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Famous Women in History

Famous Women in History



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These women were pioneers in their fields

Kevin Winter/ Getty Images Entertainment

While women have made groundbreaking advances in everything from politics to reproductive rights, the fight still continues for equal access to jobs, pay and better opportunities.

In the face of discrimination and hostility, there have been women who paved the way for generations to come. Women who in the past two centuries were pioneers achieving or accomplishing something in a traditionally male-dominated role, sport, business, government position or occupation.

Women who changed history.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Library of Congress Washington, D.C.

In her 20s, Elizabeth Blackwell pursued a career in medicine after a dying friend said that her suffering would have been eased if she’d been treated by a female doctor. After repeated rejections from numerous medical schools, Blackwell was accepted at a college in rural New York, but many stories say it was as a joke.

Even so, she pursued the acceptance and after the dean of the school put it up to a vote, she was admitted. Despite having to sit separately from her classmates and being excluded from labs, Blackwell earned the respect of her professors and peers. She graduated at the top of her class in 1849 to become the first woman in America to receive a medical degree.

Mary Edwards Walker

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

The daughter of abolitionists, Mary Edwards Walker was encouraged to be educated and outspoken. Following in Elizabeth Blackwell’s footsteps, Walker graduated from medical school and opened a practice with her husband that ultimately closed after the community found it difficult to accept a female doctor. After the start of the Civil War, Walker tried serving as a doctor but was denied and practiced as a nurse instead.

After working on the frontlines, she was eventually granted permission to practice surgery, becoming the first U.S. female surgeon in the army. During her service, she was captured and held as a prisoner of war for four months. For her contributions, Walker was given the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest medal for valor in combat awarded to members of the armed forces, in 1865. Walker remains the only woman to have ever received the award.

Marie Owens

After losing her husband to typhoid fever in 1888, Marie Owens took a job with the Chicago Health Department enforcing child labor laws in factories. A mother of five herself, Owens was a passionate advocate for children’s welfare.

Working as an inspector, Owens was limited in her ability to enter certain buildings if she didn’t have a warrant. But after public outcries over conditions in the city’s sweatshops grew, the Chicago Police Department made Owens a detective sergeant. Given powers of arrest and a police star, she was the first known policewomen in not only Chicago, but the U.S.

Owens went on to serve 32 years with the department.

Maggie Lena Walker

Public Domain/National Park Services

Born to enslaved parents, Maggie Lena Walker had an affinity for numbers and a shrewd entrepreneurial sense. At the age of 14, Walker joined the Independent Order of St. Luke’s, an organization that helped the sick and elderly in Virginia and she quickly moved up the ranks.

By 1902, Walker was publishing the organization’s newspaper, encouraging other African Americans in the community to establish their own institutions.

Soon after, she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank to help combat the oppressive conditions of the segregated South and provide a place where African Americans could conduct business without discrimination. In doing so, Walker became the first woman to charter a bank in the U.S.

Jeannette Rankin

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Born in Missoula, Montana, Jeannette Rankin was a highly educated woman who had a brief stint as a social worker before becoming involved in the women’s suffrage movement. Successful in her efforts, she became a professional lobbyist for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, helping the women of Montana gain voting rights in 1914.

In a landmark move, she ran for a congressional seat representing the state of Montana. In 1916, she became the first woman elected to Congress. Rankin would go on to be the only congressperson to vote against U.S. involvement in both World Wars, saying, “As a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”

Realizing she didn’t have enough votes to win a second term, Rankin opted out of the 1918 election, but ran again in 1940 and won, earning a second term in the House.

Opha Mae Johnson

US Marine Corps

The distinction of first female Marine goes to Opha Mae Johnson, a 40-year-old civil service worker who enlisted in the U.S. Marines in August 1918. Joining a full two years before women were allowed to vote, Johnson performed mostly clerical and office work. Not the only woman to try to enlist during World War I, she was one of only a few hundred that managed to pass the intense requirements to get in.

Like most women who took on men’s roles during the war, Johnson was relieved of her duties when it ended. But not before climbing the ranks and becoming a sergeant.

