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Bière de Femme®& Tips for Creating Your Own Festival

Fundraising, Women In Beer
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By Caroline Parnin, Co-chapter Leader of the Raleigh, NC Pink Boots Chapter; East Coast Technical Manager, Lallemand Brewing/Siebel Institute of Technology


Bière de Femme is a festival designed to showcase the women of NC beer, while also raising money for women to pursue their beer career dreams through education. During our May 2016 meeting I challenged the members of the Raleigh, North Carolina chapter with a specific question: Rather than working hard on many small events and spreading ourselves thin, what were some events/projects that could combine our efforts to raise significant amounts of money? In November 2016 chapter members Jordan Boinest and Anita Riley brought forward a festival idea at a meeting and Bière de Femme was born. We decided at that November meeting that we would donate 100% of our proceeds to Pink Boots Society. Our 1st Bière de Femme Festival took place four months later, on March 11, 2017 in Shelby, NC .

In our planning stage we set goals for what we wanted to achieve and they included:

  • Raise money for Scholarships
  • Showcase the badass women in NC beer (with each brewery serving a beer made by women employees specifically for the festival)
  • Provide a tasting and educational experience like no other around (this includes guest learning experiences like a test sensory skills both, a history of women in beer educational wall and also local guild representation, educational programs and ingredient manufacturers providing fun learning experiences on site)

Last year we raised almost $11,000! We hope to hit $18,000 this year. On a side note, co-chapter leader Anita Riley wrote Brewing Ambition: Recipes & Stories From the Women of North Carolina Craft Beer. In addition to being a great read full of homebrew recipes, it’s a great gift. All proceeds go to Pink Boots.

Bière de Femme 2018

The 2nd annual Bière de Femme happens March 3, 2018 in Raleigh, NC. Organization is definitely a task that has brought our team together!  We utilized some great programs for communication, delegated tasks, and kept very open lines of communication throughout the process to be successful. The app Asana for delegation/communication helps us see who is working on what, and progress made. We created a to-do list/timeline and have tried to follow it as best we can. We have bi-weekly check-ins with everyone available.

Each chapter member brings a certain skill set that is extremely helpful in organization – for example Anita Riley (our other Raleigh Chapter Leader) is a writer- so she is our media communications manager.  Katie Smith (Asheville Chapter Co-Leader) is a social media whiz- she handles our posts and also organizes our volunteers. Natalie Anderson (Raleigh Chapter member) who runs a brewery has managed people her entire adult life. She helped us organize the task list and heads brewery communications for the event. Each person’s ownership of certain responsibilities allows us to not stretch ourselves too thin and ensures we move forward.

Helpful Tips for Producing An Event:

If I could offer a few helpful tips to plan successful fundraising events to other PBS chapters they would be the following:

  • Don’t try to do it alone, work as a team or the tasks will be impossible. Delegate tasks to your chapter members; each has skills or contacts that will prove very useful.  Life happens, so have a backup plan in place if someone has to step away from their duties.
  • Contact the board for help, there are many resources available if you need them.
  • Create a timeline with tasks and deadlines and stick to it
  • Delegate tasks – using the app Asana has been our savior for this
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for sponsorship money. You never know unless you ask  In-kind sponsorships are great too, we have received them for glassware/t-shirts/media promotion.
  • Designate one person in charge of money, so things done get confusing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I must say I am honored to be a part of such a dynamic group of women breaking molds and providing support to one another. North Carolina has come a long way in 4 years with the progression of women in our beloved industry. I hope you’ll be able to join us at Bière de Femme this year!

Cheers to women in beer!

About Caroline Parnin: 

In the spring of 2007 I took a RV cross country road trip with some girlfriends that changed the course my life forever. Instead of LSATs and law school I decided I would pursue my dream of making beer for a living.

I immediately began volunteering at a local brewery in Raleigh on their bottling line on an as needed basis.  They paid me in hi/low fill beer. After a couple years of volunteering, I took an (unpaid) assistant brewer position at a new brewpub in town. Three years later I was sidelined by a kickball accident.

During my recovery I decided that in order to move forward in the industry I would get a formal brewing education. After registering for the full Advanced Brewing Theory course through Siebel Institute of Technology in 2014, I reached out to PBS to see what financial aid resources were available. Founder Teri Fahrendorf replied to my email for help quickly, with some pointers and a wish of good luck. Unfortunately, PBS simply did not have funds to help with that size of a scholarship.

I’ll never forget Teri’s encouragement and support; it was very welcomed. I was the only women working on the production side of a brewery that I knew of in my city. I did not know many women in the industry at all, and I was only one of two women in the Seibel program. As they say, all’s well that ends well. Soon I will become Product Manager for sensory kits and also will take on a larger marketing/business development rolle within Lallemand Brewing/Siebel Institute of Technology.

Kris McDowell

Cicerone BeerSavvy® Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Brooke Franus of Stewards of Beer is the recipient of the Cicerone BeerSavvy® scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they selected Brooke to receive this scholarship because “she understands more than most the need for education and teaching, the sharing of knowledge. She has a solid vision for what this course can help her create and give back, including being a positive role model for others in her company and brewing community.”

