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Women & Whiskey

Monthly Series | Every Third Thursday

In Partnership with Culinaria

Whiskey – it’s for Jack or Jill.

Whether you consider yourself a whiskey connoisseur or ready to try something new, our monthly Women & Whiskey series focuses on the roles women play in “whiskey business.” From distilling, to marketing, and everything in between, join us every third Thursday of each month to taste and learn about this dark spirit and the people behind the scenes. Whiskey – bold, smart, and diverse, with a history just the same.

Ticket sales will end at midnight each Wednesday prior to the event. Tickets must be presented at the door (printed or on phone). If you purchase a ticket to the Master Class, you do not need to purchase an additional ticket for the Whiskey Social Hour. 

New Formatting for 2022:

6:30PM - 7:30PM: Master Class

7:00PM-10:00PM: Whiskey Social Hour

  • $10 per ticket
  • $2 per ticket will go back to Culinaria
  • Free tastings, bites, and brief presentation from each vendor
  • Live Entertainment
  • Retail Vendors


If you purchase a ticket to the Master Class, you do not need to purchase an additional ticket for the Whiskey Social Hour. 

  1. October 20th
  2. November 17th

​Master Classes

6:30PM - 7:30PM

Join us prior to each Whiskey Social Hour for an hour of expertise, insight, and exclusive tastings with our whiskey vendors. 

Tickets for each Master Class are $40 pre-purchased, or $50 at the door. Ticket sales for Master Classes will end at midnight each Wednesday before the event.

$5 from each ticket will go back to Culinaria. If you purchase a ticket to the Master Class, you do not need to purchase an additional ticket to the Whiskey Social Hour. 

About the Presenters

Garrison Brothers

October 20th, 2022

  1. Get Tickets

Samantha Olvera, Night Time Distiller

Samantha Olvera is the first Latina in Texas to make bourbon from grain to glass. However, this bourbon pioneer’s distilling journey started began when she was the bar manager for a local watering hole just down the road from the Garrison Brothers Distillery. She started off serving nightcaps to distillery employees after an honest day’s work. She struck up a conversation and the rest is history.


Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Olvera fell in love with Garrison Brothers’ Texas roots, and when the distillery had a job opening, she jumped on it. She started out working a few shifts the hospitality department, and eventually climbed the ranks to become an overnight distiller -- that bourbon isn’t going to make itself. Now, Sam gets to wake up every afternoon and boasting she makes the best bourbon on the planet.


Garrison Brothers’ bourbon is the Cadillac of all whiskeys — it’s natural and genuine, which is exactly what Samantha loves about making it. When you take a sip of her distillate, it’s like taking a delicious bite of out corn on the cob smothered with Irish butter. She drinks her bourbon neat, and on hot Texas days, with some ice and a splash of club soda.

Belle Meade

November 17th, 2022

  1. Get Tickets

More information on the presenters coming soon! 

Previous Presentations

Angel's Envy

September 15th, 2022

  1. Get Tickets

Kirsten Holloway

Kirsten has been with Angel's Envy for almost as year, and has over 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including 9 of those years in marketing for various brands. She is a spirits lover and enthusiast who believes in the importance of diversity and inclusion in this industry. Kirsten is also passionate about continuing education. 


August 18th, 2022

Ariel Jahn, Woodinville Development Manager

Ariel Jahn is the Woodinville Development Manager for Woodinville Whiskey Co. In her role, she is responsible for managing a team of Brand Ambassadors, implementing yearly marketing programs, and supporting sales efforts in the market. She will support regional program managers (MHUSA) in execution and implementation of the brand’s strategy of driving awareness, education and engagement with both the trade and consumers alike.

Horse Solider

July 21st, 2022

Dawn Summers

Dawn was born in Bad Constat, Germany. Her father was in Army communications. Her family later moved to Midland N. Carolina. Dawn graduated from NC State with a BS in Pre-Vet Animal Science.

After graduation she met Will and was married two months later. Will and Dawn have been married 25 years and have 11 children and two grandchildren. They currently reside on a small family farm in NE Texas.

