Baxter Brewing Co | Muddy Boots
Amid this pandemic, the inequalities that hold up the structure of our society are more evident than ever, the reality that the American culture as we know it simply does not work without this inequitable foundation is no longer deniable. As our nation begins the endeavor of reopening our economy, we are forced to reconcile this realization with our desire to return to normal. But is that “normal” what we are truly craving? We are at a precipitous where as a society we have the time to reflect on realities of our system if we so choose this is our moment to reopen our country a new, different, better; will we take this chance or will we let it pass us by?
For many, the inequalities of our societal structure are not a new revelation, it is simply the fact of life. Factors outside of one’s control can dictate everything from the type of education, healthcare, work and opportunities presented throughout the course life. Someone’s race, abilities and gender are all factors that play a major role in finding “success” within the structure of American society, and yet these are factors we have little or no control over.
Thanks to the courageous Women’s Rights Movement of the 1970s, women now have more opportunities but the reality that women must work harder for the same success as men still stand true.
In 2007, brewer Teri Fahrendorf traveled the nation and saw the struggle that other women such as herself experience in this male-dominated industry. She took it upon herself to change that reality by starting the Pink Boots Society, a non-profit that assists, inspires and encourages women in beer to advance their careers through networking and education. Although this organization started as a small blog it has grown to reach international audiences and pushes the realities of our industry’s unequable structure into the limelight so that change may be made and that future generations of brewing professionals are no longer limited by factors beyond their control, such as gender.
The fruits of this labor are becoming more and more apparent as the craft beer industry grows and female beer professionals become more and more commonplace. One standout is Jenn Lever, President of Baxter Brewing Company in Lewiston, Maine. She took over this role in the fall of 2019 and very quickly formed a partnership with the Pink Boots Society in hopes to grow the Maine chapter and community of female brewing professionals in the state. When asked what inspired this partnership, Lever stated, “it felt like a good platform to parlay that there are a lot of women in beer and have been for a long time.” One of the major aspects of this new relationship was partnering with a well-known Portland pub, RiRa, to host monthly networking nights for industry professionals to connect. It created an opportunity for women in the industry to meet other women and for men to learn how to support women within this field.
Although, the pandemic brought gatherings such as these to a halt, the effort to connect and bring women in the beer industry together continues. In April, Baxter released its “passion project,” Muddy Boots Trail Mix Brown Ale, in support of the Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day 2020. Baxter states that Muddy Boots is, “a beer to be enjoyed alongside whatever path you may be headed on. Rain or shine, snowbanks, or puddles, we strive to bring you a piece of our Passion Projects in every sip.” It is clear that building up the craft beer industry and female professionals within this industry is a passion of Lever’s.
Before becoming President, Lever was the operations manager at Baxter for about two years. Muddy Boots was inspired by her inaugural brew on their 10-gallon system, originally named, “Bear Bait.” When the time came to craft a beer in support of the Pink Boots Society it seemed only fitting to revamp the beer created by their female president. With its new name and Maine aesthetic branding, featuring an illustration of the iconic L.L. Bean boots, this trail mix brown ale makes its mark. Featuring notes of all the best things in a trail mix, peanuts, oats, chocolate and cranberries, with a touch of campfire roast. Clocking in at 7% ABV it will keep you warm wherever your adventure takes you.
Although, in this historical moment we do not know what the future holds it is encouraging to see not everyone is ready to return to what was the status quo and that the fight and efforts to adjust the inequalities that shape the foundation of our society continue in the face of great adversity. A delicious beer, such as Muddy Boots, along the way surely helps!
Feature image photo credit: Baxter Brewing Company