British Columbia

Craft Beer a career for women too, says advocate

Women are increasingly making their way into the craft beer industry, says a brewer from Victoria, B.C.

A brewer from Victoria, B.C., says women are increasingly joining the craft beer industry

All Points West host Robyn Burns (left) with Victoria, B.C. brewer Kala Hadfield. (Kelly Nakatsuka)

Women are increasingly making their way into the craft beer industry, says a brewer from Victoria, B.C.

Kala Hadfield. a brewer at Victoria's Spinnakers Pub, says it took years before she had the confidence to work in the back room of the establishment, which is run by her father.

"I always sort of secretly hoped I'd get the chance to learn," says Hadfield. "We had never had a woman work in the brewery before."

Hadfield had been working front of house, but she grew tired of it. Her father encouraged her to try brewing instead.

She says she needed the confidence to try out becoming a "brew-collar worker," lifting around heavy materials and getting dirty.

When Hadfield started working in the back room, she says she was the only woman brewer in Victoria to do so. But now, there are several women like her.

Hadfield is now a member of the Pink Boots Society, an international association of women who work in the beer industry as brewers, sales representatives, or otherwise.

"It's been really neat, networking with other women," says Hadfield. "It's more about the camaraderie."

On Sunday, the Pink Boots Society will be facilitating its second annual International Women's Collaboration Brew Day. The event will have over 100 breweries from 11 countries brewing the same beer at their brewery.

This year's brew will be a punchy red ale that will be ready in three weeks. Proceeds will go towards scholarships for members of the society.

Hadfield says she often encourages women to become brewers.

She recommends that women interested in getting into the industry start by tasting a lot of different beers and becoming familiar with the variety. She also says there are a lot of self-learning tools available like books and online material.

"There's no reason why you can't do it," said Hadfield. "Be prepared to get dirty and start at the bottom of the packaging line."

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Women breaking into brewing


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