They are women. They are brewers. And they are pioneers. They decided to come together to support each other, to grow, and to show that they exist.
Some of them are sommeliers, others are scientists, there are producers and also owners of breweries. Their stories change, but they are united by their passion for beer.
“Beer for me was a one-way street, because it is everything I love: science, art, culture and history,” says Karen Borenzstein, founder of the Community of Brewery Women that brings them together, to DW.
“We want to make women visible within the beer culture,” he explains. And she continues: “If I don’t see that there are other women brewers, who are employed within this culture, that it is possible to taste and make beer, how am I going to want to be a brewer?”
This is how they decided to join this network, the only one of its kind, which today has representatives in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay.
They are in permanent contact, organize trainings, exchange knowledge and experiences. Also information and projects. But above all, they emphasize sisterhood.
“We are an organization with a feminist perspective, so we are not going to demand more responsibility from each other than we already have,” says Borenzstein from Buenos Aires.
The art of taming yeast
And certainly responsibilities and achievements are not lacking. Victoria Lobos, born in Santiago de Chile, is an agronomist specializing in beer and wine microbiology.
After several years of research, he managed to isolate the first yeasts for the beer industry in Latin America, and thus alleviate the continent’s traditional dependence on the import of this input from the northern hemisphere.
This is how he describes the process in dialogue with DW: “I collected microorganisms of all kinds in the Andes Mountains, in Chilean Patagonia, I isolated them in a laboratory, and then I domesticated them, that is, I taught them what to eat and how to they have to behave, to be able to make standardized beers ”.
Today the young scientist provides microorganisms to the continent and has gained international recognition. “It is a fascinating world, where you never stop learning,” he maintains with enthusiasm intact.
Producing beer from home
“Each beer is a different sensory experience,” Andrea Aneiva tells DW from La Paz, Bolivia. And he says: “I am a home brewer, that is, I cook beer from my home in small batches of 20 liters at a time, implementing all the measures and tools so that my beer is of quality”, she indicates proudly.
Similar is the experience of Colombian Jennifer Ramírez. “I always bought imported beers, but after a trip to Brazil, where the beer culture is huge, I arrived with a huge desire to make beer at home, and that’s how I started,” he recalls.
“I enjoy everything, from buying raw materials, cooking and bottling to seeing people taking the product I prepared,” he says in dialogue with DW.
“Beer is an art, and as such, I express myself with malts and hops,” says poetically, in turn, the Guatemalan producer Aunne Schadd. “I call them aromas of change,” he tells this medium.
Women making history
“Beer is a before and after in my life”, Uruguayan Alejandra Carrasco confides to this medium. “I immersed myself in this world, and what started as a weekend hobby turned into a life project,” he says.
Today she is co-founder of the “Uruguayan Beer Cup” contest and the first Uruguayan Beer School, and both initiatives are in excellent health.
Who also travels very own paths is the beer sommelier Natalia Urzúa. “If we are already few sommeliers in Chile, women are even fewer,” he tells DW.
“Historically, beer was a drink that was made by women, at the home level, and that, gradually, was losing its space in the face of industrialization”, explains Urzúa from his native Santiago de Chile. “On the other hand, many of the ancient deities related to its elaboration were female figures,” he continues.
“The history of beer is very intertwined with women. Today we want that link to be stronger than ever ”, he concludes.
And in that direction the Community of Women Brewers is advancing. With as many doses of yeast as passion for the task. (cp).
Author: Maricel Drazer