The Women Weaving Their Way to Success With Zacapa

General Press Releases Tuesday March 6, 2018 16:00
GUATEMALA CITY--6 Mar--PRNewswire/InfoQuest
Ahead of International Women's Day, acclaimed photographer Nicolee Drake captures the women hand-crafting one of the world's best-tasting, premium dark spirits

In the lush, green grasslands of Guatemala, a community of over 700 women are weaving their way to independence and empowerment by hand-crafting intricate 'petate' bands (woven palm leaves) that adorn the bottles of one of the world's premier rums.

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click: https://www.multivu.com/players/uk/8281051-zacapa-women-weaving-way-to-success/
Inspired by these unique women, ahead of International Women's Day, acclaimed lifestyle photographer and Instagrammer , Nicolee Drake travelled to Guatemala to capture their incredible stories of progress.

Nicolee captured the women crafting the bands for the outside of each bottle of Zacapa 23 Rum and met the woman who crafts the liquid that goes inside the bottle: master blender of 30 years Lorena Vasquez*, one of PEOPLE en Espanol's 25 Most Influential Women 2015. Lorena is one of only a few female leaders in a traditionally male-dominated industry and leads the work to support the petate weavers.

Lorena Vasquez said: "As women, we must stand up and support one another - build each other up and press for progress. If we don't, who will? Personally, I would love to see more women progressing to the top. I am proud to be in a position to make a difference not only among women but among the community I live in - to give back in recognition of everything it gives to us."

With the help of Zacapa, these progressive women have discarded the societal norms that saw them stay at home while their husbands worked. They have adapted their craft** to create an employment opportunity which guarantees a fixed income to support their families. As a result, their social standing is elevated and younger generations are finding they have greater access to education than before.

More than just an income, weaving petates provides them with work they can do in their homes so they have the luxury of time to raise their families (a vital part of Mayan culture).

Spending time with these communities, capturing their stories through her camera lens, Nicolee said: "These women have faced incredible hardships and many were widowed in the armed conflict in Guatemala (1960 - 1996). It was amazing to see the change brought about in their lives and the lives of their families. I loved meeting women like Ana, one of eight daughters of a widow, who has had to support herself financially. To do this, Ana weaves petate bands and with the income she earns, she has chosen to fund studies to become a teacher - she is currently in her final year of study.

"On International Women's Day, and every day, women around the world are pressing for progress and I saw first-hand the part Zacapa is playing by providing a platform for these women to empower themselves."

Petate weaving is a tradition passed from mother to daughter. Mayans believe the petate represents the unity between heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, the spiritual and the physical because the band has no beginning or end. It is a hand-crafted process, like the creation of Zacapa, that cannot be rushed. Both are works of art, carefully and patiently crafted by female hands.

You can view Nicolee's beautiful photography of these women on Instagram @ZacapaRum.
*More about Lorena

Lorena considers herself as having one of the greatest jobs in the world and is largely credited for making Zacapa the distinguished premium spirit it is today. During her time as Master Blender she has instigated bold innovations: she chose the location for the Zacapa ageing facility, 2300m above the sea, (fondly known as the "House above the Clouds.") as altitude and a cool climate allows slow ageing.   Here, depending on the variety, Zacapa is aged from six to 30 years, giving the spirit time to mature and exchange its virtues with the wooden barrels. The result is the exceptionally deep aroma, full colour and rich flavour.

**Traditionally, the petate weavers would have weaved traditional baskets or hats so they adapted their technique to make petate bands, with Zacapa's help and training.
Enjoy Zacapa responsibly. Visit http://www.DRINKiQ.com .
Source: Zacapa

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