Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Monica Wolf, April 20, 2021

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Hello, my name is Taylor Davis. As a student in Dr. Fernheimer's Bourbon Oral History course in Spring 2021, I'm conducting this interview as a part of my work for that class and the Women in Bourbon Oral History Project. Today is April 20, 2021, and it is my great honor and pleasure to interview Monica Wolf using TheirStory here in Lexington, Kentucky. Thank you so much for joining me today Monica. Where are you joining from?

Segment Synopsis: Davis introduces Wolf and explains the purpose of the interview. The interview is being conducted to record Wolf's experience within the bourbon industry.

Keywords: Lexington (Ky.); Oral history; Women in bourbon

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Lexington (Ky.); Whiskey; Women in the whiskey industry

00:01:53 - Parents' names and occupations

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Partial Transcript: What are your parents' names and occupations?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf explains her parents' names and occupations. Her father worked for Buffalo Trace Distillery and now owns a consulting business within the bourbon industry. Her mother is a stay-at-home mom.

Keywords: Bourbon whiskey; Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey

Subjects: Buffalo Trace Distillery.

GPS: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Map Coordinates: 38.217506, -84.869702
00:09:41 - First experience with bourbon

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Partial Transcript: What was your first experience or encounter or earliest memory involving bourbon?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf recalls her first experience involving bourbon. After high school, her family moved to Kentucky and their first stop was Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Keywords: Bourbon; First encounters

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Buffalo Trace Distillery.

GPS: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Map Coordinates: 38.217506, -84.869702
00:11:01 - Attending Mount Saint Mary's University

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Partial Transcript: So, moving on. As that point was very pivotal, as your family moved from Dallas to Kentucky right before you were about to start your adult life in college. In 2008 you gradu--graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University with a Bachelor's of Science in business and Spanish. Then you went right back to school after graduating in 2009, Mount Saint Mary's again, with a MBA in business. What motivated you to study at Mount Saint Mary's University?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf shares why she chose to attend Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland for her bachelor's degree and MBA. Wolf also explains why she chose business and Spanish as her majors.

Keywords: Bachelor's degrees; Business; Master of Business Administration (MBA); Mount Saint Mary's University; Spanish (Language)

Subjects: Mount Saint Mary’s College (Emmitsburg, Md.)

GPS: Mount Saint Mary's University
Map Coordinates: 39.682, -77.353
00:16:23 - Internship at Buffalo Trace Distillery

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Partial Transcript: While you were in undergrad from 2005 to 2007, you had an internship at Buffalo Trace as your Dad ran the distillery. What was your official title there?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf recalls her Buffalo Trace Distillery internship from 2005 to 2007. She explains the type of work and projects she completed, while also working with her father.

Keywords: Buffalo Trace Distillery; Internships

Subjects: Buffalo Trace Distillery.

GPS: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Map Coordinates: 38.217506, -84.869702
00:20:49 - Being a female in the bourbon industry in the early 2000s

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Partial Transcript: What was it like to be a younger female working there in the early 2000s? I know that the culture and environment at the time in the 2000s was reviving the bourbon industry, and it was really starting to take off with the cocktail craze and the popularity of "Mad Men." So specifically, what was it like to be a younger female working there in the early 2000s?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf recalls what it was like to work at Buffalo Trace Distillery in the early 2000s as a younger female. She discusses the work environment and the women she worked with.

Keywords: Bourbon; Bourbon industry

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Buffalo Trace Distillery.; Women in the whiskey industry

GPS: Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Map Coordinates: 38.217506, -84.869702
00:28:12 - Role as financial analyst at Northrop Grumman

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Partial Transcript: What did your role as a financial analyst entail at Northrop Grumman?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf explains her role as a financial analyst while working at Northrop Grumman Corporation, a defense company. When working on a contract or project, Wolf handled the financial aspects and kept the project profitable.

Keywords: Financial analysts; Northrop Grumman Corporation

Subjects: Analysts

GPS: Northrop Grumman Corporation
Map Coordinates: 38.8677387, -77.2505891
00:30:51 - Role as financial analyst at Deloitte

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Partial Transcript: Continuing to map out your per--career path, what was your experience like working as a financial analyst with Deloitte in D.C. from 2013 to 2015?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf talks about her time working at Deloitte between 2013-2015. She worked as a financial analyst to keep the partner's business interests profitable.

Keywords: Competitive; Deloitte; Washington (D.C.)

Subjects: Analysts

GPS: Washington (D.C.)
Map Coordinates: 38.9101, -77.0147
00:33:45 - Working in the male-dominated defense industry

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Partial Transcript: It is known that the military is more male-dominated. What was it like working in a male-dominated field, like the defense industry?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf discusses working in the defense industry, a traditionally male-dominated field. She shares her personal experiences while working in the industry.

