March 8th is International Women’s Day and many breweries have been busy planning brew days that celebrate not just the women who work in the industry, but women’s achievement throughout history.
The theme for IWD 2019 is #BalanceforBetter and this theme is meant to be carried throughout the entire year. For anyone who knows me outside of craft beer, you will be familiar with my other life of activism, social justice, and gender equity. I completely own the fact that I am the feminist killjoy in my social circles! As I read up on this campaign, I was struck by the use of the word “balance”. We can all use a little more balance in our lives, right? Whether it’s balancing our work/home life, the scales of Lady Justice, or the malt bill on a tricky new recipe, BALANCE is something we should all strive for. And as for balancing gender representation in the craft beer industry, women are here! Women have always been here and even more are just discovering their palate. The Pink Boots Society has had a major hand in this representation and sisterhood, as well as local women-focused craft beer enthusiast groups like Girls Pint Out, Barley’s Angels, and Beer for Babes.
Now about the beer! March is Women’s History Month and I had the pleasure of meeting with Director Alexis Degan of the New Jersey Brewers Association. We shared a few beers and talked about her new adventure in the craft beer world and about the NJBA Facebook posts highlighting women in beer throughout the month. Learning some of the history of women in beer was her inspiration, which bore the idea for the NJBA Women’s Collaboration Brew Day that happened on March 6th.
This Blood Orange IPA with Lavender was brewed with ingredients contributed by Forgotten Boardwalk, Czig Meister, Eight & Sand, and Krogh’s Restaurant and Brewpub. Additionally, women from Twin Elephant, Carton, Tuckahoe, Human Village, Bonesaw, Vinyl, Third State, Hidden Sands, and Eclipse came together for multiple shifts to make this happen.
It definitely does not take 17-20 people (simultaneously) to brew two barrels of beer! And for anyone who’s brewed or been around brewing knows, there is a lot of waiting during each step of the way. This gave us all the wonderful opportunity to get to know each other. For a group of women who all work various positions in the same industry, getting this many of us together in one spot was a major achievement – especially on short notice.
“What was most gratifying,” Alexis said, “was watching the relationships form between the attendees who hadn’t gotten the chance to meet each other before.” I can personally attest to this! As someone who doesn’t get out of the tasting room very much, I loved the chance to get to know other women in the industry.
We aren’t even halfway through March, but the reception to the NJBA’s posts is telling. Alexis pointed out, “Others who may be looking to get into the industry are able to see themselves in the women we’re highlighting and know there’s a network of their peers out there. Women can be found in every aspect of the brewing community across New Jersey, from running the tasting room, taking care of the books, sales, or merchandising. Women make New Jersey beer happen!”
If you’re wondering where to find this awesome beer, it will be available at the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival! Can’t wait to see you all there! Cheers!
Editor’s Note: Many Thanks To Alexis Degan for providing the great photo’s for the piece! Cheers!