Woodford Reserve Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall has been named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers of 2020. The annual list recognizes the young winemakers, brewers, beverage directors, grape growers, and others who are changing today’s beverage industry.
“McCall is the second generation of her family to work in the spirits industry, taking after her mother who worked at the Seagram’s production facility in the 1970s and 80s,” said Wine Enthusiast. “Since 2009, she has been a member of Brown-Forman’s research and development team, where she works alongside the master distiller, Chris Morris, to ensure high standards of quality and product innovation. McCall also works closely with Kentucky farmers to source local grain, rather than to rely on imports from Canada or Poland. This summer, she welcomed her first child, making her the first mother to be a distiller in Brown-Forman history.”
“It is an honor to join an incredible group of women and men who are paving the road for innovation and growth in our industry,” McCall said. “I hope to inspire others, just as Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris inspired me.”
When McCall is not using her expertise at the distillery, she exercises her passion for innovation and sustainability through her work with the DendriFund, an environmental sustainability foundation created by Brown-Forman Corporation and the Brown family, to inspire joint action to improve the natural, social, and economic environment for future generations.
Working closely with the University of Kentucky agriculture department, McCall is actively involved in working with Kentucky farmers to bring rye grain production back to Kentucky. Most Rye for Bourbon is currently imported from Canada and Europe. By working closely with Kentucky farmers, and gaining knowledge and expertise in agriculture, McCall is even more committed to one day buying Kentucky rye from local farms to support the community and to reduce the environmental footprint.
“We are extremely proud of Elizabeth for this recognition,” Morris said. “It has been rewarding to see her growth during her career at Woodford Reserve and Brown-Forman. She is constantly challenging and inspiring me, and I could not have asked for a better colleague and friend who has a true passion for America’s native spirit.”
McCall was named Assistant Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve in 2018. She works directly with Chris Morris on research, development and innovation and the creation of new products for Woodford Reserve. Additionally, she interacts with consumers through personal selections and education on sensory methodology and works to define the quality sensory standard to which every batch of Woodford Reserve must comply.