When the women I know belly-up to a bar, they’re more likely to order a pint of beer than a glass of wine or a frilly cocktail. I’m a sucker for Surly’s CynicAle and Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine, both from the rollicking Minneapolis beer-brewing scene. Still, drinking and brewing beer continue to be viewed as primarily male territory.
As it turns out, this split of the sexes is all wrong, says Bitch magazine’s Celena Cipriaso: Women have brewed beer since Babylonian times and female brewers permeate world folklore. Historian Alan D. Eames reinforces the depths of women’s claims on beer, explaining, “From its very inception some 8,000 years ago, every ancient society’s beer-creation myth tells the same story: The drink was a gift from a female deity to the women of that community.”
Cipriaso laments the loss of women’s roles as brewers and beer lovers. “For many years, women have been relegated to the background of the industry,” she writes, “both as targeted consumers and in terms of their place in beer history.”
But now, beer mugs are getting back into the fists of women. Gallup polls indicate that women account for a quarter of national beer sales, and what Cipriaso calls “female beer advocacy” is growing: Regional craft-beer brewers now include women in their ranks, organizations like the Pink Boots Society promote women’s involvement in the industry, and beer-centric social groups like Girls’ Pint Out keep the culture fun.
A new documentary, The Love of Beer, celebrates the women who are breaking into the Pacific Northwest’s brewing arena. Watch a trailer here and check the website to find out if the film is screening in your city. Cheers!