Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacey Smith-Clark.
Hi Stacey, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am completely fascinated with what’s happening in the lives of the bar-goers around me and am always happy to nerd out about whiskey and spirits. Sitting at a bar is a pressure-free community-building experience and where I am most comfortable. I fancy myself a whiskey scholar and although I drink around, bourbon has my whole heart. After serving as the Vice President of Women Who Whiskey Los Angeles for three years, I launched a Women Who Whiskey chapter in my hometown of Long Beach in 2019 and we now have 275 members and host 3-4 social events each month. All are welcome to join us, regardless of gender because it’s Long Beach and we are very chill.
Mixing Pappy with Diet Coke is my ultimate power move.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has been a relatively smooth road, despite launching this chapter a few months before Covid arrived. We immediately transitioned to virtual events, which actually helped put us on the map per se, as Whisky Advocate magazine featured us in a story! Virtual events afforded us the opportunity to connect with master distillers in other locations (from Kentucky to Wales!) and Iocal liquor stores and bars have been so supportive in helping to (legally) distribute the good to our members.
We slowly tip-toed back to in-person events a few months ago and currently host a few each month for those that have been fully vaccinated.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I think our chapter of Women Who Whiskey is unique, as Long Beach is a pretty tight community. We are basically a really large small town and everyone is 3 degrees of separation from someone you went to elementary school with. The hospitality in our community is amazing and I have so much support from bars/restaurants like The Hawk, Darlings, The Ordinarie, Roxanne’s, The Hideaway, and The Auld Dubliner. Liquor stores such as US Liquor, OC Bottle Shop and Cypress Craft have also been very helpful in ordering and helping to distribute special bottles for tastings. Our chapter regularly partners with local small businesses and whenever possible, women-owned small businesses. I love connecting people to one another and I feel like that’s evident with our events. The #1 question I get is from women who say that they want to attend an event but don’t have anyone to come with them and is it weird if they come alone. The answer is no. Our group is extremely welcoming and I derive so much joy is watching new friendships develop and when our members start hanging out on their own without a wWw-LBC event, I am thrilled!
wWw-LBC is a side project and my fun job. My full-time job is in education and I also love it, but it absolutely has nothing to do with whiskey!
What matters most to you?
Such a good question and one I reflected on for some time. Ultimately, I believe what matters most is the connections created. It can be challenging to make new friends as an adult and I feel like wWw-LBC can help with this. I also strongly believe that representation matters and I’m starting to see less and less of the shock from a server or bartender when a woman orders a whiskey —or being asked, “Are you sure you’re ready for that? It’s a strong drink for a lady.” Putting these two things together is what our club is all about: We gather and learn together in an open and welcoming setting where all questions are valued and answered. I also stress at every single event that if someone puts you down for how you ordered your drink, that’s not cool and that’s on them. We are all grown and if you’re buying it, you can have it whatever way you want it. And we are not going to hang out at bars and restaurants and spend money where people try and drink shame or mansplain us.
- Free to join
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.womenwhowhiskey.club/longbeach
- Instagram: @womenwhowhiskeyLBC