women

Sip Female-Made Bevvies on International Women’s Day

by | Mar 6, 2020

In the adult beverage world, the number of female owners, distillers, cidermakers, winemakers and brewers compared to the number of men is few and far between. These industries are overwhelmingly dominated by men in all roles. But things are changing, there are women out there who own and run their own businesses and women who are at the forefront of creating your favorite beverages. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday and March being Women’s History Month, we’ve created a list of places you can go to support women in these industries. 

DISTILLERIES

Freeland Spirits 

Portland | Owned & Run

Founded by Jill Kuehler, Freeland Spirits was named after Kuehler’s grandmother and celebrates women in the industry. Their Master Distiller, Molly Troupe has a Master in Distillation from Heriot Watt in Scotland created their signature gin which has a balanced, fresh taste to it. Stop by their tasting room in Portland to try their other spirits and grab a pack of their canned cocktail Gin & Rose Tonic.

Vinn Distillery 

Portland | Co-owned & Run

The Ly family’s patriarch Phan Ly decided to sell the family restaurant and start a brewery making baijiu. Baijiu is a Chinese rice wine spirit that is used to celebrate holidays and honor ancestors, frustrated that he couldn’t easily find the liquor, Ly set out to make it himself. Since then Vinn Distillery has become a family affair. Using a family recipe that has been passed down seven generations, the five siblings and their mother have carried on Phan’s goal of introducing baijiu to Oregon and beyond.

Scratch Distillery 

Edmonds, WA | Co-owned & Head Distiller

Husband and wife team, Bryan and Kim Karrick started Scratch Distillery in 2015. Kim is the head distiller for Scratch and found her way to gin after taking up home brewing as a hobby and working in the wine industry. Scratch is dedicated to using local and organic ingredients in their spirit which has produced some stellar products. Those who want to learn more about gin can take their GINiology class where Kim will help participants make their own personalized gin.

BREWERIES

Stoup Brewing 

Seattle | Co-owned & Brewery Lead

Brad Benson, his wife Lara Zahaba and their friend Robyn Schumacher opened Stoup Brewing together in 2013 in the heart of Ballard’s brewery neighborhood. Brad is the head brewer while his wife is the brewery’s creative director and Schumacher is the brewery lead. Schumacher became the first woman in the state of Washington to become a Certified Cicerone. 

Dru Bru 

Snoqualmie Pass, WA | Lead Brewer

Cheyenne Weishaar is the lead brewer and production manager for Dru Bru and also one of Seattle’s Pink Boots Society (PBS) leaders—a professional organization that unites and supports women in the beer industry. Every year PBS invites women from all over with all different kinds of backgrounds to brew for a cause. In Seattle, breweries like Reuben’s, Lucky Envelope and of course Dru Bru participate in the event.

Lee Hedgmon

Portland

OK, so Hedgmon isn’t a brewery she’s a person and she’s got a hand in quite a few pots. Not only does she have her own business “The Barreled Bee” — a barrel-aged honey business — but she also is a distiller for Freeland Spirits and brews for Ground Breaker Brewing and McMenamins Edgefield. Hedgmon is known for her dessert-inspired beers and likes to push the boundaries with her creations. She also co-runs SheBrew, a beer fest to showcase women brewers and supports LGBTQ+ issues. 

Barkerville Brewing Co.

Quesnel, BC | Owned & Run

Bakerville Brewing Co. was originally started by Justine Pelletier and two other men who eventually left the business giving way to the brewery becoming all-female run. On February 21st the brewery released a special beer to celebrate International Women’s Day called ‘Aunt Florence’ named for Florence Wilson a local pioneer. The beer includes a number of herbs that soothe PMS symptoms and a portion of the proceeds will go to Ovarian Cancer Research.

WINERIES

SuLei Cellars 

Walla Walla, WA | Owned & Winemaker

Tanya Woodley, SuLei’s winemaker and co-owner and Elaine Jomwe didn’t know anything about the winemaking business but the two decided to dedicate themselves to learning about it. They left their jobs and Woodley graduated from Walla Walla Community College’s Enology & Viticulture program while Jomwe learned the business part of winemaking. SuLei Cellars has a tasting room in Vancouver, Washington, in addition to Walla Walla.

Coiled Wines 

Boise, ID | Owner & Winemaker

Initially, Leslie Preston didn’t think about ever making wine she just enjoyed it. But while teaching at UC Davis which has a master’s program in enology, the idea that it could be a part of her life in other ways sprouted. Preston enrolled in the master’s program and worked at different wineries eventually relocating her family to Idaho where she grew up. Coiled Wines is known for among other things, its syrah blend which was a wine that intrigued her. 

Hip Chicks do Wine 

Portland | Owned & Winemakers

After numerous trips to wineries and vineyards in Oregon, Laurie Lewis and Renee Neely decided to try their hand at making wine themselves. The two have been producing wine since 1999 and Hip Chicks do Wine is the oldest urban winery in Portland. They have 16 different wines under three labels including one dedicated to Pride month.

Day Wines 

Dundee, OR | Owner & Winemaker

An Oregon native, Brianne Day fell in love with winemaking and worked harvests all around the world to learn more about the process. In 2013 she bottled her first vintage of Pinot Noir as Day Wines and happened to serve a table that night at one of her four jobs she was working at the time, where a gentleman offered to back her winemaking after noticing her grapevine tattoo and learning about her passion for the craft. Since then she’s become a leading winemaker. 

CIDERIES

Alter Ego Cider 

Portland | Cidermaker

Formerly with Cider Riot!, Angie Watkins is most recently with Alter Ego Cider. Watkins has participated in the SheBrew fest in years prior, making a “Nevertheless, She Fermented” two years ago and this year she will be making a Muffin Top Cider for the fest. 

Alpenfire Cider 

Port Townsend, WA | Co-owner & Cidermaker

Nancy Bishop is a big name in the Northwest cider scene. Bishop and her husband Steve were inspired by a trip to Europe in the early 2000’s to plant their first trees for cidermaking. Their Alpenfire cider is made from organically grown apples and was the first certified organic cidery on the west coast. 

Schilling Cider House 

Portland | Cidermaker

In 2017, Jennie Dorsey was named Oregon Cidermaker and Regional Operations Manager for Schilling Cider’s new Portland location. Dorsey had been working as a regional sales manager for Schilling beforehand and founded Pomme Boots Society — a professional organization like Pink Boots Society only for the cider industry.

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