Bessie Coleman

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images/Tribune News Service

While Amelia Earheart is often the most talked-about female aviator, Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman holds her own significant place in history. The daughter of sharecroppers, Coleman aspired to better opportunities. After reading and hearing stories about World War I pilots, she decided to pursue her pilot’s license but was denied entry into U.S. flight schools. Undeterred, Coleman learned French and attended the Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation in France.

In 1922, she became the world’s first black woman to receive a pilot’s license. That same year, she also became the first African American woman to make a public flight in the U.S. She died in an aviation accident at the age of 34.

Nellie Tayloe Ross

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Nellie Tayloe Ross found herself in an unexpected dilemma after her husband, Wyoming Governor William B. Ross, died of appendicitis less than two years after taking office. An ambitious Southern woman, Ross wanted to run for the office, but the idea of a woman in politics, let alone a female governor, was controversial.

Riddled with uncertainty, Ross agreed to run for governor with minutes to go before the deadline and ended up winning the election. Earning more votes than her husband had in the previous contest, Ross was inaugurated on Jan. 5, 1925, becoming the first woman governor in the nation.

Bertha Knight Landes

A schoolteacher and wife, Bertha Knight Landes entered politics in 1922 as one of the first female members of the Seattle City Council. She served for four years then became council president and eventually acting mayor when the city’s mayor left town to attend the Democratic National Convention in 1924. In some controversial moves, Landes fired the city’s police chief after he ignored prohibition, then she led a city-wide cleanup of corruption in Seattle.

In 1926, she ran for the mayor’s office and won, becoming the city’s first official woman mayor, along with the first female mayor of any major U.S. city.

Lizzie Murphy

Photo courtesy of Warren Athletic Hall of Fame

Born the daughter of a semi-pro baseball player in 1894, Lizzie Murphy was an avid athlete who enjoyed skating, running and swimming. Her first love, however, was baseball. She left school to work at a woolen mill at the age of 12 and played the sport in her free time. It wasn’t long before her talents were noticed and she gained notoriety, drawing fans who wanted to see a girl playing with the boys. Murphy became a regular with Ed Carr’s All-Stars of Boston, a team that played dozens of games throughout New England and Canada.

“Spike Murphy” hit the pinnacle of her career when her team met up with the Boston Red Sox for an exhibition game at Fenway Park in 1922. Though she never made it to bat, it was still the first time a woman played against a major league baseball team, making her the first female to play professional baseball.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When people talk about female heads of state, Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel are names that often come up, but it was Sirimavo Bandaranaike who served as their forerunner.

After the assassination of her husband, Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike in 1959, members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party appealed to Bandaranaike to step in and become the party’s leader. Upon winning the general election in 1960, she became the world’s first female prime minister. Carrying on her husband’s legacy of socialist policies and neutrality in international relations, Bandaranaike served until 1965 before returning for another term in 1970 and again in 1994.

Katharine Graham

Charles Del Vecchio/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Not only is Katharine Graham’s story one for the history books, her role in American media helped write them. A socialite and the daughter of The Washington Post owner Eugene Meyer, Graham married a Harvard lawyer in 1940 and began working at her father’s newspaper.

When the time came for her father to relinquish his role as publisher, he tapped Graham’s husband, Philip, instead of her. But when her husband died in 1963, Graham found herself at the helm.

Under Graham’s tenure at The Washington Post, the Pentagon Papers were published and the Watergate scandal was uncovered, resulting in the resignation of Richard Nixon. As one of the country’s most powerful media magnates, Graham became the first woman CEO to lead a Fortune 500 company.

Valentina Tereshkova

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1963, Russian-born Valentina Tereshkova boldly went where no woman had gone before. A skydiving enthusiast, the cosmonaut’s parachuting abilities caught the interest of the Soviet space program. Hoping to score another “first” against the United States by putting a woman in space, the Soviets began training her for flight.

On June 16, Tereshkova left the earth’s orbit aboard the Vostok 6, becoming the first woman in the world to reach space. It wasn’t until two decades later in 1983 that the U.S. followed suit by sending astronaut Sally Ride into space, making her the first American woman to achieve the distinction.

