More diversity at Monterey Beer Festival, especially amongst women

MONTEREY, Calif. - At the 16th annual Monterey Beer Festival people got to sample unlimited amounts of craft beer from more than 30 different vendors. Craft beer infused with fruit, vegetables and spices were on the menu.

"Everybody's brought their own taste to it,” said craft beer aficionado Alex Munoz. “Some have IPAs, a little bit darker beers that are going on. I like it."

Other than the array of flavor profiles, there was also lot of diversity amongst the people serving up the beer, especially when it came to gender.

"More power to us in the sense of girls going out there and fighting for what they want," said craft beer drinker Catherine Burchard.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing was started by a woman and includes a nearly all female staff.

"It's a male dominated industry but I think women have been enjoying beer for quite some time,” said Katie Johnson with Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. “It's just a matter of time before we started getting in there and brewing it, and showing the boys that we can do it too." 

 According to the Brewers Association, women make up 25 percent of all craft beer drinkers. 

"By having both men and women in the industry it really creates a stronger company because they can reach out to the whole public instead of only directing it to half the population," said craft beer drinker Victoria Burchard. 

Monterey Beer Fest founder Jeff Moses said women help bring more flavor profiles and finesse to the industry, which is needed because today’s consumer is more demanding than ever.

"They want different styles,” said Moses. “They're promiscuous in their drinking styles. One day they'll drink a lager, the next they'll drink a stout." 

Some female brew masters told KION they have faced barriers getting into the male dominated industry, everything from hesitation to not being taken seriously.

"Men might, just say women, they can't lift a keg, they can't clean out," said Johnson.

"Folks come into the brewery and they want to talk to the guys, so it's always kind of a funny thing when they say no ask her she brews," said Elkhorn Slough brewer Julie Rienhardt. 

They said the harder the pushback, the farther they'll push forward. 

Some of the men we talked to applaud more women getting into the industry.

"If anybody knows how to brew a good beer I'm gonna drink it,” said Munoz. “So cheers to them."

Proceeds from the event will go to the Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation to help pay for capital projects and youth programs. 

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