Wisdom From The Women Leading the Wine & Spirits Industries, with Anna Zesbaugh

An interview with Kelly Reeves

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readFeb 21, 2023


Resilience — It would be a heck of a lot easier to give up and go back to a corporate job, but my passion and focus keep me going. I believe so much in our product and team which keeps me pushing forward every day.

Less than 20% of winemakers and distillers are women. Traditionally, women were excluded from these industries. This number is slowly rising as more women choose to study this profession and enter the wine and spirits fields. What is it like for those women who work in this male-dominated industry? What are some of the challenges that these women face? Is there hope for better representation, and better wages, for women in the wine and spirits industry? As a part of our series about women leading the wine and spirits industries, we had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Zesbaugh.

Originally from Minnesota, Anna Zesbaugh ventured out to Colorado in 2014 to study Hospitality Management at the University of Denver. She had been working in corporate events for two years after graduation when the pandemic hit — events were quickly untenable, and of course her job too. In March of 2020, the mayor of Denver declared liquor stores non-essential businesses and ordered them closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It was like prohibition all over again, people were scared, they were socializing in different ways. People still wanted to connect, but it was likely sitting in the backyard spread out as opposed to at a bar. Anna couldn’t get “Hooch” and “Booch” out of her head — Hooch referring to what alcohol was often called in the 1920s, and Booch referring to kombucha. Daydreams turned into business plans, and Hooch Booch was born.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your origin story, and your childhood?

I grew up in St Paul, Minnesota and am a Midwest gal through and through, but when it was time to go to college, I was ready to get the heck out of the Midwest. My working mom has always been an…