Samara Rivers: Adding a Touch of Spice to Bourbon
Sep 05 2019

Samara Rivers: Adding a Touch of Spice to Bourbon

By: Emil Flemmon

"A seat at the table means to simply be included." ~ Samara Rivers

On Saturday Aug.31, the Black Bourbon Society held a tasting event for its members at the Victory lounge located in the CBD.

Victory's toned-down atmosphere was the perfect spot for the event providing charm and intimacy all while getting familiar with Russell's Reserve whiskey brand.

The BBS consists of nearly 4,000 African-Americans from various professions, globally. Perhaps what is truly unique is that despite its name, the BBS' members have a love for the spirits industry and they enjoy conversing about all things bourbon.

Ms. Samara Rivers, who serves as the Chief Bourbon Enthusiast and the founder of the exclusive social club, took lead showcasing her skills as an event planner and marketer. The Atlanta transplant works diligently to bring people of color into bed with all things Bourbon; interesting, right?

From left to right:Mikal Anderson, CEO of Equity in Education | JoAnn Street, granddaughter of Wild Turkey's Master DistillerSamara Rivers, Chief Operator of BBS | Armond Davis
From left to right:
Mikal Anderson, CEO of Equity in Education | JoAnn Street, granddaughter of Wild Turkey's Master Distiller
Samara Rivers, Chief Operator of BBS | Armond Davis
From left to right:James Jones | Andre Graves | Chasity Beasley | Noelle Bates | Samara Rivers (Chief Operator of BBS) | Randi WardArmond Davis | Mikal Anderson (CEO of Non-Profit Equity in Education | Pamela Jasper
From left to right:
James Jones | Andre Graves | Chasity Beasley | Noelle Bates | Samara Rivers (Chief Operator of BBS) | Randi Ward
Armond Davis | Mikal Anderson (CEO of Non-Profit Equity in Education | Pamela Jasper

She touched briefly on why the BBS is imperative to people of color and the importance of having more diversity in the distillery industry:

"When I said, 'a seat at the table,' I was referencing how we [African-American] are a part of the consumership, but our voices have never been included in the history, contextually, in presenting Bourbon. Our voices haven't been included in marketing or even considered as to how we are more than just consumers but an emerging demographic."

Rivers has found herself on a mission to campaign in educating attendees during tasting events with rich knowledge and defying the simplicity of drinking just to drink. However, that's not where she stops on the informative Bourbon tour. This Alpha Kappa Alpha member co-hosts a weekly podcast with her partner, Armond Davis, aptly named Bonded in Bourbon. She also exercises her literary skills by providing monthly content for The Bourbon Zeppelin.

She re-emphasized as to why that seat will always have value saying, "Us having a seat at that table, us having face at that table will always help change the narratives of how business is advertised."



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