June 7, 2017

Column on Female Beer Brewer Infantilized Women

I wanted to comment on the article about brewer stereotypes at small craft breweries (“Terrapin’s Jess Hurd Shatters Beer-Brewing Stereotypes,” The Locavore, May 10). I think it would have been better to simply write a feature about the actual single female who works brewing beer in Athens, rather than to mention the wives of brewery owners who do managerial and custodial tasks, based on the article. I feel that it sends a message to women that if you can't become a brewer, then your next best bet is to marry a man who owns a brewery, and you can at least run the tasting room, pose for photos and get two sentences written about you in the local paper.

Don't get me wrong, I know that managing what is essentially a bar and mopping floors is hard work, but to present that information as if it's some sort of achievement in the field of craft brewing seems infantilizing and honestly just doesn't make sense. I think it would have been a great angle in the article to just talk about why there seems to be only one woman brewing beer in Athens, how the other visible women are actually the spouses of brewers, and what that says about the culture of brewing in our town.

The article also implies that women are intimidated by the hard physical labor involved in brewing beer, therefore they do not apply for jobs in the industry. I think that is an outrageous assumption, since women historically have worked very physically demanding jobs such as nursing, farming, military service and law enforcement.