Teri Fahrendorf doesn't just create beer, she created a movement: the Pink Boots Society, a non-profit organization for women who make a living off of beer. "Server, bartender, brewer, lab worker and so much more," she says of her group's membership. "If you make a profit, you can be one of us."
A few years back, Fahrendorft, who's been a brewer for two decades, took a five-month road trip across the country, visiting breweries and distilleries and wearing her trademark pink boots. "I had wanted pink rubber boots because my fellow brewers, who were men, wore black, and I wanted to bring some femininity, she explains. "So I thought pink; you can't get more feminine than that."
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Brewers noted those boots. And Fahrendorft noted that a question she was often asked: "How many other women brewers were out there?" She decided to make a list of every female brewer, and their contact information. The next question: How to share it across the country?
The answer: The Pink Boots Society, which got its start at the Craft Brewers Conference in April 2008. The women who gathered there went over goals for the organization, set up a structure complete with committee chairs, and established a scholarship program to assist women who were interested in the art of brewing but needed financial help. Education plays a large role in the Pink Boots Society; its members are eager to share both their knowledge and their passion for beer.
Today the society has over 300 members and two meetings a year: once in the spring at the Craft Brewers confab, once in the fall at the Great American Beer Festival, where the Pink Boots Society will be very active this weekend.
Membership in the Pink Boots Society is free. So is the e-mail newsletter that recaps meetings and lists upcoming events and educational opportunities. For more information, visit www.pinkbootssociety.org.