Saturday March 8th is International Women’s Day, and The Growler would like to celebrate it by thanking all the women who brew, drink, and support the craft beer industry.
As history shows, women have always been a huge part in the creation of beer. Actually, the first homebrewers and “Brewsters” were female. “Women traditionally brewed beer,” says Professor Jeffrey Pilcher in his History of Drink course at the University of Minnesota, “It was a domestic thing and a homemaker’s job.” Women stayed on top of the beer scene until commercial breweries started popping up throughout the country. “Men took over the brewing process when it went commercial and there was money to be made,” Pilcher says. It wasn’t until the late 20th century, when the craft beer boom hit, that women made a comeback in the beer community.
Today there are thousands of women who do everything from supporting the beer community by being involved in a consumer/retailer association such as Barley’s Angels or Girls’ Pint Out, to starting to starting their own brewery from scratch. On a national scale we recognize Founder and President of New Glarus Brewing Company, Deb Carey, for being the first woman to found and operate a brewery in the United States, as well as the Twin Cites own Jacquie Berglund, CEO of FINNEGANS, whose charitable heart and entrepreneurial passion has helped too many to count.
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If you’re a woman who would like to get more involved in the craft beer community there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Barley’s Angels is an international association that works with craft beer breweries, brewpubs, alehouses, and other public beer establishments to unite female craft beer consumers through educational and fun activities. There are 6 chapters in the Minnesota and Wisconsin region who meet monthly.
If you are a female working in the brewing industry, The Pink Boots Society (PBS) is great choice for you. This group aims to educate women about beer, create a place for women working in beer to connect, and to empower women to advance within the beer industry. They have over 800 members and offer numerous scholarship opportunities.
There are a couple wonderful events coming up that focus on the relationship between women and craft beer. The first event is The Love of Beer film screening and conversation at the Minneapolis Museum of American Art (MMAA) Project Space in St. Paul. This event starts at 6:30pm and is part of the First Friday Films series. Doug Hoverson, a contributor for The Growler and author of Land of Amber Waters, will have a discussion on stereotypes surrounding peer production and consumption with Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch of Urban Growler Brewing Company, the first women-owned and brewed microbrewery in the Twin Cities.
Another great event is the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable discussion series. The Duluth Experience is hosting 4 installments at the Zeitgeist Arts Building, and the last one on June 22nd will end with a panel of 5 women from Northern Minnesota’s craft beer scene. For more information on North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable check out North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable—a look into Northern MN’s beer scene.