Distilled Spirits Council Honors Industry Leaders at Annual Conference Awards Luncheon
NEW ORLEANS – More than 550 spirits industry professionals and media joined the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) in honoring industry leaders at an awards luncheon Thursday afternoon during the DISCUS annual conference at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans.
The event was emceed by Lynnette Marrero, an award-winning New York City-based bartender, mixologist and philanthropist known for co-creating the world’s first all-female speed bartending competition, Speed Rack.
DISCUS award recipients:
|Dr. Joy Spence, Master Blender, Appleton Estate Jamaica||Lifetime Achievement Award|
|Scott and Becky Harris, Owners Catoctin Creek Distillery||Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year Award|
|Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation (Deborah Brenner, President)||Humanitarian/Service Award|
|Nicole Austin, General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.||Impact Award for Emerging Leaders|
“The spirits community is honored to celebrate the outstanding contributions of these exemplary leaders who have each in their own way supported the growth of our great industry and the wider appreciation for our special products,” said Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Chris Swonger.
Each recipient was presented with an award created by Vendome Copper and Brass Works, a leading manufacturer of handcrafted batch and continuous distillation systems.
Award and Recipient Information:
DISCUS Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Joy Spence, Master Blender, Appleton Estate Jamaica
The DISCUS Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who supports the industry during their lifetime through significant innovation and promotion of the industry, commercial strategy, advocacy or responsibility.
Dr. Joy Spence has the distinction of being the first female Master Blender in the spirits industry, paving the way for many woman who are following in her footsteps. Joy joined Appleton Estate as Chief Chemist in 1981, gaining the title of Master Blender in 1997.
Over the course of her career, Joy has combined the art and science of rum making to create some of the finest, most highly awarded rums in the world, including Appleton Estate 8-Year-Old Reserve and Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12-Year-Old. Her crowning achievement was the Limited Edition Appleton Estate 50-Year-Old Jamaican Rum – the oldest rum blend ever introduced to the consumer marketplace.
Joy has received numerous honors and awards including the highest Jamaican civilian commendation, the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander, in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of Jamaica’s rum industry and Jamaica globally. She was also the first female to receive the National Medal for Science and Technology, a special honor bestowed by the Jamaican Prime Minister for her significant advances in the field of science and technology and contributions to the economic, cultural and social development of Jamaica.
DISCUS Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year – Scott and Becky Harris, Owners Catoctin Creek Distillery
The DISCUS Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year Award is in memory of Dave Pickerell, the “Johnny Appleseed of craft distilling” and is awarded to a DISCUS Craft Member who has been a leader in advocating for the needs of the craft distiller community and supporting the association.
The dynamic husband and wife team, Becky and Scott Harris, are being honored for their outstanding service to the craft community across the country and in their home state of Virginia.
Scott and Becky are tireless advocates for craft members, serving in leadership positions in national and state spirits organizations including DISCUS, the American Craft Spirits Association and the Virginia Distillers Association. Becky serves as the President of the ACSA’s Board of Directors and Scott has been a long-time member of the DISCUS Craft Advisory Council. Together, they have been strong and effective advocates on top legislative and policy issues impacting the spirits sector ranging from passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act and the lifting of tariffs to state issues including direct-to-consumer shipping of spirits.
Scott and Becky are happy to be doing something together that they love: producing fine spirits completely and truly by hand and working to build a more diverse, inclusive and united spirits industry.
DISCUS Humanitarian/Service Award – Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation (Deborah Brenner, President)
The DISCUS Humanitarian/Service Award honors a company or organization that has made exemplary and extraordinary contributions to their community and/or the hospitality industry.
The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation 501(c)3 is the charitable arm of Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS) membership organization. Aligned with the WOTVS’s mission to further diversity, equity and inclusion in the beverage alcohol industry, the foundation provides scholarship opportunities to assist women in advancing their professional and educational development in the wine, spirits, beer and hospitality industries through education, leadership, and professional development.
Since 2017, the WOTVS Foundation has awarded 158 recipients with scholarships. Through generous donors and committee volunteers, the Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation is cultivating leaders, feeding the talent pipeline and attracting more people to our industry.
DISCUS Impact Award for Emerging Leaders – Nicole Austin, General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.
The DISCUS Impact Award for Emerging Leaders recognizes the achievements of an emerging young professional who has made significant contributions to their company and/or to the industry and has demonstrated the potential for leadership and continued service.
In her role as General Manager and Distiller of Cascade Hollow Distilling Co., Nicole leads the strategic direction of the company, with dual responsibilities across operations and marketing for the distillery and its whisky brands.
Since joining the Cascade Hollow team, she’s been instrumental in the latest innovations from George Dickel, including George Dickel Bottled in Bond, which was awarded Whisky Advocate’s “Whisky of the Year” distinction. In March 2020, Nicole was also named as Artisan Spirit Magazine’s first ever “Distiller of the Year.”
Nicole is a leading light in the craft movement and a fierce advocate for the entire spirits industry.
PHOTOS FROM THE AWARDS LUNCHEON:
Group shot of all awardees (left-right): DISCUS President & CEO Chris Swonger; Nicole Austin, General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.; Dr. Joy Spence, Master Blender, Appleton Estate Jamaica; Scott and Becky Harris, Owners Catoctin Creek Distillery; Deborah Brenner, President, Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation; and Ugo Fiorenzo, Managing Director at Campari America.