“Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat; it is [like] the onrush of the Tigris and Euphrates.”—Hymn to Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer.
In honor of National Women's History Month, the ladies at Tin Whiskers are paying homage to the other women in our industry, no matter your role. We seem to come few and far between, yet it is increasingly becoming more evident that number is growing. Look around you, and behind the bar, next time you are in your local taproom - it's likely you will see other female, beer-loving companions who know just as much about the beer they are making/selling/promoting as their male counterparts.
Nerd Night: Women in Craft Beer
To celebrate the occasion, we would love to invite you to our upcoming Nerd Night: Women in Craft Beer on Thursday (3/24) from 7-9p. A place for you to network, socialize and geek out with other female craft beer lovers / industry workers. Plus, receive $2 off your first beer if you're here for the event and we'll be raffling off a t-shirt at the end!
Although it seems women are making a new presence in the craft industry, their role actually dates back to very early times. There is evidence from fossils found from early Mesopotamia that fermented beverages of grains were being produced, and they suspect primarily by women. As their hunter-gatherer husbands were out to work for the day, they were preparing food, and beverages, for the family. (beerandbrewing.com)
If we take a look at mythology, there is a rich history across the world of female beer 'protectors' and goddesses. A few hundred years later, we have women brewing beer for religious purposes and teaching each other how to brew. We could go on all day about this, but you can read about it in more detail here.
It was in these schools of learning that the term "brewster" emerged, which is the female equivalant of a male brewer. This was at a time when ingredients were unregulated and varied greatly, and not everyone was on the hop-train that we are today. As the consumption grew, and hops preserving capabilities were discovered, bureaucracy and guilds take hold at a time when women were not accepted - thus the temporary dwindle of the brewster.
Fast-forward a few hundred years, and that brings us to where we are today. Women are making a reemergence to the industry and their male coworkers (from what we have seen and experienced) have been more than happy to have them. According to a July 2012 Gallup poll, women represent only one-quarter of beer drinkers in America. And in the beer industry, women only account for 10% of jobs held at breweries. This may seem low, but we can all have faith that with the support and connection, especially within such a tight-knit industry, we will see that number continue to grow.
From the ladies at Tin Whiskers,
Chelsea, Katie, Ann, Michelle and Lauren