4 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Becky Harris is the founder and chief distiller of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, an internationally award winning craft distillery, primarily focused on creating Virginia rye whisky from grain to glass. Catoctin Creek has received numerous international gold medals and has been featured in many national publications, including the New York Times. Becky has been featured in Food and Wine as one of ‘6 Women in Whiskey to Watch’, and serves as President of the American Craft Spirits Association.
What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?
“Starting your own company is incredibly challenging and rewarding all together. It will give you the opportunity to challenge yourself and stretch you abilities in ways that you can’t possible foresee when you start up. As a Chemical Engineer, I was well-prepared to handle the technical demands of the distilling process, and excited to deepen the knowledge I had specific to fermentation and distillation in order to make delicious, consistent whisky. The challenges really increased and stretched my abilities as our company grew, and it was necessary for me to adopt a more public profile in order to support and grow the sales of our products. This also led to taking an industry leader position to advocate for the craft spirits community. Once you take the leap to start something, be prepared, be flexible, and open to opportunities and challenges, because they come hand-in-hand.”
What are your 5 top tips for entrepreneurial success?
- Be flexible – ideas which seem good now may need tweaking to overhauling to deal with market realities.
- Get involved – find communities of peers to lift up, and to be lifted by in turn. Industry-affiliated non-profit organisations are excellent starting places.
- Work on communication skills – public speaking and writing skills will always serve you well.
- Focus on continuous improvement – stay tuned in to best practices to keep getting better at what your company does!
- Embrace the grind – this will not always be fun, and will not be easy.
Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?
Serena Williams, the G.O.A.T., shows how focus and daily work matter even with raw talent.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, sociologist and McArthur fellow, writes eloquently about race, culture and the economy, and has opened my eyes about educational inequities and the structures that keep them alive.
Elizabeth Warren has influenced the government’s approach to debt and consumers.
Fawn Weaver has created an incredible whiskey brand in a few short years, and watching her work and give back to this industry is so inspiring.
Lesley Gracie, the Master Distiller of Hendrick’s Gin since its founding, is a woman doing continuous work and innovation in the gin field.
What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?
“The dogged determination and patience of one person to do what is Right and Necessary may not always win the day or even be noticed, but it will tip the balance just a little in the direction of good.”
Website & Socials
@beckhar67 on Twitter and Instagram