It’s amusing and frustrating that the beer industry is often pegged as a “guy’s world.” Much of this probably has evolved from the historical Women’s Christian Temperance Movement (yes, it still exists), Carrie Nation and the ilk that resulted in the “Noble Experiment” of Prohibition. It may also have something to do with the idiot marketing departments at major beer companies who continue to push the rather insulting idea that bikini’s and bosom’s are the best way to sell beer (not that I’m against either, but it’s certainly never the reason I choose my beer).
Reality is, women were far more often the “brewers” historically in the homes before industrialization and the rise of commercial brewing. In the craft world, where what’s inside the beer counts, we’re seeing the emergence of a fairer voice again.
Personally, my original German brewmaster, under whom I did my apprenticeship in Munich, was female, so I had long taken note of women in the industry. There are some fantastic blogs, including Kelli at MIBeers.com (see Facebook) and Jessica at GirlsLikeBeerToo.com here in the Midwest. Women are emerging as talented brewers and owners (New Belgium, Arbor Brewing Company) as well. There’s even a regular column in the Michigan Beer Guide by Brenda Cooke/Wood, specifically on issues important to many women, particularly sustainability.
Point is, the fermented arts are open to everyone, male or female…and quite honestly, much more pleasant when we all enjoy them together.
(8.8.12) UPDATE: Here’s another nice article on the same topic, surveying some of the “name” women in the American industry.