Barbara Walters

National Archives/Newsmakers/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

The daughter of a wealthy nightclub owner, Barbara Walters grew up surrounded by celebrities, something that would serve her well during her distinguished media career. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Walters worked a variety of media jobs before eventually landing at NBC.

A writer on the “Today” show, Walters later began appearing on air. While her initial role was to smile and charm viewers as the “Today Girl,” Walters was soon moved to news and would go on to become the first female co-host of the show. She left her coveted position to make history once more when she became the first woman to co-anchor the evening news on ABC. She went on to interview more celebrities and statesmen than arguably any other journalist in history.

Janet Guthrie

ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

As a pilot, physicist and aerospace engineer, Janet Guthrie had the need for speed. Though she wanted to be an astronaut, Guthrie was eliminated from NASA’s qualifying tests after a doctorate became a requirement. Instead, she bought herself a Jaguar coupe and began entering autocross racing competitions.

By 1972, Guthrie was racing full-time. Three years later she was invited by legendary race car designer Rolla Vollstedt to test drive a car for the Indianapolis 500. It would prove fateful, paving the way for Guthrie to eventually become the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 in 1977.

Sandra Day O’Connor

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Raised on a ranch in El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O’Connor was admitted to Stanford at just 16, earning an economics degree before continuing on to law school in 1950. She finished school in two years instead of three, but O’Connor still struggled to find work as a lawyer. To prove her worth, she worked as an attorney for free after turning down a job as a legal secretary and, in 1970, won a seat in the Arizona State Senate. O’Connor was reelected twice and served as the first female majority leader in any state senate before eventually being appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court of Appeals.

She worked in the state supreme court until 1981, when President Ronald Reagan nominated her for the ultimate honor. After being unanimously approved by the Senate, she would become the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Aretha Franklin

Monique JACOT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Forever remembered as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, her father a Baptist minister and famous gospel singer. With talent clearly in the DNA, Franklin followed in her father’s footsteps and by the age of 14, she released her own gospel recording. Columbia Records signed her to a record deal in 1960, and her legendary career was underway.

Franklin would go on to establish herself as one of the most significant performers in American music. With a career that spanned decades, Franklin was acknowledged for her contributions in 1987 by being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She was the first woman in history to be admitted.

Manon Rheaume

Scott Halleran /Allsport/Getty Images Sport

Born the only daughter in a hockey family in 1972, Manon Rheaume knew how to skate by the time she was 3. Before long, her brothers had her fending off shots as their goalie in the net. Eventually, Rheaume joined a women’s hockey team, and by 1991 was the first woman to play in a major junior hockey game.

Playing on the Canadian women’s national team, she went on to earn a gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championships and was invited to attend NHL training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Surviving the first round of cuts, she played in a preseason exhibition game in 1992, making her the first woman to play in the NHL. Six years later, Rheaume would win a silver medal with Team Canada in the 1998 Olympics, the first Winter Games to include women’s hockey.

Linda G. Alvarado

Denver Post via Getty Images

One of six children in a family that struggled to make ends meet, Linda G. Alvarado worked her way through college as a laborer for a landscape firm and climbed up the ranks. After borrowing $2,500 from her parents, she started her own construction company, Alvarado Construction, in 1976, and it would go on to become one of the most successful construction firms in the U.S. Not only was Alvarado a pioneer in the construction field, she also made history in 1992 when she purchased the Colorado Rockies baseball team with her husband, becoming the first woman and first Latino to own a Major League Baseball team.

Janet Reno

J. DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images

To pay her way through school, Janet Reno worked as a waitress and dorm supervisor while attending Cornell University. After earning a chemistry degree in 1960, she continued on to Harvard Law School and graduated as one of just 16 women in a class of 500. She initially struggled to find a job, but eventually worked her way up to partner at the law firm of Lewis & Reno.

Reno spent two decades working in various government and judicial roles before President Bill Clinton appointed her to one of the highest offices in the country in 1993. The honor earned her a place in the history books as the first female attorney general in the United States.

