So You’re Just a Server? Stereotypes of Women in Craft Beer

Katie Steblenko Quality Control Manager at Jacks Abbey Brewing
Katie Steblenko Quality Control Manager at Jacks Abbey Brewing

By James Bentley


Boston Pink Boots Society Treasurer Tarah Maresh has worked in several breweries including the Everett, Mass.- based breweries Night Shift Brewing and Bone Up Brewing. She started working in craft beer in California’s Orange County back in 2011. Since then, she’s seen the number of women in the industry grow exponentially on both coasts.

“Craft beer very much was a sort of middle-aged man turned into a 20s-something guy friend, but women caught on absolutely,” Maresh said.

As of late, Maresh isn’t working at any specific brewery. She does work for Bone Up Brewing and other Boston area breweries, but her primary industry focus as of late has been with the Pink Boots Society.

Maresh wants to use the scholarships Pink Boots Society offers to help educate women and break current industry stereotypes about women. She said there’s been some cases of women being passed up for brewing opportunities, but most of the stereotyping has come from customers.

Other Pink Boots Society members shared this sentiment. Elizabeth O’Neill, a server at Turtle Swamp Brewing in Jamaica Plain, Mass. said customers often assume she doesn’t have any knowledge of the beer she serves. O’Neill is trying to make a career in the industry and is in Pink Boots Society for the encouragement and educational support it provides.

O’Neill said she’s personally inspired by Maureen and Robin Fabry, who own Craftroots Brewing.   “I’m also a queer woman and it’s really cool to see these two queer woman have their own brewery,” O’Neill said. “In 15 years, I would love to be in a position like them.”

Almost every woman interviewed from the Massachusetts craft beer scene said they experienced at least some degree of stereotyping.


About James Bentley 4 Articles
James Bentley is a multimedia journalist whose spent the summer covering breaking news across Massachusetts for Patch. When not interning at Patch, James writes for the Plympton-Halifax Express, a small weekly newspaper covering the Plympton-Halifax area.