Women in Craft Brewing
Women in Craft Brewing
What image comes to mind when you think of a brewer? I have spent some quality research time meeting and getting to know the people of the craft beer industry in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. More often than not, I have encountered brewers who are—on average--white men, between the ages of 25 and 35. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three women who are in the trenches: Devon Krepps of 7venth Sun Brewing, Julia Rosenthal of Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company, and Megan O’Boyle of Cigar City Brewing. I hope I left more than a few off my list since women consume 32% of the volume of craft beer produced in the US (Brewers Association, 2015). Brewing beer was historically women’s work and should continue as such.
Beer has been around for over 12,000 years with women as the earliest brewers (Nurin, 2015). Sumerian women brewed beer for religious ceremonies and as a part of the daily diet (Nurin). These women were held in very high regard because of their other role as priestesses of the beer goddess, Ninkasi, who bestowed beer unto the human race to keep peace and promote well-being (Nurin). In fact, the Hymn to Ninkasi is the oldest written recipe for beer (Nurin).
Babylonian women continued brewing beer, but also sold it as tavern keepers and professional brewers (Nurin, 2014). Later, Egyptian women brewed and drank beer that they deemed a much higher quality than the Babylonian brews (Nurin). However, the Egyptians implemented the first tax on beer to help Cleopatra pay for her wars with Rome (Nurin). Ancient Egypt also saw men replacing women as brewers when breweries became production enterprises (Nurin). Luckily, not all the world followed Egypt’s path. Baltic, Slavic, Finnish, and Norse mythology and folklore nod to women as their brewers of choice (Nurin).
Given the rich history of women in brewing, I am really enjoying my research and involvement in the community. I brewed my first beer, cider and mead this year because of other women who love craft beer. I joined a home brewers’ club and am now the club’s event coordinator. I regularly participate in events held by groups like Women’s Pint Out and Barleys Angels. Many of the events include learning about brewing and the history of brewing. I will be sharing one of my favorite learning experiences with you soon. There is something reassuring about being a part of a community of women who love their beer.
Brewers Association. (2015). The year in beer: 2014 craft beer in review from the Brewers Association. Retrieved from http://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/year-beer-2014-craft-be...
7venth Sun Brewery. (n.d.). Our story. Retrieved from http://www.7venthsun.com/our-story
Nurin, T. (2015, February 18). How women brewsters saved the world. Craft Beer & Brewing. Retrieved from http://beerandbrewing.com/VNN4oCYAAGdLRZ-I/article/how-women-brewsters-s...
Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company. (2014). About us. Retrieved from http://www.pairodicebrewing.com/#!about/c1enr