A Spirited Endeavor: How Amber Pollock Went from Music to Distilling
Backwards Distilling Company
Running a distillery with her family in Casper, Wyoming, was never part of Amber Pollock’s career plan, but this spirited dream turned dream job has provided ample opportunity for her to do what she loves.
The Backwards Distilling Company co-founder originally went to school to be a music teacher. After growing up in Wyoming and moving out of state to finish her college degree, Amber unexpectedly found herself back in her hometown for a teaching position. She and her brother were both living with their parents when the conversation about distilling their own spirits came up around the dinner table.
“My brother was complaining about not being able to find any more types of absinthe,” Amber said, “And my mom said, ‘Why don’t you make some?’”
This conversation was the jumping off point to the family’s now thriving distillery. At the time, none of them knew much about craft spirits or how to make them. But a bit of research and a lot of tenacity led the Pollocks to where they are now.
“We started quitting jobs,” Amber said, “It was just something that we decided we’re setting our minds to. I think you see that around Wyoming because we’re accustomed to living independently, to pursuing adventures and just trying things. And if they don’t work, then you do something else.”
Lucky for the Pollocks, their hard work led them to create a successful business. And Amber has gained invaluable skills that have opened an entirely new career path for her. She runs Backwards’ tasting room, events, classes and cocktail program, manages social media and leads everything outward-facing for the business. She has served as president of the Wyoming Distillers Guild, and contributes to a variety of community organizations today.
“The idea of being a positive influence is something that has been important to me forever,” Amber said, “It’s probably why I went into teaching. But I certainly think that this business has given me a platform that I didn’t have before to become involved at a higher level in the community.”
When Amber isn’t working, she enjoys attending local events and activities such as art walks and live music.
“I love Wyoming because it is the perfect balance between being wide-open, unpopulated, wild, rugged and also having opportunity for the arts,” Amber said.
While in school for her music teaching degree, Amber never would have guessed she would wind up as the co-owner of a distillery in Wyoming and a leader within her community. Taking a few risks, working hard and following her passions led her down a path to something she truly enjoys. Only time will tell what happens next.
Towering mountains. Rushing rivers. Welcoming communities.