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Virginia brewers produce special beer to honor women in the brewing business

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Posted at 10:08 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 10:15:37-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Maker's Craft Brewery, in conjunction with a handful of other local breweries, will team up to create a special brew in honor of Women's History Month and to recognize the women in the beer brewing industry.

Michele Lowney is the brewery's head brewer and has been in the brewing business for over 20 years. Her career took her across the globe, from Colorado here in the U.S. to places like the United Kingdom.

She said when she started, there were not a lot of women in the beer brewing industry.

"When I started, I think there were 10 head brewers at the time," Lowney said. "Now there's probably hundreds of them and there's thousands of women in the industry."

Maker's Craft is part of the Pink Boots Society, an international organization that promotes and supports women in the brewing industry through programs and assistance such as scholarships. Each year the society selects a blend of hops that are delivered to members of the Pink Boots Society.

The brewery produces the beer with the special blend packaged by a company called Yakima Chief. Lowney said the beer takes three weeks to produce. Once ready, it will be available on tap at Maker's Craft, where a portion of the proceeds will go towards the Pink Boots Society.

"Different chapters smell, do some tests with the different hops that they offer," Lowney explained. "They go to Yakima Chief and there'll be like five or six and they'll make a blend."

Lowney is not alone in producing the Pink Boots special. Local breweries including Tradition, Bold Mariner and Wasserhund are helping.

"I think the best way to make beer is collaboratively," Aaron Holley, the owner of Wasserhund Brewing Company, said.

Holley said Lowney invited him to help produce the beer. Once ready, the beer will also be sold at these locations.

"It's about equality, and if half the population is female then half the workforce should always be female," Holley said.

As for women interested in venturing into the brewery business, Lowney encourages it.

"Go for it, it's an awesome business to be in and everybody is really cool," Lowney said.