Peggy Noe Stevens is well known in the bourbon industry. Her career spans nearly three decades in a bourbon world that has long been thought of as a “man’s world” or a distilled spirit that’s a “man’s drink.” Over the years, she’s helped to change that perception in the industry by becoming the world’s first female Master Bourbon Taster and by founding the popular Bourbon Women Association.
Over her career she’s also built tourism destinations for famous distilleries, authored two books, created innovative Bourbon culinary programs and represented Kentucky for Julia Child, Bobby Flay and the Prince of Spain.
In 1999 while working for Brown-Forman Corp., Stevens was part of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association team that created the world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience, which has grown to one of the country’s most successful and unique tourism attractions.
In 2010, she founded the Bourbon Women Association, the first female consumer group in the industry to celebrate and support Kentucky’s signature industry with a platform for women. As the associations web site says, “If you like Bourbon or just want to learn more about it…welcome to the club! Bourbon Women Association is THE organization for women who are passionate about exploring bourbon and the culture that surrounds it.”
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Recognized with 3rd Annual Lois Mateus Networking Award
Peggy Noe Stevens, a renowned image branding consultant who has helped transform Kentucky’s Bourbon tourism industry, received the third annual “Lois Mateus Networking Award” for her decades of hospitality and professional prowess.
“Whenever Bourbon and tourism meet, there has been Peggy Noe Stevens,” Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory said. “Her legacy is literally inscribed on the walls of our most legendary distilleries that she has helped transform into thriving global tourism destinations.
“On behalf of the KDA and our 28 members, we applaud and salute Peggy for her tremendous accomplishments and her groundbreaking role as a mentor and leader to Bourbon women all around the world.”
Bourbon Women President Susan Reigler said, “Peggy’s knowledge that women were just as interested in America’s native spirit was the inspiration for the founding of Bourbon Women. That inspiration has resulted in the organization attracting hundreds of members across the country.”
Stevens accepted the award at the Bourbon Women’s “Anatomy Academy” event, part of this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ showcase. The spirited, sold-out session examined the differences between men’s and women’s palates for Bourbon.
“It has always been a privilege to be part of the Bourbon community here in Kentucky,” Stevens said. “I have always considered myself an ambassador for the industry and my home state and I am truly honored by this recognition.”
Gregory and Reigler presented Stevens with a silver Bourbon barrel award cup to symbolize her trailblazing role in networking, community service and professionalism.
The award is named for Mateus, retired Senior Vice President of Brown-Forman, Inc., and the first woman ever to serve on the KDA Board. Her two-year term in 1992 paved the way for other women in high-ranking roles throughout Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.
“The learning and development partnership of mentoring is a powerful influence in one’s career,” Mateus said. “It has been a joy to see Peggy Stevens share her experience and expertise for the professional growth of so many others.”
The award is given annually by Bourbon Women in conjunction with the KDA based on the following criteria for a woman who has:
- Excelled in her profession by continuously building key relationships to contribute to the growth in her respective industry
- Broken through barriers to grow her career
- Contributed to the community through service and philanthropy
- Increased exposure for other women to grow their networking and career opportunities
- Developed creative partnerships and strategic alliances to further the growth of her respective industry
- Become a role model for female professionalism
- Bourbon Women has grown rapidly, with interest quickly spilling beyond the state’s borders. The premier organization now has members nationwide in 30 states and continues to extend its reach with the formation of new branches.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Branch held its launch event on May 11th, 2016. The newest branch, which joins those in Indianapolis and Chicago will soon be followed by the Atlanta Branch launch scheduled in August.
Since its inception, the Bourbon Women Association has inspired books on women in the industry, created partnerships with key industry associations, held the first bourbon weekend for women and continue to raise money for philanthropies through their unique, high-quality events.
In August, Bourbon Women from around the country will converge in Lexington, Kentucky for the Third Annual Bourbon Women Sip-Osium at the Hilton Hotel downtown from Aug. 26-28, 2016.