Karen Hoskin, Owner of Montanya Distillers, Takes Over Interim Leadership
of Ladies of American Distilleries
National Organization supports gender diversity in craft distilling
Seven years ago, a group of women in the craft distilling industry banded together, with leadership from Samantha Unger Katz of New York Distilling Company, to form Ladies of American Distilleries (LOAD).
LOAD created a structure and forum to support gender diversity in craft distilling. Women still only comprise 10-20% of distillers and distillery employees and less than 10% of majority owners in US distilleries.
A conversation has begun about opportunities, barriers, and challenges for women in this historically male-dominated industry. LOAD is raising qualified voices of women who are leaders in their field to inspire, support, mentor and network with other women distillers and distillery owners, and to coalesce those who support them.
Over the past seven years, LOAD has sponsored and organized numerous fundraising and networking events across the country and has brought together over 700 members from various disciplines in the industry.
This month, Samantha Unger Katz has announced that she is stepping down as the leader of LOAD to focus full-time on her incubator of underrepresented talent in private markets.  Karen Hoskin, owner of Montanya Distillers in Colorado and a founding member of LOAD, has agreed to take over interim leadership of the organization until a formal board can be elected.
“Karen has been an avid supporter of this organization and women in the industry since the inception of LOAD. We are so thrilled to see her step into this role as the organization navigates this next phase of growth,” says Katz.
Hoskin plans to formalize LOAD’s membership structure, create formal allegiances with industry groups, develop the organization’s database, and recruit sponsors who want to bring firepower to the group’s vibrant mission.
“When I started my distillery ten years ago, I was the only female distillery owner and founder in any room. Sometimes people thought I was there to deliver their lunch,” says Hoskin. “It was intimidating and occasionally demoralizing. I have always felt it is my responsibility to help kick down the barriers to entry, raise a voice of support, and hopefully inspire others along the way.”
Hoskin founded her Colorado craft distillery in 2008. Over ten years, she has played a formal role in every aspect of her company from distilling, bottling, product development and branding to sales, distribution development, and PR. She also runs a 100-seat restaurant and rum bar in her distillery. She was the first woman recipient of the American Distilling Institute’s Bubble Cap Award for Best American Craft Distiller in 2015, the first woman ever to provide the keynote at the ADI conference, and has spoken nationally at many conferences and festivals about diversity and sustainability in the craft distilling industry.
“Our industry suffers from a genuine lack of diversity. We need to talk about it rather than hope it will change. I can be a bit shrill on this issue, but it has worked to draw attention to it. Representation of women has finally begun trending upward over the last two years. I have personally mentored ten new owners and founders of female-led distilleries over the years. It has been one of the most rewarding and wonderful parts of my work.”
LOAD will host a Women’s Summit at the ADI conference in Portland, OR March 26th-28th.
For inquiries about the organization, please email Karen Hoskin at karen@ladiesofamericandistilleries.com.

Press releases are generated outside of Spirited magazine and the information contained does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Spirited or its parent company, Sonoma Media Investments.