Quick: visualise someone in a beer ad. OK? Good. You pictured a man, didn’t you? He probably has a beard.
“We need to move past the stigma of beer being a man's drink,” says Tiffany Waldron. She is the Melbourne chapter leader of Pink Boots, a global organisation created to “assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.”
Established in the US in 2008, Pink Boots now has 40 chapters around the world, including three in Australia. Waldron says there are 100 signed-up, active members around the country. They include women from all facets of the beer industry, including educators, packaging designers, hospitality staff, writers and brewers – Pink Boots Australia president Jayne Lewis is a co-founder of Two Birds Brewing, based in Spotswood. Before establishing Two Birds, Lewis worked at Little Creatures and Mountain Goat.
“It’s a support network,” says Waldron. “But we can also raise money and use it to support women through scholarships. Not just for schools, but businesses, education, or anything really.” Pink Boots also run regular events like beer tasting sessions, beer and food pairings, and market stalls featuring small-batch, craft beer made by local women.
Waldron says although Pink Boots was created to assist women in the industry, they encourage everyone to take part. “We wanted to make sure it’s for women,” she says. “But if men want to come to an event or education session and learn something as well, we didn’t want to say, ‘No boys allowed’,” she says. “It’s not a clubhouse”.
Earlier this year Pink Boots gave four scholarships to women involved in the industry. It enabled the recipients – two from Victoria, one from Tasmania and one from Western Australia – to attend the Australian Craft Brewers Conference in Brisbane.
Waldron says while Pink Boots can offer similar opportunities to those serious about the business of beer, it also encourages novices to get involved.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to Pink Boots and ask questions,” says Waldron. “Even if you’re just somebody who wants to learn about beer. Every woman I know in the Pink Boots Society is more than happy to help. We’re all here for the same thing.” A love of beer.
This article is part of the Summer Craft Beer Quarterly presented in partnership with James Squire.