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Sarah Frankel, Stefanie Benjamin and Carrie Stephens : Crafty women: Exploring emotional labor within the craft beer industry

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2:30 PM, Dimanche 20 Juin 2021 (30 minutes)
Crafty women: Exploring emotional labor within the craft beer industry


Sarah Frankel

Stefanie Benjamin


Carrie Stephens

I think a lot of male brewers already know that we as female brewers are already trying to prove ourselves because we already kind of feel as though we weren't really supposed to be at the party … so I'm going to show you why I'm supposed to be here. – ‘Jack’

The origins of beer brewing are steeped in thousands of years of history, myth, and the suppression of the historical role women play in production. Although the craft beer market has seen continued growth due to its importance on place identity, scholars continue to explore the historical role of women in beer production (Schell and Reese 2003). According to The Brewers Association (2020), the United States is home to 6,266 craft breweries ranging from regional, micro, brew, large non-craft, and other non-craft. Craft beer drinkers are 31.5% women and 68.5% men; however, there is a lack of women brewmasters within the industry. Consequently, the stereotypes and perceptions surrounding women and beer have vacillated from sexist representations of women on beer labels and commercials to the sporadic acknowledgment of women brewers and drinkers in the mainstream media. Furthermore, the dearth of academic research around female craft brewer/professional experiences is, unfortunately, not surprising.

Like many industries, women tend to be silenced, marginalized, or overlooked due to the hegemony of male-dominated landscapes. Thus, highlighting and giving a platform for women in the craft beer industry to share their narratives, we hoped to create a dialogue around the complexities and struggles women endure. It was our initiative to shed light on their emotional labor experiences and the ongoing struggle that they face of constantly trying to provetheir worth. This study explores the lived experiences of nine US American southeastern female craft beer professionals with regards to anger and emotional labor within the male-dominated craft beer industry. Specifically, the research questions guiding this study are as follows: (1) What are the lived experiences of women in the craft beer industry; (2) How do women craft beer professionals endure emotional labor? Informed by critical feminist narrative inquiry (Sprague, 2005), semi-structured individual and group interviews (Saldaña 2016) were conducted to better understand the emotional labor of women within the craft beer industry resulting in a dynamic and innovative arts-based analysis (Barone and Eisner 2012).

All participants discussed their love of the craft beer industry and provided insights into unforeseen issues of motherhood, safety, and sexual violence. The motivations behind the leisure pursuits of brewing were complex, which lead to actively engaging in both outward anger and coping strategies. Each of these three overarching stanzas, (1) anger as a catalyst, (2) the bridge, and (3) coping mechanisms, have various subthemes. The first arc, anger as a catalyst, establishes the frustration that women brewers experience; the following arc, the bridge, acts as an intermediary to anger propelling women to adopt coping mechanisms; and the final arc, coping mechanisms, discusses the strategies the women adopted to deal with their emotional frustrations in craft brewing.


Barone, T., and E.W. Eisner, Arts-Based Research, 2012, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Brewers Association, Brewers Association Homepage, 2020, Retrieved from

Saldaña, J., The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers, 2016, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Schnell, S. M., and J.F. Reese, “Microbreweries as Tools of Local Identity”, Journal of Cultural Geography, 2003, Volume 21 Issue 1, 45-69.

Sprague, J., Feminist Methodologies for Critical Researchers: Bridging Differences, 2005, New York, NY: Al- tamira.

Sarah Frankel


Stefanie Benjamin


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