Arm-wrestling Tournament: Rumble in the Jungle, June 30
The Pink Boots Society (PBS) was created to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education. Made up of the female movers and shakers in the beer industry, the organization holds chapters all over the world, with Boston boasting 180 members, being the largest.
It’s all female membership strives to brew beer with the highest possible quality. They own breweries, package the beer, design labels, serve beers, write about beer, and cover just about any aspect of beer. Most importantly, the group fosters community, mentorship, knowledge sharing, and works to teach one another best practices through meetings and seminar programs. The group also raises money to offer educational scholarships to its members.
One of those fundraisers includes a highly anticipated arm wrestling tournament, now in its fourth year. Rumble in the Jungle, presented by PBS Boston will return on June 30, hosted by True North Ales.
The idea was borrowed from a farmers’ arm wrestling league in Western Massachusetts. It had been such a successful fundraising tool for the farming group, that PBS member Andrea Stanley, owner of Valley Malt, brought the idea to table. The rest is history.
“Other than beer festivals, we really don't have many events in Massachusetts that bring industry folk together. Not only is this event super industry centric, it also highlights some our forgotten players,” says PBS Boston Chapter leader Brienne Allan. “If you've seen the photos from previous years you’ll notice there isn’t a single person in the crowd that isn't screaming at the top of their lungs.”
Brienne admits that the first year she needed to nudge quite hard to get some PBS Boston members to sign up as wrestlers. It’s no small feat to be in the spotlight in front of 500 people.
“A lot of women thanked me afterwards -- they didn't realize how supportive the industry can really be,” says Brienne. “It's an overwhelming feeling to know the entire community is behind you no matter what.”
Now there’s a waiting list to participate. New wrestlers are featured every year which brings to light just how much female power there is in the Massachusetts craft beer industry. No one knows exactly how many women are currently employed throughout the Commonwealth. Both the Mass Brewers Guild and Brewers Association hope to start tracking this data soon.
The event is open to the public and tickets are $15 for PBS members and $20 for non-members. Despite the event targeting women in the industry the audience is typically a 50/50 split in gender.
“We've never had an issue getting men to attend PBS events, even wearing our merchandise, specifically because we stay away from phrases like "women only" or "ladies" and of course the pinkness in general,” says Brienne. “We've been pretty gender neutral since we started up and its crazy how supportive our male counterparts are. We're pretty lucky here in Massachusetts.”
Her advice to a brewery looking to host a female networking or educational event at their brewery? “Go for it and plan on it selling out! We never have enough space for these things. Make sure your business is closed and save plenty of time of social drinking. Also, don’t underestimate the women in the industry -- we don't need off-flavor courses or purse giveaways,” says Brienne.
This feature is a part of a the MBG’s Inclusion & Diversity Success Story Series with the goal to share best practices, recruitment strategies, and event & program ideas that members can bring home to their breweries. Does your brewery or business have a story that they’d like to share? The MBG’s Diversity Committee wants to hear it! Reach out to MBG Executive Director Katie Stinchon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.