In a two-part series in honor of International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, Sip Northwest is highlighting a few stellar women in the Pacific Northwest beverage industry. To do so, we’ve ask what their proudest career accomplishments are so far and which “shero” — female hero — they’d like to share a drink with. Read up, drink up from the craft beverages these ladies produce and #BalanceforBetter.

Sharelle Klaus

Founder & CEO | DRY Soda Co.

This Seattle-based mom of four kids was thirsty for a drink that she could enjoy during her pregnancies. The options available to her were packed with sugar and artificial ingredients so she set out to make one herself. After playing around with carbonation and acidity levels and exploring with flavors from her favorite herbs, spices and fruits, Klaus was able to launch DRY Soda with the help from some PNW chefs. Today, DRY has expanded to over 10,000 stores nationwide.

Moment of Pride: “I am proud of creating a product that gives people a chance to feel like they are part of the party even if they don’t want to drink alcohol. I’m also proud of DRY’s all-female executive team. While this wasn’t something I sought out to do at the beginning, I’ve learned through the years that there are certain personality traits — like collaboration, risk-taking, creativity, patience and relentlessness – that make for a successful team, and I found that it’s often women that have the right blend of these traits. Our all-female executive team is incredibly smart and tactical, and I am so excited to work alongside them every day.”

Shero to Clink With: Madeliene Albright, former United States Secretary of State. “Madeliene Albright was always one of my heroes. She was the original badass woman taking on not only the challenges of creating peace, but doing it while being the only woman in the room. And the drink would definitely be a Champagne flute of Lavender DRY Sparkling with a lavender sprig garnish.”

Veronica Vega

Director of Product Development | Deschutes Brewery

Vega started out at Deschutes working as a tour guide on the weekends but it wasn’t long before she got bit by the brewing bug. In 2015, Vega was promoted to brewmaster of product development for the tenured Bend, Oregon, brewery — a rare position to hold as a woman. That year only four percent of brewmasters were women. After 12 years at the brewery, Vega says she still isn’t bored, the learning never stops

Moment of Pride: “Being promoted to senior management at Deschutes. I remember my voice shaking as I told our CEO, ‘I am so afraid of failing, but I know that I must take the leap because I believe I can bring something to the table and I won’t know it ‘til I take the risk.’ I am so grateful for the opportunity and am just as motivated to learn how to become a better leader, as I was to be a better brewer.”

Shero to Clink With: Jocelyn K. Glei, writer and podcast host. “I am currently taking an online course called RESET created by Jocelyn K. Glei. She teaches on how to find more creativity and meaning in our daily work.”

Photo by Bootstrap Commercial Arts

Nancy Bishop

Co-founder and Cidermaker | Alpenfire Cider

Bishop got into the cider industry before it was many drink aficionados’ radars. She recalls being a teenager and drinking cider up in British Columbia and then finding an imported French cider in Olympia in the early ‘70s. These two memories were the earliest introductions to the drink. Bishop has since blazed a trail for cider in the Northwest and across the country, opening Olympic Peninsula-based Alpenfire in 2006.

Moment of Pride: “The biggest challenge has been to hold on to the things we first found intriguing about cider. In 2003 in the UK we saw small-scale farm producers crafting cider that centered around the amazing cider apples they grew. The stark dryness coupled with tannins and bitterness took some getting used to but by the time we came home we knew what direction we wanted to go with our cider. It has been a long road convincing customers that they were also interested in this drink but I feel that interest is building now and consumers are beginning to understand and to seek out orchard-based, heritage-style cider.”

Shero to Clink With: Madame Clicquot Ponsardin, 19th century French businesswoman and name behind historic Champagne house Veuve Clicquot. “I would love to share drink and conversation with any of the hard-working producers in the industry today. But let’s see, a week spent drinking Champagne and talking about its production with Madame Clicquot Ponsardin would be pretty incredible.”

Molly Troupe

Master Distiller and Co-owner | Freeland Spirits

When Jill Kuehler and Cory Carman decided they wanted to open a distillery not only owned by women but with spirits made by women, Molly Troupe couldn’t have fit into the picture better. A native Oregonian, Troupe got a degree in chemistry but eventually decided she wanted to learn how to make spirits so she enrolled in a masters program for brewing and distilling in Edinburgh, Scotland. She helped open the doors of the female-run Portland operation and was named to Forbes 30 under 30 for food and beverage last year.

Moment of Pride: “I am most proud of taking a leap of faith and starting Freeland Spirits with Jill Kuehler. Creating a new business is challenging and every aspect of this start-up has come with a different set of challenges. From build-out to fundraising to carving out a place for us in this industry, we’ve come across many different problems. It’s been a crazy beautiful adventure so far, and we still have more to show you.”

Shero to Clink With: A whole lot of powerful women. “I’ve been very fortunate in the last year to get to meet some of my sheros — Marianne Barnes, Karen Hoskin, Lisa Roper Wicker — but I there are quite a few I have yet to meet like Rachel Barrie, Michelle Obama and Joy Spence.”

Natalie Baldwin

Research and Development | Breakside Brewery

Earning a degree in biochemistry in college, Baldwin intended to become a veterinarian but quickly decided that wasn’t for her. Instead she worked a few service industry jobs, one of which was pouring pints which led her to become interested in beer. When a keg washing and cellar position opened up at Burnside Brewing Co. in Portland she applied and got the job. Four and a half years later she landed as R&D brewer at the lauded Breakside. Baldwin won the Portland Pro/Am beer competition in 2014 and has since returned to the competition as a judge and a professional.

Moment of Pride: “I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to a lot of outstanding beers at Breakside. I take a lot of pride in my work and my role at Breakside gives me room to be creative and push the boundaries. The thing I’m most proud of is being able to be in my job in a time where people are expanding the blue collar/male-dominated industries. I feel really lucky to live in a time of accountability, progress, and am proud to be able to work alongside with and know the strong people around me who raise the bar and strive for a safe workplace for everyone.”

Shero to Clink With: Marie Curie, 20th century French-Polish physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. “I would love to share words and a beer with Marie Curie. She’s a person who came from extreme poverty and worked her way to being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and then won again. She was an all-around incredible human and it would be great to chat with her.”