Warm Southern Breeze

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Beer & Babes… what could be more American? These babes brew!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It certainly seems as if the spirit of entrepreneurship and the conjunction of high quality foodstuffs is enjoying a revival in the United States.

For that, we remain grateful.

Cheers!

More women are making — and enjoying — craft beers

Associated Press, May 29, 2012

A brew and a bro — it’s the classic pairing, right? Not necessarily.

From the rise of female brew masters to the growth of women’s tasting groups, women are becoming much more than a pint-sized part of the brewing world.

The emergence of women as both beer-lovers and brewers happened as the craft beer scene grew overall by leaps and bounds, and that’s no coincidence, said Lisa Morrison, Oregon-based writer, blogger and author of “Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest.”

“I think that women are finally discovering, thanks to craft beer, that beer has flavor,” she said.

“When we start getting into the artisan stuff you start realizing that there’s an entire rainbow of flavors that you can enjoy. And because of that you can pair that with all kinds of different food flavors,” Morrison said.

Irene Firmat of Full Sail Brewing

Irene Firmat is founder and Chief Executive of Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River, Oregon. (Lynn Howlett, Associated Press / October 28, 2010)

“Women love food. We love cooking. We love tasting food. We love sampling different things,” she said. “So when you put all that together, the cooking with beer, the pairing food with beer, the whole wide-ranging genre of beer styles and beer flavors — it’s something that women can get really excited about.”

The marketing message is also different, said Julia Herz, home brewer and craft beer program director at the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Assn.

“Historically, the mass-produced lagers have been marketed as a beverage targeting males in their mid- to high 20s, and it seems to me in advertising that I see for craft beer that it’s really not marketed as a gender-specific beverage,” Herz said.

It’s hard to put a number on the trend, but Morrison and others say they’ve personally seen more women take an interest in beer.

“It used to be at beer festivals, I was pretty much the only gal. Now it’s definitely venturing more toward 60-40,” with women being the 40%, said Morrison, who has been involved in the craft beer scene for nearly 15 years.

On the business side, beer management remains predominantly male, though there have been changes there too, said Irene Firmat, founder and chief executive of Full Sail Brewing Co. in Hood River, Ore.

To support female brewers, a support network called the Pink Boots Society was formed. It includes a consumer-tasting-group organization, Barley’s Angels, that has chapters in the U.S., Canada, Australia and South America.

Being a female beer producer means standing out, said Rosemarie Certo, co-founder and owner of Dock Street Brewing Co. in West Philadelphia.

Certo’s interest in beer started when she began making beer at home because she wasn’t happy with what was available domestically at the time. She started Dock Street in 1985 and remembers in the early days going to make a sales pitch to a distributor and being the only woman in a room of more than 50 people.

She sees the craft segment as generally having a different approach to business.

“I think it’s easier for women to enter the craft industry only because the craft industry is different to begin with,” Certo said, pointing out that most people don’t go into the labor-intensive craft beer business with dreams of piling up a fortune. “It’s an industry that is born from a lot of love.”

Firmat also started in beer about 25 years ago, a time when there were about 20 craft breweries nationwide compared with today’s 2,000. Back then, it was considered more outlandish to be challenging the big domestic producers than to be a woman in the beer business, she said.

One of the things that Firmat sees as a challenge is keeping craft beer accessible to women, which means guarding against the snobbery that can creep in when consumers become very enthusiastic about a product — think wine.

“Our responsibility is making sure that the way we communicate is very respectful to men and women,” she said.

www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-women-beer-20120529,0,5725637.story

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