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Kris McDowell

UC Davis Intensive Brewing Science Scholarship Recipients Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce the two recipients of the University of California, Davis Extension Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing scholarship, each chosen by a selection committee of experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers.

Jessica (Jess) Li of Young Master Brewery in Hong Kong is the national recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship due to what she has already achieved – “to come from winning her homebrew competitions to having her own startup to her current position.This all without any professional training.” In addition the committee felt, “This course seems as though in some ways it would be a lifeline for her. The chance to proudly proclaim that she is just as worthy as anyone else, regardless of her gender and/or ethnicity.”  

As the Experimental Beer Program Manager at Young Master Brewery Jess leads the creation, development and execution of the limited edition and experimental beer program that includes mixed fermentation and barrel aged beers. Prior to coming on board with Young Master Brewery her brewing experience encompassed homebrewing and a two year stint opening a pica-brewery with her brewing partner while working full time using her formal education to teach English. Of the pica-brewery, Jess said, “This was a two-person ran business that was a side/weekend only project to see if we could brew commercially. This was a very expensive personal market research but was a fun business project. The business closed down due to the lack of time we could commit to but the knowledge learnt was incredibly valuable.”

Jess has worked diligently to educate herself on all aspects of brewing but is excited to obtain formal brewing education, not only for the knowledge itself but also to provide validity to those in the brewing community that underestimate her abilities. She says, “I am respected within my team but I have no face or voice within the industry. I have become very passionate about changing this, as I feel like I am more than capable to intellectually speak and discuss in public. I do hold myself back and I am working on confidence but I believe this course will give me the boost I need to feel like this is my profession.”

Elizabeth O’Neill of Turtle Swamp Brewing Company in Jamaica Plain is the Boston Chapter recipient. The committee cited her “ability to articulate and relate her experiences” to the opportunity in choosing her and felt she would benefit the most from receiving the scholarship. They also noted her commitment to and involvement with the Boston chapter as well as dedication to the industry.

Homebrewing has been a part of Elizabeth’s life for nearly as long as she can remember. Her dad was a homebrewer, including her in the process in the family kitchen, and instilling in her from an early age, “a deep love for the magic of making beer.” She brewed a pale ale for her First Communion with her family at a brew-your-own facility and got a job while still in high school with a local brewery helping on the administrative side of the business.

After college she began homebrewing on her own and moved into her current position as the Taproom Manager at Turtle Swamp. Elizabeth says, “Despite my love for the magic of making beer, I have never had the confidence or, I thought, the experience to apply for any professional work in production. While I have held and thoroughly enjoyed my jobs, I have never stopped holding on to my secret dream – to share my passion for the magic of beer with the world by brewing professionally.”

The stepping stone that took her from dreaming to applying for this scholarship came while she was attending the Pink Boots Society Conference in Austin this past January. Surrounded by women who came from a variety of backgrounds and made their way into the craft beer industry she became inspired, recalling, “In mid-January Texas, over steaming barbeque, cold pints, and late-night conversation with female brewers from around the world, I realized I could be one of these women – What was stopping me? What barriers had I created that these women had jumped over and kicked down?”

The University of California, Davis Extension Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing course is a five day on-site course that offers an intensive introduction to the sciences of brewing, engineering and brewing practice. Attendees will learn the technological and biochemical aspects of the entire brewing process from world renowned instructors Dr. Michael Lewis, Michael Long and Rebecca Bleibaum. Topics of the interactive lecture sessions cover all aspects of brewing from raw materials to fermentation to quality control and sensory evaluation.

Kris McDowell

Oregon State University Beer Quality & Analysis Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Audrey Reid, owner of Imbibe Solutions in Virginia, is the recipient of the Oregon State University Beer Quality & Analysis course scholarship.

Audrey was chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers. They selected Audrey to receive this scholarship due to her ability to clearly explain in her application essay how the course will benefit her as well as how the knowledge she gains will allow her to better serve those around her.

Audrey has created a unique position for herself by opening a laboratory that conducts quality control for a number of East Coast breweries. When she opened three years ago she had two clients. 18 months after opening she was in the fortunate position of having enough clients to move into a lab that was 5x the size of her original one. Today she can proudly say that she has worked with over 50 clients, the majority of which are breweries.

