Imagine a private tour with close friends at the St. Augustine Distillery, with tasting glasses overflowing with classic, local liquors and a catered meal for everyone to feast upon while they catch up on their daily lives and businesses. The women of the Women’s Food Alliance don’t need to imagine. On June 24, WFA founder and event planner, Leigh Cort planned this tour alongside alliance member and St. Augustine Distillery event coordinator, Zoe McDaniel, for an afternoon of cocktails and camaraderie for women in the hospitality industry.
“We had a mini-tasting of their bourbon, gin, vodka and rum,” Cort said. “After, we had a dinner that was catered by 4Rivers Smokehouse because barbeque just works with the space.”
By space, Cort means the museum dining room within the historical distillery, which happens to be a renovated ice manufacturing plant from 1917. 4Rivers provided a southern-style BBQ dinner, with options such as shrimp and grits, beef brisket, smoked chicken and cornbread salad, followed by mini strawberry champagne cupcakes.
WFA members toured the distillery while enjoying their drinks and chatting about upcoming business ventures. What’s interesting is that their business ventures could also happen to be events for the WFA.
Cort plans an event each month, collaborating with members, including chefs, venue owners, food photographers, caterers and even distillery owners, and creates a special event for her alliance, not only highlighting each women-owned business, but by also financially supporting them and helping their businesses grow.
Although Cort enjoys all the food, drinks and entertainment (who wouldn’t?), what she loves the most is hearing about the members’ businesses and the growth and success of women-owned businesses in the hospitality industry, an industry dominated by men when Cort first started out 30 years ago.
“Frankly, that’s the best part,” she said. “The mingling, schmoozing and eating is great, but we can’t wait to hear what everyone is up to. It’s all about connecting and continuing education and expanding our vision. That’s the mission of the Women’s Food Alliance.”
For more information on the Women’s Food Alliance, visit www.WomensFoodAlliance.com.