Women In Beer (Are We Still Talking About This?)
Don’t tell Gloria Steinem I said this, but there’s no glass ceiling anymore in the brewing industry, nor does it need to keep pandering to women. I just saw a pretty good documentary called For the Love of Beer by Alison Grayson about women in the beer community. It likely would not have been made were it not for Teri Fahrendorf (the craft era’s second female brewmaster), founder of Pink Boots Society for—let’s see if you pick up on the theme here—women in the brewing industry. One of the cameos in the film was Ginger Johnson who runs the consulting/educational group, Women Enjoying Beer.
At this point, do we still need to extend a hand to women? Sisters are doin’ it for themselves—running for president and such—so don’t be shy about becoming a brewer if you wanna brew. Just kick some butts and make some beers. If there aren’t a lot of female brewers, do you think it’s because they’re not welcome to or simply because there’s not a whole bunch that want to do that for a living? Is the brewing industry really that scary? I mean, have you seen the men-folk? They’re not a threatening bunch, despite the beards. Beer guts don’t make us hard; in fact, they literally make us quite soft.
Yes, it’s terrible that the average beer festival can also be dubbed a sausage party. But I don’t think there’s an intimidation factor—and least not anymore—so maybe women just have something better to do with their time than standing around to geek out about various DIPAs and stick their noses deeply and lingeringly in their tasting glasses every time they rip a yeasty fluffy.
Do Klingons at Trekkie conventions try extending galactic olive branches to usher in more girls? Is Danica Patrick putting more shapely butts-in-seats at the Indy 500? Conversely, is there a concentrated effort to get more guys involved in “traditional” ladylike realms such as knitting with groups like Stitch’n’BitchJerkwad?
One of the many book ideas I hatched and gave up on was about this exact topic. The primary reason I dropped it wasn’t because I thought I, a male of the species, had no place writing about women in beer. It was because I felt it couldn’t come off as anything but patronizing. The Women’s Rights Movement was great and necessary. Those bras had it coming! The fact that women in this country earn 78 cents to the dollar compared to men is atrocious. But ladies get charged exactly the same price as dudes for a pint of craft beer or a suitcase of crap beer. That macros are attempting to woo women with clear, fruity, low-calorie beer is clearly misguided and ironic when its TV spots are chauvinistic. It’s practically a scientific fact that women taste better than men. Equally scientific is that craft beers taste a whole lot better. So if it’s equality they want, then belly up to the bar and order it. Both male brewmasters and female brewsters (I know, they’re brewmasters, too, just sprinkling some herstory in) will thank you for it.
Is there really a glass carboy mid-way up the ladder preventing women from joining the fraternity of brewers? Are beer fests held in giant tree houses with No Girls Allowed signs tacked on the trunk? Trust me, if there’s anything beer nerds want at brewpubs more than an Imperial Farmhouse Wormwood India Rye Ale it’s more girls.