Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only does it make for longer days and great skiing, but our Pink Boots collaboration beer, Muddy Boots is brewed. Baxter’s continued participation in brewing a beer for International Women’s Day shows its dedication to the amazing ladies that work here, and all the other women in the industry.
It’s such a great feeling to be working for a company that gives women the runway and creative freedom to make something that has meaning and is special to us. Not only do we get to make this beer on our own, but we get to share it with our distribution partners who, in turn, get it to your favorite bars and bottle shops.
We all know Maine is a very special place. Women are breaking barriers across all fields in this male-dominated industry. The women of Maine craft beer are no different. The beer industry is what brought me to this beautiful state and I learned a lot of tips and tricks from the ladies in it. I was fortunate enough to be able to work under one of the best beer-tenders in Portland when I first moved to the city. Not only did I have that connection, but I also worked as a server at Little Tap House in Portland’s West End which is owned and operated by women. Right away, I was able to network and connect with women across all sides of the beer world in Portland.
One of the most common questions people ask me about the beer industry is what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated field. I always pause because there is a large number of women in the industry in New England. It never surprises me when I go on a brewery tour (when they were a thing!) and see women on the brew deck, cellar floor, tasting room, or discover they’re part of the sales force. In addition to visiting breweries and seeing women firsthand, I’ve had the pleasure of working with female brewers, lab/cellar ladies, event managers, HR directors, presidents, and the list goes on! It has always been the ‘norm’ to be working alongside women, which leads to my answer: “I get treated with the same respect as everyone else. And that’s pretty cool.”
Some of my favorite events that I have gone to have been to celebrate the ladies of the industry (and I can’t wait for many more!). One that sticks out was hosted at Slab, which is female-owned. We had thirteen Maine breweries represented, who all sent a specialty beer to have on tap. It was great to see that some of the guys from the breweries came by to have a beer with us, as well. We had the patio full of beer industry folks enjoying some great Maine craft beer and Slab pizza! When Summer hits, it is hard to find time to meet up with other industry professionals. Designating an evening to ladies in beer gave us a great excuse to get together and enjoy some great beer!
A few months before everything shut down, the Maine Pink Boots Society Chapter was revived. The Pink Boots Society was created to provide educational opportunities for women in the alcohol industry. Each chapter raises money for scholarships that span across all facets of the business. I was ecstatic to hear the news; I knew the success that the Boston chapter was having. At our first meeting, close to thirty women attended. It was a really cool feeling to be in a room with brewers, beer-tenders, lab techs, territory managers, owners, and founders. All roles of the industry were represented in one room. Fun fact: That’s the first time that I met our President, Jenn Lever!
As I look ahead, I only see opportunity for women in this industry. The Pink Boots Society supports this progress with all of their amazing endowments and resources. The scholarships they provide offer something for everyone. The internal networks within each chapter give more women different outlets for knowledge, as well. Women will always face different challenges then men, and beer is no different. Having a connection to other people in the industry who experience the same challenges is quite beneficial. That is one of the many reasons why I think Pink Boots is such a great resource.
Even outside of Pink Boots, I think we are going to see more and more women breaking into beer. Breweries take pride in the women that work for them, and with more fresh and new opportunities popping up, it’s a way to get even more ladies into the industry.
I have two pieces of advice for anyone looking to get into beer: if you’re a college student, talk to your local brewery about doing an internship! What can you bring to the table that they might need? It’s how I got my foot in the door! My second piece of advice is to try working Front of House to start. Working in a tasting room or pub is a great way to learn not only beer styles, but the technical aspects of packaging as well. This can also lead to fun opportunities like being a Brand Ambassador, working events and festivals representing the brewery. And who knows; from there the possibilities are limitless!
NH Territory Sales Manager