Kate Rydell first entered the craft beer world because, amongst her male friends, she didn’t want to be “the chick who only drinks Bud Light.”

The more she learned, the more interested she became, and now she is one of several women in Brunswick and around the state making a living in the business of beer.

Rydell works at Moderation Brewing Company, co-owned by Mattie Daughtry and Philip Welsh. Moderation, one of three breweries in Brunswick, celebrated International Women’s Day on Friday by celebrating the women who work in the industry, inviting brewers from all over the state to join the Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day. The day is dedicated to “raising the profile of women’s roles in the beer industry. Chapters and members of Pink Boots Society get together along with supporting breweries and individuals, put on their pink boots and brew their chosen beer style,” according to the society’s website.

Brewers from Moderation, Black Pug and Flight Deck among a few others joined in to create their own brews from the special Pink Boots hops blend, which should be on tap in the next few weeks.

“It’s fun to see what others are doing with it,” Daughtry said. “There are a lot of women in the Brunswick beer world” and in the Maine beer scene, she added.

The Maine brewery population is rapidly expanding. According to Sean Sullivan, executive director of Maine Brewers’ Guild, there are 144 licensed breweries in Maine. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, 19 new breweries sprouted in the state. The Midcoast is home to Moderation, Flight Deck and Black Pug, as well as Bath Brewing Co., Maine Beer Co., Sea Dog and Gritty McDuff’s, to name a few.

In 2017, the Brewers’ Guild found that the industry had contributed over $260 million to the economy and had employed 1,910 Mainers. While they do not keep records of brewery employee gender, Rydell said that historically, brewing started out as more of a women’s job, and now women are often behind the scenes in the quality control and microbiology elements of brewing.

“It’s important for women to see (careers in beer) as an option,” said Emily Wilson, a tasting room staff member for Black Pug.

Statistically, women still don’t drink as much beer as men; according to the Brewers Association’s 2014 report, women consume about 32 percent of craft beer by volume. The same year, a Stanford University study showed that only 4 percent of breweries had a woman as head brewer or brewmaster. But that’s not stopping women like Daughtry, or other brewery employees like Wilson, Rydell or “beertender” Angela Dang.

“It can be a great creative outlet,” Wilson said, adding that events like Friday’s, and the Pink Boots Society can be a way to make female friends in groups often seen as being for “beer bros.”

“It’s not one brewery doing (the event),” Dang said, “It’s collaborative.” Dang was initially drawn in by the different styles of beer, and then the science behind it. What kept her there though was the group of both men and women who she said made craft beer a welcoming and inclusive community.

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