Ladies of lager gravitate to beer careers

Onetime registered nurse and Allen Park home brewer Annette May is to the world of beer what a sommelier is to fine wine.

May, 56, a native Australian, is a Certified Cicerone® (pronounced Siss-er-rown). The first woman to pass the U.S.-based certification program in 2008, that means she has exacting knowledge of how to identify, store, serve, educate and opine about beer.

So when May hears from many women that they don’t like beer, the beer department manager at Dearborn’s Merchant’s Fine Wine simply tells them to try something other than the mass-produced, heavily advertised stuff.

At the store, she gracefully interrogates the curious about their tastes — how fond are they of coffee? Of chocolate? What kind of wines or fruits do they enjoy? And she usually convinces them to try something from the exploding array of craft beers — often made in small breweries in Michigan and around the country.

“Every flavor you can think of, somebody’s made a beer out of it,” May says. When customers take her advice, what May hears back is: “I didn’t know beer could taste like this.”

In just the last few years, groups directed at women’s surging interest in brewing, have sprung up. Fermenta, aimed at Michigan brewing industry professionals who are women, includes May as a founding member. Earlier this month, Girls Pint Out, a national organization to encourage women to socialize over craft beer as well as charity fund-raising, debuted a metro Detroit chapter.

“Historically, women were the brewers in the household. They made the bread, and the women also made the beer,” says May. “There’s always been this female element that was lost over the years.”

… raise a craft beer to that.


FULL ARTICLE: “Ladies of lager gravitate to beer careers” by Patricia Montemurri. Detroit Free Press. February 15, 2015. freep.com