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Encouraging a beer industry that’s more diverse is good for women and people of color who are interested in entering the business — and it’s also good for the craft beer we all drink.
Beer-making is a science but more so a creative process, an intuitive, personal pursuit. Your favorite new release, its flavor, its character, is a product of decisions informed by the brewer’s taste, travels and distinctive life experiences.
Beer doesn’t need more beards — it needs more women.
Unique beers and the women who help create them will be celebrated 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the fourth edition of FemAle Brew Fest, taking place at the Kimpton Goodland Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach in funky North Beach Village.
Hosted by Fem Collective and UniteUs Group, the event will flow throughout the hotel’s outdoor areas, including a rooftop marketplace. There will be representatives from more than 30 breweries from Florida and across the country, workshops, vendors, DJs, live music and plenty of beer, with food (for purchase) provided by the hotel’s Botanic restaurant.
With COVID safety in mind, organizers are capping attendance for the outdoor, pet-friendly event at 400. Some tickets remain, starting at $45, with a portion of the proceeds going to the no-kill shelter Abandoned Pet Rescue.
Among the local brewery owners on hand will be Lisa Siegel of Tarpon River Brewing in Fort Lauderdale, Jaime Martin of Orchestrated Minds Brewing in Fort Lauderdale, Denielle Mizrahi of Yeasty Brews Artisanal Beers in Lauderhill and Jessica Dornblaser of NOBO Brewing in Boynton Beach, as well as Amy Abralde and Marta Urra, co-owners of Fort Lauderdale’s Craft Beer Cellar.
Several breweries from outside the state will have representatives, including Sarah Perez, a Black brewer from Denali Brewing Co. in Talkeetna, Alaska.
The festival also will include a reading and book signing by Tara Nurin, author of “A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs” (Chicago Review Press, $19.99).
FemAle Brew Fest is the brainchild of Frances Antonio-Martineau, of Fort Lauderdale, who launched the event in 2017 as an offshoot of the Fem Collective, her community-building group for female entrepreneurs. She also started the local chapter of Girls Pint Out and, in 2019, organized Greater Fort Lauderdale Beer Week, which offers events and specials through Sunday (Facebook.com/GFLBeerWeek).
Antonio-Martineau, by day a product developer for a cookware company, admits she’s more beer drinker than brewer, though she did collaborate on a couple of beers for this year’s festival with Yeasty Brews (Vegan Milkshake IPA, with guava and passionfruit) and Orchestrated Minds Brewing (a peach sour).
Here, she answers a few questions about FemAle Brew Fest:
What do we gain by having more women brewers?
Don’t they say that women have better palates than men? (Laughs) … The purpose of me putting on the festival is just to give these women a platform to show off their craft, to be able to inspire other women to get into the industry, or to learn more about beer in general.
In the last couple of years the number of women consuming beer has grown … [and] I’ve definitely seen a greater number of women getting involved in the industry, for sure. [Attendee] Sarah Perez, for example, is the only Black female brewer in Alaska. Might be the only Black brewer in Alaska, I’d have to check that. It’s important to be able to diversify, to be inclusive. … The more inclusive you are, the better you can be.
What are the major issues to be solved for women in the industry?
For women, in general, just to be able to have a seat at the table. Right now, we’re making our own table. (Laughs) You know? I mean, “OK, you don’t want to make room for us, we’ll make our own table.” Just to be able to be seen and heard, really. It’s a male-dominated industry, like a lot of industries.
If I’m a casual craft beer drinker, why should I go to FemAle?
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Foremost, FemAle Brew Fest is one of the pioneering festivals of its kind, supporting and highlighting women in beer. We have breweries from around the country … and there are special brews you won’t be able to find anywhere else at the festival. We also have the brewers there, so you can ask any kind of questions you have to the actual brewers.
But FemAle is a very experiential festival. It’s not just a festival where you come and try beer and that’s it. We try to create a whole different experience. … You can start your day off with a yoga class, then enjoy the rest of your day. We have workshops, and an author [reading] and a vendor marketplace on the roof. … It’s very interactive, very experiential. The vibe is a celebration, a good time.
Yes, yes, there will be men there. (Laughs) Men are always welcome. We have plenty of allies who participate and come to the fest.