A North Texas Beer Week Panel Featuring The Women Of Dallas’ Craft Beer Scene Offered A Fascinating Look Into An Industry Dominated By Bearded Men.
On Thursday night, and for the third year running, BrainDead Brewing Company hosted a “Women of Craft Beer Panel” as part of North Texas Beer Week’s programming. The event, as is clear from its title, is all about the women who work in the craft beer industry as brewers, sales representatives or other high-up positions.
With women representing only about a quarter of craft beer drinkers, and marketing and packaging these days clearly being oriented mainly toward men, we thought it would be interesting to go out and listen to these ladies’ stories about how they got involved with the brewing game.
The event was very informal, with a couple microphones up front and a straightforward speaker list detailing each participants’ corresponding brewery, job title and a beer of choice. Each of these women participating in the panel has been involved in the brewing industry for years at this point, and it’s clear that a bond has formed through this time. Watching as they chatted with each other, catching up on their personal and professional lives while filling the room with laughter, it was apparent they have love for one another.
It was also clear that these women love them some beer — and their jobs.
Texas sales manager of Noble Rey Brewing Company Aubrie Wills was previously an account executive for the Dallas Observer, where she often sold ads to local restaurants and bars, before she found herself in beer sales and realized her passion for brewing. She said in her three years she has seen more and more women play key roles in the industry, and their efforts don’t go unnoticed. “You have to have a beer that appeals to people across the board … it’s not just males drinking beer, it’s females too so you want to have that approach to flavors.”
For April Lowery, area sales manager for Austin Eastciders, homebrewing and beer has always been a passion for her, though when she was approached by Eastciders for a position, she originally turned it down. But a couple years later, she revisited the idea and found many familiarities between brewing ciders and beer.
Whole Foods was what led Greta Leverett, North Texas sales manager for Lakewood Brewing, into the brewing industry. After befriending some of the stores regulars while working the bar section, they brought in a homebrew for her to try. She described it as a rich, dark liquid with a thick caramel foam on top, and as soon as she tasted it, she knew she needed to be selling it. That beer was the now well-known milk stout, Temptress.
Among the other panelists was brewer Georgina Solis who says she realized the industry was right for her after experiencing her first “dock beer” (where you literally grab a beer and go drink it on the dock with your brew mates) while working a volunteer job, that later turned into a full-time position at Peticolas.
And it wasn’t just locals who were on the panel, Colorado’s The Odell Brewing Company duo, lab technician Katie Nasiatka and sales representative Caitlyn Carton, discussed the process of beer making at their brewery. The two pass around fresh and stale coffee, hops and other flavor ingredients that go into beers, pointing out the differences in aroma. “We are hops freaks, guys,” Nasiatka says as their beer-based show-and-tell entertained attendees.
BrainDead Brewing manager Mallory Turner has been a part of the program since its start, and bar manager Spencer Withrow says the Deep Ellum spot is honored to host it each year. “We have a lot of awesome women in the industry and we love to support them,” he says.
The passion these ladies possess is infectious. And that passion was highlighted by what Brittany LaFollett, brand ambassador for 903 Brewing, had to say on the importance of events like Women in Craft Brewing.
Says LaFollett: “Any opportunity I get to talk to women about craft beer is an opportunity to empower their passion and to tell them they have a place in craft beer.”