Brewing Ambition: Impacting Aspiring ...
Home  »  PBS News  »  Brewing Ambition: Im...
Jul
11
Anne Sprecher
Brewing Ambition: Impacting Aspiring Brewsters’ Lives
Women In Beer
, , , , , , , ,

I’m very excited to be able to share with other Pink Boots Society members about the book that I was able to write with the help of over 35 women in North Carolina’s Craft Beer Industry. Brewing Ambition is a collection of homebrew recipes that were donated by members of the Pink Boots Society from across the state of North Carolina and the stories of the women that submitted recipes. Each of these women is an amazing source of inspiration for me every day. It is humbling that they have trusted me to share who they are with the reader.

Brewing Ambition began from a brainstorming session. Caroline Parnin, our state chapter leader, reached out to all of the members she had contact information for asking for fundraising ideas. We knew that we wanted to have a serious impact, and we each had our own ideas about how we could help. In 2014, I was a beer buyer for Metro Wines in Asheville, NC while I was pursuing my education in Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast. I had just finished my first semester of classes and my first few months of working at Metro Wines when my boss, Gina Trippi, asked if I could write some sort of content for the store’s web page. She wanted content that would keep our customers engaged and help with web search optimization. I had been a closeted writer since I was in grade school, so I agreed. We needed a topic for the blog, and Gina asked if I would be interested in writing about women in the beer industry. I thought, “Sure. No one is going to read that, but if that’s what you want, it will be fun for me to write.”  We decided to name it Brewing Up a Storm after a sixteenth century painting of a brewster wrecking a ship at sea.

A few months later, I added a monthly column in WNC Woman Magazine. Then Asheville Grit, an online publication that focuses on local culture, events, food, and beverage, asked if I would write for them. I’m astounded at how much interest there is around women in beer! I’m equally surprised at how many women there are in this industry. When I began my studies, I thought I would be the only woman in the program. There were actually three women out of the 24 chosen for the limited seating class. I’ve been writing about women in North Carolina for three years now. I haven’t left the state yet, and I haven’t run out of women in the industry that I want to write about!

When Caroline asked what ideas we had for fundraising for Pink Boots, writing a book was my first instinct. The mission of this book has become multifaceted.  Obviously, I set out to raise funds for Pink Boots scholarships.  I also wanted to raise awareness of Pink Boots within the beer community.  As I approached women to be part of this project, I explained to them why I was writing the book and where the money would go. Many of them heard about Pink Boots for the first time during these conversations. I also wanted to reach outside our membership for the funds. By doing so I became a de facto ambassador for Pink Boots.

The book is a homebrew recipe book specifically so that it can help raise awareness of Pink Boots and women beer professionals. By making the recipes all 5 gallon batch sizes, we are targeting an audience of homebrewers that may not realize that their hobby is a viable career option for them. To further that message, I made sure to include women with as many different roles within the industry as I could. There are several brewers and production employees featured in the book, but many of the women work in marketing, sales, distribution, taproom management, brewers’ guilds, labs, etc. I even included a lawyer that specializes in intellectual property law for breweries and a seven year old girl whose parents are brewery owners.

When you set out on such an undertaking, you never know if it will be successful or not. I was ok with the notion that no one would be interested except me. I had decided early on that if I only sold one copy, that this was a worthwhile project for self-fulfillment if nothing else.  That certainly has not been the case, though! I was absolutely shocked when I received an email from Teri Fahrendorf saying that she had been asked by the board members of PBS to write the forward for the book! I still get goosebumps and a little teary-eyed when I read the powerful forward she wrote.

We launched the book at the Biere de Femme Festival in Shelby, NC in March of 2017. I’m in the promotion phase now, and being able to see the consumer response as well as the industry support for Brewing Ambition has been overwhelming. I had three book signing events in one week, and I was thrilled to see the same woman at all three events. She shared with me that she has since enrolled at her local community college to begin brewing classes this June!

I’m also excited to see that men are just as interested in supporting Pink Boots and reading about the women that make their favorite beers possible as the women are!  Many of the women featured in the book have hosted book signing events, shared the link to purchase the book online through their own social media, and bought books to sell at their breweries, homebrew shops, and bottle shops.

So far, we have sold 340 copies of Brewing Ambition. My fundraising goal is $5,000 by the end of 2017. There are five community colleges in North Carolina that are currently offering brewing education: A-B Tech in Asheville, Blue Ridge Community College in Hendersonville, Rockingham Community College in Reidsville, Wake Tech in Raleigh, and Nash Community College in Rocky Mount. $5,000 is enough to help one woman in each of these programs attend school for one year.  These programs offer a variety of focuses and locations across our state at a price that is accessible to many people. Having received scholarships myself, I know exactly how much they can impact whether someone is able to attend school or not. It is my deepest wish that I can be part of that impact for as many women as possible and that together, we can have a serious impact on the face of craft beer in North Carolina. I hope that other chapters will take on a project like this, and I’m happy to help with the process in any way that I can. Cheers!

Btw: If you’d like to purchase a copy of Brewing Ambition, you can do so via this link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-riley/brewing-ambition-recipes-stories-from-the-women-of-north-carolina-craft-beer/paperback/product-23114888.html.

Anita Riley is the Cellar Operator at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough, NC and the Pink Boots Society Representative for the Triad Region. She is a Certified Beer Server Cicerone and studied Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation at AB Tech in Asheville, NC as well as Rockingham Community College in Riedsville, NC. Her book Brewing Ambition benefits The Pink Boots Society’s Scholarship Fund which encourages, inspires, and assists women beer professionals to further their careers through education. Brewing Ambition can be found at Lulu.com. You can find her blog Brewing Up a Storm, which focuses on women in the beer industry at www.metrowinesasheville.com/brew-blog. Anita is a native to North Carolina.



Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.