At Great American Beer Festival, Women Are Reclaiming Historic Place In Brewing
For centuries or more now, beer has been considered a man’s drink, and brewing a man’s work. But an intrepid generation of women are changing that, leading some of the best companies in the US’s exploding craft beer movement.
NPR highlights Meg Gill of the Golden Road Brewing Company, which is expected to medal at this weekend’s annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Gill is now a highly respected professional in the industry, but had to overcome being mistaken for a Bud Light promo girl in bars due to her curly blond mane:
…she says the “Bud Light girl” stereotype began to work to her advantage. “Once I learned how to deal with that, it turned into a pretty good thing, because I walked into a distributor’s conference room or a major chain account, and they expected less than what I delivered on.”
The article also notes that more attendees to the festival are women than in years past.
Other prominent women in the industry include Teri Fahrendorf, a veteran brewmaster who now runs the Pink Boots Society, helping women start careers in craft brewing; Kim Jordan, the founder and CEO of New Belgium Brewing Co.; and Carol Stoudt, one of the first female brewers of the craft beer revival, who founded Stoudt’s Brewing Co. in Adamstown, PA in 1980.
Interestingly, women have a historic place in brewing. The earliest mentions of beer come from Mesopotamia, where the beverage and its brewers were watched over by goddesses, not gods. And USC Professor of History Judith M. Bennett wrote a whole book about how almost all beer in England was brewed by housewives until around 1350, when men gradually took over the practice.
10/14/13 EDIT: Corrected the name of Jordan’s company, which makes Fat Tire Amber Ale, among other beers.