Being one’s own boss is the goal for many people but for Audrey that also means that “I perform every job necessary to run the business, including: in-lab and on-site analytical testing, sample pick up, accounting, inventory, outreach, sensory training, consulting, marketing, purchasing, web design, and dreaming of big ideas.” In addition to adding to her base of knowledge by completing the course she says that she is looking forward to “talking with experts about quality analysis and hopefully obtaining contacts to reach out to when I am truly stuck.”

Audrey has supplemented her B.S. in Chemistry and Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy with knowledge on beer analysis through books, lectures, papers, webinars, podcasts and people who have been in the industry for many years. While this has served her well be she says, “I want a more formal, beer-science focused education. I acknowledge that some of this course may be redundant for me because of my current job, but having looked through the syllabus I haven’t found an area where there isn’t something I could learn.”

OSU’s Beer Quality and Analysis Series teaches the fundamentals of basic beer analysis and microbiological techniques and their roles in the brewing process based on the official ASBC Methods of Analysis used in QA/QC labs worldwide, providing attendees the knowledge and tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting.

Cat Wiest

A Brewer’s Journey, Through Collaboration

Women In Beer
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Erica DeAnda – Octopi Brewing

Here I am, writing this blog for the March 2019 Pink Boots newsletter; when just four very short years ago in March I was attending not only my first Pink Boots Brew day, but also my very first Pink Boots meeting. At 24, I was a server turned beer-tender who up until that point, had no direction or clear idea where life was headed. Waiting tables at a brew pub, I learned about and quickly fell in love with beer! As soon as I could, I made the transition from waiting tables in Oakland to working at a taproom in San Francisco – slinging beers and constantly having my head buried in a Randy Mosher book! I absorbed every ounce of knowledge our head brewer bestowed upon us, and always asked questions about the brewing process. It didn’t take long to realize that I needed more, that I had a void in my life, and I needed to fill that void by brewing. Having no clue how I was going to get there, no clue how many doors would be shut in my face, I did know not going for it was not an option.

Discovering Pink Boots Society

In my time working at the brew pub and taproom, a few peers told me about the Pink Boots Society. “They are an organization of women who work in the beer industry”, one would say. “But I am not really sure what it is they actually do”, another would say. Looking for any opportunity, mentorship, anything to help further my career along, I applied to join the boots society and see what it was all about. Right around the time I joined, they were gearing up to have multiple collaboration brews around the world. Women from all over were given a style to brew, a red ale, leaving recipes and ingredients up to the brewers. Looking back now, I didn’t know how much these brew days would come to mean to me. They were like a warm hug, they always happen when I seem to need them the most, no matter what stage in my career. 

My First Brew Day

We gathered at Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, a San Francisco staple brewery. Their brewer, Cat (OMG! I thought, a girl brewer!), led us through the process and we brewed an amazing red ale. When I walked into that brewery, I was terrified. I had never been to a big brew day like this, where I would be surrounded by women who all made huge impacts in the brewing world. During the day, I was introduced to a few other women brewers, and to say the least, I was completely starstruck that these women were out there living their best lives brewing beer. They followed their passions living out my dream. I was absolutely inspired!

Hosting a collaboration brew at Freewheel Brewing Company

A New Career

After my first collaboration brew day, I ended up going from beer-tending to getting a job packaging beer. From there, I got my first assistant brewing job at a small nano brewery, where I made a few mistakes and I was fired. I remember the feeling of giving up. Everything I had worked so hard to achieve was over, I was fired, it was devastating, and I was embarrassed. This happened about a month before our chapter was supposed to brew our collaboration at a little brewery you might have heard of, Sierra Nevada. Wrestling with weather or not I should go, feeling down, I was lost about what to do next and I didn’t think I could face a room full of people telling me they were sorry I lost my job. But I did go, and I wasn’t met with pity, I was met with a room full of encouragement. They told me stories of messing up at their jobs, there were women who had also been let go from jobs, women who did not stop because someone told them they couldn’t do it. It was that same warm hug feeling, I was embraced with inspiration, ready to stand up and take control of my career again.

