Membership Spotlight – Danii Oliver
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Aug
5
SciSoc
Membership Spotlight – Danii Oliver
Diversity & Inclusion, Women In Beer
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Welcome back to Membership Spotlight!

Would you like to nominate a Pink Boots member who has inspired you? A member you think embodies the mission of Pink Boots Society and deserves a shout out? Send nominations to socialmedia@pinkbootssociety.org!

This month we are highlighting Danii Oliver, founder of Beersgiving and Island to Island brewery.

What is your role in the industry?
Brewery owner and brewer. I founded Island to Island brewery brands from the traditions of home brewing practices I witnessed from my aunts and grandmothers, and the stories my parents have shared with me about how my great-grandmothers would brew at home then go sell their inventory to the working men on various islands or down on the savannah during carnival time. I am also a digital marketing communications professional, now dedicating my expertise to the marketing of beverage brands along the veins of diversity and S.T.E.M. education.

Beersgiving is a professional project I started in response to the glass walls and ceilings that have led to the lack of diversity, sharing of information, and education in the craft beer industry. At a time when I was labeled as one of the few I set out on a mission to change the outlook of craft beer within one year’s time, helping to open doors to Indigenous communities, immigrant communities, and families of all kinds—civilian, military and LGBTQ—who have believed until now they were not welcome in craft beer spaces, jobs, or ownership. It was my goal to see the end of diversity panels by 2021, no longer be seen as or called the “CLEANING LADY,” and open opportunities to women and underrepresented community members by pairing people with industry leaders. The outcome being to open the flood gates of information folks need to know to truly feel welcomed and participate in craft beer anywhere along the supply chain from raw materials to consumer consumption.

How long have you been a Pink Boots Member?
Admittedly 4 months. I hadn’t felt welcomed in the society until I got to Texas. The diversity of the women here was widespread through craft beer, from sales reps to marketers to tasters to cellar women to educated taproom staff and ultimately owners. The women here in North Texas were relentless about making me feel welcome. They invited me to meetings over and over until I finally showed up. I expressed my concerns about BIPOC women like myself not being represented in Pink Boots Society. Brittany and Samantha, our leaders, assured me of their heartfelt desire to allow me to carve out more space for more inclusion and not have me fill a token space.

I couldn’t join for a while because I was not earning an income from beer. Being an owner does not produce the liquid cash or paycheck people think it does. However when I earned my first $20 of 2020 from a BEERSGIVING event, I made the investment and joined. The chapter quickly gave me a voice, a title, and saw me for what I offered and not my skin. I now share my marketing profession as a full-time volunteer of the NTX Chapter. We support the women-owned member establishments; we market our collaboration beers; we promote by being present at all events to share information, educate, and recruit more women who are earning a living from the STEM industry of craft beer.

What, in your opinion, are the greatest benefits of the Pink Boots Society?
It’s hard to say at a time like 2020 when meetings are over digital recording platforms and there are no events we can attend. For the few months I have been a member, the benefits I have gotten come from camaraderie, being taken seriously by my chapter members, and the five (5) collaboration brews we did in February & March. Brewing on 5, 7, 15, & 30 barrel systems has quadrupled my expertise and allowed me to participate in teaching women aspects of brewing, cellaring, marketing, and tap line setup. My chapter has supported the BEERSGIVING movement to teach S.T.E.M. to kids, teach craft beer sensory and brewing to women, and bring about equity.

I love the moments in this year that I have been able, as a PINK BOOTS CHAPTER MEMBER, to visit member establishments in a supporting role. When our member businesses were struggling during COVID shutdowns, they allowed me to come by and help. I have reached out to members in California, Florida, Alaska, and Virginia and have been able to achieve relationship building across chapters for events support, collaboration support, and information sharing.

Recently the underrepresentation of diverse women in the society has been acknowledged and is presently being addressed. I hope the new mission of Pink Boots to include stories of underrepresented members and be more inclusive is followed through with. I for one plan to be a part of the solution by contributing more and keeping an open mind to overcome the past. The NTX Chapter happens to be the most diverse group of women in love with their industry and open to all women in the spirit of education and assistance that I have met to date. Fellowship with these women has been of tremendous value to me.

What is your favorite thing about working in the beer industry?
Manifestation. In craft beer I can make anything I dream up come to life. I can manifest my ancestors’ wildest dreams, re-live their footsteps, and embrace my heritage of entrepreneurship rooted in creativity and the production of farm-to-jug fermented garden and orchard produce. No other industry I have been a part of allows me to directly and literally feed my family, teach my kids Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Communications, and Artful Expression while gaining real-world experience and producing a product that touches people near and far.

I love the beer industry because aside from the European and monk narratives, females of all earth peoples made and make beer—defined as fermented non-distilled alcoholic beverages from produce other than grapes, apples, or pears. My elders made beer. And in the true spirit of beer in America I can defy and push the boundaries of what beer is, as defined by my heritage and availability of fresh produce. The Arawak tradition of brewing beer was to make the men happy. In doing so, they would sit down allowing us, the women, to make them pretty. You see it today all over my culture. We love to dress colorfully, style our hair, dance, sing, and lime after work.

That tradition was hidden from plain sight during colonialism and during migrations to North America. Recipes became family secrets as we were forced to give up our hair, our accent, and our expression of personal style in order to fit in with “Yankees” to avoid ending up in jail.

Beer at times does ask me to accept sexualization and desexualization, but beer doesn’t ask me to straighten my hair or wear a suit and high heels. Beer does not tell me to sit down and do as I am told or take a back seat like corporate America. Beer is about the effort I put forward, early mornings, long days, happy hours, and meeting amazing people to, as a community, bridge communities and build friendships that lead to families then sit back and watch the time of our lives happen.

Beer is a medium that brings people together. Always has and always will. And when it does not, trust there will be someone rebelling to open a doorway. The Germans did it when the U.S. government and lobbyists tried to limit what beer is or is made from. Today people of color and women are doing the same thing when it comes to who can be included in craft beer and intellectual industries at large. I am working to define what beer is from a pre-colonial & non-European perspective and there is no one to tell me I can’t, which is why I love craft beer.

What are your proudest Pink Boots / beer industry moments?
Brewing my first 15 BBL Kettle Sour IPA with my 4-year-old daughter being encouraged, taught, and assisted through the process by the 40 women in attendance at Fifth Hammer Brewery. Then Brewing a 30 BBL batch of the TDH DIPA “She’s Intense” collaboration beer at Hop and Sting Brewing Co. while teaching grown women and young girls the process only to then sell out in 2 weeks during the original quarantine shutdowns.

Is there anything you would like to tell us about the work you do, or your involvements with Pink Boots?
I want women across the globe to know I am here for them. That I live and breathe the mission of Pink Boots. I am here for them and they will never get the brush off or “no time” responses I have gotten in the past. I am a member this year because I believe the organization can do better. Complaining about it won’t make the problems go away so I am here to live by example.

What are you drinking right now (or later)?
An American light lager that I brewed and cellared this summer. I grew up on light lager styles. I love their clean fizzy refreshing qualities and how receptive they are to additional flavors. My beer currently has lime juice and a splash of apple cider vinegar with hot sauce.

A fun fact or bit of trivia about you!
I see beers and mixed beverages as “Liquid Paintings!” People can experience being emotionally and consciously impacted by sipping these creations the same as with any other art form.



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