Dawn enjoys cooking, gardening, mothering, hospitality, studying the Bible with her family and promoting Horse Soldier Bourbon alongside her husband. Dawn also homeschooled all 11 children with the help of her husband and older daughters. 

Will Summers

Following the attacks of 9/11, then SSG Will Summers, participated in a heroic 12-man Special Forces team of “Green Berets” on an impossible mission into Afghanistan.  They would ride to war on horses to fight the enemy and liberate the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif within a matter of weeks.  Along with follow-on special operations teams successfully overthrow the Taliban regime and put al-Qaeda terrorists on the run. This is considered one of the most successful unconventional warfare campaigns in modern history. 

Will Graduated high school and joined the Army, entering the 82nd Airborne DIV. He joined Special Forces in 1995 and qualified as an 18E Special Forces Communication SGT.

Will graduated with a BS from Liberty University. He later Commissioned as an Infantry Officer. 

The “Horse Soldiers” are the design inspiration of the “America’s Response Monument,” a tribute to our Special Operations Forces and Intelligence Community. Will and the 595 team are featured in the Emmy nominated documentary film “Legion of Brothers”, the powerful You Tube documentary “Here Am I, Send Me!”, and in the 2018 major motion picture, “12 Strong”. 

Currently living in Texas with his Wife of 24 years and 10 of their 11 children, Will and his business partners, now operate a nationally growing craft distillery brand, featuring their award-winning Horse Soldier Bourbon which is available in 12 states currently and on-line at HorseSoldierBourbon.com   

Milam & Greene

June 16th, 2022

Marlene Holmes

Kentucky native, Marlene Holmes, joined Provision Spirits to help create and launch Milam & Greene. In her role as master distiller, Marlene oversees the distilling, aging, blending, batching, proofing, sourcing, finishing, and bottling of the award-winning Milam & Greene whiskey brand. Marlene is a stickler for perfection and takes a meticulous, creative, hands-on approach to ensure the production of top-quality whiskies. Under her direction, the team distills using a 1,000-gallon copper pot still in Texas as well as in continuous stills in her home state of Kentucky. The team travels to Kentucky to distill using its own mash bill, yeast recipe, and distillation processes. The whiskey is matured in both Kentucky and Texas. Marlene started her career in whiskey in 1990 with Jim Beam in Kentucky. During her time with this classic bourbon brand, she honed her craft and learned all about the whiskey business before moving to Texas.

Shibui Whisky

May 19th, 2022

Lauren Simmons 

Lauren Simmons has dedicated her entire adult life to the beverage industry. Having worked in every role from promotions and marketing through to sales and distribution, Lauren found her path building brands by heading up Sales within National Accounts. Leading both on premise and retail National Accounts for Anchor Distilling Company, Lauren specialized in the launch and continued success of brands like Glenrothes, Glendronach, Nikka & Kavalan.

 In 2019, Lauren alongside her sister Rachel, launched IND beverages as a wine and spirits importer and in 2020, both Lauren and Rachel launched Shibui Japanese Whisky alongside Nicholas M. Pollacchi. Lauren’s dedication to excellence has driven formidable growth and distribution of Shibui across 32 states to date and Shibui has been decorated as the most awarded Japanese Whisky to ever launch into the United States.

Nicolas M. Pollacchi

Nicholas M. Pollacchi is the Co-Owner and Global Head of Whisky for IND Beverages and Shibui Japanese Whisky – the most awarded Japanese Whisky to ever launch in the United States of America.

Recognized as a leading world whisky expert, Nicholas has dedicated his entire career to educating, entertaining, and illuminating audiences from all parts of the world in the joys of whisky. Previously heading up global PR for Macallan, Highland Park and Glenrothes, as well as launching Macallan NAS into Global Travel Retail before moving to the United States for Balvenie, Nicholas has consulted for over 120 different world whisky brands before joining the IND Beverages ownership team with founders Lauren & Rachel Simmons.

