Since that fateful day when our group of gals stumbled in after a Saturday trip to the Thirsty Planet Brewing Company tasting room and bought a URL for this would-be blog, we’ve had some amazing experiences…
We’ve met incredible people, drank fantastic beer from all over the world, developed knowledge and palates, covered the Great American Beer Festival each year, made our television debut, gained new writers, broke news, threw an art show, were on the cover of a fucking newspaper and published our first book. Some of us have turned beer into a day job on top of just a favorite hobby. Other milestones were bitter sweet, like watching some of our co-founders spread their wings beyond Austin,
or watching women’s restroom lines at beer festivals grow.
We dreamed up the idea for Bitch Beer because we wanted to help create space for women in craft beer, particularly women who were just starting to explore it. Over the years we’ve still looked around too many beer bars searching for another female face, have seen too many tap handles and advertisements that only acknowledge women as eye candy and buxom bar maids rather than valuable consumers and community members, and we’ve heard our fair share of horror stories.
There was the reader who told us she wasn’t carded for buying Stash IPA at a bottle shop because the cashier said he just assumed since she was buying an IPA, it would be for her boyfriend or husband anyway. There was the bar manager who confidently bragged to us and a group of other writers that “even the female employees” at his bar knew their stuff. There were the dozens of men who led brewery tours and touted their lightest, sweetest or fruitiest beer as “the one the ladies like.” There were women like Caitlin Van Horn and Genevieve Cato who wrote confidently online about their concerns with sexism in the beer world only to be mocked, patronized and threatened physically and/or sexually by members of the beer community just for writing with a different point of view.
Writing can be vulnerable, especially on this sometimes delightful, yet often horrifying cesspool we call the internet. And like these women, we’ve found that out our fair share of times too. We’ve shared insights about what it’s like to be women in a male-dominated industry, and on occasion we’ve called out breweries for disrespecting women, and many times we were met with responses that echoed what Lena Dunham describes so poignantly with this quote in the intro to her book “Not That Kind of Girl”:
“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.”
Three years later, we haven’t shut up, and we don’t have any immediate plans to do so.
On occasion we’ve been teased, sometimes we’ve been mocked, often we’ve been marginalized. Yet, outshining all of those interactions are the brewers, beer festival organizers, writers, shop owners, and beer community members from all over who have given us one of the greatest gifts they can–trusting us to tell their stories.(Sharing their beer with us didn’t hurt either.) To all of you, we’d like to say THANK YOU.
And to our readers–whether this is your first time reading our blog, or you’ve been with us since our WordPress account spit out an inaugural “Hello World” post, we can’t thank you enough for believing that those stories we’ve told here matter enough that you’d spend even just a few minutes of your time reading them. We owe an even bigger debt of gratitude to the people who have shared those stories with their friends, come out to our events, and supported us by buying our book or Love Austin Beer prints.
As we begin to embark on our fourth year putting out little dispatches from the beer world on this website, we savor the knowledge that many of the frustrations we’ve shared above are beginning to become less and less frequent. Each month at our Pink Boots Society meeting we meet more and more women who are working in all different facets of the beer industry. Sarah Eshelman recently started an Austin chapter of the women’s beer tasting group Beer Necessities, which is bringing out dozens of female craft beer converts to frequent meetings. There’s also those aforementioned restroom lines, quantifiable evidence that more women are visiting craft beer bars, taprooms and beer festivals, and thus drinking more craft beer.
We’ve loved watching the Austin beer community grow and change. In these last three short years new breweries like Pinthouse Pizza, The ABGB and Oasis, TX have burst on the scene. Austin institutions like Live Oak, Real Ale and North by Northwest have expanded, remaining relevant, dynamic and exceptional. We’ve gotten our first maltster, first dedicated growler fill bar, first craft beer only bottle shop and first all Texas craft beer bar. There have also been landmark legislative changes.
We’ve had the honor of writing about it all, and all have been causes for celebration.
So, on that note, if you’re in Austin and you’d like to come celebrate with us, SAVE THE DATE for our next Bitch Beer’s “Time of the Month” happy hour at Hi Hat Public House on February 28. It’ll double as a birthday blowout. More details to follow.
Thanks again for visiting our little corner of the Internet,