Return of the 'brewsters': New beer drinking 'sisterhood' helping to stimulate thriving real ale market

Women are rising through the ranks at some of Britain's biggest breweries as well as opening new ones

A new beer drinking “sisterhood” is helping women to turn back the clock and re-stake their claim at the helm of the UK's brewing industry for the first time in nearly three centuries.

Female brewers, known historically as “brewsters”, are rising through the ranks at some of Britain's biggest breweries as well as opening new ones of their own in response to a rise in interest in ales by women, research out today shows.

As the head of Marston's supply chain, Emma Gilleland is one of the new breed of women now dominating the industry. Others include Jennings Brewery's Rebecca Adams, and Ffion Jones, who earlier this year became the first woman ever to join Brains Brewery, in Cardiff.

The Campaign for Real Ale, which today publishes its 2014 Good Beer Guide, said female brewers are helping to stimulate the thriving real ale market. Roger Protz, the guide's editor, said women were behind many recent new innovations, such as fruit or chocolate-flavoured beers.

Sara Barton, who runs the Brewster's Brewing Company in Grantham, Lincolnshire, said the phenomenon created a virtuous circle. “If women know that beer, which has been an all-male domain, has been brewed by women then it encourages them to try it.”

Although the trend started with women in their 30s and above, Ms Barton said the new flavours were also attracting younger drinkers. “It's seen as quite stylish,” she added.

Sophie Atherton, who was the first woman to become a fully qualified beer sommelier in the UK, said the “sisterhood element” was attracting more and more female drinkers. “Finding out that a woman has brewed it helps to make beer more acceptable.”

She defended the use of a separate term, brewsters, to describe female brewers, on the grounds that it was a historical term, and therefore “not offensive”. In other professions, such as acting, many women bristle at gender-specific terms.

Ms Atherton said the use of more hops from countries like New Zealand and the US had created a lot of different flavours. “Women want to try those and be part of a new trend.” She said it was “silly” to think that women liked different sorts of flavours from men, however, adding: “It's daft to think we all like chocolatey flavours, for example.”

Recent figures from CAMRA show that women now account for 22 per cent of the organisation's membership, up 20,000 in the last decade alone.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore