Not even a pandemic can keep a good brew down and the Pink Boots Society (PBS) is here to prove that. Every year, PBS hosts an international Collaboration Brew Day in which women in the beer industry come together to collaborate on a beer unique to this day. Each participating brewery chooses the style they want to brew, and then they get to work.
The event is an incredible opportunity for women in the industry to experiment, learn and meet others in the field. And when their collaborative effort is ready to drink, PBS splits the proceeds from sales with participating chapters — 66 in the United States and six international chapters. In 2019 — the last event before the pandemic – Collaboration Brew Day raised $244,000 towards funding for educational scholarships and programming for members.
The Collaboration Brew Day is typically held on International Women’s Day, March 8. This year, organizers are encouraging chapters to “get together” virtually and at a distance. Despite this change of format, at the time of press, there were more than 175 breweries registered from across the globe.
“In normal years, we encourage our members to get together in large groups, especially with folks from outside breweries, but obviously we’ll have to adapt this year,” says Cheyenne Weishaar, chapter co-leader for PBS Seattle. “I have encouraged Seattle chapter members to gather with people within their own COVID bubble, for example, people with whom they’ve already been working closely. I think this can be a fun opportunity to extend the brewing learning to folks from all aspects of breweries. I am using this as an opportunity to mask up and brew with all our beer servers and sales reps who are interested!”
As the lead brewer at Dru Bru in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, Weishaar knows firsthand how the brewing industry has heavily shifted to packaged beer during the country’s first round of taproom shutdowns. “Creativity is encouraged for these brew days, so hopefully when the beers are finished, we’ll see some fun package labels and beer names in the wild,” she adds.
Additionally, hop grower and supplier Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) releases a special hop blend for Pink Boots’ Collaboration Brew Day production, which was determined via a virtual hop selection event involving women in beer from around the world. The 2021 blend consists of Cashmere, Ahtanum®, Citra®, Loral® and Sabro® brand hops, resulting in tropical, herbal, citrus and woody aromatic qualities.
To take it full circle, for every pound sold of this special blend, YCH donates $3 to Pink Boots for education, scholarships and programming. Any licensed brewery — regardless of having a PBS member on staff — is able to purchase these raw materials to support their cause.
“By donating or participating in Collaboration Brew Days, [breweries] can help support scholarships for women in the industry,” Weishaar says of the fundraiser. “In addition to [the scholarships], we have recently developed financial support for chapters in specific. So as a chapter, we can use our funds locally to pay for educational field trips, seminars and more scholarships for local women-. All donations go a long way toward helping women achieve their career goals in the brewing industry.”
While individual beer release dates will vary by brewery, female-led production is proudly brewing in the Pacific Northwest. Here are some participating breweries in the PNW – please check with them directly to see when the delicious results of their Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day will be ready to drink!
- Deschutes (Bend, Ore.)
- Wolf Tree (Seal Rock, Ore.)
- Heater Allen (McMinnville, Ore.)
- Montavilla Brew Works (Portland, Ore.)
- Dru Bru (Snoqualmie Pass, Wash.)
- Silver City (Bremerton, Wash.)
- Stoup (Seattle)
- Crucible (Everett, Wash.)
- Terramar (Bow, Wash.)
- Tinhouse (Port Coquitlam, BC)
- Cannery (Penticton, BC)
- High Society (Hayden, Idaho)
- Boise Brewing (Boise, Idaho)