Women & Beer: For the Love of Beer

Posted on March 3rd, 2011

Here at Beeriety, we’re very interested in the role of women within the craft beer community – as brewers, drinkers, and (in my case) writers. That’s why we’re so excited about a forthcoming project entitled For the Love of Beer, a documentary that highlights the female members of the thriving Pacific Northwest beer community as they make their mark within a largely male-dominated field.

However, like most passion-projects, this one is heavy on heart and low on cash. For the past year and a half, filmmaker Alison Grayson has been working to put all of the pieces of the project together. Now, on the verge of completing principal photography, she’s hoping to raise the necessary funds to finish the film, distribute it, and possibly enter it into some festivals. To help make this happen, Alison has set up a Kickstarter site and is offering free copies, acknowledgment in the film’s credits and/or website, and lots of other incentives to spur support.

I got in touch with Alison and asked her a few questions about her project, her own interactions with the world of craft beer, and the beers that helped make her who she is today:

What got you started on this project? Was there a specific person or event that made you think about documenting the role(s) of women within the larger craft beer community?

Almost three years ago I impulsively moved from Philadelphia to Portland and roomed with a friend who was involved with the Portland craft beer industry.  I  was blown away by how instantly warm and welcoming this community was-it was unlike anything I had ever seen.  The craft beer community quickly became my second family, and I started incorporating my background in video production by making short videos for friend’s beer blogs, festivals, etc.  I started going to more events and met more and more people in the community and in the industry.  I began to notice a huge disconnect between the vast amount of women beer consumers and the sparse amount of women who worked in the beer industry. After meeting inspirational women like Sarah Pederson, Tonya Cornett [Brewmaster for Bend Brewing Co.,] Lisa Morrison, and Teri Fahrendorf, I knew that I had to make a documentary celebrating the amazing women in the industry and introduce others to the community I had fallen in love with.

Have you met with any major setbacks, discouragements, or obstacles (other than financial) in making this piece a reality?

I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed at how supportive the community has been, especially recently with pledging towards and promoting our Kickstarter page.  The craft brew community is an amazing group of people who have assisted and encouraged For the Love of Beer in more ways than I can count.  Our only obstacle has been trying to stretch our production budget to highlight as many women as possible!

What are your ultimate goals for the project? What would you like this film to say, accomplish, do? What would like someone to take away from it?

The goal of For the Love of Beer is to celebrate the women in the Pacific NW craft beer industry.  These women are absolutely passionate about they do and the community in which they do it, and that passion is contagious.  There’s been a lot of beer documentaries that focus on the history, the craft, or the beer itself, and I wanted to create something that is more intimately about the people involved.  I also want to introduce more people, men or women, to the world of craft beer, along with exploring why more women aren’t involved and what can be done to change that.  If someone who swears she only likes wine decides to try a beer or two after watching this documentary, then I’ve done my job.

What beer (or brewery) first got you interested in craft beer?

I think Yuengling Black and Tan was the first “stepping stone” beer I had that made me realize beer could be more than fizzy yellow water.  I worked in coffeeshops throughout school, and found that my pallet transferred well into stouts and porters.  I started to really explore different styles after being exposed to

What is one of your favorite beers (or favorite breweries) today? Why?

I am a huge fan of breweries whose beer makes people reevaluate what they think beer is.  Cantillon and Upright Brewing beers are great for demonstrating that beer can be more complex than wine, and there are so many breweries that are making great seasonals, such as  Bend Brewing’s Cherry Baltic Porter.  While I enjoy a pedestrian beer as much as the next
beer aficionado, I love seeing the creativity that is currently going into the craft beer industry.

When can people expect to see a finished product and where might they look for it?

We’re planning our theatrical release to coincide with  a brand new, huge beer extravaganza that will be held in Portland in late summer 2011.  We’re currently running our Kickstarter fundraising to help with our post-production costs and get For the Love of Beer available to the public as soon as possible.  From there, we’ll be aligning screenings with beer festivals nationwide,  distributing dvds, and promoting internet downloads, along with pitching the Documentary to air on network television.  With all the support we’ve gotten so far, I think the sky is the limit.

To  watch a short preview of the film and learn more about donating head over to their Kickstarter page!

  • Caitlyn J

    IMHO as a woman and a Guinness fan, Budweiser, Coors and beer of that ilk give beer a really bad reputation.