It’s Oktober and we wanted to salute the beer fans amongst you. What better way than to honor another strong woman with the unconventional job of master brewer? Please meet Teri Fahrendorf, master brewer, founder of the Pink Boots Society, and blogger of brewing adventures. We caught up with Teri to talk to her about her fascinating work and her general beer badassery.
We read that you got interested in brewing starting with a childhood fascination with yeast, then baking bread, making wine, and finally settling on beer.
Yes, that’s how it started and progressed. I liked to make stuff as a kid. I thought yeast was cool. We didn’t have the internet back then but I remember reading about yeast in an encyclopedia and thought it was amazing how many different things were made with yeast. I wanted to experiment with it. So I started making bread. It all progressed from there.
After you left your last job as a master brewer for a craft brewery, you went out on the road to visit other craft brewers and then blogged about it on Road Brewer. What an amazing experience!
When I left my job in 2007, I didn’t really have a back-up plan. I started thinking about a fantasy road trip. It was based on the fact that throughout my career, I attended these professional association events all over. My best friends were my peers in the beer industry. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat if I could go visit my brewer friends all over the country and brew with them and taste the beer at its home?” I told my husband and he said, “Oh, you’ve got to do it.”
As I planned my trip, other people that I didn’t know contacted me about coming to brew with them. I relied on the courtesy of a lot of strangers. And while I was on my trip, I discovered a lot of these brewers had female brewers working for them. A lot of them weren’t very experienced and had a lot of questions. They were thirsty for knowledge and encouragement. That’s where the idea for the Pink Boots Society came from.
The Pink Boots Society is a non-profit that you started. Tell us about it.
I started the Pink Boots Society because I wanted to be a positive female role model in the beer industry. I had been a brew master for 19 years and there weren’t many women in the beer industry. I wanted to make it our mission to inspire, encourage and empower women beer professionals to advance their careers through educational seminars, scholarships and mentorships.
Later this month, nine of our members are traveling to Germany on scholarships to go on a study tour of German craft breweries and breweries with female brewers. We’ll be posting on Twitter and Instagram if people want to follow our tour. We do offer monthly scholarships for members that are looking for different types of training. If anyone has an interest, I hope they’ll check out our site.
Teri rocking her own pair of pink boots!
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the more experienced women paying back to the industry that they love so much. That’s what I do. I’ve been in the industry for 27 years. I see a lot of inexperienced women who are just getting started. They feel like a fraud or impostor and they need more experienced women talk to them and encourage them to help with their self-confidence. I’d like to see these experienced women step up and offer themselves as mentors to the less experienced. Give back to the industry that you love.
What is your favorite item that TomboyX sells?
I love the Good Carma underwear. They are so cute. I also wish you would sell a blue jumpsuit with a zippered front and elastic in the back for a female fit. Something like Rosie the Riveter would wear. I’d brew in it every day!
Who is your favorite tomboy?
Oh, I love k.d.Lang. Before her, there was a lot of big hair and make-up in country music. She changed the game. Women can be whoever they wanna be in country music now. And she’s just a plain awesome singer.