JAM: According to the wordsmith Beyonce, girls run the world. Tell us how that's true in whiskey today.
FM: Today, women are the CEOs, CFOs, marketers, blenders, distillers and owners of many whiskey brands. They are running every aspect of the whiskey industry. And the funny thing is, they’ve always been in the thick of the whiskey business.
JAM: So women have been in charge for some time...
FM: Women have always been a part of whiskey. Even before whiskey was coined as such, Sumerian women invented beer and Mesopotamian women invented distillation. When we get into the brands we see on shelves today, women once owned Bushmills, Cardow (Cardhu), Dalmore, Laphroaig, Tullamore Dew and many others. A woman invented the packaging for Maker’s Mark, which redefined liquor packaging strategies. So, women have been making important business decisions for whiskey brands for a long, long time. It’s only now that they’re finally receiving credit.
JAM: I know you love whiskey - how did you come to this angle for your book?
FM: I was at the Bourbon Women’s founding meeting, and they were talking about women being the first distillers. As a whiskey writer, I had never heard this, so I started looking into it and realized that women were not only distilling at home, but they were crucial to the modern success of whiskey. I had to write this book after I discovered how important women have always been. It was my chance to give many forgotten women, even the bootleggers, the credit the men have always taken.
JAM: What's it like signing books in Costco?
FM: Talk about an experience! One minute a man is knocking over my sign, the next another guy is scratching his butt in front of my table while sorting through cheeses. Old ladies laughed at me when I told them my title was Whiskey Women, and Mormons tried to give me their Book of Mormon. My favorite line: "I’ve never heard of your book because I’m Canadian." The guy walked across three aisles to pick up my book and tell me that. Weird. But, I sold a lot of books, and I recommend a Costco signing to all authors. You just don’t know what people wills say to you.
JAM: What's next for Fred Minnick?
FM: Well, I don’t know right now professionally. My literary agent, Linda Konner, and I have discussed a few potential projects, but no contracts yet. Personally, my wife and I are expecting our first child soon and I’m really gearing up to be a dad. I can’t wait.