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College’s Pink Boots brew aims for gender equality in brewing

Niagara College Teaching Brewery marked International Women’s Day with an outpouring of support for women in the beer industry.

Today (March 8) students in the college’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program began working on the College’s Pink Boots collaboration beer for 2022. Their efforts are part of a global initiative launched by the Pink Boots Society, an international non-profit that aims to assist, inspire and encourage women in the fermentable beverage industry through education in a supportive environment.

This is the third consecutive year that Niagara College brewmaster students have offered support for the Pink Boots initiative. For the first time, brewing for Pink Boots will take place over a two-day period at the Teaching Brewery, giving students from several different classes an opportunity to participate.

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First-term Brewmaster student Jui-Tzu (Rita) Yang from Taiwan is pictured working on the College’s Pink Boots Brew on March 8 at the Teaching Brewery.

“We are always excited when our students can take part in the Pink Boots initiative and shine a spotlight on gender equality in the brewing industry,” said Craig Youdale, dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “Niagara College is keenly aware there is work to be done in support of equality, diversity and inclusion in the brewing workforce, and we look forward to supporting that growth in the future.”

“It is an honour and privilege for us to once again participate in Pink Boots,” said Maija Saari, associate dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “As educators of the next generation of brewers and fermenters, we must continue to support and encourage more women and non-binary people to enter the field.”

The college’s 2022 Pink Boots Brew will be a 6.5 % ABV Double IPA, using the special Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day hops blend from Yakima Chief Hops – a partner of the Pink Boots. Yakima Chief Hops donates $3 from every pound sold to Pink Boots Society for education and programming.

“It is important to keep up initiatives that encourage women to think of brewing as a career, and to continue to support and help those that are already brewers, owners and suppliers,” said brewmaster professor Jon Downing.

First-term Brewmaster students Oanh Tran Thi Kieu from Vietnam and Alanna Scully from Blyth, Ontario work together on the Pink Boots brew on March 8.

This year, the college’s Pink Boots brew follows closely on the heels of its inaugural Brave Noise Collaboration beer. In mid-February, a group of brewmaster students crafted a Brave Noise Pale Ale at the Teaching Brewery. The Brave Noise global collaborative effort aims to make the beer industry safe and free from discrimination for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ people.

“Opportunities to highlight and celebrate our students through events like Pink Boots and Brave Noise build our collective understanding and mutual respect of the additional challenges faced by those who are forging new ground as under-represented individuals,” said Saari.

Fourth-term student Angela McCallum, who coordinated the College’s involvement in Brave Noise, participated in Pink Boots for the first time this year. “Championing women in brewing is always a worthwhile cause,” she said.

By working toward gender equality, McCallum noted that Pink Boots supports and facilitates the important goals of Brave Noise.

“Ultimately, we want to normalize female participation in the brewing industry. However, this is no small task,” said McCallum.

“The Pink Boots Society plays a foundational role by assisting, inspiring, and encouraging female beer professionals through education.

“When inspired and encouraged, we – as female brewers – are in a better position to tackle the goal of normalization.”

NC Teaching Brewery’s Pink Boots Double IPA is expected to be released in April.

Note: Information for the above story was provided by Niagara College