The evolving role of Women in the craft beer brewing industry
Until the 15th century, beer brewing was a woman's job. Women brewers were known as 'Alewives" or 'Brewsters', producing beer made from ingredients like corn, oat, wheat & honey. The stereotypical hat and broomstick depiction of a witch resembled medieval beer makers. They used a black cauldron to brew beer, wore pointed hats so they could stand out in crowds and usually kept a cat to drive rodents away from their grains. When the product was ready to be sold, they let customers know by driving a tall broomstick-like 'ale stake' into the ground outside their door. During the Industrial Revolution, brewing became a male dominated industry but it seems brewing is in our blood, and women are revisiting it in new & exciting ways!
There are a number of women run groups that support the craft brewing industry. Barley's Angels has individual chapters around the world that work with craft beer focused businesses to help educate and encourage the female beer devotee. The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies, a Toronto based organization offer 'all lady' beer events around Toronto. Women and non-binary beer lovers can enjoy their own space to drink, and benefit from the company of other female craft beer aficionados. The Pink Boots Society with chapters in Canada, Australia and the United States, aims to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education. Funds are raised in order to support budding beer sommeliers to learn more about their craft and become part of the powerful game changing group of women in this industry.
Check out the link below, for a list of women making their mark in the Canadian beer industry:
Also, for more proof - check out these American women who are serious lady bosses in their own right: