Get to Know Us
Interview with Pam Soule, Quality Manager and Master Blender
Pam Soule loves bourbon. As a quality manager, she lives and breathes it, literally. Her keen nose and taste buds make sure the products being created are on point from the get-go.
And when she’s not living and breathing bourbon, she’s relaxing, spending time with family, reading and taking walks in the fresh air.
Meet Pam Soule, whiskey whisperer.
How would you describe MGP to someone who is unfamiliar with us?
We make alcohol. Gin, bourbon, vodka and rye whiskey. We help other brands create spirits for their company and make a few of our own spirits.
What’s one of the most important parts of blending?
Testing. Every morning we evaluate the new products’ distillates and give them a rating, which is a very important step because if you don’t put good material in the barrel, you’re not going to get good material out.
What does it take to become a Master Blender?
It takes years of evaluating beverage alcohol and knowing the taste profile of every mash bill we make, so that when you’re thinking about a blend you can have ideas of how to make it. You also have to have a good nose and taste for the product. If you don’t have an extraordinary sense of smell, you’re not going to be a master blender. As you taste and smell over time, you develop a “sense memory” of all the products and their flavor profiles. It takes years to master, but that’s what really makes the best blenders.
What part of your job to you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy meeting with people and working with our customers to create a blend that they get excited about.
What’s the biggest misconception about your job and MGP?
That I am a typical quality control manager and just do boring testing, analyzing and statistics. Let me tell you, testing and analyzing alcohol is a lot more fun.
Why do you do what you do?
I started working here when I was very young and once I started working in Quality, I knew I wanted to stay. There are many interesting facets to the whiskey business. And on top of that, I've always enjoyed the people I work with.
If you were going to spend the day blending whiskey, what album would you listen to?
Something by Tom Petty.
What do you do exceptionally well?
Taste and smell whiskey.
What has been the most rewarding part of your time at MGP?
All that I have learned. I did not come from a managerial background, so my current position was a change. I've tackled the challenges put before me and am still learning each and every day.
What’s the biggest difference in distilling today versus when you started?
When I started working at the distillery, bourbon wasn't the "hot" thing it is now. Bourbon mainly came from the big companies. Now, everyone is involved and there are many more types of whiskeys to choose from.
Why do you think more women are getting into the industry?
For a long time, bourbon was considered a man’s drink and this was a man’s world. But now there are groups like Women Who Whiskey and Bourbon Women who are really promoting more women in the industry. I’m a member of Bourbon Women where I enjoy meeting and spending time with other women in the business, some of whom have their own distillery. More women are becoming master blenders and master distillers so we’re out here and we’re getting more involved, which is great to see.