[L]ast month, SheBrews hosted its first ever symposium at the Lemon Lounge in Austin, Texas. The group arose to serve as a platform for education, networking, and empowerment in the craft beverage industry. SheBrews was organized by women from five coffee and beer powerhouses in the Austin community: Raechel Hurd (coffee educator at Epoch Coffee), Emily Jackson (A Better Cup Consulting), Allison Kissell (general manager at Caffe Medici), Britt Allen (coffee educator at Wright Bros. Brew & Brew), and Randi Hensley (director of operations at Epoch Coffee).
In an industry that has long been dominated by male influence, groups like SheBrews are making it clear that women have always had their place at the table—and they’ve got loads of knowledge to offer. The symposium was organized by a cast of the community’s brightest craftswomen and was well attended by many people in the community (admission was open to all).
The symposium started with a brief introduction to SheBrews, followed by a call for anyone and everyone in attendance to educate themselves further about their industries. To help with this task, organizers provided three separate development experiences. A beer sensory workshop, led by cicerones Lindsay Compton of Uchiko and Brandy Compton of Barley Swine, walked participants through the history of beer as well as a tasting experience. A coffee sensory workshop led by Raechel Hurd and Emily Jackson asked participants with varying degrees of coffee knowledge to step into a full sensory tasting experience, sampling various elements of the flavor wheel.
These workshops were followed by a social hour with beer and coffee tastings from local Austin brewers and roasters.
The day ended with the panel discussion focusing on the craft community at large and addressing a variety of challenges faced by industry professionals.
—Chelsea Francis is an Austin, Texas-based photographer.