Thrillist recently ran a listicle entitled “Six Dirty Lies Men Spread About Women and Beer” written by Ashley Rouston, aka the Beer Wench. I’m not going to link to it here because I’m not about to give it direct web traffic. When you write a story that includes sweeping generalizations, you discredit yourself and make people angry.
I’ve wanted to write about this business of being a woman in beer – or any other male dominated industry, quite frankly – for some time, so here goes.
Having a man (my husband) as a partner in this venture puts me in an interesting position. While I have (thankfully) never been scoffed at for a beer I’ve chosen to order in a bar, I have been questioned more times than I could count about my expertise. I’ve met people who don’t believe I could have written our book, even when I’m standing there selling it to them, and they see my name on its cover. I’ve emailed well-known men in the industry multiple times to no avail, only to have Giancarlo email them the same thing and receive a response immediately. Men have looked right at Giancarlo to answer questions I’ve asked them.
For a long time, I was really hung up on these experiences, especially the ones with industry leaders, because it feels like shit. I felt that in order to be taken seriously by these guys, I had to be louder. I had to write more, know more.
Then I realized that by getting so hung up on them, I was letting them call the shots. In many cases, these were people I had met only a handful of times. They didn’t even know me, yet I was looking to them to validate my place in this industry.
So you know what? Fuck ’em.
Here’s what I’d like to say to the Beer Wench:
No person, no matter who they are, gets to determine your worth. Recognize. If you’re a woman in a bar ordering an IPA and someone questions you, so what? Yea, it stings, and you’ll get angry, but who are they, really? Not worth your time. Haters gonna hate. Writing a post for Thrillist only fans the flames. You’re giving it air time. Are those dudes reading your words anyway? Probably not, and if they are they’re just going to dismiss you. So don’t do it. And while you’re at it, stop calling yourself a wench.
Instead of writing about how people are assholes (which, by the way, duh), let’s do this a little differently. Let’s write about the women who are crushing it. Make it pointless for someone to discredit us. Are we really going to let people who don’t even know us get in our way?
With that in mind, here are just some of the women who are doing awesome things in NYC beer.
Sonya Giacobbe, KelSo
Lauren Grimm, Grimm Artisanal Ales
Meredith Heil, Beerded Ladies
Mary Izett, Cuzett Libations, Fuhmentaboudit! and the upcoming Speed Brewing
Heather McReynolds, Sixpoint
Laurisa Milici, Radiant Pig Craft Beers
Erica Shea, Brooklyn Brew Shop
Click on their names, find out who they are. We’re all in this together.