Attending BrewCon

Pink Boots & BrewCon!

It seems like only last week that the annual BrewCon (IBA Brewing Conference) was held in Sydney. But in reality it was actually held at the end of June 2018…

Jayne and Charlie attended the conference; Charlie was there a few days earlier doing the Independent Brewers Association – Beer Award judging.

Jayne was lucky enough to score a trip paid for by Pink Boots Australia. Pink Boots is a society aimed to empower women in the brewing industry through education.

Here are some words from Jayne before attending the conference and also on winning one of the Pink Boots Scholarships.

Thanks to Pink Boots

Last year I attended my first ACBC event solo and felt a little overwhelmed and excited within a big crowd of strangers. I was accidentally mistaken as a waitress, which made me feel even more out of place. I had no brewery (yet) and wasn’t technically ‘working’ in the industry. I sat in the sessions and had no idea there was so much complexity to different malts, hops and yeast. Then there were more complexities regarding beer foam. I realised then that making beer was actually a science.

With a new brewery and plenty of bills to pay, this year the conference was not considered an option. We needed a pallet full of growlers ASAP and a few massive ingredients orders are almost due..

So I decided to apply for one of the Pink Boots Scholarships to get support to go to the BrewCon. I was so excited when I got the phone call to say I had been selected to go along!!

Besides getting a few nights away from my three young kids, this would give me a great opportunity to be beer swigging and networking with other people in the industry. Now our brewery is operating, it was great to talk to others to see what struggles and triumphs they were going through.

Networking with Other Brewers

The brew day at Wayward Brewing was awesome and it was such a great opportunity to sit with Terri Fahrendorf (the founder of Pink Boots) and hear her talk about malt and all things brewing. She is one amazing lady who keeps you in awe with every word she speaks.

I met with Mel from Rocky Ridge Brewing; another one of the Pink Boots Scholarship winners. We had a ball at the brew day.

I also met Kelly from Coal Coast Brewing Co at the BrewCon and told her all about Pink Boots. It was so nice to pass on some of my knowledge to her as she is just starting her brewing journey. Pink Boots is free and it opens up the learning opportunity for all women in the industry.

Conferencing and Learning

BrewCon had two separate conference sessions on during the day. So you could choose between the Business room or the Brewing room. The business side of a brewery often gets overshadowed by it’s more glorious sister (the beer tasting, new styles, techniques, the science behind the beer and of course the hops). But the brewing side can’t forget that it needs a successful business to run the show. So I hung out in the Business room most of the event.

I enjoyed the marketing and advertising sessions and the finance talks. I know it takes a lot to make a business grow and it was great to soak up any information I could so I could be a part of the overarching industry growth and to build our brand and sales in Australia. Some people might find it’s the boring side of brewing, but it is important.

The trade hall was massive! So many stalls to go and look at and just not enough time. We were looking into canning options at the time and there were plenty of places advertising can machines, labels, packing solutions etc. I had my calico bag filled up with samples and freebies. If you’re starting a brewery it is definitely worth going to get names of suppliers and see samples of products in real life.

The BrewCon also included the opening night dinner, which was a highlight! It was held in the old railway buildings and there were jugglers and people on stilts. Wow, just mind blowing the effort that went into the event.

Technical Details Matter

It may sound strange but one of the highlights of the week for me was talking to other people and actually giving them advice on how we tackled things with our setup. Although we are only new ourselves, we have actually learnt a lot in the past year. It wasn’t until I spoke to people in their first few months of opening or pre-opening when I realised how far we had come and how much we had learnt.

It was also nice to talk to people who were legitimately interested in what Point of Sale system we went with, how we priced our beer, what our accounting system was and how me managed our invoices etc. Most peoples eyes glaze over when you talk about that stuff. For the record, we went with the Kounta POS, linked with Tyro Eftpos and XERO accounts.

Pink Boots Community

At the BrewCon event it was so great to hear about Teri Fahrendorf (founder of Pink Boots) and the story of how the society was founded and how it came by its name.

If anyone out there is interested in Pink Boots and how to keep in the loop with other women in the industry, the details are below. Follow the webpage and Facebook to see when they are putting out the next scholarship. It is definitely worth it and I’ve made lots of new connections that will help me moving forward with our brewing venture.

About Pink Boots Society

The Pink Boots Society was created to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.

Pink Boots Australia membership is open to women who are actively employed or retired from a career in the beer industry, who are in the process of opening a brewery, or are students currently enrolled in a beer industry focused program.

Membership is currently free! If you would like to join, send them an email. Pink Boots Australia is a society aimed to empower women in the brewing industry through education.