Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Heather Greene

heather greeneWorking as a professional musician or a freelance columnist can be a hard way to make a living. For Heather Greene–who’d made both sets of tasks over the years, along with being a bartender, spirits lecturer, and consultant–a conversation with a friend and colleague over concoctions in a inn saloon in Kentucky in 2018 encouraged her to step into a brand-new professional role: original whiskey blender( and, begins in 2019, CEO) for Milam& Greene Whiskeys at the Ben Milam Whiskey Distillery in Blanco, Texas.

Fittingly, Greene firstly encountered the company through alliances she’d determined throughout her varied occupation. “I’d met one of project partners in New York City, ” where Greene was living before recently relocating to Texas, “and what we had in common was music–we fill through a cord arranger who’d worked on my record back in the early 2000 s, when I was a professional musician, ” she says. “He produced me down to Austin, and the rest is history.”

At the time the opportunity came along, Greene had been working as a freelance columnist and a consultant for various whiskey labels, and she was looking to make a change. “I could see that being an author was coming more and more difficult, and publishing possibilities were drying up, ” she says. “But I also thought that after years of working on my own, I was ready for another challenge, and I wanted to stretch in a way I hadn’t stretched before. So the relevant recommendations to make everything I’ve learned from all of these brands that I’ve worked on[ as a consultant ], and from traveling and writing, and to work with a team that’s open and impressive enough to share that knowledge with me? It is just like a pinnacle of everything I’d done so far.”

Along with founding spouse Marsha Milam, captain distiller Marlene Holmes( who’d previously logged more than 25 years of know-how as a distiller at Jim Beam ), and main brewer Jordan Osborne, Greene is working to constitute traditional American whiskies that still permit a Texas imprint. The first whiskies–a triple-cask straight-from-the-shoulder bourbon made from a mixture of whiskies from Tennessee and the brand’s own Texas-made spirit, and a rye whiskey purified and aged in Indiana and finished in port cannons in Texas’ Hill Country–were liberated last-place precipitate. “We’re an American whiskey–our rye[ particle] comes from the Pacific Northwest, our barley from Wyoming, our corn from Texas, our parties come from everywhere, and we have a Texas heart, ” Greene says. “It’s not full-on Texas whiskey, because we’re embracing all of America.”

“It’s not full-on Texas whiskey, because we’re embracing all of America.”

With Holmes and Osborne overseeing the production side and Greene handling the blending, the whiskies likewise demo an approach that’s still surprisingly novel in some spacecraft intents curves. “You motif a whiskey with the perceive in imagination firstly, then go back and figure out how we’re going to do that over experience, ” Greene says. “That’s a different approach from what I’ve seen in a lot of the workmanship purifying nature, which is to build a distillery, realize whiskey and made it in the repository, and is hoped that the government smacks the space you want it to. Taking it from the other way round, it’s philosophically a better approach, because you have that experience in mind.”

Blending the whiskies is key to meeting this target, and “its also” where Greene diverges from many American distillers, who place greater emphasis on the role of the distiller and keep the role of the blender in the background. “Japan is all about melding, and nipping the differences between constituents of a whisky to start something really beautiful, and Scotland genuinely cuddles surmount blenders and how they threw casks together to start something huge, ” she says. “Our whiskies are about making everything we’ve learned in our respective occupations, and putting it under one roof.”

Greene is speedy should be pointed out that what the team is doing isn’t peculiarly new–rather, the practices of sourcing, batching, distilling, and coalescing whiskies accommodate firmly into the American whiskey tradition. “This brand isn’t doing anything that doesn’t have autobiography behind it, ” she says. “Blending and batching has record behind it, and we’re still a bourbon or a rye at the end of the day. We’re opening it up to all of those other things–we’re going to Kentucky and moving some whiskey in Bardstown and being super open about it, preventing some casks in Kentucky and accompanying some to Texas so we can see the effects of terroir and microclimate across the areas. It’s precisely fun–and for a whiskey geek like me, it’s awesome.”

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