Last year, in the aftermath of the George Floyd’s murder, the craft brewing industry confronted racism in their industry. You can read about one response here. This spring they are now realizing how much sexism and misogyny exists in craft brewing.
Last month Brienne Allan, who works at Notch Brewing in Salem, Massachusetts, posted on Instagram about her negative experiences working in the craft brewing industry which is overwhelmingly white and male. She got over 1,000 responses. You can read more about that here.
Here is a very brief excerpt from Brewing Battles about one woman in the brewing industry in the 1930’s in the post-Repeal period.
The newly legal brewers were also concerned with advertising and promoting beer as a distinct and pleasurable product to a public, which might have forgotten its existence. Of particular importance to brewers were “the men and women who were boys and girls in 1919” who “represented a tremendous new market with new habits and new buying perspectives.” Of course the vast majority of pre-Prohibition brewers, local in nature and relying overwhelmingly on a male, working class population for its clientele in the saloon, had never approached marketing in quite this way.
Prior to Prohibition, public drinking in saloons had an overwhelmingly male face; from 1919 to 1933, both men and women drank in public at speakeasies and other illicit watering holes. Drinking became a companionate social activity. Brewers knew they would have to address their marketing to both men and women.
One way to begin to create a beverage that would appeal equally to both sexes was to employ women in the industry. Brewing was overwhelmingly male, but by 1937 Modern Brewer had unearthed two female beer sales personnel. The journal also had a woman, Elsie Singruen, as its technical editor. Ms. Singruen had studied brewing in Berlin, and had written on brewing techniques and the history of the craft. The technician made further history when she addressed the Philadelphia District Master Brewers in 1938. Ms. Singruen, the first female to speak publicly before a brewers group, gave a talk on “the history of American Brewing Literature.
 Modern Brewer, March 1933, 22.
 Modern Brewer, May 1937, 25; December 1937, 64; April 1938, 39.
© Amy Mittelman 2021