Samara Davis Doubles Down on Commitment to Equity in the Spirits Industry


Samara Davis, founder of Black Bourbon Society (BBS), is celebrating seven years since she began her membership organization aimed at uniting Black bourbon enthusiasts who share an appreciation for America’s native spirit, as well as addressing racial stigmas and marketing biases in the spirits industry. 

From creating a seat at the table for Black bourbon drinkers to partnering with major brands like Jack Daniels, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve, Davis has established a track record in curating consumer experiences like cocktail tastings, educational programming and social networking events for BBS’ 30,000-plus membership base. 

While BBS is the bridge to facilitate these events, she looks to her latest business developments to impact how African Americans are viewed in the spirits industry, both as consumers and entrepreneurs.

And Then There Were Three

Within the last three years, the fourth-generation entrepreneur has launched Society Marketing Group, Diversity Distilled and the Black Owned Spirits Symposium (BOSS) in a collective effort to establish more opportunities for diversity and inclusion behind the scenes and on the front line of the spirits industry.

“It’s overwhelming to see the vision I created seven years ago being able to make such a huge impact in the spirits industry,” says Davis. “That one idea of Black Bourbon Society has turned into three entities that are able to advocate and address issues surrounding diversity, equality and inclusion from different angles.”

As Davis worked to expand partnerships for BBS just before the influx of protests against racial injustice in 2020, she realized brands faced challenges engaging with diverse consumers because the organizations often lacked diversity among staff. 

Following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement demanded more corporate activism and follow-through on commitments to equity.

Davis developed Society Marketing Group to help enrich consumer insights and build authentic representation across different levels of beverage organizations. The full-service experiential multicultural marketing agency is now the primary agency for producing BBS’ brand-partnered events. 

While her marketing agency is a critical piece of the equity puzzle, creating executive-level employment opportunities for BIPOC within the spirits industry is equally important. Many brands claim to focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but gaps still exist between their intentions and the sparse representation of BIPOC corporate leaders. 

Across the board, executive leadership teams of many spirit manufacturers and distributors remain predominantly white and male. 

Continue reading over at Cuisine Noir.

Words by Marcus Avery Christon

Cuisine Noir Magazine is the country’s first Black food publication, launched in 2009 and dedicated to connecting the African diaspora through food, drink and travel.  To read the rest of this article and more, visit

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