There was high energy in the air on this inaugural brew day for the Nebraska Chapter of the Pink Boots Society. The Pink Boots Society was founded by Teri Fahrendorft in August of 2012 at a Barley’s Angels event. Teri had been working on the idea since 2007. The goal was to spread the news that the craft beer industry needs more women in it!
I am proud so far of what the women in Nebraska have accomplished. Their knowledge, passion, and caring for the craft beer community is tremendous! I believe this amazing group of women we have today has made a major impact on the growth of the craft beer industry in Nebraska.
It is great to see so many women come together to create the Nebraska Chapter of the Pink Boots Society!
Mission: The Pink Boots Society was created to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.
The Nebraska Chapter leadership is made up of:
Megan Arrington-Willams, First Street Brewing - Co-leader
Gabby Ayala, Executive Director Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild - Co-leader
Lea Watson, Pint Nine Brewing Co -Marketing
Sarah Erdlen, Happy Raven - Financial Liaison
On March 9th, 2019, the first collaboration brew day for the Nebraska Chapter was held at Nebraska Brewing Company in La Vista. The attendance was incredible with representation from all over the state including: North Platte, Holdrege, Hastings, Ohiowa, Lincoln, and Omaha.
The event started at 9:00 am with registration, breakfast, and networking. The day was not only about working together to brew but also had the following sessions:
Taproom Yoga - Beerlightenment
Industry Opportunities Panel
Get to Know Pink Boots Society - Nebraska Chapter
Beer Education Session with Certified Cicerone, Sarah Erdlen
The Industry Opportunities session had so much information to share. The time went way too fast! The panel members included:
Kim Kavulak, Co-Owner, Nebraska Brewing Company
Abby Gillick, Quality Brands Distributor
Lindsey Hayes Clements, Co-Founder, Vis Major Brewing Company
Diana Gutsche, Brand Ambassador, Zipline Brewing Co
As we got introduced to each member of the panel, there were several common characteristics of each person:
Passion for the craft beer industry and the desire to see it grow
Learning is key part of their everyday life
Rewarding to be part of community that supports you
The relationships that you build each day with your customers and people in the industry are very fulfilling
Here were a few of the questions and answers from the panel.
It is clear to see how passionate everyone is about the craft beer industry, but how hard is the work?
Kim responded by saying that in the beginning it was difficult since there wasn’t a road map to follow for starting a brewery. You have to learn your way and realize that it is ok to make a mistake. There are times that you worry about things you would have never thought of before owning a brewery like taxes. There is a tremendous amount of energy that goes into running and managing a business.
For Kim, this was here first brew day in the brewery that she has owned and worked in for 12 years!
Lindsey replied by reemphasizing the amount of work that goes into running a taproom and overseeing a staff. Making sure that everything is running smoothly is a top priority so that your customers always have a great experience. Some of the most challenging parts of starting a brewery were the business plan and financing. Getting a small business loan is completely different than a home mortgage!
Abby answered by saying it can be difficult at times to know exactly what your customers are looking for, but it is rewarding to help guide them.
Diana remarked that owning and running a retail business has been hard but the learning and creating part is well worth it.
What are some of the skills needed to get a job in the craft beer industry?
Lindsey replied by saying the key is to be eager to learn. You don’t have to know everything about the craft beer industry before applying for the first job. Knowledge will come in time. There are so many opportunities!
Abby answered that we simply need more woman to apply for positions.
Kim responded by saying that being a brewer is only one job role. There are many others such as owner, business manager, marketing rep, etc.
Diana added that one way to help grow the pool of women candidates is to help grow the consumer base of women. Providing more opportunities for women to try and enjoy craft beer will lead to more seeking employment in the industry!
Jennifer Obal-Misfeldt, owner of Patriot Homebrew Supply, replied to the group by saying her focus this year was to help create education opportunities for women. Classes for women only were created to cover beer styles, terminology, and brewing. A great way to gain appreciation for the brewing process and to elevate interest in the craft beer industry is through education. The classes so far have had high participation!
What do you see as some of the next big trends in craft beer?
Diana started off by saying the continued use of local products is a trend that she still sees growing. The continued building of customer connections and doing more education about craft beer is another area that is on the rise.
Kim replied by saying the biggest trend is to stay true to the style of beer you are brewing. Brew more core styles with good quality ingredients. Plain and simple, “Make Good Beer.”
Lindsey responded saying their model of a neighborhood brewery (not bar) allows them the try more varieties. Right now, it seems Sours and Hazy IPAs are continuing to grow in popularity.
The education session that Sarah Erdlen led was very enlightening! Sarah is a Certified Cicerone which is the second level of certification through the Cicerone organization. Sarah is the only female Certified Cicerones in Nebraska. Nebraska currently has a total of 15 Certified Cicerones.
