Cascade Hollow Distilling - General Manager and Distiller Nicole Austin

The George Dickel Distillery is located in Cascade Hollow, Tennessee. For the most part over the last several years the location may have well been called Sleepy Hollow because there wasn’t much news coming out about Diageo’s Tennessee Whiskey brand George Dickel except for the fact that people were leaving. Well, that story is about to change. The Tennessee whiskey brand known for its chill filtered charcoal mellowed whiskey is just about to heat up.

Nicole Austin Named General Manager and Distiller

Diageo, owner of the George Dickel Tennessee Whisky brand has just announced the hiring of Nicole Austin as the new General Manager and Distiller at the George Dickel Distillery. Along with her hiring, they announced the George Dickel Distillery was getting a brand name change to Cascade Hollow Distilling. A look at the history of the distillery shows the use of Cascade in the distillery isn’t totally new. When the distillery was registered on the list of National Historic places, it was referred to as the Cascade Distillery so this is more of a fine tuning of the historic brand that dates back to 1878.

Austin’s Path Goes from Streets of Brooklyn, NY to the Hollows of Cascade, TN

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For a lot of people a career path that takes you from the city lights of Brooklyn to the hills and hollows of Tennessee sounds backwards. For chemical engineer and distiller Nicole Austin, the path from the Hudson River to Cascade Creek couldn’t be any clearer.

When Nicole Austin was hand selected by former Maker Mark’s Master Distiller Dave Pickerell to be the first employee for his spirits consulting firm in 2012, the spirits industry took note of her fresh thinking and strategic vision.  When The New York Times dubbed her “Bourbon’s Master of the Craft” in 2014, the industry applauded her distilling expertise. When the rye whiskey she helped create won Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition, they celebrated her creativity and innovation.  And, this week, when she was named General Manager and Distiller for the newly formed Cascade Hollow Distilling Co., Austin knew she’d found a home in Tennessee.

George Dickel’s “Handmade the Hard Way” approach to making whisky will remain the same and Austin will be charged with overseeing the brand’s 148-year legacy of making Tennessee’s smoothest, award winning craft whisky.  As General Manager of Cascade Hollow Distilling Co., she will establish the vision of what this new company can be and ignite commercial and innovation strategies for the flagship George Dickel brand, future innovation spirits and the distillery.

George Dickel Distillery - Barrel
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“There are so many reasons why I know this position will be a great fit for me – from the jaw dropping beauty of Cascade Hollow to the incredible history of George Dickel,” said Austin.  “But, ultimately, it is the freedom to make Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. my home that made up my mind.  As a distiller, strategist and mentor, I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career which have prepared me for this moment.  Now, it’s time for me to draw from those experiences and build a business that creates a fundamental step change in how people think about Tennessee Whisky.  I’m proud to be here and ready to get to work.”

“Nicole is absolutely perfect to lead Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. because she brings so much to the table,” said Sophie Kelly, SVP of North American Whiskey for Diageo.  “Not only is she an established chemical engineer and distiller, she has a real business mind, an entrepreneurial spirit and a true vision for the future of the company, its brands and the category.  Most importantly, she has all the energy, passion and tenacity to make it real.  George Dickel is a hidden gem in our whiskey portfolio and we’re confident Nicole will take it to the next level as she transforms Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. into something truly special.”

Austin graduated from Manhattan College with a major in Chemical Engineering in 2006, before landing her position as a Master Blender for Kings County Distillery in 2010.  She then joined The Oak View Spirits consulting firm where she handled everything from raw material sourcing to contract negotiations. Most recently, Nicole served as Project Commissioning Engineer for William Grant & Sons at the Tullamore Distillery in Ireland.  She’s also been a fierce advocate for the distilling industry as a founding board member of the American Craft Spirits Association and co-chair of Legislative, Convention and State Guild Committees.

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

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