Craft Beer Spotlight: Pink Boots Society – Western PA Chapter

Pink BootsApril 2016

The Western Pennsylvania region is quickly and deservedly becoming synonymous with high-quality adult libations brewed and distilled with incredible passion and meticulous attention to detail. Awards and recognition have been piling up and, regardless of size, brewing scale, and geographic location, all the libations entities in our little corner of the world are bonded by a steadfast mission to bring the best possible product to your glass. No longer is Pittsburgh known only as the city where Iron City comes from. There is talent at every conceivable level existing in a community that showcases their abilities in numerous ways, thus keeping everyone on top of their game and creating the ultimate win-win for you and I as libations enthusiasts.

Speaking of passion, the Pink Boots Society is another group that is changing the face of craft beer. The subject of “women in brewing” has received extensive coverage in recent months and absolutely exemplifies the fact that women play a powerful role in an industry that has consisted mostly of men in terms of production and enjoyment for countless years. The Western PA Chapter of Pink Boots Society has planted a firm foot in the ground and given women a viable platform to learn, share, network, grow, and pool their collective talents to brew tasty beers. It is an honor to put the Western Pennsylvania Pink Boots Chapter center stage for this month’s Craft Beer Spotlight.

The mission of the Pink Boots Society is to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the industry through education, as well as teach them the judging skills necessary to become beer judges at the Great American Beer Festival and other beer competitions. This group spans the globe and has created the ultimate network of female movers and shakers in the industry, bringing together those who brew, package, design, serve, write about, sell, and market the world’s most popular adult beverage to collaborate on ideas that move the craft beer industry forward.

On Wednesday night, March 30th, the most recent collaboration project by the Pink Boots Society hit the taps at Rock Bottom in The Waterfront as Big Boots Gose poured in front of a jam-packed house. This beer, the final product from Big Boots Brew Day, a day where Pink Boots chapters across the country come together in their respective cities and brew a new collaborative beer, marks the second beer done by this talented group of local professionals.

According to Meg Evans, Brewmaster at Rock Bottom and Chairwomen of the Western PA Chapter, Big Boots Gose was designed to be light, refreshing, and almost capture the flavor profile of a margarita. The lime in this gose is very prevalent and the style is absolutely spot-on, capturing that farmy, effervescent characteristic that screams “porch beer” at a very high pitch.

Big Boots Gose will be tapping at various craft beer destinations throughout Pittsburgh before, during, and after Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2016, which runs April 15th thru 24th. You can check out a few of those dates at the bottom of this feature.

But first, take a few minutes and get to know the ladies making a huge impact on Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene!

Pink Boots Society – Western PA Chapter

Meg EvansName: Meg Evans

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Head Brewer for Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery; Chairwomen of Pink Boots Society Chapter of Western PA

What’s your favorite beer?
The one in my hand. Typically sessionable and sour.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
By getting more people involved and through education. In a general sense, as people learn more about a particular topic, there is gained interest and exposure to that topic. We find that more people want to learn more and challenge those who make or do that particular thing. This is exactly what we do here with the Pink Boots Society. We are generating excitement and interest in learning about beer. We are empowering women to learn more about the work they do and possibly more. We learn from one another and from our peers outside of our organization, which is already allowing the women of our chapter to feel a part of something bigger than they were involved in before.

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Erika ShumakerName: Erika Shumaker

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Co-owner of ShuBrew Handcrafted Ales & Food with husband and brewer Zachary Shumaker in Zelienople, PA. 

What’s your favorite beer?
ShuBrew’s Jungleboot IPA American IPA 
 
How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
The Pink Boots Society is bringing women in the craft beer industry together to learn from one another and is helping to make women a more prominent part of the industry. From our monthly meetings and discussions, I have learned new things or received advice related to the industry that will help make my business more successful.
 
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Linda NymanName: Linda Nyman
 
How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I am both co-owner and Marketing Director of Penn Brewery.
 
What’s your favorite beer?
Penn Chocolate Meltdown Stout
 
How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Pink Boots not only raises the profile of the growing number of women in the craft beer industry, but also serves as a valuable networking resource.
 
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Connie TucciName:  Connie Tucci

How are you involved in the craft beer industry? 
Sales Division Director for Great Lakes Brewing Company

What’s your favorite beer? 
Porters…can’t choose just one.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
I have been selling beer for almost 20 years now…and it has always been a male-dominated environment. With the influx of the craft beer industry, many more women have opportunities they never did. Pink Boots Society is great for bringing women together in a friendly atmosphere to discuss all things beer and to help each other become more successful in the industry.

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Sandy CindrichName: Sandy Cindirch

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Co-owner and President of Penn Brewery

What’s your favorite beer?
Penn Dark

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Pink Boots Society is helping to open doors to women who want to get into the brewing industry by providing education, networking, and opportunity.

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Dana StaudtName: Dana Staudt

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
First and foremost, I’m a homebrewer who got my start and continues with a local club, the Three Rivers Underground Brewers (TRUB). I’m also a Certified Beer Judge, a board member of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance who organizes Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, an employee of Stewards of Beer, a local company who educates consumers through beer samplings and beer/food pairing dinners, and, of course, a member of Pink Boots Society.

What’s your favorite beer?
It changes with the season typically, but I do love those Festbiers.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
They do regularly offer scholarships to a variety of beer educational classes, which is offering that extra hand to women in the craft beer industry.

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Damaris ShawName: Damaris Shaw

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I represent craft beer brands locally for Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company as a promotional model. While we are known for representing large brands like Coors, we also do samplings on and off premises for many smaller breweries such as Coney Island, Small Town Brewery, and SweetWater to name a few.

What’s your favorite beer?
Traveler Beer Co. just came out with a Pineapple Shandy that is giving Rivertowne’s Hala Kahiki a run for my tastebuds!

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
My work environment is predominantly male-oriented and finding out about the PBS is giving me more role models and expanding my avenues I see myself working in in the future.

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Susan SternbergerName: Susan Sternberger

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Nine years ago, I was introduced to Tony Knipling of Vecenie Distributing. Tony approached me about the possibility of hosting a craft beer school class at The Cabaret at Theater Square, where I was already hosting a monthly wine tasting event. 50 people came to “Craft Beer 101,” our first class. For the last several years, Craft Beer School has sold out in advance on a subscription series, with 250 students coming each month to learn what makes craft beer so special.

What’s your favorite beer?
It’s a lot like having children; you can’t have a favorite. But I can say that I’m the dark and dangerous type.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Being part of the Pink Boots Society has introduced me to some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. Not only do these women rock, the whole craft beer community is just that: community. Triumphs and tragedies are shared. Money gets raised. People get helped. Brewers rebuild. And women organized are stronger than women standing alone.

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Nicole RichardsonName: Nicole Richardson

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I have been working at Pennsylvania Brewing Company for about three years. I started out in the bottling and packaging department after a friend told me they needed someone to fill in for a guy who was going on vacation for a few weeks. I ended up staying and working my way up to my current position of Cellar Master. I can’t imagine doing anything else at the moment!

What’s your favorite beer?
I really don’t have a favorite beer. It’s such a difficult question to answer because I try to give everything a chance and I’m always trying something new when I visit bottle shops and brewpubs. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has always been my go-to beer. Not my favorite beer, but it’s good and has always been consistent in terms of flavor for me.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
I think the greatest thing PBS is doing is giving women from all over the world a place (online) to connect and share ideas with each other. For me, it’s not about wanting to discuss being “a woman working in the industry.” It’s about being part of a community that focuses on helping women succeed and develop their careers through networking and scholarships. This is what some of us choose to do for a living, we happen to be women, and PBS gives us a platform to help each other grow.

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Dani GaisName: Dani Gais

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
When I’m not at my 9 to 5 gig, I am a Brand Ambassador at Hitchhiker Brewing in Mt. Lebanon. I’m at the brewery a few nights a week. I enjoy talking to our customers, hearing what feedback they have to give and enjoy their enthusiasm for the local craft beer community shared between them.

What’s your favorite beer?
I’m not sure it’s fair to ask to pick “one.” So many people are doing awesome stuff right now. Locally: Roundabout’s Ginga Wheat. It’s a tie between Oblivion and Silenco from Wicked Weed for my other favorite spot. I love the super funky things.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Through its welcoming and educational community, it has provided the opportunity to bring a lot of women to the foreground of craft beer. Each meeting we have is an opportunity to learn something from someone else whether it’s learning which yeast is most beneficial in a certain application or what steps we need to take to build a well-informed staff who may not have had experience explaining beer in the past. PBS is revolutionary within the industry because of the community of empowered and educated women their chapters have helped to create.

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Dyana SloanName: Dyana Sloan

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Craft beer drinker since 1996, owner/tap handler at Roundabout Brewery.

