One CRAFTY Chick

October 19, 2016
by
2 mins read

Long ago, women brewed most of the beer; it’s a relatively recent development for men to dominate the craft. Taking a long view of history, it’s not surprising that over the past few years, women have been steadily occupying a larger space in the male-dominated brewing scene. From brewers to CEOs, women are making a comeback in crafting beer.

On Oct. 8 in Denver, Kristi McGuire, founder and brewmaster of High Heel Brewing, made her mark on the industry by earning a coveted gold medal at the world’s largest craft beer festival and competition: The Great American Beer Festival.

High Heel brews beers specifically targeted to female craft beer consumers. About her brewery, McGuire says, “We want to bring new styles and exciting beers to the market that craft beer enthusiasts will love. We also want to [bring] people to the table who haven’t been overtly invited before.”

The company was founded in 2016 and, though based in St. Louis, brews beers at Lakeland’s Brew Hub.

Brew Hub was founded in 2012 in St. Louis by a team led by Timothy Schoen, a former vice-president at Anheuser-Busch. The company provides brewing, packaging, distribution and sales services to craft brewers. Other clients are Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and Asheville’s Green Man Brewery.

Along McGuire’s years-long travels to creating an award-winning brew, she made many stops and worked with talented people.

“I started my brewing career as an intern at Anheuser-Busch in Houston in 1993,” McGuire said in an exclusive interview with Folio Weekly. “And shortly after graduating from college, I was lucky enough to land a job as a brewer at the Alaskan Brewing Company in 1995. The 1990s was a period of amazing growth in what we called ‘micro-breweries’ at the time, because craft beer wasn’t a term.”

McGuire drew inspiration from other craft-brewing women, like Marcy Larson, co-founder of Alaskan Brewing Company, and the aptly named Jane Killebrew, director of brewing, quality and innovation at Anheuser-Busch InBev.

“Despite [the fact] that brewing is male-dominated,” McGuire said, “I’ve always worked with amazing women throughout my career and have been inspired by men and women during my career.”

Her gold-medal beer is Slingback, a hybrid ale with a mix that includes pear juice, natural passion fruit juices, Hallertauer hops and subtle spicing from chamomile and elderflower.

“With Slingback, we created an entirely new style of beer, hitting that sweet spot between ale and cider,” said McGuire.

“The recognition of winning gold from brewing professionals in a blind taste competition with 106 entries is extraordinary for us,” she added. “We’re over the moon and plan to use this as a springboard to develop and bring more exciting, innovative brews to the craft beer market.”

High Heel also produces an IPA, Too Hop’d to Handle, and is even testing a gluten-free beer.

“Personally, I’m a hands-on, boots-on brewer,” McGuire said. “I have expertise in brewing and fermentation that ensures quality, and I still have a lot of tricks up my sleeve to share with craft beer connoisseurs.”

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Slingback and Too Hop’d to Handle can be found at retail locations throughout Florida and at Brew Hub in Lakeland.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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