Women’s Brew Day:
I celebrated International Women’s Day in March with some local female leaders taking a male-dominated industry by storm. I found them wearing pink work boots, making beer at Roosters’ B Street Brewery. By the time I arrived in the early afternoon, these brewers had been hard at work for over six hours. I got there just in time to see the secret ingredient going in: hibiscus to make the beer pink.
The Pink Boots Society
These women represent the Utah chapter of the Pink Boots Society, an organization of women brewers, bartenders, and marketers. They had come together for the second year in a row for a collaborative women’s brew day. Amanda Howe of Wasatch Brewery was celebrating her one-year anniversary with Pink Boots. The Utah chapter holds structured meetings that require an educational element, like brewing tips or the history of women brewers. Howe explained, “The goal of Pink Boots is to support women in this industry. Some of the best brewers in the world are women. The first brewers ever were women. We’re just following tradition, bringing it back.”
Utah’s Women Brewers
Despite that tradition, it can be difficult for women to have equal footing in the brewing world. But thanks to Utah’s women brewers, that is beginning to change. Jacquie Wright King, a brewer from Roosters who was instrumental in organizing the event, said, “Women still only account for 2% of Head Brewers nationwide. We obviously are a very, very small portion of this industry, so events like this help women and girls everywhere realize that it is attainable to work in beer!” King worked with Jamie Burnham, the chair of the Utah Pink Boots chapter, to organize this brew day at the new Roosters brewing facility. In the future, they hope the event will rotate to a lot of different breweries.
This year’s batch is a Cold IPA called “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink Boots.” But the event is about a lot more than just making beer. King explained, “We’re using the Pink Boots blend from YCH hops, which is one of the largest hops companies in the U.S. For every pound sold, three dollars go to the Pink Boots Society.” Roosters is also making a donation to Pink Boots and is encouraging anyone who buys the beer join them.
Big Plans for the Future
The Utah Pink Boots group has big plans for the future. King said, “Eventually we want enough women in Pink Boots that we could have chapters in northern Utah, southern Utah, and Salt Lake so women can go to local chapter meetings. Then we’d all get together for an annual brew day.” The Utah Pink Boots chapter currently has 23 active members but would love to have more. King said, “We are looking for any ladies that are in the beer industry to go on the national website and apply. You do have to make at least 25% of your income from the industry. It is for women that have chosen this as a career path to help further their brewing or bartending or marketing careers.”
Want to try the Pink Boots Cold IPA? This batch should net around thirty barrels. Two-thirds of it will go into cans and the rest will start pouring across the state at participating breweries once it’s done fermenting.