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History of Women in Brewing

The history of women in brewing can be traced back to ancient times when brewing was primarily a domestic task performed by women. In fact, it is believed that the first brewers were women and that the invention of beer predates the written language.

As brewing became more commercialized, it became a male-dominated profession, and women were largely excluded from the industry. However, in Europe during the medieval period, women still played an important role in brewing. In many cities, brewing was regulated by guilds, and women were often members of these guilds and owned their own breweries.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the witch hunts and the rise of the Protestant Reformation led to a decline in women’s involvement in brewing. Women were accused of witchcraft and blamed for the spoilage of beer, and the brewing industry became increasingly regulated and controlled by men.

However, in the 18th and 19th centuries, women began to make a comeback in the brewing industry. In England, the industrial revolution led to the growth of large-scale breweries, and women were employed in various roles, such as maltsters and beer tasters. In the United States, women played a key role in the early brewing industry, and many of the first commercial breweries were owned and operated by women.

Despite this, women still faced significant barriers to entering the brewing industry, and it remained largely male-dominated throughout the 20th century. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in craft brewing, and many women are now playing a leading role in the industry as brewers, owners, and entrepreneurs.