“It’s a celebration of women in craft beer”
Ava Wilson is probably the busiest person on the New Zealand craft beer community. She oversees Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn, brews as Beer Baroness, is about to open Little Poms café, part-owns Pomeroy's Brewery and has a 14-month old son. In her spare time, she is also the national coordinator for the Pink Boots Society.
Pink Boots is a networking group for female brewers. It was founded in the United States eight years ago, with the goals of supporting members in their brewing careers, and teaching women the skills needed to be top-level beer judges. The New Zealand chapter was established a year ago at Beervana.
Ava says the New Zealand craft beer community is already supportive of female brewers, and the Society’s goal is to build on that. “Pink Boots originated in the States and it’s a different culture operating over there. I was asking myself, 'Do we need this in New Zealand?’, because our industry is very inclusive. It was never about excluding ourselves from the men because the men are our friends and mentors.
“When we started, I talked with (Two Birds Brewing and Australian coordinator) Jayne Lewis about this. She said, 'Pink Boots is needed because, when you walk into a room of beer judges, maybe three percent are women. Until the day I walk into a room and even 40% are women, Pink Boots is needed’. It’s about having an organisation where women can get together and figure out ways to educate women and it’s nice we can do so. Maybe to the female consumer, talking about beer to another woman is less intimidating.
“Yes our industry as a community is very inclusive and friendly, but more men than women drink beer. At the consumer level it is out of balance, so Pink Boots can help to bring that number up. It’s a celebration of women in craft beer, being proud of what we’re doing, and having a group that can come together and collaborate and talk and educate. That’s better for the industry as a whole.”
Pink Boots is celebrating its first anniversary with a bar at Beervana, sponsored by Cryer Malt. It will feature eight beers, all exclusive to Beervana, and all brewed by women. Contributing brewers include Tiamana, Mata, BeerBaroness, a Beltane/Craftwork collaboration, Two Birds, and even Three Boys!