Monday, June 30, 2014

Somethin’s Brewin’: New Women’s Craft Beverage Trade Group, Fermenta

Written by  Patti Smith
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Fermenta article

As I’ve mentioned before, women were always the brewers. The Industrial Revolution, Prohibition, changes in beer production, and many other factors changed that. But now women are joining the ranks of beer professionals in leaps and, er, hops!
This past April, craft beverage industry women met at Arbor Brewing Company to discuss forming a women’s trade group. The focus of this group would be to encourage more women to get involved in the craft beverage industry (including beer blogging/writing!) and to expand our collective knowledge about beer in Michigan. Along the way, friendships would be formed and connections made.

Thanks to the hard work of the founders, this group is now a reality! Fermenta will make its grand debut at the Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti. Eleven breweries committed to brew beers in support of the group: Boatyard Brewing Company, Cotton Brewing CompanyDragonmead Brewery, Fenton Winery and Brewery, Griffin Claw Brewing Company, Pike 51Saugatuck Brewing Company, Short's Brewing Company, Unity Vibration Kombucha Beer and Tea, Witch's Hat Brewing, and Wolverine State Brewing.

Women in all alcoholic craft beverage industries are welcome to join as an active professional. If a woman is not formally in the industry (i.e. a homebrewer), she can still join as an associate member. The group is working on its incorporation and will file for 501(c)(3) status with an eye towards educational seminars and hands-on workshops for members.

In addition to the traditional leadership roles, Fermenta also has subcommittees devoted to event planning, education and fundraising. Both the membership roster and the founding board read like a who’s who of women in beer. The first term officers are President: Pauline Knighton, Short's Brewing Company; Vice President: Angie Williams, Griffen Claw; Treasure: Ginny Sherrow, Fenton Winery & Brewery; Secretary: Megan Pruim, Saugatuck; Communications: Manda Geiger, Pike 51.

The ultimate mission of Fermenta is simple: it is a non-profit initiated by Michigan women, committed to diversity, camaraderie, networking, and education within the craft beverage industry. I’ll drink to that!

Any women who would like to get involved with Fermenta can email Pauline Knighton at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or check out the Facebook page.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Patti “TeacherPatti” Smith lives in Ann Arbor with Boyfriend Ken, her dog Buddy and her stepcats Ali and Cyrus. She is a special education teacher by day, local history buff and brew drinker by night (see the hybrid history/beer blog at www.teacherpatti.com). She also loves watching most Detroit sports on TV, boxing, brewing beer, storytelling, board games and recently wrote a middle grade/YA book that she hopes to convince a publisher to publish! Meantime, she is working on a book about the history of downtown Ann Arbor for Arcadia publishers. Her favorite beer styles include Russian Imperial Stout, pumpkin beers, Kolschs and most things with peppers in them.