Nova Scotia

Cape Breton brewery releases beer that helps support women in brewing industry

Breton Brewing has released a canned beer that helps provide scholarships to women in the brewing industry to advance their careers.

Breton Brewing's Pink Boots Blend Session IPA helps fund scholarships for women in brewing industry

Raquel Lewis works at the Breton Brewery taproom in Sydney, N.S., and helped create the Pink Boots Blend Session IPA. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

Breton Brewing has released a canned beer that helps provide scholarships to women in the brewing industry to advance their careers.

The Sydney, N.S., brewery first released Pink Boots Blend Session IPA for International Women's Day in March with a limited keg supply in house. But when COVID-19 shut down the province, Breton Brewing's co-founder, Bryan MacDonald, thought about what could be done to support the many women who work in the brewing industry, so the decision was made to do a canned release.

Raquel Lewis works in the taproom at Breton and helped create the beer, along with the taproom's manager, Lauren Musycsyn, and Breton's head brewer, Iain Sutherland.

This was the first commercial batch Lewis had her hand in.

"I have a little more pride and familiarity with the brew," Lewis said. "When I'm selling the can, I'm a little more attached to it."

The name is a reference to the hop blend the beer uses. A portion of the sales from the hops is donated to a non-profit organization that helps provide scholarships to women in the brewing industry. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

The beer's name is a nod to the hop blend it uses, which is manufactured by an American company named Yakima Chief Hops. Each year, the company produces a proprietary hop blend and $3 US from every pound of hops sold goes to the Pink Boots Society, a global non-profit organization focused on women in the brewing industry.

Lewis said it's nice to sell the beer knowing it supports an organization that encourages more women to brew.

Laura Ulrich is the president of the U.S.-based Pink Boots Society.

"Our goal is to support one another by advancing our careers through educational opportunities," she said. "We offer a wide range of scholarships from technical brewing, marketing, cicerone training, hops and brew school, just to name a few."

When the society was founded in 2007, it wasn't easy for women in brewing to connect with each other and educational opportunities were scarce, Ulrich said.

To date, she said the organization has provided 153 scholarships to members.

What the beer tastes like

When the beer was first released in March, Lewis said the initial keg sold quickly and many patrons enjoyed the "light, crisp, sunny day" taste.

A session IPA generally has a lower alcohol content and isn't as hoppy as a traditional IPA.

Yakima Chief Hops says this year's blend uses four hops that combine to give off tropical, citrus and piney qualities.

Through the sale of the Pink Boots hop blend over the last three years, more than $140,000 has been given to the Pink Boots Society for scholarships.

Lewis said she appreciates that Breton is helping support women in the brewing industry through selling cans of Pink Boots.

Asked when is the perfect time to enjoy a Pink Books Blend Session IPA, "right after work," she said with a laugh.