Joy Spence – Appleton Rum’s Master Blender – is the first female Master Blender in the spirits industry, recognized as a pioneer and celebrated trailblazer in a male-dominated field. With a 40-year career legacy, Joy is a champion for the advancement of women and is dedicated to leading Appleton into the future by supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Born and raised in Jamaica, her passion for chemistry began at 13. After graduating from the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor of Science Degree, First Class Honours, Joy worked as a chemistry teacher before moving to England to pursue a Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Loughborough.
Joy began her career in the spirits industry as Appleton Estate Rum’s Chief Chemist in 1981, a role created specifically for her. She then earned the title of Master Blender in 1997. Using her exceptional sensory skills, she managed to gain knowledge of the rum production process and a natural passion for rum as a cherished Jamaican spirit. In this role, she created many blends that have made Appleton Estate Rum a celebrated global brand.
She enjoys introducing rum to different groups and countries and watching as they become fascinated by the spirit, appreciating the joy in the Appleton rum range.
Women in the Spirits Industry – The Future is Now
Did you know? Women can have genetically superior nosing and tasting skills – a well-known fact in the global spirits industry – yet women are still in the minority!
Sadly, most women don’t imagine themselves building a career in this field. Joy Spence knows first-hand how important women are to the future of the spirits industry, offering these tips for women interested in following in her footsteps:
- To become a Master Blender, you should first have an excellent knowledge of chemistry and sensory skills. Become a sponge for technical knowledge.
- Stay positive and channel any negativity as a sounding board for improvement. Throughout my career, I used my learning experiences to help other women in the industry realize their full potential.
- I had several challenges along the way – staying focused on your knowledge and dedication to the craft is key
Joy Spence has been at the forefront of developing some of the world’s best-in-class rums – and has been officially recognized by the Jamaican Government for her contributions to the rum craft and for representing Jamaican excellence. Acknowledging her contributions to the brand, Appleton Rum named its signature distillery tour in her honor as the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience. For more information, visit appletonestate.com.