DURHAM, N.C. — For years, the food and beverage industry was dominated by men. Now some business owners are working to change that.

What You Need To Know

  • Durham Distillery was opened by Melissa and Lee Katrincic

  • The duo worked originally as scientists and use their past experiences to help them distill unique small batch gin

  • Durham Distillery is one of the first operations to use vacuum distillation and pot distillation to maintain a highly accurate flavor profile

  • Durham Distillery makes Conniption Gin and Damn Fine Liqueurs


According to McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org, statistics from a 2019 report on women in the workplace shows only 16% of females in the food and beverage manufacturing industry are top chief executives at their companies.

Durham Distillery however has a female CEO and many women in leadership roles.

Melissa Katrincic is the president and CEO. She says she was first introduced to gin by her grandparents.

"After a long day of work, my grandfather would always ask my grandmother, 'are you ready for your cocktail?' and so it was this beautiful tradition where he would get out the ice, hand crack it, and his was always a gin martini," Katrincic says.

In memory of her grandmother, Katrincic named their 230-liter custom-designed German copper pot still, after her grandmother, Gertrude.

Both Katrincic and her husband Lee are former scientists and use their knowledge to help them in the distilling process.

"I think most gin distilleries are not going to use this type of technology in their facility," says Lee Katrincic, the master distiller and co-owner. "With us, we've got pot distillation and vacuum distillation that are combined to make our products."

The Katrincics were recently inducted into The Gin Guild in London in May 2018. They are the first and only gin distillers to be inducted from the southern U.S.