Women make up less than 8% of all brewers in the United States’ independent beer scene, according to the latest gender demographic study released by the Brewers Association. But every March, ladies who work as brewers, beertenders, and in other roles across the beer industry converge in brewhouses across the world to celebrate International Women’s Month.
San Diego is no exception. Breweries all over the county are planning brew days to commemorate the celebration, including Home Brewing Company in North Park, Eppig Brewing Company in Vista, Duck Foot Brewing Company in Miramar, and Second Chance Beer Company in Carmel Mountain Ranch (who is collaborating with Mujeres Brew Club as part of the annual Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day).
“International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day (IWCBD) is one of my favorite days of the year,” says Stephanie Eppig, co-founder and head of marketing at Eppig Brewing Co. “This will be our fourth IWCBD—we participate every year, and plan to always.”
Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day and International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day are actually separate initiatives with similar goals. Pink Boots Society (PBS) is an international 501c3 nonprofit helping “women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education,” according to their mission statement. #PinkBootsBrew Day is their biggest fundraiser of the year, and proceeds go toward scholarships and other educational opportunities for members. All brews under the Pink Boots umbrella use the same proprietary hop blend provided by Yakima Chief Hops; this year’s blend contains Azacca®, El Dorado®, Idaho Gem™ and Loral® hops.
IWCBD is not tied to one specific organization, although its origin in 2014 was boosted by PBS. Homebrewers and professional brewers are invited to participate in a collaborative brew day every March 8 for International Women’s Day. Each year, the overall “Unite” theme expands with a new subtopic and 2020 is “Unite: Tribute,” which participants can interpret however they like to create a unique brew. Some breweries bundle both campaigns into one beer, and either way, it’s a once-a-year opportunity for the beer industry and drinkers to tangibly—and financially—support women who work year-round to move beer forward. Since 2018, Yakima Chief Hops has been able to donate over $140,000 to the PBS scholarship fund as a direct result of Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day.
San Diegans can expect these girl-powered brews to start hitting taps en masse around the end of March and beginning of April. Some breweries, like AleSmith Brewing Company, will have their releases ready on or before March 8 for day-of festivities. AleSmith’s 10% ABV rye triple IPA dubbed “Who Rye The World,” also brewed in collaboration with Mujeres Brew Club, will be featured during a free pop-up event on International Women’s Day. Women artisans, craftspeople, and musicians will be on hand from 11 AM through 3 PM to “celebrate female empowerment”, according to the event page.