Women in the craft beer industry

“On International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate women’s contributions to the industry and encourage new ladies to consider the trade by introducing them to the brewing process.” Beer’s association with weight gain is also a problem when it comes to attracting female consumers. As health becomes an increasing factor driving the drinking trends of consumers, the perception that beer makes you fatter than other types of alcohol is a big barrier to lots of women – which is strange when a bottle of beer can often carry fewer calories than a glass of wine. According to online site Healthline, women may not even be as susceptible to gaining weight as men when it comes to drinking beer. The theory goes that hops often used in beer production are high in phytoestrogens, compounds which mimic the role of oestrogen. This has been thought to cause men to store belly fat more easily than women as the phytoestrogens alter the hormonal balance, allowing more water retention around the abdominal area.


Now that some of the stereotypes have been dealt with, let’s look at what’s being done to encourage more women to enter the beer world. Last year the UK’s Campaign for Real Ale banned beers which carried sexist names from the Great British Beer Festival. While this seems like an important move forward for getting rid of the old-man brewing vibes, it’s only the start. Groups and associations are being taken seriously to try to increase female presence, such as Dea Latis – a group of women brewers, hop growers, publicans, beer sommeliers, writers, marketers and beer drinkers – the educational Pink Boots Society, and the FemALE Festival, celebrating women in brewing.

Now there is even a beer brand dedicated to the cause. Jane Frances LeBlond founded Mothership in 2019, a brewery run by three women in south London which aims to champion women in the beer industry. “When I entered the craft beer industry I didn’t know much about it, but what I did know is that I wasn’t intimidated by the male dominance,” says Frances LeBlond.

“I feel like women are a hugely undervalued consumer of beer and we need to get more drinking beer in order to further grow the category. The beer industry has been targeted at men for decades so it’s hardly surprising to see a dominated category. But in fact there is a very strong beer community for women and if you’re actively looking then the talent pool of brewers is there.

“We want to create a platform to encourage more women within the industry because there have always been the same traditional recruitment paths for brewing jobs, which attract males. But at the same time Mothership is more about championing women than just employing them. If we only employed women then we would be condoning positive discrimination and, ultimately, if we feel the ideal candidate to champion women in the beer industry is a male, then so be it. Interestingly our customers are mixed. We make beer for everyone and would never brand a beer as just for women, but being based in a progressive area in Peckham makes it easier to communicate.”