There’s a stereotype about women and beer: The two don’t mix.
Meet the Bitch Beer women.
These seven funny, laid-back women want to change that stereotype. They have been tight-knit since their college days at St. Edward’s University and now stay connected through their collaborative blog, Bitch Beer, which they started in 2012. The women blog about all things related to craft beer and have created quite a following in the process.
“We went to a tasting room at Thirsty Planet together and kind of looked around and noticed that we were the only group of girls there,” said Caroline Wallace, Bitch Beer co-founder and writer. “A lot of women were there with their husbands, but there was still a very low percentage of women there. Most of us worked on the paper at St. Ed’s together, so we knew what it was like to run a publication together, and we had a few beers and came up with the idea of Bitch Beer.”
In January, The History Press reached out to Bitch Beer asking if the women would be interested in a book deal. After only eight months, the women will release their first book, “Austin Beer: Capital City History on Tap.”
“We registered with Austin Food Blogger Alliance and were invited to write a vignette about craft beer in Austin in their blog,” said Shaun Martin, Bitch Beer co-founder and writer. “Their publisher is now our publisher. They said, ‘We’ve been looking for someone to write a book about Austin beer, and we really like your voice,’ so they actually approached us about writing a book after our vignette.”
Once writing a book became a reality, the women had a lot to do in a short amount of time. Their hope was to get the book published by October 2013 to coincide with Austin Beer Week.
“We did more than 60 interviews with brewers and beer community members, bar managers, festival organizers — and then we did a lot of extensive archival research,” Wallace said.
Wallace said the first Austin brewery opened in 1860, but there was a 100-year gap in which almost no breweries opened — this was before prohibition, and lasted up until the 1990s. Because of this, the girls were into the ‘90s by chapter three.
“That’s the pretty cool thing about this history book,” Wallace said. “It has some pretty cool older contextual stuff, but it’s a very new history book. We’re kind of living in the history right now.”
And of course, there is a Bitch Beer spin to the new book.
“It’s not written in a textbook or history book voice,” said Holly Aker, Bitch Beer co-founder and writer. “It’s definitely written in our voice. It’s a modern voice, not just, ‘Here are the facts.’ It’s very fun.”
Despite the research and expertise the Bitch Beer women have developed since starting the blog, they still struggle with people who make gender-based judgments.
Aker said men will tell them, “Women like this beer because it’s sweet, and it’s really easy on your taste buds.” This judgment of what type of beer women like is the main reason behind the blog’s name.
“There’s this thing called ‘bitch beer,’ and it’s that drink that ladies are supposed to drink and that frat boys think girls want,” Aker said. “Well, girls want to drink all beer, so why not change that term?”
The Bitch Beer women feel the craft beer community is more open than most.
“I think in the craft beer community itself we’ve never been patronized for being women,” Martin said. “Almost all the brewers say, ‘We love your mission. We love what you’re doing,’ because they want women to drink their beer; they’re not trying to alienate people.”
And neither is Bitch Beer.
“Most people don’t know that there’s this super vibrant community,” Aker said. “By writing about it, we’re showing other people who aren’t involved and aren’t aware that this exists, and you can be a part of it too.”