Tag Archives: women and beer

Rochester Real Beer Week: The Women & Beer Symposium

Here in Rochester, it’s not officially Spring  until the lilacs bloom, and Summer kicks off with Rochester Real Beer Week! This year, I am SO happy to announce that I’ll be hosting my own event, The Women & Beer Symposium, at Cure, located in the Rochester Public Market!

Women & Beer Symposium - More info at: http://thecraftbeergirl.comThe event will be held on Monday, June 16, 2014, and will begin with the Womens Industry Beer Dinner at 6pm. The 4 course menu will feature the inspired cuisine Cure is known for, expertly paired with world-class craft beer from across the country. Women participating in all levels of the craft beer industry are encouraged to attend, including those working with breweries, distributors, bars & restaurants, and retail beer stores; as well as beer writers & bloggers. Tickets for the Industry Dinner are $65, and can be purchased online.

After dinner, 8pm – 10pm, Cure will open to the public for a free open house, featuring beer shots, floats and cocktails at the bar. So if you can’t make the dinner, here is your opportunity to come out to meet and mingle with leading female voices in the craft beer world. No tickets are required for the open house.

The goal of the night is to celebrate the increasing contributions women are making to support the craft beer industry, and to provide a space for thoughtful discussion, social connection, and networking. Although women are the focus, men are welcome to attend both the dinner and the open house. So please join me for this very special night, it’s sure to be a treat!

Women & Beer Symposium - More info at: http://thecraftbeergirl.com

Meet Josie Holden, Nedloh Brewing Co.

Nedloh_Header

Since March is women’s history month, I thought I would highlight one of the many women helping to grow the craft beer industry here in New York, Josie Holden, of Nedloh Brewing Company. The 3,500 square-foot brewing facility—opening this Summer in East Bloomfield—will feature a tasting room, retail space and a museum dedicated to the history and process of local 19th century hops production.

How did you get into craft beer or brewing? Everyone seems to have an “Intro to craft beer story”… What’s yours?

I grew up in a family owned winery and I’ve been around wine all my life. Beer was very new to me. Getting into home brewing with my husband really piqued my interest and made me want to learn more about craft beer. It was a big transformation for me switching from wine to beer, since I had to learn about the different styles and tastes of beer and what would work for me. I’ve become very open minded in trying everything. Learning about craft beer has been a great experience for me. I’m looking forward to learning more by taking classes, home brewing, and traveling to different breweries all over. I’m especially excited to start my learning experience with opening a brewery.

What were you doing before opening the brewery?

josie and mash

Josie stirs the mash on a test batch. (Photo Credit: Tom Navarre)

Before thinking about opening a brewery I was helping out with the winery. I helped out with the retail and serving the wine. This is what I will be overseeing at the brewery.

How do you think people perceive women in the beer industry today?

If a woman wants to start her own brewery or become a brew master, it can be a shock to people because they are coming into a male dominant industry. I know this from experience with opening my brewery. It was intimidating at first for me because I didn’t know much about beer coming from the wine industry. However, I encourage myself to learn something new and to try new things – this was one of those moments. Opening a brewery and being a woman was a big step for me. I’ve had good support and I’m happy to be part of this industry. One of my goals at the brewery is to try to make a beer for women who drink wine to like.

Do you think the craft beer “bubble” is coming? Why or why not?

I read recently that the craft beer production was up 9.6 percent in 2013, while overall beer fell 1.4 percent. This is good news for the industry and craft beer enthusiasts too. We’re seeing that growth right here in the Finger Lakes, with craft breweries popping up all over the region. I’m happy to be one of them too. I always encourage people, especially women, to drink craft beer because it’s like finding a good bottle of wine that you know has taken a lot to make. It’s the same thing with craft beer. The brew masters and owners of craft beer are looking all over the country to find the best ingredients for their beer. For example, Dogfish Head Brewery is always looking for that unique ingredient to wow people. This is what makes the craft beer industry so unique.

