It makes sense when you think about it. You’re part of an industry and you want to see people like you succeed in that industry. You reach the top and you reach back to help others up. This is the essence of the Pink Boots Society, which recently launched its official New Zealand chapter.
Started in the US, the society aims to “empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education”. The society is a collaborative one, an organised network of female beer professionals all working towards helping women get further in the beer industry. This doesn’t just mean brewers either. The only criteria are that you are a woman and that you love beer. Right now the society has 1,300 members worldwide.
At Beervana I got the chance to sit down with Denise Ratfield, from Stone Brewing Co. in the US and Pink Boots Society ambassador, and Jayne Lewis, brewer at Two Birds Brewing in Melbourne and coordinator for the Australian Pink Boots Society. Both had just finished a collaborative brew in Christchurch with Ava Wilson, the Beer Baroness and manager of Pomeroy’s Old Brewery Inn. Ava would be showing up later in the day to host the inaugural meeting for the New Zealand Pink Boots Society.
“Back in 2007, some of our members weren’t even sure if there were other women brewers,” Jayne told me. “It’s all about the successes. The society offers scholarships to women in brewing, to further study or for specific studies.”
At the 2013 Beervana the attendance ratio was roughly 70/30 in favour of men. At the 2014 event it was 55/45. That’s a huge shift and one that hopefully continues.
Each chapter of Pink Boots works independently of the others, so while the goals are the same, each region has the flexibility to get to that goal in the way they feel suits them best. For example, New Zealand is small country with a very tight-knit brewing community to start with.
By the time you read this, Ava, Jayne and Denise’s collaboration — the Unite 2.0 American Stout — will be out. The sale of the beer will go towards the New Zealand Pink Boots chapter. It has a combination of ingredients from the US, Australia and New Zealand, and is truly the best representation of the society: a collaborative brew for a collaborative society.
If you’re interested in supporting the Pink Boots Society in New Zealand, it is on all the usual social media outlets. To join the society, head to the worldwide site: pinkbootssociety.org.
What to drink
If you can get your hands on it (after having a Unite 2.0), get yourself a Two Birds Taco Beer. It is not a stupid chilli beer, but instead a lovely soft wheat ale that also contains flaked corn. Citra and Amarillo hops contribute citrus and fruity characters, which complement the additions of coriander leaf and fresh lime peel.