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Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Role Now Belongs To Elizabeth McCall

The Woodford Reserve American whiskey brand is the pride and joy of parent company Brown-Forman. Change doesn’t happen that often at the top of Woodford Reserve, which is why the announcement today of a new master distiller is a significant moment.

Elizabeth McCall, according to the brand, is now the new Master Distiller at Woodford Reserve, marking just the third time in its 26 year history a change has occurred. She succeeds Chris Morris, who will assume the role of Master Distiller Emeritus.

McCall, who has been training for this Master Distiller role for over a decade, will oversee what’s described as “quality and innovation efforts and bring new Woodford Reserve products to market. She will lead the brand’s special, rare bourbon releases, including the Master’s Collection and Distillery Series, bringing her unique touch and point of view to new whiskies.”

Elizabeth McCall Woodford Reserve Master Distiller
Elizabeth McCall has succeeded Chris Morris as Woodford Reserve Master Distiller. (image via Brown-Forman)

“I am humbled to stand upon the foundation built by Chris Morris, who is one of the most well-known and respected Master Distillers in the world,” McCall said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to following in his footsteps and crafting the world’s finest bourbon.”

Morris began mentoring McCall to take the Master Distiller role in 2015, when she became Master Taster. McCall became Woodford Reserve Assistant Master Distiller five years ago this month, in February 2018.

“I am proud of and confident in Elizabeth’s ability to maintain the award-winning flavor profile of the Woodford Reserve family into the next generation,” Morris said. “Her inquisitive nature bodes well for those who have come to expect innovative flavor concepts from our Master’s Collection and Distillery Series offerings. The future couldn’t be more promising for Woodford Reserve.”

McCall joined Brown-Forman in 2009 as a member of the Research & Development department. She began her career setting up tasting panels to ensure quality and consistency with the company’s products.

She is the second generation of her family to work in the spirits industry – following her mother’s footsteps – after earning her master’s degree from the University of Louisville.

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Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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