Drink

10 Black Women to Watch in the Spirits Industry

Gone are the days when men get to have all of the fun. Why should they be the only ones distilling spirits and helming the companies that sell them?

black women spirits
Image by Grace Han for Thrillist

A 2018 Neilsen report asserted that Black Americans have over $1.2 trillion in spending power, and was expected to hit $1.4 trillion in 2020. With so much money to be made, it’s no surprise that Black people have launched their own spirits and wine brands in record numbers. But Black women are running alongside men, founding and steering brands that reflect who they are and the products they want to see in the marketplace. Check out these spirit, wine, and beer brands and the powerful Black women owners behind them.

Vodka

Vanessa Braxton of Black Momma Vodka
Black Momma Vodka Founder and President Vanessa Braxton is the first Black woman to be an owner-operator and manufacturer of a nationally distributed vodka in the U.S. She 100% owns the distillery, manufacturing facility, and a 15-acre farm grow house in Wyandanch, New York. Black Momma produces vodka, tea, CBD oils, and agaves.

Chanel Turner of Fou-Dré Vodka
Based in the Washington, D.C. area, Chanel Turner is the founder of Fou-Dré Vodka. When Chanel saw that she was successful in getting Fou-Dré into more stores than the distribution company she was paying, she decided to start her own. She currently distributes several other Black-owned spirits through her company in the Washington D.C. area. Turner also started the Black-Owned Wine and Spirits Festival, an annual spirits expo held in Washington D.C. which brings together Black-owned spirits, food, and entertainment businesses.

Rum

Shay Wood of HH Bespoke Spirits & Beverages
Before co-founding and becoming the CEO of HH Bespoke Spirits and Beverages, Shay Wood was already an entrepreneur. She and her husband founded the Harlem Haberdashery boutique, home to their apparel brand 5001 Flavors. Harlem Haberdashery has dressed some of the biggest celebrities including the Notorious B.I.G., Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Jay-Z, and many more. But Shay knew the spirits industry was the next industry for she and her family to conquer as a natural extension of their lifestyle brand. Their collection includes vodka, rum, and gin, and the newest addition: marvelous alkaline water.

Whiskey

Fawn Weaver of Uncle Nearest Whiskey
Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest Whiskey, Fawn Weaver launched the brand in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. It’s the fastest-growing independent American whiskey brand in U.S. history. Uncle Nearest’s three whiskies are available in most places spirits are sold across the United States.

Tequila

Anteel Tequila by Nayana Ferguson
Co-Founder and COO of Anteel Tequila, Nayana Ferguson is a two-time cancer survivor who created Anteel for health reasons. She wanted to enjoy cocktails without worrying about the harmful additives. Anteel, home to the world’s only coconut lime tequila, also has blanco and reposado expressions. 

T-Capri by Tiffany Capri Hainesworth
Tiffany Capri Hainesworth, founder of T-Capri Tequila, was a federal government employee for nearly 30 years and after a life-changing accident, decided to launch T-Capri. It is a small batch, 100% agave tequila blanco crafted in San Julián, Jalisco, Mexico. 

Liqueurs

Pam Davis of Hidden Spirits Cocktails
Engineer by day and self-proclaimed accidental bootlegger by night, Pam Davis of Hidden Spirits Cocktails is one of few Black spirit owners who actually manufactures their own product too. Her cocktails are ready-to-drink beverages that come in strawberry, lemonade, and apple cider flavors.

Myriam Jean-Baptiste of LS Cream Liqueur 
Myriam Jean-Baptiste is the Co-Founder of LS Cream Liqueur, a cream liqueur inspired by an iconic recipe from Haiti called ‘’kremas’.’ Kremas is known as a celebration drink, always making its way into any and all family gatherings. In the past four years, LS Cream has been the recipient of five international medals and counting.

Wines and Champagne

Chrishon Lampley of Love Cork Screw Wines
Chrishon Lampley, founder of Love Cork Screw Wines, founded her fun and approachable lifestyle brand in December 2013. A wine négociant, Lampley has found success in using grapes grown across the nation. Her brand currently has seven offerings and is in more than 300 stores including Target, Mariano's, Binny's, Whole Foods, World Market, Walmart, and more.

Marvina Robinson of B. Stuyvesant Champagne
Founder of B. Stuyvesant Champagne, Marvina Robinson is one of the few Black women who owns her own champagne brand. After working on Wall Street for over 20 years, Robinson launched B. Stuyvesant, named after the Brooklyn neighborhood where she grew up. in February 2020. The brand has two signature cuvées: Grand Réserve and Brut Rosé, and a limited edition Heritage.

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