Beer Revere June 2021: Celebrating Women in Beer
Hop Hideout is an award-winning beer and cider shop established in 2013 by Jules Gray, now based in Kommune food hall in the city centre. She’s passionate about Sheffield, good causes and making beer a welcoming space for everyone. Jules is also the founder and organiser of Sheffield Beer Week and Indie Beer Feast.
Jules returns to Exposed this month with Beer Revere, a monthly column discussing the latest from the world of beer and brewing.
After many years of a writing hiatus, one of the benefits of the last awful 12 months (there have not been many!) is that it’s given me more time to reflect and put pen to paper.
In 2012, I returned to Sheffield after previously leaving the city for work opportunities in 2001, a storyline which seems to have been shared by many around the Steel City. At the time I was still commuting out of Sheffield for work and promising myself to find a more fulfilling job direction. Having then worked in beer on and off for over ten years, it seemed common sense to research further opportunities in the sector. A growing resentment at the lack of career development, support, mentoring and opportunity at my current workplace led me down a path of investigating running my own small business. As a female entrepreneur I’ve never looked back. Though I can’t say it’s been an easy path, it’s certainly fulfilling. It was around this time I started writing for Exposed Magazine about beer. Life seems to have gone full circle and now I’m back here with a monthly column. Whit-whoo!
The pandemic situation has been extremely tough for any small business owner. Those who have made it through, like Hop Hideout, are certainly hugely humbled and grateful for the support of all their customers. It has made us focus on our core ethos and people priorities with even more urgency, importance and clarity. As we always have, we continue to champion the importance of a welcoming and more diverse beer sector for everyone.
According to the Rose Review, spearheaded by Alison Rose, NatWest Chief Executive of Commercial and Private Banking, the advancement of female entrepreneurs could be worth £250 billion to the UK economy. Entrepreneurship needs to be more accessible for women with increased support locally, accessible networks and relatable mentors – all strands that, in hindsight, I would have valued accessing.
The review also found that women are consistently less likely than men to believe they have developed necessary technical skills for their required business sector; compounding this lack of confidence, another complex challenge is the underlying gender bias when a woman enters a male-dominated area. Stanford University researchers conducted an experiment in which they showed a group of participants labels from fictitious breweries, then asked for their perceptions of the label, thoughts on quality and how much they would pay for the beer. The fictitious brewer was named on the label and, after splitting the group, they showed one with a female name and one with a male name, but otherwise completely identical. Results showed that participants given the brewery with the female brewer had lower expectations on taste, quality and that they would pay less for the beer. So it seems women can be penalised for entering a male-dominated trade area. As more women enter these fields, though, I think it will eliminate the distinction between masculine and feminine tasks and ultimately be a positive thing (remember that £250 billion I mentioned earlier); not only benefiting the economy but increasing work opportunities for a wider demographic and benefiting local communities in conjunction.
Results showed that participants given the brewery with the female brewer had lower expectations on taste, quality and that they would pay less for the beer. So it seems women can be penalised for entering a male-dominated trade area.
Interestingly, when researching statistics on this topic, I found that many of the cities with higher female entrepreneurship were located in the north of England, and Sheffield was cited as one of the two best cities by Clydesdale Bank, with a 38% growth in the last 12 months prior to the pandemic (Business Leader 2019). This is a real positive. I hope Sheffield can be seen as a leading light and I’m pleased to see many great female business owners across the sectors such as Rebecca English from Birdhouse Tea Co, Deborah Moon from MoonKo, Annalisa Toccara from Our Mel and Martha Holley from Saint Mars of the Desert. On that note, in this month’s beer column I’m highlighting some fantastic women-led breweries around the UK and just because they brew brilliant tasting beers (that I do you hope search out!).
Saint Mars of the Desert (Sheffield) – Bam Bam 5.7%
A koelship hopped IPA with bags of citrus and tropical notes from the Azacca and Olicana hops.
Wild Card Brewery (London) – Blackcurrant Gose 4.4%
Big, bold red fruity tart kick with a more-ish salinity, which makes this an absolute summer thirst quencher (when the sunshine comes back!).
Neptune Brewery (Liverpool) – Molly 4%
Dry Irish stout using Northern brewer hops with roasted coffee notes and layers of bittersweet chocolate.
Duration Brewing (Norfolk) – Little Fanfare 3.8%
Spritzy grisette style, which is a lower strength Belgian style saison. Dry, light and a perfect ‘table beer’ to accompany food.
Queer Brewing – Flowers 4%
A vibrant wheat beer in the Beglian tradition with coriander and curacao orange peel. Saaz and Tettnang hops leaning to the traditional element of the style with a balanced bite.
Jules’ will be running a Hop Hideout ‘Women in Beer’ curated box for the wonderful Women On Tap festival, celebrating women working in the beer industry and creative sectors. The festival will be a hybrid and in-person festival this year. More information about the festival can be found at womenontap.co.uk.