Next month, Fort Lauderdale, Florida will host the FemAle Brew Fest – billed by organizers as the first craft beer festival celebrating women in the brewing industry. Frankly, it’s a big claim in our modern craft beer culture where on any warm Saturday you can’t fling a bottle cap without hitting a beer fest. But first or not, FemAle’s point is certainly well taken: Women rarely seem to get their due in a beer culture dominated by male brewers.
The Memorial Day weekend festival, set to be held on May 28, is being presented by the South Florida women’s advocacy group Fem Collective and will only feature female-driven craft beer brands, meaning either the brewery is owned or operated by a woman, or employs a woman as a head brewer or brewmaster. Hammering home its point, FemAle will include female representatives from a number of big breweries – including Ballast Point, Great Divide and Lagunitas. Meanwhile, all beer lovers are welcome to attend – men included – presenting everyone with an opportunity to both taste and educate themselves on female brewers’ contributions.
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“The FemAle Brew Fest is unique because of its focus,” Fem Collective CEO Frances Antonio-Martineau told the Miami New Times. “For years, the women in this industry have been overshadowed by men. But with this event, some of the best female-run breweries in the country will be in attendance, showcasing both their regular and seasonal products, making this the first and only festival of its kind in the U.S.”
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Of course, anecdotally, it’s easy to say that beer is a boys’ club, but as the New Times points out, the statistics back up that assertion: A 2014 Stanford University study looked at 1,700 breweries and found that just 4 percent had a female as its top brewer. To help further battle this inequality, a portion of all proceeds from the event will go to the Pink Boots Society – a group supporting women beer professionals. Honestly, the more people we have making beer of any gender the better, right?