By Tony Schmitt, Certified Cicerone®

You might say that women are getting into the craft beer scene like never before, but you’d be wrong. Women are getting back into the craft beer scene. Women were the original brewers of beer, making sure the entire household, or even village, had their daily portion of beer.

The original deities of the beer world were goddesses, such as Ninkasi, Siris and Kubaba, all Sumerian Goddesses of beer. It wasn’t until beer became a big business that men took the
reins. Today, women are taking on all sort of roles, not just limited to brewing beer. We spoke to three women of East Tennessee who are making their mark on the craft beer scene in the South. Here’s what they had to say:

Jen Parker

What is your role in the East TN Craft Beer Industry?
I am one of the founders of Crafty Bastard Brewery. I run the Knoxville Women’s Homebrew Group, and I run my own radio series on WDVX called Neighborhood Pour, which centers
around topics and interviews pertaining to craft beer culture.

What is your favorite aspect of working in the craft beer industry?
I enjoy making positive cultural changes in my community. Through craft beer I can help people connect to one another, and I can raise awareness and funding for worthy nonprofit organizations in my region. I also get to work with a diverse and wonderful group of people who share my passions. To me it’s all about creating a positive space for consumers to come, connect and elevate their tastes in beer. I couldn’t be happier doing that.

What’s the next big thing in craft beer?
We’ll continue to see a hyper-local focus on craft beer as more nanobreweries continue to pop up. Much like your favorite local food spot, I could see there being a small, local brewery eventually in every town. Regarding beer styles, I think we are going to see a shift toward lagers and pilsners for a while, and New England-style IPAs will drop in popularity.

What are some ways you’d like to see the local craft beer scene change?
Old attitudes about who makes and consumes beer need to change. Everyone should have the same encouragement and opportunities in the craft beer scene otherwise it will start to lose its luster and stagnate. Diversity keeps communities flourishing. The more demographics craft beer attracts, the better it is for all of us.

Your favorite style of beer.
The IPA, of course.

Christinea Beane

What is your role in the East Tennessee craft beer industry?
Libation Liaison for the Black Abbey Brewing Company, or East Tennessee Sales Representative if you’re not feeling fancy.

What is your favorite aspect of working in the beer industry?
The people. The craft beer community is like family. Being over 700 miles from my family, I could not ask for anything more.

What do you think is the next big thing in craft beer?
Community involvement. It might look like collaborations between two local breweries, a local and a regional brewery, or spirits and beer. It might look like The House That Beer Built, which is
the local craft beer-funded Habitat for Humanity House. It might look like proceeds benefitting a non-profit organization. It might look like sustainability or upcycling. Either way, I think we will
see craft beer uniting people within a community for a positive impact.

What is your favorite beer, or style?
I don’t play favorites. I know that sounds like a cliché answer, but it’s true. I choose a beer based on the weather, my mood, who I am with, what I am doing and if I am eating. There is no
simple answer for me, I want my beer to enhance my experience.

Kat Bronson Latham

 

What is your role in the East Tennessee Craft Beer Industry?
My husband, Eric, and I founded, co-own and operate Johnson City Brewing Company — currently one of the smallest breweries in TN. We brew small batch craft beer one barrel at a time.

What is your favorite aspect of working in the beer industry?
Community. Eric and I built our brewery with the intention of bringing people together and creating a community that relished innovative, quality craft beer. The beer industry encourages the camaraderie of craft beer lovers and the brewery-to-brewery relationships that are so unique as to leave other industries wondering how we do it – how is it possible to be competitors and yet almost partners? It’s the community aspect of the beer industry that allows it.

What are some ways you would like to see the local craft beer scene change?
I have long been frustrated and disappointed with breweries or tap houses who believe that a person or a certain group of people are somehow unworthy of their product simply because it
isn’t something they enjoy. Beer is subjective. Period. Taking it personally when someone dislikes what you’ve created is a waste of time and energy and a poor reflection on the rest of the industry. Folks need to take a breath and relax. You’ll get ‘em next time!

What is your favorite beer, or style?
Märzen/Oktoberfest beers and harvest style beers.