Class of 2021
A scientist turned master distiller, Marianne Eaves is an iconoclast in US whiskey production. She brings the learning from a degree in chemical engineering to breathe fresh life into the sometimes staid spirit industry and is creating groundbreaking new liquids in the process. Recently, she was engaged by Hoops Vineyard, California, who challenged her to create ‘something interesting’ from a crop of smoke-damaged Cabernet grapes from the 2017 wildfires in the region. Her response was to accentuate the earthy notes to produce a smoke-tainted brandy that will complete its ageing process at the end of 2021.
The drinks world eagerly awaits its reveal. In one of her first in-house roles with a whiskey brand, Marianne became the first female Master Distiller in Kentucky since Prohibition. She is rewriting the rules associated with distilling and the beverage world now looks to her for creative new expressions of dark spirits. The drinks sector is staring down the barrel of a brave new world in spirit flavour profiles and Marianne is at the heart of its development.
“My partner, Kevin, owns a circus. Now I am a part of the circus caravan and home is wherever the circus caravan happens to be that week. Because of the power of social media, I’d find myself in a new place and a distillery or a local would reach out and say, ‘We heard you were in the area and we’d love to have you come out.’ I’m really excited to be able to build those relationships and network with those folks.” – Marianne Eaves