She didn’t conceive of International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day (IWCB) – a brewster in the U.K. gets credit for that – but Denise Ratfield successfully inspired and organized brewers in 70 countries to make the world’s first simultaneous female brewing event happen last March. As a result, hundreds of professional brewers from Israel to Japan released their own versions of Unite Pale Ale this past spring and donated proceeds to the Pink Boots Society (PBS), the world’s only non-profit dedicated to advancing women in the beer industry.
Ratfield volunteered to take on social media duties for the PBS last year, thinking that although she’d stay busy moderating the group’s blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts and collecting and posting news about female brewers making news, she’d primarily serve to help relieve perennially overextended PBS founder Teri Fahrendorf of some responsibilities. Instead, Ratfield, who works as a receptionist at Stone Brewing Co.’s headquarters, is becoming one of the industry’s most active ambassadors to women.
Not only does the native Californian use the Internet to facilitate communication and collaboration between PBS’ more than 1,200 members, she’s also beginning to do the same in person, launching a chapter in San Diego and traveling to festivals around the world.
Her motivation lies in her work experience.
“When I started in packaging in 1995, I was the only woman on Sierra Nevada’s production floor,” Ratfield says. “There were no female brewers, cellar(wo)men, keg liner operators or bottlers. Just me. It would have been nice to commiserate with other women who had similar challenges, so it’s such a gift to have this resource now.”
This profile appears in the November 2014 issue of All About Beer Magazine. Click here for a free trial of our next issue.