For this level of certification, you must have:
A well-rounded knowledge of beer and beer service
Be able to assess beer quality
Identity different styles of beer by taste
Plus many other items.
The certification exam is 4 hours long with multiple parts including a written, tasting, and demonstration section.
Sarah provided the group with many great tips when it comes to learning beer styles. Some of those tips included:
Take your time when tasting. Sip slowly to achieve full recognition.
Tasting has a lot to do with the perception of what you smell.
When you are doing a tasting, the max should be 4 styles. The styles should be very similar if you want to pick up on the subtleties of each.
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is a great resource for learning beer styles.
The brewing part of the day was filled with great participation from everyone that was there. Each step of the process of the collaboration beer entailed lots of questions about the beer itself and about the brewing system. It would be amazing to see out of everyone there, how many different brewing systems are being used.
It was really cool to see that there was a special blend of hops created for the Pink Boots Society.
The blend consists of:
Loral (3 parts)
Commercialized in 2016
Aroma/flavor: floral, herbal, citrus
Glacier (2 parts)
Developed by Washington State University
Aroma/flavor: herbal, wood, citrus
Mosaic (1 part)
Released in 2012
Aroma/Flavor: mango, pine, stone fruit
Sabro (1 part)
Very new - released in 2018
American Southwest - neomexicanus heritage
Aroma/flavor: tangerine, coconut, stone fruit - hint of cedar and mint
Simcoe (1 part)
Released in 2000
Aroma/flavor: passion fruit, pine, earthy
In addition to the blend, there was also some Warrior hops used in the collaboration beer.
The brew day continued with preparing the yeast to go into the fermenter. In the meantime, the boil was taking place.
During the boil, the hops listed above were added. Once the boil had completed, the wort goes through a cooling process before then being transferred to the fermenter.
Brew days are a full day of work and I can’t wait to see how this pale ale turns out!
What an amazing day! The brewery was filled with enthusiasm and collaboration from this amazing group of women. The sharing of ideas and learning opportunity was spectacular!
Here are a few thoughts from some of the participants.
Amy Oettinger: Co-Owner/Event Manger, Pals Brewing Company
“Pink Boots Brew day at Nebraska Brewing Company was such a fun event! Women from the beer industry in Nebraska came together to not only brew a batch of beer, but to show support for one another and our industry. I have been in the industry for 2 years now and I feel like we are a big family and we give each other support. We never view each other as competition. We know we can call each other and ask ‘how to’ questions, we bounce ideas off each other, we echo frustrations, we lift each other up and we ultimately have each other’s backs. Not many industries are like that. I am very lucky to be a part of this group.”
Megan Arrington-Williams: Director of Operations and Marketing, First Street Brewing Co
“Our first collaboration brew day was the perfect way to jump start our new organization. It was a fun, inspiring, and entertaining day in our young chapter’s existence. Having women from across the state present, excited, and involved gives Pink Boots Society: Nebraska Chapter an amazing place to start. I’m looking forward to seeing what this organization grows into and the impact if can make for women in the beer industry. “
Sarah Erdlen: Certified Cicerone, Happy Raven
“For me, the value of participating in the Nebraska Chapter of PBS lies in the ability to network with other top professionals without needing to prove my expertise first. We can talk business and share resources, and I don't have to start by convincing anyone that I deserve to be there. Every single industry is better when there are a multiplicity of perspectives offered, and bringing PBS to Nebraska is one way we're doing that for craft beer.”
Lindsey Hayes Clements: Co-Founder, Vis Major Brewing Company
“The PBS puts women from our state that are active in the beer industry front and center. It showcases our contributions to the growth of craft beer and sets an example for all that aspire to join our tribe.”
Lea Watson: Director of Business Development, Pint Nine Brewing Company
“I really enjoyed meeting all the women from across that state that are involved in brewing and the beer industry. It was great to hear the stories everyone had about their experience in the industry. The common theme was passion for beer & the brewing industry and The Pink Boots Society allows for that support system among a growing group of ladies!”
You can support the Pink Boots Society: Nebraska Chapter on their release day of the collaboration beer by enjoying a pint. For each pint sold, $1 will go to the Pink Boots Society.
Also, any donations to the group would be appreciated greatly!
Here are the list of breweries participating in the collaboration beer:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Zipline Brewing Co.
First Street Brewing Company
Lost Way Brewery
Scriptown Brewing Company
Kros Strain Brewing Company
Infusion Brewing Company
Farnam House Brewing Company
Vis Major Brewing Co.
Pint Nine Brewing Co.
Blue Blood Brewing Company
Lazy Horse Brewing & Winery
Pals Brewing Company
Code Beer Company
Empyrean Brewing Co
I want to thank the group for allowing me to share the day with them. I know that this group is going to do great things!
Cheers to the Pink Boots Society: Nebraska Chapter!