Brooke started with Stewards of Beer, one of Pittsburgh’s leading craft beer promotions/marketing companies, part-time in 2013 while she was primarily employed as an adjunct teacher to adult and K-12 students and leader of workshops and training presentations in the education field. At the end of 2017 she accepted a full-time role in the beer industry as their “Chief Edutainment Officer,” a position that will focus on continued growth of their client base and educational offerings.

Since 2013 Brooke has been instructing potential customers about beer styles, flavors and breweries to help them make an informed purchase that they would be happy with. When the company recently began offering non-credit beer education courses through the local community college she became an unofficial teaching assistant, drawing upon her years of experience in the education field. “Being a teacher is woven into the fiber of my being and I consider that educational spirit to be a core principle of who I am. So it only makes sense that I’m always looking for ways to incorporate teaching and learning into what I do,” she says. Brooke is looking forward to the knowledge she will gain from this course, her first foray into professional education in the beer industry, and starting down a path of what she hopes will lead to teaching classes on her own and creating an environment that encourages more women to attend.

The Cicerone BeerSavvy® Course is comprehensive self-paced online beer training course designed to enhance knowledge of brewing techniques, beer styles, understanding flavors and off-flavors, food pairings and the language to clearly discuss beer. The course is beneficial for many people who work in the beer industry including those who are educating others about beer.

In addition to attending the course, Brooke will receive a pair of pink steel-toe rubber boots when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.

Kris McDowell

OSU Origins of Beer Flavor and Styles Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Ashley Nulph, tasting room server at The Rare Barrel, is the recipient of the Oregon State University Origins of Beer Flavors and Styles scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they chose Ashley to receive this scholarship as she,has not had the opportunity before to attend a course that would go into the details of beer flavors and styles.” They admire her passion and determination to balance it all – being “a strong mommy following her passion” and carving out precious time to gain knowledge in various aspects of beer and brewing.

A little over a year ago Ashley made a career change, from utilizing her master’s degree in education teaching high school Mandarin and Spanish, to becoming a beertender. She quickly joined the Pink Boots Society and last spring was able to participate in three different Big Boots Brews. She says “Beer inspired me to be a student again – to learn about biology, chemistry and engineering processes – but learning by myself has many limitations.” She is looking forward to both the education she will gain in brewing and tasting and “the opportunity to widen my community with beer professionals I can go to with questions and concerns or for support. As an added bonus, I’d meet more women in the industry who have different backgrounds and share these new experiences with them.”

The Oregon State University Professional and Continuing Education Origins of Beer Flavors and Styles course is a two-day onsite course that will examine the origins of beer flavor from raw materials and brewing techniques, how beer flavor and aroma are developed within brewing, raw ingredients and then ultimately transformed by yeast during fermentation through multiple beer tastings and discussions. Attendees will also learn the sensory methodology and aroma standards used by professionals in the brewing industry to analyze beer quality and to identify beer flavor defects and their causes during the brewing process.

In addition to attending the course, Ashley will receive a pair of pink steel-toe rubber boots when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.

Kris McDowell

Siebel Concise Course in Brewing Technology Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Jennifer (Jenna) Munoz of the Brew Lab in Kansas City is the recipient of the Siebel World Brewing Academy Concise Course in Brewing Technology scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they chose Jenna to receive this scholarship because “She’s put in a great deal of effort to completely reinvent herself and immerse herself in this new life path. Her genuine drive is to empower and support women in our industry. We need more people like her!”

“When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer,” says Jenna. “I got married, went to law school, graduated, took the bar exam and moved to Missouri to start my own firm. I enjoyed the puzzle; from talking to clients to determine their issues to going before the judge with the right pieces of evidence and the right argument. I appreciated the intricacies, but I soon found that the community that came with my career was less than desirable and did me more damage than good.” When she decided to leave the field of law she sought out the craft beer industry.

What began as an appreciation of craft beer by drinking it during law school, led to the purchase of a homebrew kit, then volunteering at a brewery. More than just a hobby, Jenna says, “This became my chosen community,” a community that fit her better than the legal community. Still, finding a job in that community was difficult and she experienced opposition, being a female looking to leave a “high salary” profession but she did just that. Mid-2017 she took the role of general manager for a 3bbl brewpub with a professional brewer who was willing to cultivate her desire for knowledge. She is looking forward to acquiring the knowledge this course will provide, a step along the way to taking the Cicerone exam, and will contribute to one day commercially brewing her own recipes.

The Concise Course in Brewing Technology is an intensive, online three-month course that utilizes a mix of textual instructions, streaming video presentations narrated by some of the best instructors in brewing, and synchronous chat sessions between students and faculty. Students will gain the knowledge and confidence to work effectively in the world of commercial brewing in this course that covers topics ranging from business of beer, alcohol and health, CIP programs and Quality Assurance/Quality Control.

In addition to attending the course, Jenna will receive a pair of pink steel-toe rubber boots when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.