September 27, 2023 3:12 pm

Minas Whisky: A Whiskey For Each Person

Last month we celebrated our 2-year anniversary of Whiskey Network, including that of this Women in Whiskey Column, which means we’ve profiled at least 27 women in whiskey. Fittingly, it was Women’s History Month so in addition to our Brown-Forman special article on three women of Brown-Forman, we enjoyed a live tasting that also capped off our BadA** B*tches of Barley Series in all of our weekly Barrel Report newsletters spotlighting our female staff members. 

While having the privilege of writing this column, I have often been asked if I felt it was still necessary to remind people that whiskey is no longer “only a man’s drink” that evokes an image of “some random old white dude in a smoking jacket sitting in front of the fire with a dog at his feet in a mahogany and leather laden library”.  (Full disclosure, as a not-so-random brown chick who enjoys whiskey and cigars, I wouldn’t mind having that fireplace and puppers moment myself.)

My response has always been “Yes, I do” because while my other privilege is living in New York City, where breaks from that stereotype abound, I still run into that outdated mindset from time to time and for other areas in the world, both female whiskey drinkers and the promotion of women in whiskey may not be as commonplace or well known.

Un whisky para cada persona (“A whiskey for each person”)

Another factor to consider may be culture and language. This month we introduce you to Maria Eugenia “Euge” Harttig whose own passion for whiskey recognized that there was a need to create a space for women in her native country of Argentina and later on, Spanish speaking women in other countries.   

Though her grandparents are European, Euge was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She grew up watching Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg and dreamt of winning her own Oscar. While she did love socializing with people, she could also be found enjoying a good book and at the age of 17 went to Canada where she attended the University of Toronto. Within 6 months she earned a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) certificate and became bi-lingual. Returning to Buenos Aires, Euge ended up working at The National University of the Arts, a place that trains filmmakers, professionals, scientists, and teachers in art and related disciplines. 

Later on, she was a Community Manager at Capacitarte, a joint initiative organization between the students of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the UBA, teachers and graduates of the University of Buenos Aires committed to offering programming designed for both professional work and/or personal development both paid and free.

But between the National University of the Arts and Capacitarte, as a female whiskey enthusiast, Euge decided to personally address a need in the Argentinian whiskey drinking community – a community whose mission it was to create spaces dedicated to encouraging women to learn and taste whiskey. For her, she felt that the whiskey drinker stereotype was a “Rocker guy with a Harley Davidson”, which might be one type of drinker, but not representative of all.  And so, Minas Whisky was born. 


While many people first see “Minas Whisky” and assume that it’s her name, Euge actually chose it because in Argentina “mina” is a slang term for “girl” or “woman” in reference to a close female friend. (According to the interwebs, it’s also used similarly in Bolivia and Uruguay.) ]

Drinking in Argentina

I asked Euge to tell me about the drinking culture in Argentina and where whiskey ranked vs other spirits in Argentina and she admitted that beer was still number one. (A Statista report published in 2022 shows that beer and wine accounted for 40% of alcohol consumed in Argentina as compared to 10% of spirits.) Of the spirits, Euge told me that while people tend to like gin, rum, and agave, the popularity of whiskey has been steadily rising. As for drinks, she mentioned that Fernet and Coke was a popular cocktail.  

So as a woman looking to share her love of whiskey with other women, there were not many opportunities. Men were still predominantly hosting whiskey events and male ambassadors far outnumbered the women.  But while Euge’s goal was to create a community for women to learn about whiskey, she credits two men for their support early on. When asked about one of her first memorable experiences, Euge told me that at a Singleton Scotch Whisky tasting, the ambassador was impressed with both her enthusiasm and ability to communicate about the Scotch and encouraged her to purse the idea of Minas Whisky.

And when she first launched in 2018, she found an ally in Miguel Ángel Reigosa. Miguel, dubbed “The King of Whiskey” in Argentina by Bon Vivant, is a Keeper of the Quaich, president of Malt Whiskey Argentina, host of Mundo Whisky and owner of Museo del Whisky (“Whisky Museum”) in Buenos Aires. He is also credited with ensuring that the annual Whisky Live festival includes an event in Buenos Aires. (Fun fact: as a teen-ager, he once shared a dram with the Queen of England for her birthday.)

