PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Bay area woman is joining a small group of women who are changing the face of whiskey and bourbon.

Women and whisky, in this case, it’s women making whisky, specifically a Black woman making whiskey.

What You Need To Know

  • A Bay area woman just launched her own bourbon, Sinuous Bourbon

  • Erica Sutherlin said her dream of creating her own brand of bourbon dates back to her childhood and family gatherings

  • “So sinuous means windy and curvy and I think bourbon for me, reminds me of a brown woman,” Sutherlin said

For decades the whiskey and bourbon making business has been male-dominated, but that’s changing with brands like Uncle Nearest, created by women, named after enslaved African American, Nearest Green.

Green was the first known African American master distiller.

Meanwhile, a Bay area woman just launched her own bourbon, adding her to the list of female history makers.

Erica Sutherlin is the owner of Sinuous Bourbon. She said her dream of creating her own brand of bourbon dates back to her childhood and family gatherings. When she shared this dream with her mentor, who just happens to own Dunamis Premium Spirits in Zephyrhills, they began working to make that dream a reality.

After months of work, her unique brand and recipe were born.

“The smell is soft and sweet,” Sutherlin said. “You can smell the caramel and the vanilla coming right off the top.

“When it’s on the palette, it’s just a little bit of pepper on the top of the tongue and then it opens up really soft and wide and then it finishes very smooth.”

It’s a uniquely named bourbon blend.

“So sinuous means windy and curvy and I think bourbon for me, reminds me of a brown woman,” she said. “The color and on the palette, the passion, just a little peppery but it’s also smooth and soft.”

The bottle has her women-influenced, custom-made, signature logo.

“We went into understanding the gears and wanting the gears and the lightbulbs and all of that, to celebrate or to bring focus to women and their innovations, and how they’re always creating,” she said.

Creating life, memories and the perfect bourbon is now a dream realized for Sutherlin.

“I remember being young on Friday nights and my mom and the neighbor would get together and pour a drink and listen to the blues, and I just thought that was so fascinating,” she said.

What was once just a fascination is now bottled up at a Black owned distillery, Dunamis in Zephyrhills, owned by her mentor and run by Jerome Warren. “It may sound cliché but being Black owned and operated shows other individuals that want to do things, that want to try things that yes, son, you too can do this,” he said.

Now it’s yes, “daughter” you can do this. And for Sutherlin hearing that it’s about as sweet as that first sip of bourbon, as fascinating as her family enjoying a glass and as good as it gets when it comes to telling a story. A woman’s story.

“I think that’s what it’s about, right? I see you, you open the door, you create the path, I walk the path. I open the door for other people to create the path and we continue to build and grow that. And that’s how our voices become one. And that’s where the power is,” Sutherlin said.

All of that bottled up to inspire women for generations to come.

Sinuous is in its early stages, so it’s available for now at the Dunamis Premium Spirits tasting room in Zephyrhills. But Sutherlin is hoping to be in the stores of businesses around the country, starting in the Tampa Bay area in women-owned bars and liquor stores.