In recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month, we’re giving special recognition to an employee who has helped pave the way for women in the beer industry. After 13 years with Great Western Malting and Country Malt Group, Teri Fahrendorf, an industry pioneer and inspiration to women, retired on March 2, 2022.
Many in the industry have met Teri or at least heard of her. Over the last more than 33 years, she’s helped innovate many brews and brewing processes, but will be most remembered for the contribution she made to women in the beer industry through her encouragement, inspiration and community building.
A female pioneer in a male-dominated industry, Teri founded Pink Boots Society in 2007. A five-month brewery-bound, cross-country road trip helped her realize women brewers wanted a community to help support one another in reaching their potential. What started as a networking opportunity, today is an international nonprofit organization of women beer professionals with a focus on educating and supporting women in the industry.
Pink Boots Society is just one way Teri will leave a lasting impact on our industry. When asked about another memorable moment in her career, Teri noted winning two gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 1991 and being awarded the Brewers Association Recognition Award in 2014.
She’s blazed a trail for women in the industry and this legacy will continue beyond her retirement. We asked Teri what advice she has for women entering the industry and she said, “Trust yourself. Trust your dreams and intuitions. Trust that your future self is guiding you toward the future you were meant to manifest.”
Keep reading to hear from Teri on her favourite beer and her plans for retirement!
In recognition of Teri and her achievements, a few employees, customers and friends shared their congratulations in this video.
We asked Teri to share a few memorable moments, her first plans in retirement and advice for women entering the industry.
Tell us about a memorable moment in your career.
Over my more than 33-year beer career, with nearly 13 years spent at Great Western Malting and Country Malt Group, you can imagine there were multiple memorable moments. Two events stand out for their immensity of meaning to me:
In September 1991, after surviving third-degree burns at my first paid brewing job and only 16 months of brewing professionally, I won two Gold Medals at the Great American Beer Festival. When I got up on that stage to receive my golds, I felt like Miss America!
The second occurred in 2014 during my last year with Country Malt Group. After founding and growing Pink Boots Society as my weekend and evening hobby for seven years, my brewing peers awarded me the Brewers Association Recognition Award, which is sort of a “Lifetime Achievement” award in craft brewing.
What’s your favourite brew you’ve made?
Even though I never won a medal for it, I’m most famous for my Bombay Bomber IPA because of its grapefruit-pineapple hop aroma and strong malt backbone. When I first started brewing IPAs, there were zero commercial examples, so I designed my recipe using historical British IPA recipes, translating the flavors mentioned into American ingredients. Because I’d experienced my first brewery employer going bankrupt (and bouncing two of four paychecks in the process), I designed my IPA recipe with 100% USA ingredients to save my employer money. All my professional brewing friends gently teased me for not using British ingredients for this traditional style, but I held strong.
I may have brewed the first commercial American-style IPA, and I believe I was the first brewer to put an American-style IPA on draft as a standard flagship, which happened in January 1991 when I commissioned Steelhead’s first brewery in Eugene, Oregon.
What’s your first adventure once you retire?
This answer is easy! I’ll jump in my Prius, drive to Seattle, Washington, transfer to a Pink Boots Society (PBS) member’s Rav4, and start my week of PBS Collab brewing in Leavenworth, Washington at Icicle Brewing. Then it’s back to Seattle for three more days of PBS Collab Brews at Burke-Gilman Brewing, Crucible Brewing, and Reuben’s Brewing. I’ll finish the brew week with a Seattle all-brewers meet-up at Big Time Brewing, then plan to visit the Seattle Art Museum and shop for clay and tools at Seattle Pottery Supply. After that, I’ll come home and sleep for a couple of days!
What advice do you have for women entering the industry?
First, trust yourself. Trust your dreams and intuitions. Trust that your future self is guiding you toward the future you were meant to manifest. Second, don’t get discouraged by obstacles. Continue to be your amazing, awesome self, and keep being fantastic at what you do. The playing field will eventually level when everyone realizes that women bring their top game to work.