Madeleine Albright

STR/AFP via Getty Images

As a toddler, Madeleine Albright fled Czechoslovakia with her parents when the Nazis invaded during World War II. In 1949, her family immigrated to the United States, where she went on to earn degrees from Wellesley, Johns Hopkins and Columbia before representing the U.S. at the United Nations. She also served as a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council.

She made history in 1997 when she was appointed and sworn in as the first female secretary of state and became the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. government. In honor of her distinguished career and service, Albright was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Kathryn Bigelow

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

A California native, Kathryn Bigelow studied art in college before going on to earn her master’s degree in film from Columbia University. Her 2009 film “The Hurt Locker,” an intense story of elite soldiers disarming bombs in Baghdad, cemented Bigelow’s place in history.

When the Oscar nominations were announced in 2010, Bigelow’s war film earned nine, including Best Picture and Best Director. She took home both top prizes at the 82nd Academy Awards and became the first woman in history to take home Best Director. She remains the only woman to do so.

Oprah Winfrey

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images Entertainment

Far from needing an introduction, Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful and recognizable women on the planet. Television’s highest-paid performer, Academy-Award nominee, producer, philanthropist and media mogul, Winfrey got her start after winning the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. After a stint in radio, she moved on to television, where she worked as a reporter and anchor. She soon ended up with her own talk show.

She founded Harpo Productions in 1986, becoming the first woman in history to own her own television production company and produce her own talk show. Since then she has continued to rack up accomplishments including being the richest self-made woman in America, and the richest African American of the 20th century.

Jen Welter

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A long-time women’s football player, Welter earned two gold medals playing at the International Federation of American Football’s Women’s World Championship. Welter got her first chance to play with the boys when the Texas Revolution (a men’s Indoor Football League team) invited her to training camp. She made the team and in 2014 became the first woman to play running back in a men’s professional league.

Not long after, the Texas Revolution made her a coach, another first for a woman in a men’s professional football league. Welter’s big break came when the Arizona Cardinals hired her as a linebackers coach in 2015, making her the first female to coach in the NFL.

Lori J. Robinson

Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer

Beer has come a long way in its 5,000-year history. Today, women as brewery owners, brewers, beertenders, beer writers and beer consumers are rapidly chipping away at the perception of beer as a man’s drink. For centuries from beer’s inception, though, beer was intrinsically linked to women.

The first written beer recipe is considered to be the Hymn to Ninkasi, circa 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the Sumerians were one of the first peoples who left us hard evidence of beer-drinking. Beer predates that recipe, though: Archaeologists have placed the first fermented beverage consumption at roughly 9,000 years ago and the first signs of beer, specifically, about 4,000 years later. Many believe beer propelled the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic civilization when hunter-gatherers realized they’d have to settle in one place to reliably harvest grain.

Right from the start, brewing, a kitchen task, was women’s work. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians praised beer goddesses and associated brewing with women. In addition to Ninkasi as a woman to look up to, the Sumerians also had Kubaba. She is the only woman on the Sumerians’ list of kings, and she earned her ruling role not through birth, but through her work as a brewer. The Egyptians worshipped goddess of beer Menqet, and celebrated sun god Ra’s daughter, Sekhmet, whose bloodthirsty ways were calmed by beer.

Even as beer became a product to sell, women remained in charge. Patty Hamrick, a writer with a master’s in archaeological anthropology, teaches a class called The Archaeology of Beer at the Brooklyn Brainery. She points to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, one of civilization’s first set of written laws, as evidence of women’s authority in beer.

“[The Babylonian language] Akadian is a gendered language, and every time a law is listed for anything having to do with a tavern — like not overcharging for beer — every mention of a tavern owner uses ‘she,’” Hamrick said.

The concept of an alewife emerged around the fifth century A.D. Women were making large volumes of beer for their families and often had a surplus, so they’d signal that they had extra beer for sale by placing greenery over their doors, or in some cases, a broom. (Alewives sometimes also stood on corners to advertise, wearing tall hats, and had cats to chase the pests that ate their grain it’s theorized that the alewife image gave way to the witch image.) Some alewives — or “brewsters,” a term for female brewers — even set up rough versions of bars in their homes.

