Woodford Reserve named Elizabeth McCall as Master Distiller, the third in the bourbon brand’s 26-year history, succeeding Chris Morris, who will assume the role of Master Distiller Emeritus.
McCall, who has been training for the Master Distiller role for over a decade, will oversee quality and innovation efforts and bring new Woodford Reserve products to market. She will lead the brand’s special, rare bourbon releases, including the Master’s Collection and Distillery Series, bringing her unique touch and point of view to new whiskies.
McCall said she is deeply honored to take the baton from her mentor and friend, whom she called a legend in the spirits industry.
Morris will remain an essential part of the Woodford team in an emeritus role, the highest honor one can achieve as a distiller.
“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,” McCall said. “I look forward to following in his footsteps and crafting the world’s finest bourbon.”
Morris began mentoring McCall to take the Master Distiller role in 2015, when she became Master Taster. McCall became Woodford Reserve Assistant Master Distiller five years ago this month, in February 2018.
“I am proud of – and confident in – Elizabeth’s ability to maintain the award-winning flavor profile of the Woodford Reserve family into the next generation,” Morris said. “Her inquisitive nature bodes well for those who have come to expect innovative flavor concepts from our Master’s Collection and Distillery Series offerings. The future couldn’t be more promising for Woodford Reserve.”
McCall joined Brown‑Forman, Woodford Reserve’s parent company, in 2009 as a member of the Research & Development department. She began her career setting up tasting panels to ensure quality and consistency with the company’s products.
She is the second generation of her family to work in the spirits industry – following her mother’s footsteps – after earning her master’s degree from the University of Louisville. McCall and her husband, Matt, live in Louisville and have one child with another on the way.