It’s hardly front page news that there is a boom happening in the craft industry. We are surrounded by websites like Etsy that provide a platform for anyone to sell their handmade items, and farmers markets where local vendors show off everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheese and fresh bread. An area of crafting that women helped pioneer, however, is only now getting the press many feel it deserves.
Craft brewing is a rapidly growing industry. With well over 4,000 independent breweries in the U.S., there are no signs of it slowing any time soon. Women were primarily responsible for the earliest form of this fermented beverage, and its beginnings date back roughly 200,000 years; many historians give this particular drink credit for laying the foundation of capitalism. Women and beer have both a rich global history and folklore surrounding them, making today’s overwhelming thirst for the handmade brew that much stronger and positions in the industry more valuable than ever.
Regionally, organizations have formed to engage women interested in brewing and learning about beer, the most notable being the Pink Boots Society. With more than 2,000 members and growing, this group was created to empower women beer professionals and advance women toward brewing careers. Headed by award-winning Portland, Ore., craft brewer Teri Fahrendorf, the Pink Boots Society has been supporting women in brewing since 2008.
Other major cities are expanding their options for women interested in the craft beer trade. Indianapolis’ Girl’s Pint Out is a group for women looking to expand their enjoyment and knowledge of craft beer. This nonprofit organization omits membership fees, and currently has 86 chapters in 40 states. Girl’s Pint Out, geared toward novices and established brewers alike, promotes a community of like-minded peers, providing a welcoming environment that hosts both charitable and social events.
Being at the forefront of what many call “the greatest invention of all,” women hold a historic place in the business that is craft beer, and we are witness to a resurgence of their involvement at every level of production — and consumption. To that, we can all say “cheers.”