Salish Sea brews it up ‘pink boot style’ for International Women’s Day

Erika Barnett shows off a pink boot as she climbs down from a brew vat after adding the special Pink Boots hops mixture to the fermenting beer. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

Beer just ain’t what it used to be, and neither are the people who brew it.

The traditionally male-dominated brewing industry is changing as women play increasingly critical roles in all phases of the operation, from growing hops to management to creating new craft brew offerings.

At Edmonds’ Salish Sea Brewing Company, owners Erika and Jeff Barnett jointly plan, manage and operate every phase of their business from back office to beer tap. And this month, they are brewing up something special in honor of International Women’s Day — a batch of Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew.

Founded in 2007 with 16 members, the Pink Boots Society is an international group comprised of women in all phases of the brewing industry. With membership approaching 2,000 today, the society is dedicated to assisting, inspiring and encouraging women in the brewing industry to advance their careers through education.

Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day was born from its members’ desire to take part in International Women’s Day (IWD) March 8 by raising the profile of women’s roles in the beer industry. Chapters and members of Pink Boots Society get together along with supporting breweries and individuals, put on their pink boots and brew their chosen beer style. Pink Boots Society splits proceeds from sales of this collaboration brew with participating chapters. The revenue is applied to educational scholarships and programming for its members. Examples include everything from learning the brewing process itself to agriculture to chemistry to brewery management to ciscerone training (a ciscerone is to beer as a sommelier is to wine) and more.

“As a female brewer and brewery owner, I’m especially excited to be part of this annual event,” Erika Barnett said. “This year’s Pink Boots Collaboration Brew is laced with a special blend of hops selected by society members during last fall’s Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.  They then worked with Yakima Chief Hops, one of our region’s premier hop growers, to put the combination together and get it to participating breweries like us.”

Barnett plans to have this year’s Pink Boots Collaboration Brew on tap at Salish Sea Brewing later this month.

“We’ll be donating part of the proceeds from sale of the beer itself to local women’s charities,” she added. “We’ll announce which charities when it goes on sale.”

— By Larry Vogel

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