Bourbon master taster Marianne Barnes leaves Brown-Forman

Marianne Barnes was the whiskey/bourbon master taster at Brown-Forman. | Photo by Sara Havens.
Marianne Barnes was the whiskey/bourbon master taster at Brown-Forman. | Photo by Sara Havens

Marianne Barnes, who worked as Brown-Forman’s bourbon/whiskey master taster, has left the company and, according to those in the know, will become master distiller of a new distillery once known as Old Taylor.

There was much speculation among attendees at this weekend’s Bourbon Classic event, and author and bourbon expert Fred Minnick broke the news Saturday on his blog about Barnes’ departure from Brown-Forman and where he believes she’s headed.

Insider reached out to Barnes, who confirmed her departure but is waiting to release more details. If Barnes does become master distiller of a new bourbon startup, it’ll be a significant milestone for women in the bourbon industry. Minnick writes, “But Barnes, whose title has not been confirmed, will likely become Kentucky’s first female master/head distiller since Prohibition.”

Barnes started with Brown-Forman in 2012, after completing her degree in chemical engineering at U of L’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. She worked closely under master distiller Chris Morris and was named master taster in 2014. One of her first projects as master taster was working with Morris on selecting the flavor profile of Old Forester’s newest release, Original Batch 1870.

Fast Dozen event announced

new GLI logoGLI’s EnterpriseCorp has opened up invitations to its annual “Fast Dozen” event, which will be held at the Glassworks Building.

Fast Dozen celebrates 12 local “Gazelle” companies that “demonstrate the diversity and creativity of our local fast growth community.” These are “second-stage” companies that have moved past the bootstrapping startup phase and are adding jobs and increasing revenue.

Meet the Fast Dozen at the Foundry on March 25 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and you can purchase them here.

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