Leslie Merinoff Kwasnieski


Leslie Merinoff Kwasnieski is a distiller/winemaker and a passionate advocate for local agriculture and sustainable practices. Over the course of her career she has worked in distillery operations, strategic brand development, and impactful community engagement.

As the co-founder and distiller at Matchbook Distilling Co., located in Greenport, NY, Leslie has been making a case for tying distillery operations and farms closer together for a new wave of sustainable spirits. Under her guidance, Matchbook has been hailed as “a gem of a distillery” by The New York Times and recognized for crafting the future of spirits by Vogue Magazine. The distillery is renowned for its innovative approach, producing two unique spirits each month, each with its own distinct brand identity. These creations not only push the boundaries of traditional spirit categories but often establish entirely new ones, demonstrating Leslie’s commitment to farm first production.

Before Matchbook, Leslie worked at The Noble Experiment Distillery and William Grant & Sons, where she was instrumental in the growth and success of Sailor Jerry Rum, crossing the milestone of 1 million cases sold. Her journey in the spirits industry began with Broke In Burlington, an events marketing company she co-founded, which specialized in integrating national brands into local culture, laying the groundwork for her future endeavors in brand development and community engagement.

Beyond the spirits industry, Leslie has shown a steadfast commitment to community and economic development. She has served on the board of Brownsville Community Culinary Center, contributing to its mission of culinary education and workforce development in Brownsville, NY. Leslie’s tenure on the Economic Development Committee for Southold Town from 2017 to 2021 further exemplifies her dedication to fostering economic growth and sustainability.

Leslie's investment in and advocacy for disruptive practices in the spirits industry extend to her roles as an investor in Compass Box Whiskey, Chinola Passionfruit Liqueur, and SevenRooms. These positions underscore her belief in challenging the status quo and her vision for a more innovative and inclusive industry.

Last updated February 13, 2024