Pink Boots Society

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Wouldn’t it just be swell if there were an organization of women in the beer industry who’s goal was to encourage women to enjoy, learn about, and make beer?  Oh that’s right, there is and its called the Pink Boots Society.

I recently had the pleasure of a conversation with Teri Fahrendorf, the president and founder of PBS. She regaled me with tales of the origin and message of PBS.  The idea for PBS was hatched out of an epic journey that Teri took in 2007.  After 19 years of being a Brewmaster, she decided it was time for a change.  Under the blog Road Brewer, Teri traveled the country visiting and brewing with breweries large and small.  Along the way, Teri met other ladies brewing; many were surprised they weren’t the lone woman brewing.  Many of ladies began asking Teri how many there were and for contact info of others.  Through this, PBS was born.

Teri wrote a post on the blog, but later decided that a catalog of women brewers deserved its own site.   The name Pink Boots Society was a play on another woman’s group, the Red Hat Society, and the actual pink work boots that Teri wore on the trip.  It wasn’t until the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego in April of 2008 when the group had their first meeting.  The first meeting was organized by Laura Ulrich of Stone Brewing and held at Gordon Birsch, and was compromised of 16 women brewers and 6 women beer writers.  At the first meeting the brewers voted on what they wanted PBS to be.  They were asked, “Are we a list or do we want to be an organization?”  They voted for organization.

A few felt that men should be involved in the organization so that issue was voted on and voted down.  They agreed to come back to that issue but years later it still has not been brought up since the initial meeting.  The group also decided that every women either from a micro or macro brewery should be eligible for the group, after all their emphasis is not on craft beer but women in the brewing industry.  It was agreed that no matter the background, the possibility of learning from each other was quite high, as Teri put it, “we are all beer professionals, we can all learn from each other”.

This first meeting was also where they voted on what the criteria for membership would be.  They decided that any amount of ongoing income from beer and being a lady were the only criteria.  This means even if a lady earns $5 a month from 2 shifts in a tap room, she could be a member.  One time deals and volunteering do not qualify a lady for membership.

In April of this year, PBS applied for their 501-C3, making them a recognized tax-exempt non-profit. The main goal of PBS is women educating women about beer.  Two of the ways that they do this is in offering scholarships to brewing programs and seminars.  A major first for the scholarship fund is the Pink Boots Society Scholarship beer. Alex Nowell of Drakes brewing came up with the idea to make a beer with the NorCal chapter of PBS.  The brew space and most of the ingredients were donated.  Every penny of the sales of this Saison go directly to the PBS scholarship fund.

The group that started with 16 brewers and 6 writers now has over 650 members, with new requests for membership coming in daily.  It is in the membership department that Denver is lacking.  Out of the 650 members on the latest roster, Colorado has claim to only 47 ladies.  The Denver metro has only 5 women.  Being the amazing beer state and community that we are, those numbers should be higher.

So now that you all know the story of PBS, their goal and reason, it is time to get involved.

About Bess Dougherty

Bess Dougherty's life revolves around hooch. By day she has the pleasure of making beer. At night this dame can often be found sipping whiskey and beer around town. This bearcat is also an avid homebrewer. Yar.

  • Nicole Relyea

    If someone can help me get a job in a taproom I’ll help up the COlorado membership!