A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs

Tara Nurin’s book, A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs, will make you think differently about beer. Seems women had a very big contribution to the craft of beer since the dawn of time and received no credit or is long forgotten. Tara sheds light on the history of beer making from a historical woman’s perspective.

It’s women, not men, who’ve brewed beer throughout most of human history. Their role as family and village brewer lasted for hundreds of thousands of years—through the earliest days of Mesopotamian civilization, the reign of Cleopatra, the witch trials of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and the settling of colonial America. A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse celebrates the contributions and influence of female brewers and explores the forces that have erased them from the brewing world.

It’s a history that’s simultaneously inspiring and demeaning. Wherever and whenever the cottage brewing industry has grown profitable, politics, religion, and capitalism have grown greedy. On a macro scale, men have repeatedly seized control and forced women out of the business. Other times, women have simply lost the minimal independence, respect, and economic power brewing brought them.

But there are more breweries now than at any time in American history and today women serve as founders, CEO, or head brewer at more than one thousand of them.

Tara Nurin is the beer and spirits contributor to Forbes and an adjunct Beer 101 instructor at Wilmington University. The former major-market TV news reporter has been the Libations columnist for New Jersey Monthly, the women-in-beer columnist for Ale Street News, and the co-host of the What’s on Tap weekly beer TV show. Her work has been published in more than fifty newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms such as Food + WineUSA Today, and Wine Enthusiast. She is certified by the Beer Judge Certification Program and serves as a frequent expert and host in the media and in educational programming. She lives outside of Philadelphia, PA. 

Teri Fahrendorf (forward by) is an American brewer and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization that supports women in the brewing industry. She is notable for being one of the first women in the craft brewing industry and her brews have been widely awarded from organizations such as Great American Beer Festival and the Brewer’s Association.