Women of the Distilling Industry

Table of Contents

  • Tara Cook of Tall Pines Missouri
  • Monica Pearce of Tenth Ward Distilling

Meet Tara Cook

Posted 3/3/2020

Exciting, yet humbling is one way Tara Cook describes her overall experience opening Tall Pines Missouri. After 20+ years in growing businesses with mass retailers, Tara and her family brought a piece of her dad’s hometown to Pineville, Missouri by opening Tall Pines Distillery MO. As a distillery owner, Tara is enhancing consumer experiences through the knowledge and workings of a grain-to-glass craft distillery specializing in Moonshine.

On a trip to her dad’s hometown, Tara discovered Tall Pines Distillery in Salisbury, PA and quickly befriended the owners. Taking advantage of the emerging Craft Boom, Tara opened her family-owned Tall Pines Distillery in January 2020, being the first legal moonshine distillery in McDonald County since prohibition. As a licensee of Tall Pines Distillery PA, Tara is able to produce and sell Tall Pines’ Moonshine, bringing their great products west of the Mississippi. Having her own DSP, Tara can utilize her experience in business development and her passion for distilling as she plans on expanding the family distillery to offer her own products including Aged Bourbons and Specialty Vodkas.

Located close to the scenic Elk River, and about 20 minutes from Northwest Arkansas – a quickly growing area, Tall Pines MO has the ability to provide Tall Pines products to the Four State area, as well as to midwest campers and floaters visiting one of the country’s top camping destinations. Tara believes the location’s beauty, local natural springs, and limestone not only create quality shine, they add to the ambience that is Tall Pines MO. Built in 2019, the distillery features a small indoor event space for live music and smaller parties, while a beautiful outdoor space can host larger events such as weddings and parties for all occasions. After overcoming the difficulties of understanding the Federal, State, and Local Government requirements and expectations, Tara is helping her community by using local ingredients and creating memories.

As Tara continues to grow her distillery through research and continues to experiment to redefine ways to create all-natural spirits, she does have a little advice for those future distillery owners out there: “Surround yourself with experienced, highly knowledgeable people in the industry who can mentor you. Continue to educate yourself and become an expert in the field you are specializing in.”

That’s advice that Tara herself listened to when she started down her path with Tall Pines Distillery. As Tara and her family continue to bring craft spirits to Pineville, they are planning to enjoy meeting new visitors who wish to experience the grain-to-glass spirits, while overcoming any new obstacles that they face in their new distillery.

>> Looking to open your own distillery? Contact the team at StillDragon today for advice on equipment!

Meet Monica Pearce

Posted 2/27/2020

Monica Pierce

“Female empowerment is a trend right now…” Monica Pearce from Tenth Ward Distilling couldn’t have said it any better! Hopefully it is a trend that will stay.

Women are more prominent in the media, breaking glass ceilings, and building all kinds of businesses, including Craft Distilleries.

StillDragon is working to support the Women of the Distilling Industry and Monica Pearce couldn’t have been better to start with! Utilizing a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Policy, an Executive Master’s in Natural Resources, and a love for good whiskey,

Monica decided to indulge her passions in 2017 when she opened a craft distillery in Frederick, Maryland, following sustainable practices and leaving the smallest footprint possible.

Monica’s distillery, popularly known as Tenth Ward Distilling- named for the prohibition-era wards that Maryland was divided into, specializes in “traditional spirits with an unconventional twist” such as Smoked Corn Whiskey and Caraway Rye which goes hand-in-hand with the distillery’s slogan, Ward Off Ordinary.

After her love of whiskey drove her to make her own, the small business has tasked Monica, often referred to as Boss Lady, with playing the role of every department that a larger company would have, she still enjoys that there is always something going on and constantly being challenged to be creative.

Having to be more flexible and continuously learn new things makes her job a bit more stressful, but it also makes the job more rewarding to Pearce.

One of Monica’s more rewarding tasks since opening the distillery, and the industry challenge Monica is most proud of overcoming, is 3 years of lobbying for Maryland Craft Distilleries to have on site cocktail consumption, stating that it “has been a game changer for Tenth Ward.”

Monica Pierce 2

Prior to the law changes, Maryland distilleries were only allowed to serve 2 ounces per person, per visit; now that they can serve more than 2 ounces, and are only allowed to use the alcohol they produce, Tenth Ward has the opportunity to create a more “well-rounded end product” says Pearce.

Looking back along the process of getting to where she is now, Monica wishes she had “more technical capabilities, or a contact person, to research exactly what equipment was needed” but that hasn’t stopped her in building her business!

Monica has worked hard to build her business around many facets including sustainability through sourcing as locally as possible with used barrels from Virginia, labels from New York, grains from West Virginia and Honey and Mead from Maryland.

Monica is proud to note that her business is woman-owned and encourages other women trying to start their own distillery to “build it into your brand and story! People love supporting women-owned businesses.

Female empowerment is a trend right now and is a huge marketing opportunity that always helps me make the sale.”

Since opening the distillery, Tenth Ward has moved to a larger building in downtown Frederick, that offers more bottling and barrel storage space, plus the ability to host weddings, events, educational classes, and a super-friendly atmosphere to get a couple hand crafted cocktails!

They’ll even give you the recipes to take home and recreate- just make sure you buy a bottle or two!

>> Ready to take your distilling to the next level? Contact the team at StillDragon today for advice on equipment!