March is Women’s History Month, and it’s the perfect time to highlight some of the amazing women who are driving the Virginia distilling community forward. In a male-dominated industry, they’ve played a critical role in the establishment and expansion of quality spirits-making across the Commonwealth. 

From opening their doors and welcoming spirits enthusiasts from across the world to getting their hands dirty and fine-tuning their craft products, we have a lot of women to thank. Here’s fifteen to start.

Mary Allison & Shelley Sackier – Reservoir Distillery

These two women are at the helm of the ship for Reservoir Distillery, one of Virginia’s premier bourbon and whiskey producers. Notably one of the first female head distillers in the nation, Mary (left) has been the head distiller at Reservoir for nearly ten years. As director of distillery education, Shelley (right) leads all research, development and education efforts for the distillery and is a driving force for the industry as a whole. 

Michelle Davenport – Three Crosses Distilling Co.

Starting Three Crosses alongside her husband, Michelle took a love for bourbon and became a student of the craft. Now, as owner and distiller, she’s joined the exclusive club of women who are leading distillers in the Commonwealth. 

Angela H. Moore, Maggie Moore & Amanda Beckwith – Virginia Distillery Co.

From chairwoman (Angela – left) and chief experience officer (Maggie – center) to lead blender (Amanda – right), Virginia Distillery Co. wouldn’t be what it is without strong women. Angela has helped the distillery blossom into the vision of her late husband, and a scholarship from VDC, the Angela H. Moore Women in Distilling Scholarship, was named in her honor. Maggie is focused on the distillery’s visitors center, creating an educational, welcoming experience for all guests. Amanda, expert on all things American Single-Malt, is one of the most knowledgeable, well-known advocates for Virginia whiskey production. 

Vicki Haneberg – Virago Spirits

If you’ve stopped into the Virago tasting room, chances are you’ve seen or heard of Vicki Haneberg. Vicki is a co-founder, manages the tasting room with a smile, coordinates events and builds community partnerships. She also serves on the Virginia Spirits Board. 

Stephanie Somers – Beach Vodka

When the old Beach Vodka shut its doors in 2019, Stephanie stepped up and took over. Her entrepreneurial spirit has helped elevate the spirits’ brand to new, creative heights. 

Mariah Standing – Waterman Spirits

Also at the beach, Mariah is the owner and founder of Waterman Spirits. Her commitment to creating an organic line of authentic, craft spirits began in 2022, and she’s been “crushing” it ever since.

Becky Harris – Catoctin Creek

Our second owner-distiller combo, Becky is a force to be reckoned with in the spirits industry. She took her STEM background in chemical engineering and now crafts some of the nation’s best rye whiskeys. Becky also recently served as president of the American Craft Spirits Association, becoming the first female president of the only nonprofit trade association for craft spirits producers.

Kelly Gordon – Springfield Distillery 

Kelly is the “owner, CEO, taste master and concoctionist” at Springfield Distillery. What started out as a forever home and family venture, quickly turned into a change of career plans. Now, it’s gone beyond the traditional distillery tasting room; Springfield includes an event venue and two fully outfitted cabins.

Lisa Laird-Dunn – Laird & Company (sourced in VA)

Lovingly dubbed the First Lady of Apple Jack, Lisa is a 9th-generation CEO of this famous family business. She keeps the tradition alive and has been a critical part of the brand’s growing footprint.  

Sherry Brockenbrough – Hill Top Distillery

Hill Top Distillery is a whole family affair, and Sherry is the heart of the operation. As co-owner and contributing distiller, she became a quick study of spirits making when the retired couple saw potential in the mysterious and majestic woodlands in Maidens, Virginia.

Christine & Lauren Riggleman – Silverback Distillery

This mother-daughter duo is iconic among the distilling community. As CEO and co-master distiller, Christine’s spirits have racked up 16 international awards, on top of numerous local and statewide awards. In 2014, she was named one of the top gin distillers in the United States through Lauren (right) joined the team in 2022 as co-master distiller and is recognized as the youngest master distiller in the United States. Both Christine and Lauren have been inducted into the ABV Network’s Bourbon Hall of Fame.

We hope you’ll make it out to these distilleries, this March and beyond – and when you do, raise a glass to all the women who make Virginia Spirits what it is today. Stay tuned on @VaSpirits social media to learn more all month long!