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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 Taylor Paige King of Pitt Street Brewing Company in North Carolina is the recipient of the Siebel World Brewing Academy Concise Course in Brewing Technology Online scholarship.

Taylor was chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, to receive this scholarship based on her well-written essay, glowing recommendations and heavy involvement with the Pink Boots Society as a volunteer. “Her dreams of starting and running a brewery, in a county that only has one, would be greatly helped by the education this course can provide.”

Taylor currently works as a bartender and brewing intern and says, “I was born and raised in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains and while there is a lot of white lightning in those hills, there’s not a plethora of beer. After the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires a lot of local businesses were destroyed or damaged. This would be a perfect opportunity for me to give back to my community by building a craft brewery. Gatlinburg is an ever-growing tourist industry that would benefit from a local brewery.” Besides gaining experience from her work at Pitt Street, she has started homebrewing, using locally foraged ingredients such yarrow and spruce tips, and is attending Nash Community College, pursuing a degree in Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation. She feels that the technical knowledge this scholarship will provide will help to round out her knowledge and grow her career.

Taylor is also an active member of the Pink Boots Society where she contributes her talents to monthly newsletters and e-blasts. She says, “I have been met with so much love and support from my PBS family and I cannot wait to give back.” After completing this course she plans to write an article to fulfill her Pay It Forward requirement, attend Biere de Femme to represent Nash Community College’s programs (like the one she is enrolled in) and work toward establishing an Eastern North Carolina chapter of the Pink Boots Society.

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.

Anne Sprecher

Changing of the Guard…

Women In Beer

…well, at least as far as the board member in charge of scholarships and the board member in charge of communications. Pink Boots president Laura Ulrich sent Scholarship Director Rachel Hotchko and Communications Director Anne Sprecher a set of questions to get their thoughts on Pink Boots, being a board member, and life afterwards. The point of the questions was not simply to act as an exit interview but also to reveal a little bit about the these two women. Although neither knew each other prior to being on the board, one thing stands out about their responses: the similarity of their regard for Pink Boots as an organization and its membership.

Rachel Hotchko, Scholarships Director

  • How long have you been on the Board for Pink Boots Society: 2 years on the Board. 4.5 years volunteering in scholarships

  • What was your role: Scholarships Director

  • What has been your most memorable moment being on the board: The weekend retreats were exhausting and invigorating! 
  • How has Pink Boots Society impacted your Life: Volunteering for Pink Boots has taught me many things: new organizational skills, new ways to communicate, but most importantly, that together, we can all elevate, help, teach each other many things.
  • What would you like to see from Pink Boots Society in the future: Become the primary resource for women in the brewing industry

  • What will you do with all you spare time: I think gardening
  • Who has been your biggest role model/influencer: Within PBS, it would be Mary and Laura for putting so much of the life and heart into the organization.

  • What will you miss about being on the board for Pink Boots Society: The fierce women that are the force behind this organization.

  • Do you have any advice for women in brewing industry? Other than to keep educating yourself? Speak up for yourself and others.

  • What is your proudest moment? It isn’t one moment, but that the scholarship program was expanded every year and I’m looking forward to seeing it being taken to new heights in the coming years!

  • Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Striving to learn more

Anne Sprecher, Communications Director

  • How long have you been on the Board for Pink Boots Society: 2 years. Prior to that I organized the media list, and created press releases for the Germany trip.
  • What was your role: Communications Director

  • What has been your most memorable moment being on the board: Not to sound cheesy, but it’s been such a dynamic experience you might as well ask, What was your most memorable moment on the roller coaster ride? So many. I’ll pick a recent one. The text exchange where I didn’t think I called for a vote but it became obvious to me that anyone else would. Moral of the story: choose your words carefully, even when texting. A less recent moment, the spring membership meeting at the CBC. I kept flashing back to the first few Pink Boots meetings I attended and just marveled at the exponential growth. And I loved the pay-it-forward story. It made me really proud, verklempt even, to know I played a role in this organization’s growth.

