It may not come as a surprise that women are somewhat of a minority in the craft beer industry. Despite their small numbers, these ladies are a big part of making our favorite brews a tasty, tasty reality in today’s marketplace. In honor of all the women in this industry, we put together this feature on a few of the rad ladies in the craft beer world. Learn more about these amazing women, how they got into the beer business, and which brews they choose.
Nadine Jones, Texas Brand Manager, Brooklyn Brewery
How She Got Started: After leaving a high-pressure career on Wall Street, Nadine ultimately found her niche at Brooklyn Brewery. She quickly fell in love with the people, the atmosphere, and the endless opportunities at the brewery. “You are bringing joy into people’s lives, what can be better?”
Who She Admires: Nadine admires and looks up to a few women who have long been on the beer scene, “paving” the way for other females. While there are many to name, three come to mind as people to look up to as influencers in the industry. On this list is Mary Wiles, the first female brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch who is currently at Brooklyn Brewery, Kim Jordan, co-founder and former longtime CEO of New Belgium, and Lauren Woods Salazar, also at New Belgium. Lauren was named Imbibe Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2016 for her amazing work as specialty brand manager and wood cellar blender. A sensory specialist, Lauren is known for producing New Belgium’s coveted sour beers!
Favorite Beer Industry Memory: Nadine feels lucky to have met and worked with some inspiring forces in the craft brewing world. Brooklyn Brewery boasts one of the industry’s foremost authorities in brewing with their head brewmaster, Garrett Oliver.
When asked about her funniest and best memories (so far) in the beer business, Garrett stars in both. While Nadine still worked at River North Sales & Service, the wholesaler hosted Garrett and as Nadine was driving him around discussing beers, she thinks back on just how green she was and the juxtaposition of discussing beers with an expert while she was just starting to scratch the surface in her beer education. Fast forward a few years, and a lot more experience, Nadine relishes attending an event at North Texas Beer Week at the Common Table, all industry folks, where Garret pulled out all barrel-aged beers for a ghost tasting—a truly amazing experience. We’re jealous!
First Craft Beer: Goose Island IPA
Favorite Beer Types: Ambers, Porters, Stouts and Belgians
Follow Brooklyn Brewery on Social:
Twitter – @BrooklynBrewery
Caitlin Bursack, TX/OK Marketing Manager, Oskar Blues
How She Got Started: Growing up in the restaurant and hospitality business, Caitlin worked at the South Philadelphia Tap Room after she graduated from Temple University. Meeting people and selling comes naturally to Caitlin, and it is clear she knows no stranger. She spent 2 months traversing the US, meeting with bars and breweries to promote the South Philadelphia Tap Room, but really, it was a beercation. Eventually, she saw a job posting for a Philadelphia sales rep with Oskar Blues and had to have it. She emailed, faxed and called to express her interest in working for the brewer – and her efforts paid off! She spent 4 years in the role until she got a promotion that included a move to Texas to become the Texas Market Manager. She is now Oskar Blues’ South Central Regional Manager.
Who She Admires: Caitlin definitely believes it is important for woman to support woman in this industry, any industry, and in life. One of her favorite women in the beer world is her mentor, Elizabeth Eihorn, with Boston Beer. Having met in the Philadelphia beer scene as peers, Caitlin regards Elizabeth as someone to look up to and learn from.
Advice for Others in the Industry: When asked about advice she would offer to others trying to get into the beer business, it is no surprise that she said to be persistent! Caitlin says that in the beer industry you, “have to be able to adapt to your audience and environment and not every day is a win. My grandmother always taught me growing up, that some days you get the peanuts and some days you get the shells”.
First Craft Beer: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Favorite Beer Types: Pale Ales and IPAs (Dale’s Pale Ale and the Oskar Blues IPA!)
Follow Oskar Blues on Social:
Sonia Garcia, Texas Brewery Representative, Odell Brewing
Favorite Part of Job: Sonia enjoys getting to meet people from all different backgrounds and turning people on to craft beers. She also likes that her position isn’t necessarily outlined for her and that she is responsible for crafting her own opportunities, thanks in part to her incredibly supportive manager out of the Colorado brewery location.
How She Got Started: Sonia started out with an art degree and was working at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Wanting to save money to quit her day job and travel, Sonia started bartending and before long, she impressed a beer wholesale rep with her beer knowledge. The rep recommended she apply for a job with a distributor and the rest is history!
Who She Admires: Sonia admires the influential ladies that helped found Odell Brewing, Wynne and Corkie Odell. In 1989, the intrepid husband, wife, and sister team of Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell founded the brewery in a converted 1915 grain elevator located on the outskirts of downtown Fort Collins. With Wynne as CEO and Corkie as Culture Maven, the brewery continues to thrive!
Advice for Others in the Industry: When asked what advice she has for others in the industry, Sonia has a few pieces of wisdom. Sonia says it’s essential to “always be nice” to those you meet, to under-promise and over-deliver, and to always do what you say you’re going to do. Lastly, she recommends that everyone study and know their brews! Now that’s some sound advice!
First Craft Beer: New Belgium Fat Tire
Favorite Beer Types: IPAs (The new Odell Drumroll APA and thinks that the Odell IPA is easy to drink and a great first beer)
Follow Sonia on Social:
Twitter – @HopGirl_Houston
Instagram – @soniaisms
Veronica Moore, Marketing Manager, Ben E. Keith Beverage Distributor
Future of Women in the Brew Business: Veronica considers herself lucky to attend the Craft Brewers Conference every year. She says it’s inspiring to see how many more women are involved and looks forward to the day when seeing just as many women as men isn’t a novel idea anymore.
How She Got Started: Veronica got her start in the beer industry as the Office Manager for Ben E. Keith’s Austin, Houston and San Antonio specialty branches. With a degree in Public Relations, her eventual move into the Marketing Manager position was a natural transition.
Who She Admires: Veronica says that while she’s inspired by many people, she especially admires women who just are who they are without any apologies. That’s what Veronica finds so awesome about the women who work in the beer industry. While it’s a male dominated field, women stand strong and say, “who the hell cares, I belong here!”
Advice for Others in the Industry: Based on her experience in the industry, Veronica says it’s important to be prepared to hit the streets and do the dirty work. She stresses that the industry is all about building relationships and the best way to do that is to work hard alongside your industry brethren, no matter if you work on the distribution, supplier or retail end.
First Craft Beer: Shinerbock
Favorite Beer Types: Stouts and Porters – she even named her French bulldog “Porter”!
Follow Ben E. Keith on Social:
Facebook – @benekeith