#WomanCrushWednesday: Teri Fahrendorf

This is the second in a series highlighting women leaders in the beer and brewing industry in the U.S. For past crushes, visit the #WomanCrushWednesday tag at the end of this entry.

Teri Fahrendorf

#WomanCrushWednesday July 1, 2015: Teri Fahrendorf, founder and president of the Pink Boots Society. Photo via GirlTalkHQ.com.

Teri Fahrendorf, a self-described “woman beer professional” in the most general (albeit no less impressive) sense, is often celebrated in the craft brewing community for her many roles, contributions and accomplishments across her more than 25 years in the beer industry to date.

She is an acclaimed brewmaster of 19 years,  the second woman to ever achieve the “brewmaster” title in the U.S.¹, beginning at Golden Gate Brewing Co. in Golden Gate, Calif. in 1989 and concluding at Steelhead Brewing Co. in Eugene, Ore. in 2007 (at the latter, she served as corporate brewmaster of the company’s five locations for 17 years).

She was the first woman to be named class president at the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago, Ill., where she graduated in 1988.

She is a published author, contributing to such publications as New Brewer, Brewing Techniques, Zymurgy and American Brewer.

She is the “Road Brewer,” an absurdly ambitious and adventurous woman who spent five months camping across the States in a trailer, which she named Big Buddy, to visit and brew at various breweries (you can follow her experiences as she blogged along the way at roadbrewer.com).

In the course of her 25 year career, Fahrendorf has earned professional accolades and craft brewing achievements spanning three Gold Medals at the Great American Beer Festival (two in 1991 for her Station Square Imperial Stout and Raging Rhino Red, also known as Steelhead Amber, and one in 1999 for an Anniversary Ale); several annual seats as a Beer Judge at five international festivals; 18 speaking engagements as a speaker and education leader at events and conferences around the globe; and board titles as director, advisor or affiliate at five local and national brewing organizations.

Perhaps most significantly, Fahrendorf is known throughout the industry as founder and president of the Pink Boots Society, an international nonprofit association and trade organization created for the education and advancement of women beer professionals. The Society, which she founded somewhat serendipitously at the conclusion of her cross-country “road brewing” trip in 2007, now boasts 2,080 members and counting, chapters in 25 locations across the country, and hosts national as well as regional meetings in the U.S., U.K., Argentina, Australia and Europe.

According to Fahrendorf, seeds for the Pink Boots Society were planted throughout the five month road trip on which she visited 71 breweries across the country, brewing at 38 of them, and imparting her knowledge and expertise to newer female brewers along the way. As she recognized their skills, their want for education and the unanimous curiosity among them regarding other women in the industry (her own 19-year experience being quite exceptional), Fahrendorf saw the need for a way to inform women brewers about the others like them that were making brew-booted strides in the industry.

Inspired by the Red Hat Society and the squeaky rubber shoes on her own two feet, she created a list of the 60 women brewers she’d met along the way and coined it the “Pink Boots Society,” making it available, along with other resources, on her personal brewing and beer career website in 2007. Thus, an industry organization was born.

Eight years later, the Pink Boots Society continues to foster the female brewing community by “empowering women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education,” by way of meetings, scholarships, volunteer opportunities and events that have gradually expanded, along with the Society’s membership itself, since its founding in 2007.²

At present, Fahrendorf is the specialty malt account manager at Great Western Malting in Vancouver, Wash., where she continues as “the West Coast’s unofficial craft beer ‘Goodwill Ambassador,'” as well as a speaker, beer judge and writer. Most importantly, she continues to inspire women like me, industry-wide and out, to march proud in our brewing boots as future leaders of the craft brewing movement in the U.S.

For a full history of Teri Fahrendorf’s brewing industry experience and accomplishments, visit terifahrendorf.com.

¹The first female brewmaster in the U.S. was Carol Stoudt, who acquired the role, at the eponymous Stoudts Brewing Company, in 1987.

²Although the Pink Boots Society originally began as a trade group exclusively for female brewers, it has since expanded to include any “woman who earns at least part of [her] income from beer.”


#WomanCrushWednesday: Mellie Pullman

Now in a millennial world, it’s not so surprising that women are joining the beer community in troves, stepping onto the scene as sales representatives, marketing coordinators, reporters (ahem) and imbibers, and—although they are still few—brewers and brewmasters.

But before there were us gals who started appreciating good beer post-2000 (although we still may feel uniquely, utterly female in a scene that continues to be dominated by beer guts and beards), there were women like Mellie Pullman, who I’d like to spotlight for my first #WomanCrushWednesday (#WCW) post here on Beer Affair.

I do not mean this in the literal or romantic sense, as I’ve never met Pullman personally, I mean it simply in the sense that my “love affair with beer” (where the name Beer Affair came from) is due in part to women who flew their freak flags high before it was popular, or even possible, for gals like me to be a part of the beer community.


“Replanting the Seeds of Brewing,” Craft Beer & Brewing, May 15, 2015.

After re-reading a feature written by Tara Nurin in Craft Beer & Brewing last month, “Replanting the Seeds of Brewing,” I was reminded of all of the women I have yet to meet, the history I have yet to learn, and the amazing strides women have made in this still-young industry since it began its second wind in the 1980s.

As a young woman swept up into the romance of the craft beer world just five or so years ago, I have to acknowledge the true pioneers before me, and commend these ladies for stepping up to the plate when it was even harder to be a female in a male dominated business like beer. (Or, as Nurin phrases it, for each woman who had to “finesse her way out of enough brewer-as-bearded-German-guy stereotypes.”)

In the days before national women’s industry groups like the Pink Boots Society (and in my case, local groups like the Beerded Ladies), these gals were among the first to explore the beer business, truly planting the “seeds” that sprouted roles for women in the brewing industry today. Among the “firsts” these femmes accomplished, Pullman is particularly #WCW-worthy for the following:

1. She was first female brewmaster in contemporary U.S. history;

2. She helped bring Utah its first brewery, Wasatch Brewery, in 1986; and

3. She lobbied to modernize the alcohol laws in Utah which were, even up until the late 80s, quite restrictive.

Beginning with Pullman and moving through the significance several more, Nurin’s article attributes beer props to Beth Hartwell, who co-founded Hart Brewing in Kalama, Wash. (now Pyramid Breweries) in 1984; Rosemarie Certo, who co-founded Dock Street Brewing in Philadelphia in 1985; Carol Stoudt, who became the nation’s first female sole proprietor-brewer in 1987; Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound, the first female ownership team in the industry, who opened Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, Calif. in 1990; and Teri Fahrendorf, currently specialty malt account manager at Great Western Malting in Vancouver, Wash., who entered the industry at 1988 as a brewing intern and now has 19 years’ experience as a brewmaster and brewery supervisor at various locations.

Although you can take the woman out of the brewing industry (according to Nurin, Pullman left her post at Wasatch just three years after co-founding it), you can’t take the brewing industry out of the woman—Pullman is now serving as an associate professor at Portland State University, where she teaches several courses in the Business of Craft Brewing Certificate program.