  • How has Pink Boots Society impacted your Life: I rarely work with a group of women; this experience showed me how awesome that can be. The Pareto principle – 20% of the people do 80% of the work – didn’t apply in this case. 100% of the board did 100% of the work.

  • What would you like to see from Pink Boots Society in the future: Stronger chapters. More financial transparency from the chapters.

  • What will you do with all you spare time: Hahaha. Probably search for another group of women to work with.

  • Who has been your biggest role model/influencer: On the board? Laura. You’ve heard the expression, people rise to their challenges…she has gone above and beyond. And she’s done so with exceptional amounts of grace and graciousness. Mary Brettman is a very, very close second.

  • What will you miss about being on the board for Pink Boots Society: The unrelenting challenges – my life is comparatively dull – and the camaraderie.

  • Do you have any advice for women in brewing industry? Other than to keep educating yourself? Find a champion, a mentor, someone who will help you grow. And be a mentor to others.

  • What is your proudest moment? Getting the Mayor of San Diego to proclaim June 3, 2010 Pink Boots Society Day.

  • Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Since I’ll have so much more free time…perhaps in Tahiti ;). You’re all welcome to join me. On the beach. I’ll buy the first round.

Anita Riley, author of Brewing Ambition,cellerman at Lonerider Brewing and North Carolina chapter co-leader will succeed Rachel as the board member in charge of scholarships. Cat Weist, innovative brewer at Pelican Brewing in Tillamook, OR will succeed Anne as the board member in charge of communications. Cheers, ladies! We know you’ll take Pink Boots to new heights.


Kris McDowell

2019 Bi-Annual Pink Boots Conference Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Cassidy VanWarmerdam of Payette Brewing Company is the recipient of the 2019 Bi-Annual Pink Boots Conference 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 Cassidy to receive this scholarship as she “expressly conveyed the value of the conference in terms of learning new things and different approaches to methods and concepts from what she is regularly exposed to.”

Cassidy has been employed by Payette Brewing Company since 2016, originally being hired as a beertender but through her hard work and willingness to learn has progressed to hold the position of Lead Quality Control. She says, “Being relatively new to the industry, I’ve found that my greatest weakness so far is my lack of resources for knowledge from other people in the brewing business.” By attending the conference she anticipates gaining knowledge that will make her a more valuable employee.

The 2019 Bi-Annual Pink Boots Conference embodies the organization’s mission to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education by instilling attendees with hard takeaways and valuable knowledge along with invaluable networking with women working in all facets of the global beer industry. The conference will kick off with an inspiring and substantive industry keynote from the Brewers Association’s Julia Herz, followed by additional panels and presentations that will touch on: Beer Quality, Sensory, Raw Ingredients, Hot Side/Cold Side Processes, Diversity in the Beer Industry, Personal Goal Setting/Leadership, Advanced Social Media, Tasting Room Experience, Strengthening PBS Chapters, HR and more.

In addition to attending the course, Cassidy will receive a Pink Boots embroidered shirt when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.

Cat Wiest

Living and Brewing in South America

Women In Beer
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My name is Megan Garrity, also known here in Lima as Greenga. It’s been almost 11 years since I got on a plane and traveled to Lima, Peru.  What had begun as a three week work trip turned into more than a decade of adventures! My coined nickname eventually grew into a new way of life as a Business Owner, Gypsy Brewer, BJCP Judge, Pink Booter, VP of the Peruvian Craft Beer Union, and who knows what next!  I’m excited to share my story, Craft Beer in Peru, and some of the amazing experiences and people I have met in my travels all over Latin America, representing Peruvian craft beer and as a BJCP Judge.

When I arrived in 2008 there were no craft breweries or craft options. In 2010 I came across my first experience with a Peruvian craft beer, an Inti Golden from Sierra Andina.  Yes, something that wasn’t an industrial Lager! Soon after I had an American Amber from Barbarian. With that, a light bulb clicked on. These guys were able to brew here, and that meant I could too!  I started googling and found a home brew class to get a refresher and access to materials. I could finally brew a beer I wanted to drink! When I started out I had not planned on taking the leap to becoming a professional brewer, but Greenga Brewing was officially launched in May of 2016.

