The Women Behind Craft Beer in Austin: Part 3
The Women Behind Craft Beer in Austin series has covered examples of the amazing women that are shaping the Austin beer scene and cultivating the beer culture we know and love. The Women Behind Craft Beer in Austin: Part 3 series will focus on you, the consumer, by highlighting two of the women that bring you news, information and camaraderie to celebrate the beverage we love the most – craft beer. Sarah Eshelman, founder of Beer Necessities Austin and Caroline Wallace, Co-Founder of Bitch Beer are paving the way for women in Austin to be part of the burgeoning beer scene.
Sarah Eshelman: Founder, Beer Necessities Austin
Sarah has long been a purveyor of excellent beer and an occasional home brewer that attributes her love for beer from her Dad. The seeds for Beer Necessities Austin were planted when Sarah took a trip to Chicago to visit a friend and she was invited to attend a Meetup group there, the original Beer Necessities. She was thrilled to see so many women coming together – mainly strangers – simply for the love of beer. Once she returned home she could see the immense potential for a group like that here in Austin and launched the first Meetup in September 2014 at Hopfields. What she could not foresee was how wildly successful the group would become, in one short year the group has grown to over 500 members!
The mission of Beer Necessities is to bring women in the beer industry together with women that love their beer, “Beer culture is often very male-centric, so I want to give beer-loving women (drinkers, brewers, bartenders) an opportunity to meet other beer-loving women & share some good brews and stories in the process”. According to many of the women in the beer industry that I have interviewed, what they are most impressed with is the number of attendees that are not in the industry at all. It just goes to show that women in Austin love great beer. The Meetups are casual, often include discounts and range from brewery tours, panel discussions, bottle shares and just plain ole happy hours. If you are a lady that loves your hops and grain, definitely check out Beer Necessities and get ready to expand your pallets and your friends. Beer Necessities is turning one in September, so sign up quick and join the celebration!
Caroline Wallace: Co-Founder, Bitch Beer
If you follow the Austin beer scene through social media, chances are good that you read the Bitch Beer blog. The women behind the blog are redefining the term “bitch beer” by writing about beer across the country in a way that appeals to women and men. “Started in February 2012, BitchBeer.org is a blog that reclaims the term “bitch beer,” which is often used to describe low-calorie, low-alcohol content beverages that are marketed to serve as the female counterpart for beer, a stereotypical “male” drink.”
It all started on a visit to the Thirsty Planet Brewery a little over three years ago when the founders of Bitch Beer were “bitching” over a pint. Caroline Wallace was working at the newspaper at St. Eds and she and a few fellow co-workers decided to hit up Thirsty Planet for a pint. They noticed they were the only women at the brewery that day and that sparked a conversation that would end up in the founding of www.bitchbeer.org that very evening.
Caroline’s love for craft beer started when she traveled abroad for a semester to New Zealand and found herself surrounded by an up and coming craft beer scene. Being adventurous, she tried as many different beers as possible and once she returned to Austin, she continued that adventure. The Texas beer scene was starting to come alive and Caroline was thrilled to be a part of it. Caroline and her co-founders and contributors are all passionate about the fact that beer is a gender neutral beverage. She recounts some of the challenges when they started the blog, “people didn’t take us seriously and we were frequently made fun of”. Needless to say, that died down quickly as Bitch Beer is one of the most respected beer blogs in town.
Caroline describes herself as a craft beer enthusiast, not a beer snob, and that attitude has helped her create a strong reputation in the Austin beer community. She has been featured in several programs like The Beerists podcast, The Beer Diaries, is a leader in the Central Texas chapter of the Pink Boots Society and continues to be an active fixture in the Austin beer community. Although she occasionally still gets offered a “bitch beer” when she travels abroad, when you spot Caroline around town, she will likely have anything but an American light lager in her hand.
I hope you enjoyed reading The Women Behind Craft Beer in Austin: Part 3.