Thursday, June 4, 2015

Queen City Whiskey Women bringing a national trend here

I caught up with the Queen City Whiskey Women for the monthly "drink up" last night. The group, founded by NoDa maven Hollis Nixon, is a gathering of women who drink whiskey. Okay, in theory, they like to drink whiskey, but really they just enjoy craft cocktails. The group meets the third Wednesday, but Nixon says the day may change, at Heist Brewery in #NoDa.

Each "drink up" features a signature drink and a MANhattan, a male friend brave enough to drink with a bunch of women. (What guy wouldn't want to do that?) Last night's drink was Heist's version of Whiskey Sour with a Claret Snap (a port float).

Similar to Charlotte's Bourbonistas, which I am also a member, Queen City Whiskey Women gatherings often feature a visit from a liquor rep. Nixon hopes the group will catch on. Clubs for women who drink whiskey and bourbon are popping up throughout the country.
I didn't think about until I started working on this blog, but last month I toured Maker's Mark, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve bourbon distilleries in Kentucky. Women made up nearly 50 percent of the people on the tours that I attended.

I've been drinking brown liquor - as I call it - for more than a decade. The rest of the country has finally caught up to me. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, vodka sales have stagnated at 1.6 percent growth in 2013-2014, but sales of single malt scotch rose 6.4 percent, bourbon 7.4 percent and Irish whiskey 9.1 percent. The Washington-based lobbying firm credits women drinking with these trends.

Nixon says you don't have to love whiskey to join the group. Here's what she sent me as the criteria for membership: The Queen City Whiskey Women want strong, dedicated, and passionate QC females to grow the group. Our ladies focus on laughter, networking, and whiskey. We nominate a monthly "MANhattan" - an adventurous and supportive male friend that is invited to attend the drink-up and regal us with his humor (and chivalry). Tiaras are strongly encouraged!

Today, I'm headed to the Imperial Life in Asheville for Negronis. June 1-7 is Negroni week. Negronis are made with gin, vermouth and Campari.

 Maybe, I'll start another trend.