Elizabeth McCall Is Woodford Reserve’s New Master Distiller

She'll succeed Chris Morris, who had the position since 2003

Woodford Reserve barrels
Barrels of bourbon whiskey sit stacked in an aging warehouse at the Brown-Forman Corp. Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After almost a decade of preparation, Elizabeth McCall is about to step into one of the highest-profile roles in American spirits. Woodford Reserve announced on Monday that McCall would succeed Chris Morris, who will in turn be named Master Distiller Emeritus. As the distillery pointed out, this is a process that’s been in the works for almost 10 years; McCall became the distillery’s Master Taster in 2015, and has been working with Morris in the years since then to prepare for a smooth changeover.

“I am humbled to stand upon the foundation built by Chris Morris, who is one of the most well-known and respected Master Distillers in the world. I look forward to following in his footsteps and crafting the world’s finest bourbon,” McCall said in a statement.

Morris held the role of Master Distiller since 2003, and began working at Woodford Reserve in 1976.

McCall is one of a growing number of women in Master Distiller roles at distilleries across the country — and the globe. Marianne Barnes, formerly of Castle & Key, became Kentucky’s first female Master Distiller in 2017. And across the Atlantic, Kirsteen Campbell has been getting high marks for her work as Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan.

Making great whiskey requires a lot of patience and thinking in the long term. McCall’s long road to get to this moment seems entirely in keeping with this — and bodes well for the future.


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