The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
In the world of craft beer, trends come and go. But while the industry flirts with triple IPAs and ghost chile beers, another movement appears to have staying power: More women are entering the industry. In Colorado brewing circles, the best-known female is Kim Jordan, co-founder and CEO of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins.
When, 22 years ago, she and her husband started the brewery, Jordan couldn’t have known that she was breaking ground for more gender equity. Today, women have become involved in all levels of the state’s booming industry—there’s even a collaboration beer, called “Ellegance,” made by local female brewers. A look at Denver beer’s feminine side.
Prost Brewing Company
Most folks aren’t used to seeing a woman clean out fermentation tanks or throw around 50-pound bags of grain—but that’s just part of the job for brewer Ashleigh Carter. “Some people look at me like I should be pouring them a beer. I can’t do that, but I can take them on a tour and tell them how we make beer.” prostbrewing.com
Great Divide Brewing Company
As the craft beer industry grows, more job opportunities open up. Anna Nadasdy, director of Great Divide’s sales and marketing, says it’s a joy to see more women getting involved in beer. “We’re not at parity yet, but it’s definitely great to see the transformation occur.” greatdivide.com
Laura Vande Zande
Renegade Brewing Company
Taproom manager Laura Vande Zande partly attributes the rise of women to the evolution of craft brew. “[Beer] was about football games and drinking a Bud out of the back of the truck,” she says. “Now, it’s a 10-ounce pour of something rich and flavorful—it’s become more sophisticated.” renegadebrewing.com
Black Shirt Brewing Company
Carissa Miller helped launch the River North neighborhood brewery—and she designed the interior, worked on beer recipes, and balanced the books. She also does nearly every job on site, from helping clean tanks to serving pints. “It’s important for me to keep my thumb on the pulse and be involved in the brewery and the delivery of our craft.” blackshirtbrewingco.com
All Praise the Colorado Beer Goddesses
In late February, eight beer-loving women rallied around a single mission: to create the first-ever all-female-brewed collaboration beer in Colorado. Named Ellegance, this Belgian-style brown ale (which was made at Wynkoop Brewing Company) became the official collaborative brew of March’s Colorado Craft Beer Week. Quaff a pint at the Wynkoop, Ale House at Amato’s, Star Bar, or the Denver Bicycle Cafe.