What words of advice can you share with home brewers who are looking to start their own brewery?

  • Make sure you have a good business plan and good marketing plan.
  • Start off small to help get your feet on the ground and only have two or three beers on tap to start with.
  • Invest in a brew sculpture to help figure out recipes. They are pricey but they are a smaller scale of a microbrewery system. We have one and we love it! So fun to learn on.
  • Try all grain brewing instead of extract.
  • Find a good location for your brewery. Very key to opening a business.
  • Sign up for a membership to the Brewers Association.
  • Check in your area for beer classes.
  • Check in your area for local farmers who grow hops or barley.
  • Go on a beer tour and meet new owners or brew masters. Ask for some advice!

What are three beers you’re really digging right now?

The best answer I always say to people is, “The one in my hand.” It’s hard to answer what your favorite beers are because there’s so many that I’ve enjoyed. My favorite styles of are stouts and porter. While I thought they were too bitter for my taste buds, I’ve recently gotten into IPA’s and really enjoy them now.

Find out more about Nedloh Brewing Co. on their website, and by following them on social media using the links below.

https://www.facebook.com/NedlohBrewing

https://twitter.com/NedlohBrewing/

http://instagram.com/NedlohBrewing/

On “Leaning In” and following my passion

I recently left my job to pursue a career in the craft beer industry.  No job offer, I just left. After 8+ years in marketing, I’m following my passion and making thoughtful decisions about where I want my life to go from here… and do you know what the best part is? I’m not afraid. Not afraid to fail, and perhaps more importantly, not afraid to succeed.

For years (seriously, years!) I thought of changing careers, feeling like I wasn’t reaching my full potential at my current company. Each time I thought of leaving, it just didn’t feel right. I hesitated because I felt like asking for more was asking for too much. After all, I liked my job! I was good at the work I did; I had built friendships with my coworkers; I made a decent salary, had plenty of leeway to  make my own decisions about how my role was structured within the company… to many of my friends, I had it made! With so many people facing company layoffs and unemployment, it felt wrong not to just be satisfied with the career I had.

hesitatedBut finally, through a mix of careful preparation and spontaneous bravery, the timing felt right and I made my move. I left on my terms, with nothing but words of thanks and encouragement from my boss and coworkers… it felt great!

In the weeks since, I’ve been pursuing a number of career opportunities in the craft beer industry and my decision to change careers is continually reaffirmed by people around me. However, I find myself unexpectedly struck by how insightful this experience has been for me as a woman.

This morning, I came across part of a story on NPR about Disruptive Leadership, in which they speak with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, about cultivating women leaders. They reference a TED Talk Sandberg gave in 2010, about stagnation for women achieving leadership roles, and a follow-up interview with Pat Mitchell from 2013. As I listen to her speak, light bulbs go off and I find myself nodding… Not because what she’s saying is anything that I haven’t thought about before, but because it hits home, especially now. I am reminded that it’s OK to acknowledge my talents and accomplishments, and own them without feeling guilty, or that I’m being arrogant, too aggressive, etc.

The reason I post this here, on a blog about craft beer, is two fold. First, this blog has always been about my personal beer journey and the decision to work in the industry is a huge part of that. But I also want to connect Sanberg’s point to women in the beer industry, and how, even though progress is being made and we’re seeing more women enjoying and working in beer, we remain an underrepresented demographic. Krystal Baugher helps illustrate the problem in a recent article for theAtlantic.com:

In Colorado, one of the most brewery-rich states in the country with 154 individual facilities, there are only 10 women total who are known to be a part of the main brewing process.  The main obstacles that women continue to face in this industry include perceptions of taste, media influence, and preconceived notions about their skill and ability.

So, I’m sitting at the table and raising my hand, and I’m not afraid to be called on, and I’m not sorry. I won’t go on and on, because you need to follow the links above and listen to Sheryl Sandberg speak. Thank you, Sheryl, for saying that the status quo is not enough.