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey

April 21st, 2022

Karah Carmack

Karah Carmack was born for hospitality. A natural caregiver, she easily identifies the needs of others to create and execute unique experiences that result in happy customers, increased sales, and exceeded goals. Karah tailors the care and attention she provides to her customers, always working to raise the bar and elevate the status quo. She enjoys working in the industry alongside many life-long friends and relishes any opportunity to help them achieve their goals.

A 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Karah has worked as a Staff Mixologist and a Bar Manager.  She enjoys making an impact on the quality of education in the industry and actively expands her knowledge. Karah holds a WSET Level 2 in Spirits and a WSET Level 2 in Wine & Spirits, as well as an Associates Degreee in Photojournalism and Psychology from San Antonio College. 

Karah believes happiness is a choice and finds hers by cooking, baking, hiking, gaming, building LEGO sets, and doing volunteer work. In fact, she’s run the San Antonio Cocktail Conference Volunteer program since its inception in 2012. Karah currently resides in San Antonio with her partner Tim, her stepdaughter Juniper, and their 3 dogs. They are currently expecting a new addition to the family in August of 2022.

Redemption Whiskey

March 17th, 2022

Jacki Schromm

Jacki Schromm is the Regional Brand Ambassador for Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits representing the first-class whiskies of Redemption, Bib & Tucker, and Masterson‘s. She is a Boston native and received her degree in hospitality and marketing at Salem State University. For over 17 years Jacki championed hospitality in restaurants ranging from the wine-centric patios of Nantucket to award-winning craft cocktail bars in Houston. Throughout that history grew a passion for whiskey and education: a drive to create one-of-a-kind experiences that bring the spirits to life for consumers and trade alike. 

Uncle Nearest

February 17th, 2022

Victoria Eady Butler

Victoria Eady Butler is a relatively new face in the spirits world, but whiskey is
definitely in her blood. The great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green, the first
African-American master distiller on record, Butler is the Master Blender of the
award-winning Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey where she oversees the blending
process of its 1884 Small Batch Whiskey as well as the selection of all 1820 Single
Barrels. In 2021 Victoria was named Master Blender of the Year by Whisky Magazine
at their Icons of Whisky Awards. Butler also serves as a member of Uncle Nearest’s
executive team and oversees the Nearest Green Foundation, a 501(s)(3) non-profit
organization that provides scholarships to Nearest Green’s descendants which is
funded, in part, by the sales of Uncle Nearest whiskeys.

Prior to joining the Uncle Nearest team in March 2019, Butler worked as an
Analytical Manager with the Regional Organized Crime Information Center in
Nashville, which she joined upon graduating Middle Tennessee State University with
a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Butler had just retired from a more than 31-
year tenure when Fawn Weaver, Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest, approached her
about becoming involved in the Uncle Nearest brand. The opportunity to carry on
her family legacy first-hand and to help to cement Nearest’s name in history was one
that she couldn’t pass up.

Westward Whiskey

January 27th, 2022

Jillian Whitlow, Texas Market Manager

Jillian Whitlow serves as the Texas Market Manager for Westward Whiskey, the highest rated American Single Malt, distilled grain to glass on Distillery Row in Portland, OR. Jillian joined the Westward sales team in October of 2021 and has been instrumental in putting the brand on the map in the major Texas markets, working closely with industry partners, retailers and distributors to build brand awareness.

Gian Trinidad, CSS, Certified Spirits Specialist/Sales Professional/Cocktail Consultant

Gian Trinidad is an accomplished spirits professional with over 15 years of experience in the alcoholic beverage industry.  A self-proclaimed “spirits geek” and a student of the trade, he is constantly striving to expand his knowledge, most recently becoming Certified Specialist of Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators, and earning the highest honor of WSET 2 - pass with distinction through The Wine and Spirits Educational Trust. He specializes in the field of American Whiskey, and currently runs the Northern California market for Westward Whiskey - where his unique style of combining science and art has led to record growth and a strong following.