FemAle Brewfest

Published on March 3rd, 2020

A craft-beer drinker in the male-dominated world of micro brews, Frances Antonio-Martineau decided a few years back that she wanted to address the gender imbalance in artisanal beer circles, and shine a light on women making waves with suds.

It was a logical aim, considering Antonio-Martineau’s role as founder of Fem Collective, a networking group for female entrepreneurs in South Florida. “I wanted to find a way to combine my two passions,” she tells PureHoney in an interview.

But that didn’t guarantee its success. The FemAle Brewfest debuted in 2017 in a small warehouse in Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village arts district, with 15 participating breweries and, by the end of the day, a not-unimpressive 700 people attending. The festival has grown in participation and attendance every year since, Antonio-Martineau says. She expects the upward trend to continue: The fourth FemAle Brewfest, set for March 21, is moving to bigger digs at the new Dania Pointe shopping center.

“I expect to have about 30 breweries participating this year, possibly more,” Antonoio-Martineau reports. “Currently I have four out-of-state breweries traveling to be a part of the festival, with more reaching out to me.”

Along with more beer, there will also be an expanded menu of ways to enjoy the festival — talks, workshops, tailored festival experience packages, and even yoga. “I am working on developing the festival into a mini summit,” Antonoio-Martineau says.

Count on Denielle Mizrahi to be there. A co-founder of Yeasty Brews, an artisanal beer maker in Lauderhill, Mizrahi says in an interview that this will be her second consecutive time as a p

Frances Antonio-Martineau

articipating vendor.

“Not only did I have a great experience last year, but my participation and friendship with Frances has inspired and empowered me to grow my involvement,” she says.

Mizrahi says female brewers are often overlooked and underrated, even as key players like Antonio-Martineau are doing essential work building female participation. “Females can be intimidated to pursue their passion of craft beer because it has been a male-dominated industry,” Mizrahi says. “But I see that starting to change.”

More women are entering the beer industry, and as they do they’re finding different ways to connect with potential customers. Popular local breweries like Twisted Trunk in Palm Beach Gardens and LauderAle in Fort Lauderdale feature yoga on Sunday mornings.

Antonio-Martineau sees her festival and a more female artisanal brew culture flourishing in tandem.

“It is a celebration and a curated craft beer festival experience like no other in South Florida,” she says. “Attendees will have the opportunity to explore and discover breweries from around the country, as well as talk beer with some of their favorite beer experts.”

Theres a “Sensory Training” workshop led by by Kristen Lorow-Hunter, brand marketing coordinator at Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, and a Florida chapter member of the Pink Boots Society, which helps women develop everything from their brewing techniques to their beer palates.

FemAle2019: Courtesy Frances Antonio-Martineau

Lorow-Hunter is a Certified Cicerone — the trade’s title for hospitality workers who’ve proven their beer savvy through intensive courses and an exam. Her workshop will focus on avoiding common mistakes that crop up in craft beer brewing and handling.

There’s also a presentation on “Fermentation Diversity” led by Michelle Pagano, a cider maker, gluten-free beer home brewer and Instagram influencer from New York. And Danii Oliver, owner of Brooklyn’s Island to Island Brewery, will be representing “Beersgiving,” a project to encourage veterans and military spouses to establish themselves in the brew trade.

Scheduled speakers include: J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, a Ph.D. communications professor who was recently named the first-ever diversity ambassador of the Brewers Association nonprofit trade group representing independent craft brewers; Megan Stone, a brewer, consultant and “beerfluencer” who has worked at Delaware’s Dogfish Head and other celebrated breweries; and Ren Navarro, a co-founder of Canada’s Society of Beer Drinking Ladies, and the founder of Beer. Diversity.

“Through the fest, I hope to continue to inspire other women and young girls,” says Antonio-Martineau, “whether it be to get in the brewing industry or in a[ny] field that is male-dominated.”

It’s true when they say the future (of beer) is female.

FemAle Brewfest is 1-6pm Saturday at Dania Pointe, 139 S. Compass Way, Dania Beach. General admission is $45 and includes admission from 3-6 p.m., unlimited beer samples and access to beer talks. Tickets prices vary for earlier entry at 1 and 2 pm, and for included workshops and packages. femalebrewfest.com. ~ Olivia Feldman

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