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Women In Beer - Meet Free Penny Spirits' Jamie Hunt

a woman smiling for the camera

Inspired by that Italian tradition and a desire to create something she loved, Jamie Hunt turned her passion into a reality. With a focus on perseverance and community, Fast Penny Spirits is quickly becoming a favorite among spirit enthusiasts.

Wanna hear more from Jamie? Snag tickets to our Women in Beer event this Thursday, March 21 at Pike Pub! 

What inspired you to start Fast Penny?

Contemplating a transition away from consulting, I found myself drawn to the prospect of founding a business that resonated with my passions and allowed for meaningful contribution. While enjoying an after-dinner amaro at a quaint local bar, I had an epiphany to explore the potential for crafting an American-made amaro that pays homage to the esteemed Italian tradition. My love for amaro traces back to my 20's, when I was introduced to it during travels throughout Italy.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the craft spirits industry?

I consider myself quite lucky as I’ve mostly run into supportive people in the industry; however I have seen bias towards males in the industry whether it’s funding, account placements, etc. Women often find themselves having to exert additional effort to garner the same level of respect and recognition as their male counterparts and when you’re in an industry dominated by men, that can be daunting (only 8% of distilleries are woman-owned and run).

How do you foster diversity and inclusivity within your team and customer base? 

I actively seek individuals who bring diverse perspectives to our team, while also supporting women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) businesses through a range of community events, makers markets, and initiatives such as the Pretty Penny pay-it-forward program. Creating an inclusive community is a core value of ours.

Share a time when you felt particularly proud of your contributions as a woman in the industry?

I don’t know that it has to do with being a woman in the industry, but I am proud of taking a chance on a female intern. By offering her the necessary space and connections, I helped facilitate her learning and growth. Now, she has secured a fantastic job and is forging a promising career in the tech industry, a field I'm intimately familiar with. I find great satisfaction in informal mentorship, witnessing individuals embark on journeys of learning, experiencing setbacks, and ultimately achieving success. It was also pretty cool to get on the spring reset of Whole Foods Market in 4 states.

What advice do you have for other women looking to enter or excel in the craft spirits industry?

In this industry, there are numerous challenges and obstacles, but also abundant opportunities and achievements. I advise against entering unless one is genuinely passionate, as there are easier paths in other industries. Embrace failures and setbacks as chances for growth, persist in pursuing your dreams one day at a time, while always keeping an eye on the future. Building your network is key to surviving and thriving in this industry. I’ve leaned on my community many times to help me get through some tough times and to grow my business.