Vienna Barger: A Pioneer in Spirits and Sustainable Agriculture

Last Updated 3/8/2024In Made In Iredell

Vienna Barger is the co-founder and COO of Southern Distilling Co. in Statesville, NC

In the heart of Iredell County, North Carolina, a remarkable woman is not only making waves in the spirits industry but also partnering with her husband, Pete to champion regenerative agriculture and supporting local farmers. Vienna Barger, co-founder, and COO of Southern Distilling Company, is leaving an indelible mark on both her community and the international stage. As we celebrate International Women’s Month, it’s only fitting to shine a spotlight on her inspiring journey from public health to spirits.

Building on the Past, Pioneering the Future

Vienna's journey began in Orange County, California, where she was immersed in the ethos of multi-generational family business ownership. However, it wasn’t until she teamed up with her husband, Pete, that they embarked on their entrepreneurial venture. After a decade of exploration, Southern Distilling Company was born—a startup bourbon and rye distillery with a robust and scalable business model.

In 2013, Vienna made the bold leap from a distinguished 15-year career in public health to the world of spirits, and she hasn’t looked back since. Her commitment to innovation and excellence has propelled Southern Distilling Company onto the global stage, earning international awards and forging partnerships with esteemed entities like the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Football Club/Tepper Sports.

Cultivating an Environment for Growth

Vienna’s impact extends beyond product development; she has spearheaded initiatives to position Southern Distilling as one of the nation’s largest privately-held, family-owned-and-operated bourbon distilleries. Under her leadership, the distillery’s production capacity has surged, with plans for further expansion on the horizon. What’s more, Southern Distilling sources the bulk of its grains from within 20 miles of Statesville, championing regenerative agriculture and supporting local farmers. 
Moreover, Vienna’s vision extends to nurturing the broader spirits community. Southern Distilling Company boasts over 130 contract distilling clients worldwide, a testament to Vienna’s commitment to collaboration and industry growth. By producing whiskeys for other brands while patiently aging their own bourbon and rye whiskey, Vienna has cultivated a thriving ecosystem within the spirits industry.

Celebrating An Industry Leader

As we reflect on the contributions of women in various fields this International Women’s Month, Vienna Barger’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the power of perseverance, innovation, and passion. Her journey from public health to spirits exemplifies the transformative potential of following one’s dreams and forging new paths. With Vienna at the helm, Southern Distilling Company continues to push boundaries, redefine industry standards, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and distillers alike. Cheers to Vienna Barger, a trailblazer in the spirits industry and a beacon of female leadership.
Central to Southern Distilling Company's ethos is the Southern Star family of spirits, a testament to Vienna’s dedication to craftsmanship and authenticity. Products like the Southern Star Paragon Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey and the Southern Star Double Shot Bourbon Cream Liqueur have garnered acclaim worldwide. Notably, the Southern Star Paragon Cask Strength Single Barrel Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey recently clinched top honors at both the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, reaffirming Vienna’s commitment to excellence.

Crafting Success and Community: The Woman Shaping Statesville's Spirit Industry

You won't want to miss Vienna Barger on the Discover Statesville podcast, Crafting Success and Community: The Woman Shaping Statesville's Spirit Industry where she speaks about her journey, their award winning spirits and things to come for this destination business right here in Iredell County.  

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