The friendly barmaid behind the bar is actually the brains behind the beer more often than you think. In a male-dominated industry, it is common to see women as bartenders or patrons, and assume they have nothing to do with operations, but that is not always the case. Growlers Women in Beer event aims to show this, and to honor the women who have helped make craft beer a burgeoning industry in Westchester.
As part of Hudson Valley Craft Beer Week, the event will feature 17 tap lines, each manned by a female representative from 17 local and national breweries, giving attendees an opportunity to sample a wide variety of craft specialties. They will be raffling off memorabilia from the participating breweries and a grand-prize winner will be sent home with a growler full of their first-choice beer.
“The event will give customers a chance to talk to multiple women in the industry about their experiences and their breweries’ products and history,” said Growlers Beer Bistro owner Eric Lorberfeld. The goal is to help introduce other women to the opportunities in craft beer, whether it is just knowing about the different varieties, or getting involved in the industry, and to educate everyone on women’s roles in the industry.
Mamaroneck resident Sonya Giacobbe, co-owner of KelSo Brewery in Brooklyn
“Most of the women in this industry are here because we are truly passionate about what we do, so we would love to help others explore the craft beer scene,” said Molly McDevitt, New York City sales representative for Captain Lawrence Brewing Company. “My favorite part of my job is helping suggest beers to new customers.”
It makes sense for women to rejoin an industry that they initially created. Thousands of years ago, eons before advertising agencies started using females only as sex appeal to sell beer, women were the original “brewsters,” the people brewing, perfecting, and selling beer. The popular beverage was sometimes safer to drink than water and full of minerals, so women were in charge of brewing it to sustain their families. In colonial America, women created the original local craft beers, using crops from their farms like pumpkins, artichokes, oats, and wheat to flavor their batches.
Beer was a woman’s commodity. The word bridal actually comes from something called “Bride-ale,” a special beer brewed for and sold at wedding, with all proceeds going to the bride. There was a “groaning” beer too, consumed during and after labor by mothers and their midwives.
After centuries of women, men, and children enjoying the hearty drink, the industrial revolution brought business to taverns and cities and men took over the trade.
Today, only 20 percent of women say beer is their preferred choice of alcohol, compared to 53 percent of men, according to a Gallop poll. But, craft beer is changing this dynamic and bringing woman back into the beer drinking, making and selling business. Last year, 32 percent of American craft beer drinkers were women, according to the Brewers Association.
“At my company, just under 50 percent of our staff, from operations to sales, is made up of women,” said Mike Naclerio, board member of Hudson Valley Craft Beer Week and specialty brand manager for Craft Beer Guild of New York. “We want to make other women feel comfortable, to show them that it’s acceptable to be involved in the beer industry, or just to be a beer geek in general.”
Karri Diomede, brewery rep for Keegan Ales. Photo provided by Holly Jo
Karri Diomede, brewery representative for Keegan Ales, agrees. “I think this is a great time for women in beer,” she said. “We’ve taken the time to educate ourselves, to really understand and respect the process and the product and to learn what it is we like while, at the same time, having fun with it. Some of the women in the industry take things more seriously than the men. They sell better, study harder, and really support this growing community.”
The beer available at the Women in Beer event includes: Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Elmsford; KelSo Brewery, Brooklyn; Empire Brewing Company, Syracuse; Broken Bow Brewery, Tuckahoe; Rushing Duck Brewing Company, Chester; Keegan Ales, Kingston; Yonkers Brewing Company, Yonkers; Ithaca Beer Company, Ithaca; Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill; Third Rail Beer, New York City; Newburgh Brewing Company, Newburgh; and North River Hops and Brewing, Wappingers Falls. Tap lines will also be reserved for women representing craft beers from around the country including Dogfish Head Brewery, Avery Brewing Company, 21st Amendment Brewery, and Allagash Brewing Company.
What: Women in Beer
When: Thursday, September 17, 2015, 7-10 pm
Where: Growlers Beer Bistro
25 Main St, Tuckahoe