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In 2018, the three founders of Milam & Greene, a distillery in Blanco, Texas, made their first trip to the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, one of the state’s largest gatherings of bartenders, distillers and their legions of fans. They were excited to introduce their new whiskey, until they found their assigned table — stuck in a corner, far from the action.

The cold shoulder might have come because they were new to the scene, or because a portion of their whiskey was made outside Texas. But it didn’t help that all three of them — Marsha Milam, entrepreneur; Heather Greene, CEO and master blender; and Marlene Holmes, master distiller — were women, trying to make it in an industry well known for its assertive, sometimes aggressive masculinity.

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