To find its new head distiller, Spirits Works Distillery did not have to look far.
The Sonoma County, California-based craft distillery announced this week the promotion of production manager/distiller Lauren Patz to head distiller. She is part of an all-female team on the production floor.
With the elevation of Patz, Ashby Marshall, distillery co-founder and former head distiller, will shift to a new role as brand director, the company says in a release, responsible for “leading the overall brand vision, direction and voice of the distillery as it continues to grow and evolve.”
Patz began at Spirit Works in 2014 as tasting room manager and apprentice distiller. This past year she was promoted for Patz to production manager and distiller.
A St. Helena, CA-native and the daughter of Napa winery owners, Patz grew up with an understanding of flavor and palate, the company says, as she tasted grapes off the vines and tested brix with her parents at an early age. After graduating from Bates College with a double major in Japanese and Classical Medieval Studie,s and returning from a year abroad in Japan, Patz put her palate to use as a tour docent and private pairings expert for San Francisco-based TCHO Chocolate. Pairing the candies with bourbon put her on the path towards distilling, and an opening at Spirit Works brought her to the distillery floor.
“We can’t speak highly enough of Lauren and how deserving she is of this promotion to head distiller,” states Timo Marshall, Spirit Works proprietor and co-founder with his wife, Ashby. “She not only has an exceptional palate for distillation and the passion to present consumers with simply the highest quality spirits made, she is incredibly creative, innovative and forward-thinking – constantly looking for ways to experiment with new ingredients and techniques and expand our portfolio offerings.”
“This is a dream come true for me,” says Patz. “I am incredibly excited to be kicking off the new year in this role. I have learned from the best here with Ashby as a mentor and inspiration. I’m looking forward to digging in and continuing to put Spirit Works on the map as a producer of the highest quality, most innovative, handcrafted spirits.”