Big Nose Kate Whiskey Names New CEO


March 29, 2024

Big Nose Kate Mel Heim

Big Nose Kate announced the appointment of Melissa “Mel” Heim as its Chief Executive Officer.

Heim, a company co-founder who was previously the brand’s Head of Operations and Product, has won over 40 medals for excellence in spirits she has created throughout her 16-year career. She previously served as an Executive VP at Eastside Distilling before embarking on the Big Nose Kate journey with Kevin Burke and Paul Earle in 2021. 

“Big Nose Kate stands as a credible, unconventional, and accessible addition to a culture and industry saturated with homogeneity and bourbon sameness,” Heim said. “I’m excited to guide us through the next phases of growth and expand upon the foundational success Kate has achieved in the last two years. Kate is exactly what back bars have been missing.” 

In naming the whiskey after Big Nose Kate — an icon, rule breaker, and enterpriser, but never fully appreciated as the huge force on the frontier that she was — Heim and her partners aim to celebrate all the supporting characters who deserve their due. 

“Mel Heim crafted one of the tastiest whiskeys we ever had, a fitting tribute to the real Big Nose Kate. Like Kate in the old west, we are confident that Mel is the best person to lead us in the next chapter of this business,” partners Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy said in a news release. 

The brand is currently available in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona and New Mexico with distribution through Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. Bottle sales are available through the integrated direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform Speakeasy Co.

Big Nose Kate is a blend of Straight Rye Whiskey and American Single Malt. The brand, first commercialized in 2021, is batch-blended and bottled in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its investors include a “who’s who” of venture capitalists in spirits, as well as a number of influential figures in the entertainment industry.

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