Shortly after graduating from University of Glasgow in 1934,
Elizabeth "Bessie" Williamson began working as a temporary
secretary at the Laphroaig Distillery on the Scottish island Islay.
Williamson quickly found herself joining the boys in the tasting
room, studying the distillation process, and winning them over with
her knowledge of Scottish whisky.
After the owner of Laphroaig passed away, Williamson took over
the prestigious company and became the American spokesperson for
the entire Scotch whisky industry. Impressing clients and showing
her passion as the Scotch Whisky Association's trade ambassador,
she soon gained fame within the industry, becoming known as the
greatest female distiller.
Whiskey Women tells the tales of women who have created
this industry, from Mesopotamia's first beer brewers and distillers
to America's rough-and-tough bootleggers during Prohibition. Women
have long distilled, marketed, and owned significant shares in
spirits companies. Williamson's story is one of many among the
influential women who changed the Scotch whisky industry as well as
influenced the American bourbon whiskey and Irish whiskey markets.
Until now their stories have remained untold.