Hamrick places the shift of brewing from women to men around the development of brewing guilds. The earliest guild was founded in London around 1200, and they existed more widely by the 1500s.

“This is when we begin to see people making rules for how a beer is brewed, and the use of hops is becoming prevalent, so beer would last longer and you could make larger quantities at a time and ship it to different cities and even countries,” Hamrick told HuffPost. “Beer was becoming larger-scale than before.”

While hops and their preservative powers were the beginning of the end for women’s dominance in brewing, it’s believed to be a woman who first wrote about their scientific properties, says Jeffrey Pilcher, an author and professor of food studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a brewer and herbalist who described using hops in beer in the 12th century.

When beer grew from a cottage industry to a big business with an import/export trade, it was no longer in the household domain. In addition to guilds, government officials set rules to take advantage of beer’s selling power. In Bruges, the first association of brewery workers met in 1447 to protect themselves from “innkeeper, woman, and provost.”

The Industrial Revolution further improved the efficiency of brewing and shipping beer worldwide. By the dawn of the 20th century, beer production — and subsequently, beer consumption — was firmly in the hands of men.

“Beer became known as a man’s beverage because it was made by men,” says Teri Fahrendorf, a brewmaster for three decades and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization for women in the beer industry. “The teamwork that had existed earlier in beer [production] went away, and women had a new image: demure, virginal, married. Suddenly it was maybe not so ladylike to have a beer.”

When Western women began entering the workforce en masse during the 1960s and 1970s, breweries became an option for employment. It’s been a struggle to overcome consumer attitudes and tone-deaf marketing campaigns — from objectifying women to suggesting they need their own special beer — but real change is happening, especially in more recent years.

“There are many women in the beer industry today, exponentially more than when I began my career,” says Tonya Cornett, R&D brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. “Women are plugging along and making a significant impact. … Most female brewers I know want to be known for the quality of the beer they make, rather than constantly focusing on the fact that they are female.”

Statistics are hard to come by, but a study by a Stanford University research team found that 20 percent of American breweries open in 2014 had a female co-founder only 2 percent were exclusively female-owned. Furthermore, only 4 percent of the breweries they coded had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

It’s slow but steady going, and good news isn’t difficult to find. In 2014, Belgium got its first female Trappist brewmaster. More women are opening breweries in America’s booming craft industry, and the range of jobs women are exploring in beer is expanding, from becoming Cicerones who consult on bar and restaurant beer programs to those with science backgrounds running quality control for breweries or starting yeast labs. On a consumer level, a recent Brewers Association study found 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, up from 29 percent in 2015, points out Grace Weitz, who has a master’s in food studies and is the marketing manager at beer magazine Hop Culture.

Women’s growth in today’s industry is evident in the ever-increasing membership of the Pink Boots Society. The organization started as a list of all the female brewers Fahrendorf met or heard about on a cross-country brewing trip in 2007. There were 60 people on her first list, and 16 brewers and six beer writers at the first PBS meeting in 2008. According to current PBS President Laura Ulrich and board member Jen Jordan, there are now 2,090 members, 72 state chapters and 13 international chapters, and they are growing at a rate of 157 new members per month.

Hop Culture celebrated the role of women in beer today with a weeklong Beer With(out) Beards festival in August. Spearheaded by Weitz, events included panels on women’s beer history and on women in beer media and a festival featuring breweries that have female owners and/or employees.

“[It] came together because of an experiment that I did,” Weitz says. “I asked people to close their eyes and think about the last beer they had . think about the aromas, the flavors, then think about the person that made that beer. Are they short or tall, blonde or blue-eyed, are they a big, bearded man or a woman? Nine times out of 10, they pictured this stereotypical big, burly man.”

Weitz and Hop Culture sought to create spaces for conversations to take place, for both men and women to take what they learned to their own communities and keep pushing boundaries. The events made a noticeable impact, according to Ann V. Reilly, events and promotions coordinator at Five Boroughs Brewing Co.


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