Laura Johnson’s early curiosity for distilling and natural talent for building and highlighting ingredient flavors is what makes her a strong voice in the male-dominated spirit industry.
A Texas native, Laura made her way to the west coast to attend the University of San Diego to study economics and international business in 2010. It wasn’t until a road trip a year later that ultimately paved Laura’s career path. Looking to take a break from the road, Laura visited a distillery on a whim. She was immediately mesmerized during the hour-long tour. It was at this moment that Laura realized distilling was an actual craft, igniting her excitement to learn more about how spirits came to be.
Returning to San Diego, Laura completed the Wine & Spirit Education Trust sommelier program, earning the Level 2 award, and in addition, began educating herself in the hospitality and spirits industry while working at The Flight Path in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. Upon graduating USD in 2014, Laura immersed herself in the Distilling School program at Dry Fly in Spokane, WA as well as the Distilled Spirits Epicenter’s (“Moonshine University”) Master Distiller’s course in Louisville, KY later that year. She supplemented the two intensive weeklong programs with workshops at distilleries across the country. She would make a name for herself within the San Diego Distillers Guild, where local distillers shared—and continue to share—their advice and guidance within the distilling industry.
Not letting the lack of employment opportunities in craft distilling sway her from her true passion, but also noting the lack of women in the distilling industry, Laura wrote a business plan for an idea that would eventually become You & Yours. With You & Yours, her mission is to provide high-quality, trustworthy spirits made with sustainable practices and top-notch raw ingredients.
When not in the distillery, crushing the craft cocktail world with her blog, Distillerista, or contributing to Liquor.com, Laura can be found cooking for friends and family, testing recipes to perfect the Gin & Tonic (with extra lime) and training her Scottish fold, Dez, (her cat!) to be the You & Yours distillery mascot. Tasting her way through every city she visits, Laura’s favorite cocktail is a modern take on the classic Gimlet – fresh lime juice, simple syrup and good gin.