The topic of women and beer is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been examining the ways women are included and excluded from the exploding craft beer world over the past several months, and have found that though women are engaged, there is still a gap between where and how we find men and women involved in the scene. However, when I am presented with a place that blows these notions of typical gender roles out of the water, I want to celebrate it. Silverton Brewing did just that during a recent visit.
When I walked into Silverton Brewing in Silverton, Colorado, a small mountain town of about 530, I was expecting a standard brewery experience: walk in, order some tasters, and chat a little about the beer with the male brewer or owner. That was until I met Kate Harvie, owner of Silverton Brewing. Kate not only joins her husband, Joel, in taking the reins of the brewery, (an admirable task of trailblazing like a few other women out there who are opening breweries), but she’s also extremely knowledgeable about beer. She works with The Pink Boots Society an organization “created to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the Beer Industry through Education.” There are an impressive 815 women who participate in The Pink Boots Society, ranging from owners and brewers to beer writers. Kate also spends her time with another women’s beer collective called Barley’s Angels. They are a world-wide collection of individual chapters of women that encourage education and patronage of women in craft beer. Barley’s Angels spell out very clearly that it is not simply a women’s beer club, but an agency for educating women, an “often under-recognized demographic group” when it comes to craft beer.
Kate is inspiring to me. She gets it. She recognizes how important it is for women to be a part of craft beer and celebrates it. I love her level of involvement with Barley’s Angels and The Pink Boots Society; it gives even more validation to other women’s beer clubs and educational groups out there that we are doing something special and important (go Crafty Ladies of Highland Tap and Burger!). And that women are viable consumers in the craft beer world, not just for the latest raspberry wheat, but for the bold and in-your-face Russian Imperial Stouts and Double IPAs. Thank you to Kate for being a strong presence for women in beer.