The Pink Boots Society (PBS) was founded in 2007 as a way to help women brewers find a seat at the industry table. Today, the nonprofit has 100 chapters and 2,700 members worldwide.
Angela Loomis came across PBS when she came to Bellingham to market in the beer industry. The problem: the organization’s closest chapter was in Seattle.
Recognizing Whatcom’s growing beer industry, Loomis officially launched the Bellingham chapter in the fall of 2018.
When Louise Gearhart, the committee outreach coordinator for Aslan Brewing Company, joined the team, she was looking for more inclusivity in brewing culture.
“I work for a company that’s owned by three men. Our entire brewing staff is men. I think that’s pretty much the trend [in Bellingham],” Gearhart says. “Even if you have that knowledge and have that experience, it can still be an intimidating world.”
Since the chapter started, they’ve hosted social events to recruit local female brewers, held fundraisers, and helped women access scholarships.
“[Bellingham is] starting to become a craft beer tourist destination,” Gearhart says. As breweries multiply, so do opportunities for collaboration and networking. “The more successful people are individually, the more successful we are collectively.”
PBS is meant to assist and inspire women, but they are also devoted to enhancing the community as a whole. They make sure everyone is welcome and encouraged at their events.
“[In] any industry, it’s never about being a girl or a guy or your gender or your race,” PBS finance liaison Stephanie Artino says. “It’s what do you know about the industry and how can you contribute? Bring everything you’ve got, and let’s embrace everybody.”
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