Pink Boots brews were the perfect way to raise a glass to International Women’s Day at Niagara College’s Teaching Brewery.
On March 8, five new student-crafted Pink Boots beers debuted at NC’s Teaching Brewery – three of them featured recipes created by female students enrolled in NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Managementprogram – while a group of Brewmaster students took part in a ‘brew day’ for another soon-to-be released Pink Boots beer.
While the College has been involved with the Pink Boots initiative since 2020, this was the first year that multiple Pink Boots brew days were held at the Teaching Brewery – up to and including on March 8 – involving various classes of Brewmaster students. It was also the first time that Brewmaster students were able to celebrate their Pink Boots beers being released on International Women’s Day.
“It is such a pleasure to know the students and faculty are actively engaged in keeping up this important tradition,” said Maija Saari, Associate Dean for the Division of Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies. “Events that celebrate the accomplishments of women and non-binary people in the brewing and fermented beverage industries are a great way to highlight the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion and why we must persevere to create working spaces safe for all.”
Leading the charge this year was third-term Brewmaster student Marye Anne Chisholm (of Stevensville, Ontario). She wanted to get involved with the Pink Boots initiative at NC to shine a spotlight on those who identify as women and to highlight diversity in the program by putting “faces to the beers.”
“The best way to do that, was to have women in charge of creating a beer to be released,” said Chisholm, who enrolled in the Brewmaster program as a recent graduate of NC’s Artisan Distilling program and after retiring from her previous career.
“It is important for the College to support Pink Boots to highlight the fact that there are very capable people who identify as female in the brewing industry, and they should be recognized for their talents.”
The newly released Pink Boots beers, which debuted on March 8, include Box of Chocolates Raspberry Porter led by second-term Brewmaster student Jessica Wiseman, a Double Double (double IPA) led by second-term Brewmaster student Medea Romani, and a Mash vs. Evil Dead (black IPA) by third-term student Jenny Lukasiewicz – which were all brewed earlier this Winter Term. Smash Beer and Smash Mash – two pale ales brewed earlier this year by first-term students from recipes created by Brewmaster Professor Jon Downing – were also released as part of the Teaching Brewery’s Small Batch Brew Pink Boots Series.
For Romani (Pickering/St. Catharines), the Pink Boots Double Double was the first beer recipe she has ever created. She calls it a “love letter to women in brewing.”
“It is very empowering that the beers will be released on Women’s Day. I think it will help pay homage to the women in brewing before us, and support and uplift women in the future generations of the brewing scene,” she said. “I feel fully unstoppable. I’m so proud to have my first beer mean so much to the ever-growing community of women in the beverage industry.”
“It’s a beautiful day to come together with like-minded women who love beer and who support one another in our journeys,” said Lukasiewicz (Oxford County).
Lukasiewicz enrolled in the Brewmaster program after a variety of jobs and hopes to find her place as a brewer and explore her creativity with beer-food pairings. Her black IPA recipe was her first experience designing a beer “kettle to can.” She wanted to create a beer allowing each individual ingredient to shine.
“It was meaningful for me as it was my first time participating in Pink Boots at NC and I had the pleasure of brewing with an all-female crew,” she said. “The women who brewed this beer are very skillful, meticulous and hard working. What has been accomplished would not have been possible without them and I am thankful to have shared this experience with such great company.”
On their March 8 brew day, Brewmaster students who participated in the Pink Boots brew day worked on a recipe for a raspberry pomegranate wheat beer created by third-term student Kyla Dewey (Toronto/Niagara-on-the-Lake). To be called ‘Herstory,’ the beer brewed on International Women’s Day is expected to be released in early April.
“It’s important to me to participate in the Pink Boots brew days because women continue to be a minority in the brewing industry. I feel supported by my male classmates and instructors, but I know the brewing industry is still male dominated,” said Dewey. “I strive to support, encourage and promote women and non-binary folks in the brewing industry and brewing with the Pink Boots hops blend is an awesome way to raise awareness within Niagara College and outside of it.”
In January, visitors from Bhutan, South Asia had a chance to participate in a Pink Boots Brew Day at the College’s Teaching Brewery alongside first-term Brewmaster students. NC has been involved with a Crafting Women Brewmasters in Bhutan Project to support female brewers and the development of a gender-inclusive, sustainable craft brewing employment sector in the country since 2020.
NC Brewmaster students have been promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through their involvement with Pink Boots since 2020 in an effort to support gender equity in the beer industry. Pink Boots beers incorporate an official Pink Boots blend of hops from Yakima Chief Hops. A portion of sales from Yakima’s Pink Boots hops blend is donated to the Pink Boots Society, which creates scholarships for women and non-binary individuals to continue their education in the alcohol industry.
NC’s Pink Boots Series beers are available for purchase (while supplies last) at the Teaching Brewery retail store and the Wine Visitor + Education Centre, located at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, alongside products from NC’s Teaching Brewery, Teaching Winery, and Teaching Distillery. Visit ncteachingwinery.ca.
NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was launched in 2010 as the first of its kind in Canada. The award-winning, two-year program offers extensive hands-on training at an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare students for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, students learn from award-winning faculty and have access to on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles. Visit ncteachingbrewery.ca.
Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 9,500 students from over 80 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.
Pink Boots March 8 releases: On International Women’s Day, Niagara College rolled out five small batch brews as part of its Pink Boots Series: Smash Beer, Mash vs. Evil Dead, Box of Chocolates, Double Double, and Smash Mash.
Brewmaster Pink Boots Teaching Brewery: A group of students, staff and faculty from NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program stand in front of the Teaching Brewery on Pink Boots brew day, March 8.
Brewmaster students Pink Boots Series: Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management students Jenny Lukasiewicz, Ceri Thibert, Jessica Wiseman, Medea Romani and Kyla Dewey hold up newly released beers from the Teaching Brewery’s Pink Boots Series that they worked on creating.