Hired on as an assistant brewer in a new job, I began to thrive! We even hosted our own small collaboration brew day where I got to host some of the women who inspired me to pursue my beer career. During this time, I was lucky enough to win a scholarship for Siebel’s Online Concise Course in Brewing Technology through the Pink Boots Society. After high school I did not go to college, so winning this scholarship and getting higher education was life changing for me. It also happened to come as I was quitting my assistant brewing job and packing my life to take a head brewing job across the country.

The Big Move

I moved from Oakland, California, to a small, tourist town in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. When I arrived there, it was a struggle, I had a hard time taking over the extremely old brew house. But I kept pushing, and hosted another brew day for the girls in my new chapter. The brew house was so old that during our brew day a steam fitting finally had enough, the corrosion ate through the pipe and the brewery filled up with steam. But like all great brewers, we got the beer brewed and had an awesome day filled with great beer and a newly formed sisterhood. No one knew at the time how home sick I was, and how much I was regretting taking this job. Again, Pink Boots brew day to the rescue! It  gave me the clarity that I needed to leave that job for how miserable it made me.


So here I am now, reflecting on all the Pink Boots brew days I have been able to participate in and to host! Currently, I’m brewing at Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, Wisconsin, one of Wisconsin’s fastest growing breweries. Recently I was voted President of the Wisconsin Pink Boots chapter. I just planned and executed a 30 barrel brew for our chapter, where we invited a ton of Wisconsin industry folk, and I lead a meeting on inclusion in the beer industry. It was a familiar feeling, meeting with young women who want to be brewers but aren’t sure how to go about it. Telling my story about how I came to be a brewer, to a room full of brewers and aspiring brewers made me feel so proud! It let me feel pride in myself, and how much I have accomplished. The Pink Boots has been such a driving force in my career, and if I can share that warm embrace of inspiration, then I must be doing something right! Even after all the mistakes, the ups and downs, I can continue on. No matter how many doors get shut, there is always a window to go through.

Discussing the beer industry and inclusion during Octopi Brewing Collaboration Brew Day – 2019

Pink Boots brewing!



From beer-tending to brewing, Erica has worked almost every job in the brewery. A California native, she now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, working as a brewer at one of Wisconsin’s fastest growing contract breweries – Octopi Brewing. Erica is also the president of the Wisconsin chapter of the Pink Boots Society. Erica has a deep love for cask ale, cats, and clear beer.


Kris McDowell

Cicerone BeerSavvy® Scholarship Recipients Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce the two recipients of the Cicerone BeerSavvy® scholarship, each chosen by a selection committee of experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers.

Alexandra (Alex) Sheeler of Amor Artis Brewing in South Carolina is the national recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship due to the clear way she expressed in her essay how the scholarship would benefit her, her employer and her customers.  

Alex comes to the brewing world with a degree in Advertising & Public Relations and experience in marketing. Her role as the marketing manager for Amor Artis began a year ago and during that time she has increased their reach on Facebook and Instagram. In the coming year she says, “I will be expanding my role to include blog post and press release writing when our new website launches.”

Well-versed in the marketing aspects of the position, she readily admits that that she has much to learn in terms of beer knowledge. In addition to educating herself, she looks forward to applying what she learns from the course to her shifts in the taproom. An educated beer server is an asset to any brewery but it is particularly important to Amor Artis as they are the only brewery in the small town of Fort Mill where many of the patrons are just starting to explore and learn about craft beer.

Alexandra (Alex) Asacker of Notch Brewing in Salem is the Boston Chapter recipient. The committee cited the recommendation from her employer and the content of her essay as reasons why her application rose to the top. In her essay she clearly stated her goals and how she will benefit from the scholarship, as well as her commitment to sharing the knowledge she receives with other PBS members, her colleagues and clients.

Alex has been a bartender with Notch Brewing since Summer 2018, having previously been a sales associate with a wine, beer and spirits store. “As a bartender I thrive when engaging with the public. I feel confident speaking generally about our brewery’s beer selection, but I would love to be able to educate our clients on a deeper level.”

Though not new to the beverage industry I have recently decided to focus my time and energy on beer,” she says. That includes becoming a member of the Pink Boots Society where she says, “I have found that though I am learning a great deal, my inexperience leaves me missing some key information. The Cicerone Beer Savvy Program will provide me with a wealth of knowledge, including these essential foundational elements that will bolster my future education.”

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.