Bourbon Women Launches Diversity & Inclusion Initiative

Furthering its educational mission, the Bourbon Women Association announced the new Amber Circle Diversity & Inclusion Initiative during its annual SIPosium conference. This new scholarship program builds on the organization’s Amber Circle mentoring program that started in 2019 and strives to empower women and those from underrepresented communities in the bourbon and spirits industry. For more information, visit

“We are so fortunate to be able to work in an industry that is always embracing change, and opening the doors to others so they can join us is one of the core missions of the Bourbon Women Association,” said Bourbon Women president Maggie Kimberl in a press release. “I am thrilled to be able to use the power of this first-ever female whiskey consumer organization to support women in growing their careers.”

The Amber Circle initiatives create programs that benefit a more diverse and inclusive membership within Bourbon Women and throughout the spirits industry. The program’s mission recognizes the importance of representation from all facets of human experience, including BIPOC women, LGBTQIA+ women, and women of different abilities, educational levels, and backgrounds.

“Discovery happens when you push boundaries,” said board chair Heather Wibbels. “Amplifying the voices and experiences of the underrepresented in the bourbon community encourages the bourbon industry to reach out and invite more diversity in their outreach to consumers and their own companies. We’re reaching out to members of our community and the whiskey spirits industry to support this initiative to advocate change from the ground up.”

The initiative is kicking off with a donation campaign to raise scholarship funds. Individual donations of $250 and corporate donations of $1,000 or more are encouraged. Donations in these amounts may be made through Bourbon Women’s website on the Amber Circle page; larger donations can be made by contacting The Bourbon Women Association is a registered nonprofit organization. 

The inaugural Amber Circle Diversity & Inclusion cohort of a dozen women will receive training through the Stave & Thief program. Founded in 2014, Stave & Thief was the first bourbon certification program recognized by the bourbon industry and is designated by the Kentucky Distillers Association as its “Official Bourbon Education Course.” The training is provided by Louisville-based Moonshine University. The cohort will also receive additional training on networking, professional presence, personal brand development and more.

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