Last week Yakima Chief Hops (YCH), a global hop supplier for craft brewers, announced this year’s contribution to Pink Boots Society (PBS) alongside distributor partner Country Malt Group (CMG). During a virtual celebration on May 1, they presented a check for $117,807 from the sale of the 2020 Pink Boots Blend, providing scholarships for women in beer.
Pink Boots Society is a global nonprofit with a mission to assist, inspire, and encourage women to advance their careers through education. Their donation-based scholarship fund provides educational opportunities in all areas of brewing, from science to technology. Scholarships are awarded on a monthly basis and the application process includes a resume as well as a letter on how it will help their career and how they plan to “Pay it Forward” (PIF). The selection process includes a blind application review with an emphasis on their PIF, encouraging women to spread their knowledge and become leaders in the industry.
“The Pink Boots Society scholarship program is one of our main pillars, and part of our foundation that we were built for,” said Laura Ulrich, President of PBS. “When PBS was founded, not only did the women lack the connection of other women, but some lacked the educational side. We feel there is no gender-based glass ceiling in the beer industry, only an education-based glass ceiling. If we at PBS can help women break that ceiling, we are happy to facilitate and help the beer industry thrive.”
While being a PBS scholarship recipient alone is a testament to a woman’s drive and talent in the brewing community, it also empowers women with more confidence in the workplace. For example, Lexi Russell of Duck Foot Brewing was awarded an opportunity to attend YCH’s 2019 Hop & Brew School and claimed that it allowed her to feel more comfortable in her role as Assistant Brewer. In addition, it can lead to career advancements, providing them with the knowledge and skills to take on new roles.
The funds from the sale of YCH’s Pink Boots Blend greatly enhances the PBS scholarship program, providing more opportunities to more women and expanding its impact. Since the creation of the blend in 2018, the number of scholarships has doubled, from 23 in 2018 to 46 in 2019. One of the largest scholarships provided by the blend was an opportunity for 10 women to attend the Brewing & Distilling in Belgium and the Netherlands course provided by New Mexico State University, postponed to 2021.
“Aside from enhancing the scholarship program,” said Cat Wiest, PBS board member, “The blend itself provides many opportunities for women in beer. It allows women to take the reins on one-off beers or get into the brewhouse if they work elsewhere in the industry. It gives women a hand up to get hands on. Some women become really inspired by Pink Boots Collaboration brew days. Erica DeAnda, head brewer at Tumbled Rock Brewery, was inspired to get out from behind the bar, put in the time learning, received a PBS scholarship, and is now in a head brewer position. There are no downsides. Not one.”
Yakima Chief Hops is thrilled to make yet another significant contribution to the PBS scholarship fund, for a total of $257, 807 since 2018. These funds are contributed from the sale of the annual Pink Boots Blend by donating $3 for every pound sold. The blend is produced by YCH and sold through YCH and CMG. The women of PBS are a powerhouse in the industry and will continue to translate these funds into meaningful and valuable educational opportunities for women in beer.
The Pink Boots Blend is still available for purchase at shop.yakimachief.com. Stay tuned for more information regarding the 2021 Pink Boots Blend coming this fall!