Meet the 2024 Tales of the Cocktail Catalyst Honorees

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation has announced Keyatta Mincey Parker and Becky Paskin as its 2024 Tales Catalysts. Find out how their work is cultivating community and creating change in the spirits and cocktail industries

Headshots of Keyatta Mincey Parker and Becky Paskin.
From left to right: Keyatta Mincey Parker (photo courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail) and Becky Paskin (photo by Jazzula Donoghue Photography).
This content was produced in collaboration with our partner, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

Earlier today, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation announced the 2024 Tales Catalyst honorees, two members of the spirits and cocktail communities who have helped to foster inclusivity and push the beverage industry forward through positive change. This year, the Tales Catalyst U.S. Honoree is Keyatta Mincey Parker, the executive director of A Sip of Paradise Garden, and the Tales Catalyst International Honoree is Becky Paskin, the founder of OurWhisky Foundation

Tales Catalyst was launched last year as an evolution of Dame Hall of Fame, a program to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the male-dominated beverage industry. Now, instead of limiting this recognition to a single gender, Tales Catalyst seeks to celebrate the many diverse catalysts and changemakers in the drinks industry, inclusive of all genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media Group are the official media partners for the 2024 Tales Catalyst program.

While Mincey Parker and Paskin have each made their own mark on the spirits and cocktail industries, their work shares one key commonality. “Our two honorees are the definition of community builders,” says Tales Catalyst co-chair Robin Nance. “They are both incredibly deserving and I can’t wait to honor them in July!”

Headshot of Keyatta Mincey Parker
Keyatta Mincey Parker’s community garden for bartenders became a space for support in uncertain times. Photo courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail.

Keyatta Mincey Parker

2024 Tales Catalyst U.S. Honoree

Executive Director, A Sip of Paradise

Keyatta Mincey Parker has been a member of Atlanta’s bar community for more than two decades, and a hospitality worker for even longer. A role as a daytime bartender grew into a love of making craft cocktails, working behind the bar at many of Atlanta’s restaurants.

In early 2020, Mincey Parker was a finalist in the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, presented by Bombay Sapphire. While she didn’t win, the competition—which required finalists to pitch how they would share their creative passion with others if they won—did spur her to map out the creation of a bartender’s community garden, which would support the health and wellness of local bartenders through gardening. Mincey Parker had her business registration, a waitlist of members, even a board of directors—and then the pandemic hit.

As she and her fellow Atlanta bar community members were furloughed due to the pandemic, more inquiries started rolling in about the bartender’s garden. “With people of service, we’re used to communicating, to going somewhere and talking to people daily,” says Mincey Parker. “And then now you enter this phase of life where people are telling you you can’t stand close to people, you can’t go to work. You can’t, you can’t, you can’t.” A Sip of Paradise Garden came to fruition from this need for connection, becoming a safe space—both physically and emotionally—for bartenders to come together. That purpose was amplified after the murder of George Floyd, when the garden became a meeting ground for members to gather and map out protests.

“Keyatta has created and cultivated a space for her community and continues to expand and elevate what is possible,” says Nance. A Sip of Paradise Garden has evolved as hospitality spaces have reopened and members have returned to work. The garden’s 52 members have access to the garden’s harvest plots, where they can collect herbs, edible flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and spirits brands can sponsor plots, too. There are also health and wellness activities, like yoga and meditation (many of which are hosted by members, who are paid for their time), spirits and gardening education sessions, and access to job and networking opportunities. 

Mincey Parker is looking to the future, too, though she affirms that “we are living in our goals right now.” A Sip of Paradise Garden is developing a retail line with syrups and tinctures made from garden produce, and she hopes to start gardens in other parts of the world.

As she’s named a Tales Catalyst this year, Mincey Parker says it feels good to finally be seen. “I was completely blown away to get awarded this,” she says. “It shocked me because I’ve always just kept my head down and done the work. I’m really grateful.”

Headshot of Becky Paskin
Becky Paskin is a hardworking advocate for representation in the world of whisky. Photo by Jazzula Donoghue Photography.

Becky Paskin

2024 Tales Catalyst International Honoree

Founder, OurWhisky Foundation

When Becky Paskin started pouring shots for college students as a bartender in the U.K. at the age of 19, she didn’t plan on finding a career in the drinks and hospitality business. But when she became a journalist, the niche fit; after working for several hospitality publications and awards, Paskin became the editor of The Spirits Business in 2012 and in 2015.

As Paskin became further immersed in the world of spirits—specifically whisky—she noticed how sexist the industry often was. “Decades of historic advertising has cemented whisky’s reputation as a man’s drink amongst much of the world’s population,” she says. “Because of this, I personally felt biased against as a young, female editor of a whisky publication, and I knew many other women in the industry did as well.”

Paskin launched OurWhisky in 2018 as a social media movement to elevate the recognition of women as whisky makers and drinkers, but she soon realized it had much greater potential. In 2020, she called out a popular whisky review guide for its explicit, sexist language and subsequently received hundreds of messages from women with their own stories of harassment in the industry. “Misogyny and harassment affected every woman, from bartender to master blender,” says Paskin. “It was then I really knew just how widespread and ingrained this issue was, and that there was no organization in existence to help them.”

“Becky took her disappointment and frustration and created a space that celebrates women in a category that often leaves them out of the conversation,” says Nance. On March 8, 2022, Paskin launched OurWhisky Foundation, which recognizes and empowers women in the whisky industry while advocating for more equity and inclusion. “We want to provide the personal and professional tools women need to excel in their career and thrive in what has typically been a male-dominated industry,” she says.

OurWhisky’s work manifests as several different projects and initiatives. Earlier this year, the team launched the Demeter Collection, an auction that highlighted rare whiskies crafted and inspired by women, in partnership with Whisky Auctioneer. It raised over £50,000 for the foundation, and OurWhisky is already planning for the next one in 2026. Last year, they launched the Modern Face of Whisky, a free image library depicting the diversity of the world’s whisky-drinking population; images in the collection have already been downloaded more than 125,000 times.

The foundation also hosts a mentorship program, which has paired 175 women and non-binary people with leaders in the whisky industry as mentors. Many of our mentees have gone on to secure new jobs, promotions, and even start their own business,” says Paskin. “The most common feedback we get is that our program has changed their life.”

More initiatives are ahead, and Paskin is quick to point out that OurWhisky is a team effort. “I’m so proud of the work we’ve done with the OurWhisky Foundation,” she says, “and for it to be recognised by Tales is a huge accomplishment, not just for me but our entire team.”

The Tales Catalysts will be celebrated during Tales of the Cocktail, the bar industry’s annual must-attend event in New Orleans. The Tales Catalyst celebration will be held on July 23, where Mincey Parker and Paskin will have the opportunity to address fellow industry members in person. To raise a glass to this year’s honorees, purchase tickets online.


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