Making the decision to go professional was scary.  Without easy access to further brewing education, I started to volunteer to brew with my friends in the industry.  I worked at a craft beer bar, and listened to consumers., I took BJCP to learn more about off flavors, their causes, and how to prevent them.  On the business side, we ran into problem after problem. Our original name was rejected, an investor fell through, and suppliers didn’t have a consistent supply of raw materials.  But my nickname Greenga fit perfectly, thus Greenga was born. Barbarian offered their brewery for gypsy brewing. As for sourcing consistent ingredients – I’ve flown from the US with several suitcases full of hops over the years!  Brewing in Latin America forces you to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions since we don’t have easy access to raw materials. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It’s fun to be a part of this movement where we are basically responsible for forming the craft beer scene while making sure it grows.

Craft beer in Peru is brand new; we like to say “esta en pañales” (it’s in diapers).  The difference from 2010 when I had my first craft until today, the end of 2018, is exciting to see.  We are in a huge growth spurt! Our craft customer four years ago would request one of two things, the lightest beer most similar to a Pilsen (local industrial lager), or the one with the highest ABV.  All the professional brewers and homebrewers have worked hard to educate our customers, bars, restaurants, and even bloggers so they better understand what they are drinking. Craft beer can now be found all over the country (not just in metropolitan centers), and we are becoming an important part of the gastronomy that Peru is well known for.  Today you can find 40+ professional breweries producing more than 1000lt monthly, 100+ members in the Homebrew Club, and more than 100 bars and restaurants that solely sell craft beer. We have been able to start brewing outside the standard of Blonde/Pale Ale, Red Ale, and IPA. We get to do some fun things and our customers are excited and receptive (although we may still be a few years away from them accepting sour beers)!  The market has grown enough that we just held our 3rd Peru competition with 240 entries!

My main goal when I studied to be a BJCP Judge was to improve as a brewer, I had no idea how much the world would open up!  I met brewers from all over the world, one in particular from the U.S. who asked me if I was in the Pink Boots Society. Since I don’t live in the US, I didn’t know who/what Pink Boots was or represented.  As soon at that first competition was over I immediately read everything about Pink Boots and signed up as a member. It was inspiring to find this community, and I wanted to bring this feeling to the amazing women I know here in Peru as well as across Latin America.  In 2018 PBS-Peru was launched and we have some very talented members. It’s impossible to list all their amazing skills and accomplishments but it’s safe to say women are a driving force in the growth of Craft in Peru.

In traveling as a judge, I have met and become great friends with incredible and talented women from all over.  I was able to brew with “Ceva das Minas”, the women’s brew group from Porto Allegre in November. The presence and support for women in the brew industry in Brazil is inspiring.  I also met and brewed with the founding members of Las Birreras, from Argentina, who have most recently brewed a collaboration beer with the proceeds going to end violence against women.  In July we held our 2nd women’s collaboration in Quito, Ecuador, and as a result the Brewsters EC was formed.  There are also the incredible women in Costa Rica who consistently collaborate and brew together.   We have a lot to offer, and from what I have seen the presence of women in beer will only continue to grow here.

Peru has presented me with the opportunity to enter into the brewing industry in a way I would have never experienced anywhere else.  I am excited to see where our industry will grow from here as well as the rest of Latin America. It hasn’t been the easiest path; living in another country, in another culture, and in general being away from everything familiar.  I wouldn’t change anything, and I’m looking forward to the future!

Megan is the founder and head brewer of Greenga Brewing (est 2016) located in Lima, peru.  She has travelled as a certified bjcp judge to the most prestigious beer competions in Latin America  She is the VP of the Union Cerveceros Artesanales Peru and has lead the effort to establish a Pink Boots Peru chapter, bringing together the top female Brewers in the nation.  Finally, she serves as the representative of the Communcation for Bloque Cervecero Latino America.