Diageo Names Nicole Austin General Manager & Distiller of Cascade Hollow

The women’s movement in whiskey continues.

Weeks after Woodford Reserve promoted Elizabeth McCall to Asst. Master Distiller, Diageo announced today that Nicole Austin will become general manager and distiller of the newly formed Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.

What was formerly known as the George Dickel Distillery in Tennessee will now be called Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. – the home of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky and future innovation spirits

In her new role, Austin will establish the vision of this new company and lead commercial and innovation strategies for the flagship George Dickel brand, future innovation spirits and the distillery.

“There are so many reasons why I know this position will be a great fit for me,” says Austin in a press release. “But, ultimately, it is the freedom to make Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. my home that made up my mind. As a distiller, strategist and mentor, I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career which have prepared me for this moment. Now, it’s time for me to draw from those experiences and build a business that creates a fundamental step change in how people think about Tennessee Whisky. I’m proud to be here and ready to get to work.”

Austin was the first employee picked by distilling icon Dave Pickerell for his spirits consulting firm in 2012. The New York Times dubbed her “Bourbon’s Master of the Craft” in 2014, and the rye whiskey she helped create won Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition.


“Nicole is absolutely perfect to lead Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. because she brings so much to the table,” says Sophie Kelly, SVP of North American whisk(e)y for Diageo. “Not only is she an established chemical engineer and distiller, she has a real business mind, an entrepreneurial spirit and a true vision for the future of the company, its brands and the category.”

Austin graduated from Manhattan College with a major in Chemical Engineering in 2006, before landing her position as a master blender for Kings County Distillery in 2010. She then joined The Oak View Spirits consulting firm, where she handled everything from raw material sourcing to contract negotiations. Most recently, Nicole served as project commissioning engineer for William Grant & Sons at the Tullamore Distillery in Ireland.

She’s also been an advocate for the distilling industry as a founding board member of the American Craft Spirits Association and co-chair of Legislative, Convention and State Guild Committees.


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