Keywords: Defense industry; Male-dominated fields; Military

Subjects: Military.

00:35:03 - Switching to the bourbon industry

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Partial Transcript: That's a perfect segue, um. From what you've told me and what you studied in undergrad, you completely shifted gears from your original career goals of international business and finance. What did you decide to swit--why did you decide to switch and pursue bourbon?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf discusses her reasons for switching to the bourbon industry. She wanted to make an impact and not just be a cog in the corporate wheel.

Keywords: Bourbon; Bourbon industry; Finance

Subjects: Analysts; Bourbon whiskey; Women in the whiskey industry

00:43:14 - Working at the Turf Club at Churchill Downs

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Partial Transcript: So, starting your career in the spirits industry, you worked for the Turf Club at Churchill Downs and started from the ground up there, working as a hostess, to the bourbon bar, and eventually becoming the bourbon ambassador. Could you explain what years you held this position and how this opportunity arose?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf discusses beginning working at the Turf Club at Churchill Downs. She explains moving positions, learning about bourbons, and forming relationships with employees and guests while working.

Keywords: Churchill Downs; Louisville (Ky.); Turf Club

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Consumers.; Whiskey.; Women in the whiskey industry

GPS: Churchill Downs
Map Coordinates: 38.203056, -85.77
00:54:58 - Working at Wolf Consulting LLC

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Partial Transcript: Moving on to your next role to map out your career path would have been at Wolf Consulting LLC. Could you describe your experience working there, with your father, and ente--entering the spirits industry a little more in depth?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf talks about leaving the financial world to enter the bourbon industry. Wolf worked with her father at Wolf Consulting LLC. She spent most of her time absorbing any and all information available.

Keywords: Bourbon industry; Wolf Consulting LLC

Subjects: Consulting contracts; Whiskey industry; Whiskey industry--Kentucky; Women in the whiskey industry

01:02:28 - Founding The Spirits Group

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Partial Transcript: So, your transition, uh, working with your Dad at Wolf Consulting to finding--founding your own company, The Spirits Group. What do you think propelled you toward that venture or prepared you for founding The Spirits Group?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf talks about founding her own business, The Spirits Group. She shares the reasons why she founded The Spirits Group and working with Ashley Barnes, a master blender.

Keywords: Ashley Barnes; Bourbon; Bourbon industry; Consulting; Master Blenders; The Spirits Group

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Consulting contracts; Whiskey.; Women in the whiskey industry

01:11:25 - Needs in the bourbon industry

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Partial Transcript: After working in the spirits consulting industry for four years, like you said, um, what other needs have you noticed? Or maybe just recently noticed?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf talks about the needs that she has seen in the bourbon industry. From distillers to blenders, Wolf discusses the various needs within the industry.

Keywords: Consulting; Master Blenders; Master Distillers; Spirits industry; The Spirits Group

Subjects: Quality control.; Quality of products.; Women in the whiskey industry

01:17:08 - Female entrepreneur

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Partial Transcript: What was it like to be a female entrepreneur?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf shares the experiences of being a female entrepreneur. She discusses the struggle of proving to clients the credibility and competence of The Spirits Group.

Keywords: Bourbon; Entrepreneurs; Female entrepreneurs; Females; Women entrepreneurs

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Consulting contracts; Women in the whiskey industry

01:31:09 - Female-owned labels

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Partial Transcript: How has the experience been, like, working with female-owned labels?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf discusses what it is like working with female-owned labels at The Spirits Group. She shares that the two labels that they currently work with share similar outlooks to The Spirits Group.

Keywords: Bourbon industry; Female-owned labels; Women-owned labels

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Consulting contracts; Whiskey industry; Whiskey.; Women in the whiskey industry

01:46:41 - Advice for students

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Partial Transcript: What advice would you give students trying to enter the industry?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf offers advice for students trying to enter the bourbon industry. She advises that being humble and open are the best ways to absorb information. Wolf also advises that volunteering and asking questions will help students learn about the industry.

Keywords: Advice; Bourbon industry; Mentors; Mentorship; Students

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Whiskey industry; Whiskey.; Women in the whiskey industry

01:52:23 - Favorite bourbon

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Partial Transcript: You said to--you like to drink bourbon. What's your favorite bourbon to drink when you're off the clock?

Segment Synopsis: Wolf shares her favorite bourbon. She does not name a specific bourbon but does enjoy high rye and barrel proof bourbons.

Keywords: Barrel proof; Bourbon; Rye whiskey

Subjects: Bourbon whiskey; Whiskey industry; Whiskey.; Women in the whiskey industry