Ninety-two-year-old Elmer Lucille Allen, Brown-Forman Distillery’s first Black chemist, has received several recognitions.
Allen told the outlet she recognized a lack of representation in her field of work. However, she was not going to allow her progress to be hindered.
“It’s like I tell everybody now. Here I am. Take me as I am, and you learn,” Allen said, according to WLKY.
Allen was recognized for her contributions to the field on Sept. 1, 2023, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown by the Black Bourbon Society. The organization awarded her with the Bourbon Pioneer Award and a Distinguished Citizen Proclamation, among others.
“She made this major contribution to bourbon, but there’s still so much to fill, and there’s so much to do in order for everything to be really diverse and inclusive in our space,” explained Black Bourbon Society Founder Samara B. Davis, according to WLKY.
She continued, “I look at her as the person who did it, and what can I do, even if I’m the first, even if it’s never been done before.”
As for Allen, she describes her achievement as being about more than herself. She wants to continue serving as an inspiration to others.
“I don’t do it for myself. I do it for others because when you do things for yourself, it stays with you, but if you do it for other people, it’s really something,” expressed Allen, according to WLKY.
Allen, who is a retired chemist, still remains busy. She takes weekly art classes among college students. She earned a Master of Studio Arts for ceramics and fiber arts in 2002 from the University of Louisville.