HBCU Grad, One of First Black Women Whiskey Blenders in U.S. Releases Her Own Bourbon

This Black whiskey blender faced racial discrimination at her previous company, leading her towards a mission to make change in the whiskey industry.

After parting ways with the Bulleit distillery in Shelbyville, KY, where she spent several years blending and creating, Alabama A&M University alumna, Eboni Major, one of the first Black female whiskey blenders in the U.S., has released her own bourbon and is building her own company.

According to Robb Report, Major has released her first whiskey since she left Bulleit Bourbon after filing a lawsuit in spring 2022 against parent company Diageo.

As previously reported by BLACK ENTERPRISE, Major filed the lawsuit, alleging unlawful discrimination, disparate treatment, and retaliation.

Major had just released the award-winning Bulleit Blenders’ Select that she produced at the company. However, her new whiskey, the Dread River Master Series, has been produced with Dread River Distilling Co.

Imbibe Magazine reported that Major’s experiences have led her to build her own company, Major Spirits. Although the company is in its early stages, she has committed to amplifying inclusion and equity.

“I want to be able to nurture talent and inspire people and give them tools for whatever success they need,” the Birmingham, AL native said.

Major said she has been approached by Black women students from her alma mater seeking advice on how to break into the whiskey industry.

“[I remember] what it’s like to be in their shoes and to want to enter something but not know how,” Major said. “Making sure that I bring those women along my journey to build Major Spirits is probably the most important thing to me. Not to say, ‘Okay, in three years I’ll come back and I’ll help you out.’ No—I have to take the time now.”

As Major moves along with plans for her company, she has developed a partnership with blender and distiller, Marianne Eaves, where she will be serving as creative director of whiskey company Eaves Blind.

Major has also been named as one of Imbibe Magazine’s 75 People to Watch in 2023.

Reportedly, the lawsuit against Diageo was dismissed and the dispute has been moved to arbitration.

The new, extremely limited, Dread River Master Series whiskey is available now to preorder for $115.