OurWhisky Foundation adds festive images to library

The OurWhisky Foundation has released a festive-themed series of photos on its free-to-use image library, which aims to tackle gender bias in the whisky industry.

The library, called the Modern Face of Whisky, debuted in spring this year and is made up of free stock images that show women and people of all ages and races enjoying whisky – a contrast to the outdated masculine stereotypes often associated with the spirit.

The library has the backing of 13 whisky producers and drinks groups, including Glenfiddich, Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Distill Ventures, The Glenlivet, Brown-Forman, Whyte & Mackay, Glenmorangie, Diageo, Heaven Hill, Edrington, Compass Box and The Glenturret.

Shot by Glasgow-based portrait and lifestyle photographer Christina Kernohan, 20 images have been added to the library under the theme ‘festive celebration’.

Kernon said: “I’m aware of and have personally experienced bias and stereotyping within the whisky industry so I didn’t want to turn down an opportunity to be involved in trying to do something to counter it.

“Showcasing diversity in imagery is vital across the board and particularly in whisky to counter the white, old man elitist energy it still often displays.’’

She continued: “Whisky is delicious and varied, the process is fascinating and the people involved in its making have stories for days, which as a photographer is wonderful.

“So I’m all for helping dispel archaic ideas of who whisky should be drunk by and pushing against the system. It’s beyond time that these attitudes change.”

Achieving gender equality

In August, OurWhisky conducted a survey that found that only 10% of women working in the industry feel they’re fairly portrayed by the media.

The same survey also revealed that 70% of women had faced sexual harassment while working, taken from a pool of more than 600 women in the global whisky industry.

Through the library, which gives media free access to the images, the foundation hopes to address this imbalance and move closer towards equality by presenting a more accurate representation of the modern-day whisky drinker.

A study from Distill Ventures found that women make up 36% of all whisky consumers in the UK and the US.

Becky Paskin, founder of the OurWhisky Foundation, said: “It’s been a privilege to work alongside Christina for the Modern Face of Whisky’s second collection. Christina shares our vision to evolve whisky’s image as a masculine drink into something anyone of any legal drinking age, gender or race can enjoy.

“Her beautiful photographs demonstrate the wonderful ways whisky can be enjoyed over the festive season, whether during a quiet, contemplative moment beside the fire, alongside a delicious festive spread, or as part of New Year celebrations with friends.”

Paskin added: “We also wanted to address the stereotype of whisky being a gift for men at this time of year, by portraying the suitability of the spirit as a perfect present for female whisky lovers, too.”

The first batch of Modern Face of Whisky stock photos, shot by Australian photographer Jo Hanley, has accumulated more than 4.5 million views and 40,000 downloads.

Media brands and publications can access the library on Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash, plus the OurWhisky Foundation’s website.

In the October 2023 edition of The Spirits Business magazine, we explored how the whisky industry is tackling harassment.

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Author: Rupert Hohwieler

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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