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Girl Power in Loudoun

Posted on Sep 13, 2016 by in Beer, Ciders & Spirits, Local Insights, Wine | 0 comments

becky with still small

As Queen B would say:







Does anyone want to disagree with Beyonce? We didn’t think so. Women rock and that shows in Loudoun. With the recent hiring of Old Ox Brewery’s female head brewer, we wanted to highlight some of the great women in Loudoun’s beverage making industry.

allisonOld Ox Brewery – Allison Lange

Before joining Old Ox Brewery a couple of weeks ago, Allison was the director of brewery production and lead brewer for 3 Stars Brewing Company in Washington DC and beer scientist for Port City Brewing in Alexandria. Allison earned her BA in genetics, cell and developmental biology from Dartmouth College and a PhD in biochemistry at Emory University. Her passion for beer comes from her time in grad school as a biochemist. Yeast is something that she spent a lot of time studying and when she started organizing class happy hours she wanted to make sure she got the “good stuff”. Allison is very analytical in her approach to brewing and is excited to work at Old Ox Brewery on the LoCo Ale Trail!

Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg – Melanie Natolimelanie

Melanie Natoli joined the Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg team in 2015 as the winemaker and vineyard manager, but she has been working in the Virginia wine industry since 2009 starting with an internship during harvest. She took the leap in 2011 to join the industry full time where she was working with Fabbioli Cellars and then at Creeks Edge Winery. Melanie says that she “left a well paying job in a stable position to follow my heart and never looked back”. That passion is poured into her winemaking at Cana Vineyards from talking to her grapes in the field to constantly checking the temperature in her cellar. Visit the winery and make sure to ask her about dry rosé obsession!

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company – Becky Harris

BeckyWhen the question came up of who was going to be the distiller at Scott Harris’ dream of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, he turned to his wife Becky Harris who graduated with honors from University of Madison with a degree in chemical engineering and had worked in the industry making everything from phone parts to contact lenses. Becky brought this knowledge and passion to something she loved–making the finest distilled spirits in Virginia. When asked about why she loved being a woman distiller in Loudoun, she said “As a woman, I feel that my palate is key in designing the whisky that so many people love, and that has become so well-regarded in international competitions. Loudoun is a really fantastic place to be a distiller. We have a wealth of brewers, winemakers, orchardists, and a population of people keenly interested in where their food comes from and who makes it”.

Corcoran Vineyards & Cider – Lori Corcoranpurple_hands

Lori Corcoran received her degree in Administration of Justice, but never went into the field after getting married and starting a family. She always enjoyed getting her hands dirty on the farm and when she and her family decided to start Corcoran Vineyards in 2001 she took the opportunity to pursue her passion. She studied the chemistry of wine-making at Virginia Tech and in 2013 she took that knowledge over to cider in order to satisfy her gluten-free guests. With help from friends in the industry, Lori makes delicious dry ciders with apples from their farm and likes to have fun with them by using bourbon barrels or adding some hops. She makes 5 different styles of ciders and is “looking forward to more in the years to come”.

Loudoun is so proud of the female leaders! Keep breaking that glass ceiling ladies! Make sure to visit Old Ox Brewery, Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg, Corcoran Vineyards & Cider and Catoctin Creek Distilling Company to see them in action.

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