Two women's beer organizations, the Pink Boots Society from the United States and Project Venus from the United Kingdom, have teamed up to create a global, all-female brew day on March 8 in order to raise awareness of women in the industry.
International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day will allow women from more than 60 breweries around the world to create their own version of the collaborative, girl-powered recipe called Unite Pale Ale.
“The beauty of the recipe is that it still leaves room for creativity and uniqueness to the individual brewsters,” says Denise Ratfield, of the Pink Boots Society and San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. (Industry jargon uses brewster as the feminine form of brewer.)
Sophie de Ronde, head brewer of Brentwood Brewing Company in Chelmsford, England, came up with the idea that has since spread stateside with the help of Ratfield and the Pink Boots Society.
“Our goal is to continue to empower women, educate them so that the future of craft beer will see a host of talented, capable women that will bring innovation to the industry,” Ratfield says. "We are passionate and feel the need to take charge of our own professional destiny."
Aly Hartwig, who is an assistant brewer at Colorado's Pikes Peak Brewing Co., is one such brewster breaking the glass ceiling.
While she says she did not encounter many obstacles getting into the industry, she does have to be prepared to hold her own; she points out that brewing is a physically-demanding job.
"Despite how the industry may look from the outside, brewing isn't glamorous. It's awful hours, hard physical work and a lot of cleaning,” she says. “If you are not truly passionate about crafting an amazing pint, it'll be challenging to make brewing a lasting career.”
Hartwig says that it ultimately relies on passion, whether a brewer or brewster.
“Sitting down after a hard day of work and enjoying a pint the you made makes it hard to imagine doing anything else," she says.
Another pioneer of sorts is Carol Stoudt of Stoudts Brewing in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. Stoudts, who is often touted as the “Queen of Hops," was responsible for every aspect of the business, from brewing to selling, when it began in 1987.
Stoudt advises women who want to get into the industry to “do your homework” and to “learn the science of beer."
She says any skeptic can be silenced by knowledge of the craft.
“Keep your head up, have confidence and have faith in yourself and your beer,” Stoudt says.
Here are five more women who are leaders and pioneers in craft beer.
Want to find out where you can check out Unite Pale Ale on March 8? Here is a map of participants.
Greg Bowman is an Editor Producer with CNN Creative Services in Atlanta and is also a craft beer enthusiast. Follow his beer escapades on Twitter @gboCNN.