Women in Craft Beer

Ladies Making Brew Moves

Women Changing The ‘Boys Club’ Nature of Craft Brew Business

A big part of craft beer culture is breaking down misconceptions. Whether that may be the color of the beer in the glass or who brewed the beer you are about to consume, it’s all equally important. Here is a shout out to the ladies making the moves to change what one may think is “right”.



Unite! International Women’s Brew Day and a Michigan Movement

This month’s Michigan Beer Guide re-caps the Pink Boots Society’s International Women’s Brew Day– the day that Unite Pale Ale was brewed by women, for the world. This day was pretty awesome. What’s even more awesome is that it sparked an interest in a group of Michigan women to celebrate the energy felt on one day, all year long.

http://digital.zoompubs.com/publication/?i=206771 (pg. 32)

*The Michigan women’s group is currently being formed. If you have an interest in getting involved, please email me @ pauline.m.knighton@gmail.com


Calendar Appointment Unnecessary When Celebrating Women

Pink shirts on. Boots pulled up. Haired pulled back. Malt poured in. Picture taken. This is how many women in the beer industry started a March Saturday morning. Myself included.

Saturday, March 8th was International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. A day sponsored by the Pink Boots Society to encourage collaboration and camaraderie amongst women in honor of International Women’s Day, which is also March 8th. Taking the time to celebrate this day with fellow females is fun and dandy, but I wonder what affect these days have on the bigger issue at hand, women’s equality.

There is no doubt that having national days like this are incredibly important for all women. They create opportunities for women who feel unconnected to become connected. It seems, however, like many people get involved for that day/month, pat themselves on the back and wear their t-shirts, and then return to their normal lives.

I will without doubt admit that I am guilty of letting these “International Days” float by me with nothing more than a tweet or a post. Not often do I fully dive into the issue behind an “International” anything. I can be so good at letting things not affect me, that it scares me how many more people share this disheartening talent. So it is not whether these days are good or bad, but the concept of longevity, or the lack of, that I struggle with. How can we use these days to inspire daily respect for all people? To celebrate accomplishments and camaraderie on a daily basis, not just on one day.

Last week, I opened up the local news and one of the headlines read, “Local Women Brings Hot Topic Issue to Community Council.” Why was woman in the title? As if it is totally strange that a woman would dare bring up an issue to her local government? Since I am me and no one else, I can only speak for myself. And I personally want my accomplishments praised for the accomplishment itself, not the fact that I happen to be a woman who accomplished it. Yes I am a women; however, I also am a human being and want to be judged as a human being not just as a women, every day of the year.

So now I come back to Saturday’s celebration of International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. The day in itself was very positive. I met women who also work for Short’s for the first time, and I loved the fact that one of our male brewers was more excited about brewing with us than we were! As we continue adding “human group recognition days” to the calendar, I hope more people use these days to inspire grassroots movements that spark conversation, collaboration, camaraderie, and most importantly action within communities. It is going to take a lot more effort than just posing for a picture by a brew kettle, to create change.

In the craft beer industry, The Pink Boots Society is a wonderful example of encouraging discussion and community amongst women around the country on a more regular basis. Regular events hosted by this organization bring women together to create a daily network. If more people become involved in organizations that have a philosophy like the Pink Boots Society, or even grab a beer with friends at the local bar to discuss social issues, there will be more forward progress than if women didn’t.

I also believe, however, that the only way women will rise to true equality is if men and women alike participate in this discussion. It is wonderful to have a network of people who share similar characteristics to yourself, but if your goal is to make change then there needs to be a focus on mutual support from both parties. If this mutual support does not grow and develop, then the progress will be minimal.

So use these days as a benchmark to think back on the year that passed and reflect on your actions as a person. Did you celebrate and respect the people you share this world with on a continuous basis? Or did you wait until your calendar told you to do so?

Interesting Views on International Women’s Day:


5 Disney Princesses Walk into a Bar…

Saturday morning, I was eating breakfast at Wolfgangs in Grand Rapids. Great place. There was a young girl, probably six years old, at the table next to me with a giant grin on her face. In front of her sat a stack of five pancakes completely drenched in syrup and melted chocolate rounded off with a dollop of creamy whipped goodness. She was adorable. But what made the scene quintessential was her choice of dress: a pink and purple nightgown with five Disney Princess heads covering her head to ankle. Instant childhood flashbacks.

disney princesses

Last week we talked about social norms. Today, I introduce you to a collection of media that has shaped female social norms at a very early age, The Disney Princesses. Now that they are seasoned and experienced, what would they tell this pancake princess about life and libations on her 21st birthday?

1. Pocahontas: Growing up, I was taught that the world is not something dead that you can claim. Every rock and tree and animal has a spirit and a name, and this is what makes life rich. When John Smith came to my village, I had to teach him the importance of appreciating our natural world. This is why an American Stout is my drink of choice. There are so many natural ingredients that can be added to enhance its taste, aroma, and mouthfeel, and until you experience many variations, you cannot fully appreciate the style. Live life with your arms open to the unfamiliar and your life will be rich.

3. Ariel: Now that I am 45 years young, there is so much I want to tell the young ladies who grew up watching my very young self fall in love much too fast! First off, I want to say that I absolutely adore Imperial IPAs. This robust beer has a bold hoppiness that just might rip your tongue out and leave you speechless! But jokes aside, to have a robust life, one filled with what makes you happy, you must learn to lean in to situations, not shy from them.  And as stated by Sheryl Sandberg, “Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” There is no life guide- you will make mistakes- but if you take chances than you will find yourself in grander situations never imagined before.

4. Cinderella: I was so dreamy as a young girl. I will always enjoy daydreaming, but I have also come to thoroughly enjoy real life; the everyday ups and downs. I have come to enjoy the wrinkles that appear around my eyes and hands, for each one represents a piece of knowledge that I earned and can share. And I want to tell you that you should celebrate every knowledge line because you earned it! No one takes you seriously when you are 80 years old and look 20. Our bodies are like Belgian Dubbels. True fans know that the older they are, the more robust and flavorful they become. Pick your fans wisely, you only deserve the ones that thoroughly appreciate you.

2. Jasmine: When I was a young girl, I lived behind tall castle walls that inhibited me from exploring the outside world. Everything I knew was given to me, my life was easy but it was also boring. Your life should be filled with experiences that give it girth. Life should be like a barleywine; strong, intense, and complex with a hint of fruit, sweetness, or bittersweetness. This variation never makes my tasting experience the same as the previous. Never hid behind walls, that is the easy way through life. Jump the walls and explore worlds beyond your comfort zone, you never know what you will discover about yourself.

5. Belle: Life is all about choices. I believe who you choose to surround yourself with tells a great deal about yourself. Keep in mind that life is hazy, like a hefeweizen. There are a lot of obstacles you will face throughout your lifetime, and if you choose to fight the haze with people who drain you (like the people who lived in my village), you will be miserable, so make the effort to find people who inspire you. This applies to your friends, community, and spouse. These people may not always be the most popular or best looking, but they will light something inside of you that draws you to them. Do not ignore that magical feeling.

All five of these characters experienced a sense of confinement and lack of choice. It wasn’t until they broke boundaries and tested their comfort zones that that they found (wait for it…) “a whole new world” of possibilities! These possibilities affected every part of their lives (including their taste buds) and so they felt compelled to share. Cheers!

Book Recommendation: Lean In by: Sheryl Sandberg