Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series that will highlight successful women in the industry. If you would like to nominate someone for recognition please send submissions to Kristen Santoro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the nightclub and bar industry can be seen as a boys’ club, more women are shattering the glass ceiling in the industry. Female cocktail pioneers and owners have paved the way for women to embark upon a career in hospitality. Nightclub & Bar has decided to profile some of those women making an impact (through a series of article) in this ever-evolving industry.
Ann Tuennerman, founder and executive director of Tales of the Cocktail
With the Tales of the Cocktail one week away, Ann Tuennerman is busy putting the final touches on the event to make sure that it runs smoothly.
Tuennerman has a passion for well-crafted cocktails, an entrepreneurial spirit and the city of New Orleans. However, she got started in the industry in a roundabout way. With a background in marketing, she was doing promotional work with spirit companies, which led to her putting on a walking tour of bars and restaurants in New Orleans. That tour evolved into Tales of the Cocktail, an educational event for the bartender community, now in its 11th year.
When Tuennerman started Tales of the Cocktail, there were only a handful of women in attendance, but it continues to grow. “Women are now as well respected as the men,” she says, especially in a profession that was closed off to women before Prohibition. To help embrace and elevate women in the industry, Tales of the Cocktail has an event called Dame Hall of Fame, which honors five female leaders in the industry every year.
Women provide a unique voice and breaking those barriers is a “motivating factor,” Tuennerman says, because the industry once missed out on this input. Now you see “female brand managers and female master distillers,” but there still is a long way to go. “We don’t have a female president yet of a major distilling company.”
“It’s very nice to diversify and to have different frames of reference,” she says. “You have to prove what you’re doing. You have to work your butt off and that’s how you earn respect,” which Ann has obtained over the past 11 years from the bartending community.