The stereotypical picture of a beer drinker is a man who guzzles a six-pack at a sporting event. Most beer advertising, especially for mega produced beer, focuses on attracting this consumer prototype. This, of course, has led to a great deal of misogynist commercials over the years. Here is one example:
Both before and after Prohibition, the vast majority of people who drank beer or worked in the brewing industry were male. There is, however, a long history of women brewing beer for family consumption during the Middle Ages in Europe and the colonial period in America. In the late nineteenth century, saloons were the site for most public consumption and the clientele was overwhelmingly male. However, most saloons had a side entrance for women to enter and buy a growler to bring home.
Today about thirty-two percent of craft beer drinkers are women. They are less well represented on the business side. Only four percent of over 1700 breweries have a female lead. Several events this yea are focusing on women in the beer industry. Over Memorial Day weekend South Florida will have first first Female Brew Fest. The event will showcase only those breweries who have a “female head brewer, brewmaster or that are owned and operated” by a woman.
A few weeks ago in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the co-owner of Pearl Street Brewery, Tami Plourde, gave a talk on women in the beer industry. The growing involvement of women in brewing is not limited to the United States. Recently the Ontario Craft Brewers created new scholarships for as many as six women to complete level 1 of the Cicerone Certification Program. The co-head brewer of Folly Brewpub in Toronto is Christina Cady. Toronto has at least two organizations of women beer drinkers; Barley’s Angels which is an international organization and the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies. Here in the States, I follow the blog, Women Enjoying Beer.