Niagara College women brewers get their ‘Pink Boots’ on


Published March 11, 2022 at 4:05 pm

So what were a significant amount of students in the Niagara College Teaching Brewery doing on International Women’s Day?

They were getting their boots dirty – their Pink Boots, that is – over there amidst the vats and kettles on the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus.

The women brewers in the course set aside the day to create the college’s Pink Boots collaboration beer for 2022. This is now the third year the college has done so.

For the uninitiated, the Pink Boots Society is an international, non-profit group that aims to help and encourage women in the beer industry through education in a supportive environment. Many craft breweries throughout Ontario sponsor a Pink Boots Brew Day.

In fact, this year’s version at the college proved so popular that both March 8 and 9 has to set set aside for the women brewers in order to get several different classes an opportunity to brew it up right.

“It is an honour and privilege for us to once again participate in Pink Boots,” said Maija Saari, Associate Dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “As educators of the next generation of brewers and fermenters, we must continue to support and encourage more women and non-binary people to enter the field.”

Added Craig Youdale, Dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, “Niagara College is keenly aware there is work to be done in support of equality, diversity and inclusion in the brewing workforce, and we look forward to supporting that growth in the future.”

The college’s 2022 Pink Boots Brew will be a Double IPA, using the special Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day hops blend from Yakima Chief Hops – a partner of the Pink Boots. Yakima Chief Hops donates $3 from every pound sold to Pink Boots Society for education and programming.

Three first-year Niagara College brewing students (from left to right, Jui-Tzu “Rita” Yang, Oanh Tran Thi Kieu and Alanna Scully) work on this year’s Pink Boots offering – this time, a Double IPA.

“It is important to keep up initiatives that encourage women to think of brewing as a career, and to continue to support and help those that are already brewers, owners and suppliers,” said Brewmaster Professor Jon Downing.

Just last month, the college enlisted the help of Beer Diversity owner Ren Navarro to collaborate on its inaugural Brave Noise beer. The Brave Noise global collaborative effort aims to make the beer industry safe and free from discrimination for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ people.

“Opportunities to highlight and celebrate our students through events like Pink Boots and Brave Noise build our collective understanding and mutual respect of the additional challenges faced by those who are forging new ground as under-represented individuals,” said Saari.

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