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Article updated April 2023

Women work in all aspects of the beer industry from brewery owners to packaging, cellaring, sales, and taproom management. The Pink Boots Society was established for female beer professionals to assist, inspire, and encourage women to advance their careers through education. In 2020, Pink Boots Society extended its membership to include all women in the fermented / alcohol beverage industry.

Pink Boots Society Austin Chapter was established back in 2014 and it continues to grow and thrive under the current leadership of Jill Paluch and Fish Reninger. For the past three years, and despite the pandemic, the Austin chapter has produced a record number of collaboration beers during the annual PBS Collaboration Brew Day®.

I caught up with Reninger to talk more about what makes the Austin chapter so special.

In your own words, describe the group and what it means to be part of it.

Our group is built up of an amazing team of womyn who all come together to learn and celebrate each other’s growth & success. We all have this network to turn to when we need some advice or resources. It has been a great place to connect with our peers in the Austin community, which is full of breweries & other companies that support us as well. It has been a space for knowledge, friendships, support during trying times, and new opportunities. It really brings together womyn who might not have the same support in their company and connect them with new peers & educational avenues.

What makes this group unique?

The Austin Chapter is always active. It is common to run into other members outside of meetings out at other breweries, cideries, etc. We all just want to support the exciting things our members and their companies are doing. We also work to build a welcoming space for our new members and encourage them to share their stories. We all want to celebrate each other and the awesome fermenting community we are all connected by.

What type of events do you have and how often do you have them?

We currently host monthly meetings, typically on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Our meetings are for members only, though interested parties are welcome to attend a first meeting to check it out. The meeting consists of socializing, announcements, and a time for members to share any news they are excited about. We also have an educational topic at each meeting. This can include a guest speaker or a host brewery sharing knowledge on a topic they specialize in.

In early spring we also host Pink Boots Collaboration Day, typically on March 8th. On that day, and throughout, the year business brews a collab beer(cider, wine, etc) that supports the local chapter. You can find these brews at local breweries or cideries that participate or at your local grocery store.

Where do you see this group in one year? Five?

In one year we would like to expand our chapter through membership and industry participation. We would like more opportunities to connect with local wineries, cideries & distilleries. We also look forward to continuing to find new educational topics that are relevant to our members and expanding on the scholarship opportunities available to us. Scholarships, provided by industry sponsors, include courses through the Seibel Institute, American Brewer’s Guild, Yakima Cheif Hops, eCornell Women in Leadership, and many more.

How many members do you have to date?  What do Austin professionals need to do to join?

Our Austin Chapter currently has 85 active members. To join, you can simply visit the Pink Boots Society membership page here and fill out the form.  Basic requirements are being a womyn in the professional fermentation world or retiring with a minimum of 10 years in the Fermented/Alcoholic beverage industry. Interested parties are welcome to reach out to us at our handle @pinkbootsaustintx with inquiries.

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