as founding partner for the OurWhisky Foundation and fully support the drive to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in the whisky industry and to challenge conventions."

The foundation also launches alongside OurWhisky's new subscription club, which will provide subscribers with a monthly delivery of whisky samples and an expert-led tasting, as well as discounted tickets to events, tours and tastings.

8 March 2022 - Bethany Whymark