Follow Your Dream. Find Your Tribe.
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Aug
5
Anne Sprecher
Follow Your Dream. Find Your Tribe.
Women In Beer
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By Maggie Skinner, Chapter Leader Pink Boots Wisconsin

Going back three or so years ago, I was working in the corporate world selling parts for telescopic conveyors for a Milwaukee company. I was really into beer and loved learning all I could about it. One snowy day, I sat down with a local brewer who was in need of a sales
representative and convinced him I was the person he needed to sell his beer. Without any prior beer sales experience, I took the job working for Brenner Brewing. I cut my salary in half, left my corporate insurance, and sought a better future for myself and my son. When I first started working for Brenner Brewing, joining Pink Boots Society was one of the first things I did. I was so in love (and still am) with the idea of women supporting each other in such a male dominated industry.

About nine months into working as a brewery rep, the brewery’s future became unclear. A single mom, I needed some stability. I took a
position with Johnson Brothers; a distributor with a small beer portfolio. After six months there, I was recruited by Wisconsin Distributors (WDI) for my current sales position. WDI is the largest AB-InBev distributor in Wisconsin but had just acquired a craft-only Milwaukee territory.

I’ve been with WDI for a year now and it’s really changed my perception of business and beer. When I started working for them, I was very starry eyed about selling such a large portfolio of craft beer to the Milwaukee market. And while I still love my portfolio and WDI does a good job of acquiring brands and expanding what we have to offer our accounts. I just understand the business more and more every day. We have a small Milwaukee team and I’m the only woman on it. I would say it was a struggle for my immediate boss to have a woman on board. Lots of emails that started ‘Gentlemen…” but things have changed and for the better with an understanding of how each other work. I think my biggest struggle is being wrapped up in craft beer all day and then realizing your Madison and Appleton teams sell Budweiser. There is an acceptance that has grown while working for WDI of Anheuser Busch and their products.

Wisconsin is still gaining understanding that women can brew beer, sell beer and in general have an understanding of beer. Milwaukee’s beer history is built by breweries started by men and I look forward to creating new moments in Milwaukee’s beer history with all the women I know in beer. I took on the role of Chapter Leader less than six months after becoming a member. I jumped in and thought I knew what I was doing. Silly me! Over the last two years, we’ve been part of Pink Boots Brew day, held a meeting every quarter (usually in a different part of the State- It’s a BIG state!), increased membership, participated in the Wisconsin Science Fest, and in general grown in the beer community. This year, Pink Boots Wisconsin will be a presence at the Great Taste of the Midwest, and we’ll elect a new Chapter Leader. I’ll happily move on to the finance committee and continue to be a participating member.

About the Author: Maggie Skinner works for Wisconsin Distributors as a sales representative. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her 13 year old son, Ian. Maggie started the Milwaukee chapter of Girls Pint Out in 2015 and is the Pink Boots Society Wisconsin Chapter leader. Some of her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, baking, being out on the water as much as possible, baseball, football, basketball, and of course, beer.



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