Here’s to Women in Craft Brewing!

During the past few years, an increasing number of women have established careers in the craft brewing community. BlackStack Brewing in St. Paul, MN, wanted to celebrate that and brew a special release beer for Mother’s Day. “Dear Mama” hazy IPA is a tribute to the accomplishments of women, with proceeds donated to Witch Hunt, an organization that supports women and under-represented individuals in the craft beer community. Blackstack has been brewing with Briess malt from their infancy. For this recipe, Briess Pilsen Malt was chosen as the base for its clean, crisp, and subtle aroma, with C-20, oats, and malted white wheat to give Dear Mama the structure and depth to handle the copious hop additions.

Witch Hunt is a non-profit organization whose goal is to offer a safe space where women and underrepresented individuals in brewing can participate in virtual happy hour, sensory training, or brew day. They know that financial barriers to education are hard to overcome, so they do not charge a membership fee and keep event costs as low as possible.

To support BlackStack’s celebration of women in the craft beer community, Betsy Roberts talked with us about her experience at Briess and as a woman with a career that supports craft brewing. Betsy is our Quality Manager for Malting and has been with Briess for 11 years. View her video below to learn more.

This month our Brew Central Division Manager, Penny Pickart, retired after 24 years with Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. I was thinking about how different things must have been for her when she got started in this industry and how much change she has seen. Holding a full-time position traveling the country to meet with brewers about their malt needs wasn’t a very common career at a time when the brewery total was less than 1,000. In the early days of her career, as a wife and the mother of two young children, she was a road warrior balancing travel across vast geography with life at home raising a family.   

“Joining Briess allowed me a career in an industry that I love. The craft brewing industry has grown and matured in the past 24 years. As hard as it was in the early years, I cannot imagine anything I would have enjoyed more.” — Penny Pickart

Dear Mama is our tribute to all the moms and mother figures in our lives. The naming process was a truly collaborative effort between BlackStack and Witch Hunt, with inspiration from Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur. The original name of the beer was “Dear Mama, You Are Appreciated” but it has since been shortened to fit better on a 16 oz can.

Cheers to Penny and to all the women in our lives who have taken good care of us like a mother. If you cannot be with yours this weekend or anytime soon, be sure to connect to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day!


About Michael Illig

Michael IlligMike brings more than a decade of experience from various facets of the Craft Brewing industry to Briess. After 5 years as a Craft Beer Manager at one of the major distributors in central MN, he spent more than three years as a Sales Manager with a large central MN craft brewery. From there, he transitioned to Account Manager and National Distribution Manager roles for a large maltster in the US. His many years of experience in multiple arenas of the industry bring comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the industries' unique trends, needs, and culture.

Posted in Fundraisers & Philanthropy | Tagged , , , .
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