It’s no big secret that the craft beer scene is dominated by dudes. But beer hasn’t always been exclusive to just men, as archaeological records indicate that women were actually there first. From ancient Egyptian civilizations like Sumeria to the Germanic Societies of Northern Europe (just think Game of Thrones...kind of), brewing alcohol was primarily engaged by women, and it was women that were at the helm. In fact, in ancient Sumeria, brewing was the only profession that was "watched over by a female deity", namely Ninkasi – sound familiar?
Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of big business, women were pushed out from the brewing landscape and slowly shadowed by the male species. Jump ahead a century and a decade or two later, the 1950s saw a shift in societies expectations of gender roles and topped it off with an onslaught of sexist branding from big beer brands. Women and beer couldn’t have drifted further and further away from each other.
However, today, craft beer is looking much more optimistic and women and craft beer couldn’t go more hand in hand. In 2018, almost 32% of craft beer drinkers were women (source: Nielsen Harris on Demand). And a research project conducted by Auburn University found that women account for 29% of brewery workers in the United States. It is apparent that women are beginning to play a much larger role in the craft brewing industry and there’s an uprising of an entire generation of female craft beer lovers and doers kicking ass and taking names.
Who are these women? There's too many to name them all, but here are a few that come to mind.
Jill Davidson, Pizza Port Brewing Co. Sales Manager and Former President of the San Diego Brewers Guild
If Jill doesn’t put a smile on your face, there’s something wrong with you. She’s an OG in the industry and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She lives and breathes craft beer and does it with more enthusiasm and spunk than Richard Simmons teaching a workout class.
Gina Fronke, Russian River Brewery Representative
Can I get Pliny? If Gina had a dollar for every time she heard this question, she would have a lot of dollars. And if it wasn't already cool enough that she slangs everybody's favorite beer, Gina is also one of the most stoked people we know and a true ambassador for craft beer.
Alexandra Nowell, Three Weavers Brewing
One of LA’s first female brewers who helped open Three Weavers (owned by Lynne Weaver, another female powerhouse in the industry). Alexandra is also the Pink Boots Society LA Chapter President and is a huge advocate for encouraging the growth of women in the craft beer industry.
Devon Randall, Arts District Brewing
With a rockstar resume from breweries like Lost Abbey and Pizza Port and now heading things over at Arts District Brewing, one of LA’s most popular breweries, Devon most definitely knows craft beer. If you’re ever in the downtown LA area, be sure to mosey on over to the brewery, the place is awesome.
Colleen Hart, MadeWest Brewing Co.
Our very own! Colleen is a brewer for MadeWest and she’s a darn good one at that! She can usually be found singing hits from the early 2000’s and if she could be any mythical creature she would be an abominable snowman. If you see her around the brewery, throw her a high five, she is most likely the one who made the beer you're drinking. Checkout her Q&A and see what's she all about!
The general public might still picture that bearded guy in a buffalo plaid flannel as the craft beer drinker, but the image is surely changing and we are a lot further than we were in our not so distant past. There are some amazing women making some amazing beer and a generation doing their part to destroy that red flannel stereotype and put women at the forefront of craft beer.
MadeWest couldn't be more on board with this cultural shift and whether you're male, female or gender neutral, craft beer is for everyone!
➞ Keep an eye out for our Pink Boots Hop Collaboration. We purchased a bag of the Pink Boots hop blend from Yakima Chief and we're throwing it in a one off beer. Follow us on social @madewestbeer and sign up for our emails to hear about when it drops. $3 for every pound of hops sold will be donated to the Pink Boots Society for education and programming!