Supporting women in brewing

Female brewers gather at Third Space to create ‘Like a Girl IPA’

Samantha Danen, chair of the Milwaukee chapter of the Wisconsin Pink Boots Society.

Last updated on February 9th, 2023 at 02:19 pm

Donning their signature pink boots and beanies, a group of female brewers from various breweries in Wisconsin and members of the Pink Boots Society gathered at Third Space Brewing in Milwaukee on Wednesday to take part in creating a unique brew.

The Pink Boots Society is a nonprofit organization that supports women working in the brewing profession, which is not limited to beer and may include other beverages like kombucha. The organization also provides scholarships and educational opportunities for members.

Wednesday’s group collaborated to create a beer that supports women in brewing, called “Like a Girl IPA.” The beer is described as balanced with a sweet malt presence and a silky mouthfeel. One month from today, the IPA will officially go on sale for International Women’s Day. The money raised will be used by the Milwaukee chapter of the Pink Boots Society for educational events and a technical-based scholarship in 2023.

“The Pink Boots Society was created to empower women beer professionals and help advance their careers in the industry through education. That’s exactly what this Like A Girl project is all about. We bring women together from all over the state to network with one another and to experience first-hand what it’s like to brew beer on a professional level,” said Samantha Danen, chair of the Milwaukee chapter of the Wisconsin Pink Boots Society.

Danen became a brewer at Third Space just over two years ago and has been working in the industry since 2015.

She initially started as a home brewer in college and quickly found a passion for it. Danen quickly realized she wanted to brew beer professionally and found a brewery that was just opening up to get her foot in the door.

Being a female in the brewing space didn’t always mean feeling welcome for Danen, which is an issue Pink Boots Society hopes to address. She became a member of the Pink Boots Society in 2018 to connect with other women in the industry facing similar struggles.

“I didn’t see anybody who looked like me in the industry,” said Danen. “It was just a lot of old, white men brewing. Every time I would try to tell people, ‘Hey, I know what I’m talking about,’ I felt like I was rejected.”

The goal of the Third Space and Pink Boots Society project is to highlight the roles women fill in every aspect of the beer business and to raise funds to help more women pursue a career in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

“I started brewing in 2015 and it’s kind of incredible how much (the industry) has changed in that time,” said Danen. “There’s plenty of room to grow and for the industry to become more diverse in every way, but it is encouraging how many women have made their way in the industry.”

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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