What’s your favorite beer?
Just one? Can’t do it. Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin/Merkin, Dux de Lux Ginger Tom, Kostritzer Schwarzbier. No shameless plug.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where female brewers are referred to as “beer angels.” No one would ever say that to a male brewer. PBS has create a strong community of female brewery-industry professionals through educational scholarships, brewing collaborations, and highlighting quality product and work. I believe the work done locally and nationally by PBS can help erase the idea of women in this industry as a novelty and open up new opportunities for inquisitive, creative, and hard-working women.

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Sherris MoreiraName: Sherris Moreira

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I am far more on the education, marketing, and promotion of it via PA Brew Tours, which brings guests locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally into our craft breweries and also provides a better understanding of these destinations via entertainment and education about the industry.

What’s your favorite beer?
Voodoo Love Child.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Women have always been involved on a variety of levels. What Pink Boots does is spotlight the women in the industry which, in turn, encourages more women to get involved. This also helps women get the respect they deserve from the entire craft beer industry. PBS has been a big help for me in learning from others involved so I can better understand the industry in general. Participating in this group has been key to me understanding the importance of what PA Brew Tours can provide the region’s breweries and realize far more seriously the value of the contributions all of us do for the local scene!

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Jenn WeirName: Jenn Weir

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Marketing and Sales for Rivertowne Brewing.

What’s your favorite beer?
Rivertowne All Aboard Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Stout…the only beer I will drink at room temperature.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Pink Boots helps raise awareness of the important role that women play in the craft beer industry. It’s been pretty male-dominated up until recently, but there are plenty of women involved that serve to make the entire scene better. In fact, Rivertowne is majority-owned by a woman. Through collaboration, networking, and always learning from one another, Pink Boots is doing some pretty awesome things to make the craft beer industry most accessible to women through educational initiatives.

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Chris DillaName: Chris Dilla

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
Owner of Bocktown Beer and Grill in Robinson and Monaca, Founding Member of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week

What’s your favorite beer?
My favorite style is IPA. I’m into session IPAs right now, notably Founders All Day IPA, Rivertowne Jah Mon, and Fat Head’s Sunshine Daydream.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
It’s been a male-dominated field for hundreds of years. But Pink Boots Society is shining the spotlight on women who are making craft beer their career. It gives us a network to talk about the great things, as well as the problems we all face as women in the craft beer industry.

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Alexandrea MillerName: Alexandrea Miller

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I am an intern at Levity Brewing Company in Indiana and I want to continue my education to better my skills so I can stay in the industry!

What’s your favorite beer?
Troegenator Double Bock by Troeg’s.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Pink Boots Society is not only encouraging women to be proud to brew beer, but it also gives women the chance in the industry. I am new to the professional craft beer industry and I found it so comforting when I went to my first PBS meeting and everyone was not only so nice, but so willing to help me. This organization for me has been phenomenal for making amazing connections and memories.

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Colleen VecellioName: Colleen Vecellio

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I am the resident in-house artist for Grist House Craft Brewery in Millvale. I create all of the chalkboard art and one-off side projects for the brewery, as well as bartending in the taproom two nights a week.

What’s your favorite beer?
I am forever in love with Grist House’s Double Vice, which is an easy-drinking coffee porter that I love on cold or hot days! I’m a dark beer lover with some of my favorites including Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Left Hand Nitro Stout, and Grist House’s Stocious Stout.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
I have had a truly awesome experience with Pink Boots Society, getting together with Pittsburgh’s local craft beer ladies to talk about, drink, and brew delicious beers. It is not only fun and educational, but Pink Boots is an eye-opening opportunity for all women to demonstrate just how invested and passionate we can be about our beer. Prost!

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Krystle EatonName: Krystle Eaton

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
My husband and brother own Grist House Craft Brewery and, as a family, we have helped to build the brewery from the start. I play many different roles depending on what is needed to support our business, but currently I help with outside event planning and donation activity.

What is your favorite beer?
I don’t have a favorite beer per say. I enjoy many types. It depends on my mood, weather, and what I am feeling like that day on what I choose. Two of my go-to’s at the brewery are our Camp Slap Red and Horizon Shine.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Pink Boots is a wonderful organization that gives back to the women in the industry by having many educational opportunities available. It also allows women to connect within the industry to build relationships and to share experiences. With having a local chapter, people are learning more about Pink Boots and realizing women play an integral role in the industry to provide them with their favorite brew.

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Tiffany ThompsonName: Tiffany Thompson

How are you involved in the craft beer industry?
I am a brewer at Church Brew Works.

What is your favorite beer?
A fine-crafted pilsner.

How do you feel Pink Boots Society is revolutionizing the craft beer industry?
Outside of bringing fellow females from the industry together for collaborations, it’s fostering and promoting our peers in the brewing community through education and awareness.






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