Industry News

Tales of the Cocktail® Announces 2017 Dame Hall of Fame® Inductees

Joy smiling, holding a bottle of rum
Joy Spence is this year's recipient of the Pioneer Award, which is given to trailblazing women in the cocktail and spirits industries. She holds the title of the world's first-ever female Master Blender.

NEW ORLEANS–June 12, 2017–Six years ago, Tales of the Cocktail® partnered with Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) to start The Dame Hall of Fame®, which recognizes exceptional women in the spirits industry whose hard work and dedication to the craft changes the way we drink. Once again, Tales and LUPEC will recognize the work of five exceptional women in the industry by inducting them as the newest members of the Dame Hall of Fame®. Joy Spence, Master Blender for Appleton Estate® Jamaican Rum, will also be recognized with the 2017 Pioneer Award, annually awarded to one woman who has blazed the trail for other women to follow. These exemplary individuals will be honored at a celebratory ceremony held at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on Friday, July 21 as part of the 15th annual Tales of the Cocktail®.

2017 Dame Hall of Fame Inductees:

Dorothy Elizabeth



Detroit, Michigan

Sharon Bronstein

Vice President of Marketing

The 86 Company

New York, New York

Katy Casbarian


Arnaud's Restaurant, French 75 Bar and Remoulade Restaurant

New Orleans, Louisiana

Franky Marshall

Bartender & Beverage Director

Le Boudoir

Brooklyn, New York

Kitty Amann


Eat. Drink. Move

Boston, Massachusetts

Pioneer Award Recipient

Joy Spence

Master Blender

Appleton Estate® Jamaica Rum


“I was so awed by my first Tales of the Cocktail and I certainly never thought I'd be in a position to receive an award myself,” said 2017 Dame Hall of Fame Inductee Kitty Amann. “I've been fortunate to come up in this industry with strong women as my mentors and consider myself part of a lineage of badass broads. This award is an honor and a hallmark of that experience, which I hope to continue to cultivate for women in the business.”

In 1981, Joy Spence joined Appleton Estate as Chief Chemist and quickly became enthralled with the art of blending rum. Her passion for rum making allowed her to shatter the glass ceiling when she was appointed the world’s first-ever female Master Blender., a title she has held for the past 20 years. To mark her 20th anniversary as Master Blender, Appleton Estate released “JOY” – the brand’s first 25 year old rum and a fitting tribute to a true visionary. Joy follows a distinguished group of trail-blazing women to receive the Dame Hall of Fame Pioneer, including Audrey Saunders, Julie Reiner, Lisa Laird Dunn and Melanie Asher.

“This remarkable thirty-six year journey I’ve had in rum-making has brought me so much professional and personal happiness. It’s a true passion of mine, so receiving the Pioneer Award feels like an extension of that passion,” said Joy Spence, Master Blender of Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum. “To see so many diverse women coming up through the ranks in our industry – whether it’s fellow Master Blenders or female bar owners – we need to foster an environment that encourages, supports and nurtures individuals of all genders, races and sexual orientations. I would like to thank both Tales of the Cocktail and all the wonderful women who comprise the spirits community for their ongoing contributions.”

“Joy and the rest of this year’s recipients stand as role models for other women who want to leave their mark on our industry,” said Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail®. “I can’t wait to honor them at this year’s induction ceremony.”

Tickets for the The Dame Hall of Fame® induction ceremony, sponsored by Infinium Spirits and Laird and Company can be purchased for $90 and can be booked online. This event has a limited number of tickets, so reservations are encouraged to be made sooner rather than later. View the event menu and cocktails.

“I am so honored to be considered a Dame alongside of women that are pioneers in our industry,” said 2017 Dame Hall of Fame Inductee Dorothy Elizabeth. “I'm in utter disbelief because everyone is so well accomplished and talented. Can somebody pinch me? I constantly bump into the illusion that all women are in competition with one another. I firmly believe women have to bring up other women and empower one another so we can all succeed. In Detroit, a market with so few women, all I want is for us all to work together. We can rely on one another and together we can achieve our cocktail dreams.”

The Dame Hall of Fame® induction ceremony is a featured event out of more than 200 events scheduled for this summer’s annual Tales of the Cocktail®, held from July 18-23 in the heart of the French Quarter. For information on how to purchase tickets for the event, please click here. To view the past Dame Hall of Fame inductees, please click here.

LUPEC Mission Statement 2017

Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) is a guerrilla women’s history action collective that works to dismantle the patriarchy by mixing and serving delicious classic cocktails while surreptitiously teaching interesting and thought provoking women’s history. LUPEC is a feminist organization devoted to working undercover to chip away at the patriarchy. The collecting of anachronistic recipes and the resulting creation of endangered cocktails in an allwomen setting is intended to achieve the following goals:

  • To create a secular coven-like atmosphere in which classy broads of today can invoke and honor the spirits of their Forebroads.
  • To continue the 150 year American tradition of dangerous women calling themselves ladies and getting together in groups, clubs and societies to work undercover while pressing for equality.
  • To protect the collective joie de vivre of LUPEC members by assuring them at least one good party a month.

About Tales of the Cocktail®

Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail® has grown from a small gathering of cocktail lovers into the world’s premier cocktail festival. Each year the international spirits industry is welcomed to New Orleans for a week of seminars, tastings, networking events and much more. With 200+ annual events developed specifically for bartenders, distillers and other spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail is the industry’s annual meeting place for the exchanging of new ideas, products and techniques. Tales of the Cocktail® also produces a number of other events and programs such as Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour, Tales 365, Tales of the Toddy® and Daiquiri Season, all to further the mission of supporting and growing the international cocktail community.

About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

Tales of the Cocktail® is produced by the New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), a non-profit organization committed to supporting, promoting and growing the cocktail industry in New Orleans and around the world. In addition to offering opportunities to learn and acquire new skills through Tales of the Cocktail® events and Tales 365, the NOCCPS invests the proceeds back into the spirits industry. Since 2008, the NOCCPS has invested more than $886,000 into programs like the Cocktail Apprentice Program, a tuition reimbursement program, the Apprentice medical aid fund, educational scholarships and a new health and wellness program for members of the hospitality industry.

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