Conniption Gin Supports James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Programs

Melissa Katrincic, founder of Durham, North Carolina-based Durham Distillery, proudly announces sponsorship of the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Programs with a national campaign celebrating women in hospitality, one Conniption Gin cocktail at a time. “We’re thrilled to announce these hospitality leaders who have joined us in raising $100,000 to provide female entrepreneurs in the Food & Beverage Industry with the essential programming, resources, and tools to help illuminate their path to success,” explained Katrincic.

“Raising a Glass to Closing the Gap” launches during Women’s History Month to recognize and honor the indelible impact women make in the food and beverage industry. Notable leaders in hospitality such as Andrea Reusing, James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef: Southeast, Preeti Waas, 2024 James Beard Award Nominee for Best Chef: Southeast, and Scott Crawford, 2024 James Beard Award Nominee for Outstanding Hospitality, have joined to support the program. “Women and people of color are the low-wage backbone of our nation’s restaurant industry, yet within top-tier restaurant groups 92% of head chefs are men, mostly white. Restaurants can and should be a powerful force for social change and we are excited to join this work to support emerging entrepreneurs,” said Reusing.

For every Conniption Gin “Closing the Gap” cocktail sold on menus through October 2024, Conniption Gin will donate $1 to the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Programs.  (Participating restaurants may also choose to match the donation.)

Guests are invited to seek out Conniption Gin cocktails at participating locations and share their support and encouragement for women in hospitality by following @ConniptionGin on Instagram.

“We’ve partnered with the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Programs to help dismantle the barriers hindering women’s professional advancement, just as we do at Durham Distillery,” said Katrincic. Katrincic founded Durham Distillery in 2013 with husband and distiller Lee Katrincic and is a benefactor of Constellation Ventures “Focus on Female Founders” program and the first and only U.S. female gin distiller to be accepted and inducted into The Gin Guild. “Since opening our women-owned and led craft distillery, we have been on a relentless quest to produce unrivaled contemporary gin and forge new pathways for women in spirits and hospitality,” said Katrincic.

Durham Distillery’s Conniption Gins have experienced rapid expansion winning three best in the U.S. awards and three gold medals at the most recent World Gin Awards in London; CONNIPTION Kinship Gin, CONNIPTION Navy Strength Gin, and CONNIPTION American Dry Gin are now available in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, Colorado and Illinois with Massachusetts launching later in 2024.

Restaurants and bars interested in participating in this important program – “Raising a Glass to Closing the Gap” – may contact Heather Kashner at

Stay tuned as Durham Distillery continues to set the standard for American Gin and elevate women in hospitality. Follow @ConniptionGin and visit for updates about participating restaurants, bars and exceptional Conniption Gin cocktails.

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