Euge’s “Corporate Argentina” part of her career includes business consulting for both an insurance company (Seguros Bernardino Rivadavia) as well as hospitality consulting on spirits and cocktail for International Merchandising Solutions S.A. Regardless of the industry, she has found that her background in arts and communications has helped to educate and engage people in the appreciation of whiskey.  

Euge stated that she likes to keep Minas Whisky events to an audience size of anywhere from about a dozen to no more than 25 guests in order to keep the atmosphere intimate and engaging. And while she is proud of the fact that fellow Argentineans launched a distillery that boasts the first Single Malt Latin American Whisky (! see section below), her goal is to ensure that all whiskey categories are included so Scotches, Bourbons, Irish whiskeys and more are included. There are also pairings – Macallan Scotch & French cheese, for example. 

La Alazana, Patagonia Single Malt Whisky Fast Facts:

  • Owned by couple Néstor and Lila Serenelli 
  • Distillery located in Patagonia, Argentina (2-hour flight from Buenos Aires)
  • Spring water from the Andes Mountains
  • In the beginning, malts had to be imported from Scotland but as of the writing of this article, they are almost at their goal to produce a 100% regional Argentinian whisky
  • Their copper pot stills are self-designed and built 
  • In addition to distilling whisky, they offer equine therapy; the distillery’s name comes from one of their horses

When COVID hit, Euge immediately pivoted to virtual tastings as well as pairings. This included supporting other Argentinean businesses such as Bruna Brown Chocolatier. In fact, one of their standard products is a “Whisky Box” that features 3 whiskey samples (Irish Whiskey, American Whiskey, and Scotch Whisky) with tasting notes; 3 chocolates (Blend Bruna Brown white, milk and bitter 70%) with tasting instructions; and a playlist to enjoy during the pairing. 

Another event was in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and in homage to the fact that 2 million Argentines of Irish origin make Argentina the fifth largest Irish community outside of Ireland. These virtual events have earned 5-star Google reviews and Euge has thanked every poster. 

Minas Whisky in America

Recognizing that other Spanish speaking communities would appreciate Whiskey events in their native language, Euge partnered with fellow Argentine Sole McGinley-Aviles Pereda to launch Minas Whisky USA out of New York City. 

Besides being passionate and a nerd about spirits and hospitality, Sole is a certified Bourbon Steward and WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust – globally recognized) Level 2, dedicated to welcoming more Latinx into the whiskey community. In alignment with the Minas Whisky mentality, Sole ran events that ranged from straight tasting to pairings. One innovative example was pairing the delicious coffee & deep ripe berries flavors of a Limited Edition Bunnahabhain (14 years finished in Burgundy barrels for 3 years) vegan (yes, we typed that right – VEGAN) tossed them in a Jack Daniel’s hot BBQ sauce made Jack Daniel’s. There was also a side of baked potatoes with melted Irish butter. 

This collaboration led to the creation of Destiladas, a whiskey centric podcast in Spanish.

Additionally, Minas Whisky USA has also collaborated with other women in whiskey such as Daniella Solano, a Detroit native who has run bar programs in Oregon, Colorado, and Ohio, recognized as one of the top female bartenders in Denver and is currently an ambassador for Maker’s Mark in NYC.

Author’s Note: It is through Sole that we learned about Minas Whisky and at the time of this article, while she still supports the efforts of Minas Whisky, due to her new full-time job at Campari Group, NYC events are on a hiatus.

I asked Euge what we can look forward to in 2022 for Minas Whisky and she was excited to tell me that in the fall, she plans to move to Spain and continue her mission of creating an inclusive whiskey community one dram at a time. She is thankful for everyone that continues to support Minas Whisky and to all the whiskey enthusiasts worldwide she says  ¡Salud!

"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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