Whiskey business

Former Dominick distiller talks about her journey in the spirits industry

Master distiller Alex Castle says his mother sparked his interest in the beer and spirits industry from an early age.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman made history and challenged the status quo in Memphis. Master Distiller Alex Castle’s journey has not been easy.

“When I graduated from college, I decided to send resumes to distillers across the country,” Castle explained. “That’s when a lot of them started. I heard from two distilleries, one job offer.

It made him want to push harder to make a name for himself in the spirits and distillery industry, and it paid off.

Castle is Tennessee’s first female Master Distiller since Prohibition.

She credited her mother for sparking her interest when she was only in high school.

“She said, ‘Go into chemical engineering,’ and I said, ‘Fantastic. What are you doing with that? She said you can make beer and be a master brewer or you can make bourbon and be a master distiller.

Something about it stuck. Her degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky led her into the beer and spirits industry.

“At the age of 21, I started distilling whiskey for the first time and was lucky enough to get along with Wild Turkey after graduating,” she said. “I must have been in their production department for four years before I was recruited to come. in Memphis to help open Old Dominick.

This made her a fifth generation founder of Old Dominick Distillery in downtown Memphis, where she also serves as senior vice president.

Castle said she has seen a lot of changes in this male-dominated industry.

“I would say over the last five, six years that has changed. We have women who own their own distilleries,” she explained. “Women are master distillers, master blenders, so we are definitely seeing a change.

She said she would like to continue to see the industry evolve for future distillers and customers.

Old Dominick Distillery has been in the whiskey business for over 150 years.

The distillery will celebrate its fifth year of activity this year. He was also the first to make whiskey in downtown Memphis before prohibition.