The Brewers Association reports that only 31 percent of craft beer drinkers are women, and men outnumber women by nearly 3-to-1 behind-the-scenes at the nation’s breweries. Atlanta’s Jen Price wants to help fix this by opening a new venture, the Atlanta Beer Boutique.
Price, who has a passion for good beer and bringing people together over it, envisions the Atlanta Beer Boutique to be an informative space with a retail shop, tasting room, and home brew kitchen. The project is still a work in progress but, Price has started a Kickstarter campaign, and is in the final stages of formulating her business plan.
Price hopes the boutique will set itself apart from other Atlanta craft beer stores by offering hands-on opportunities for patrons, in particular women, who want to learn more about home brewing and beer.
Atlanta Beer Boutique’s bottle shop will carry beer from around the world and include a small market selling glassware, books, and select food for pairings as well as a tasting room for brewing and beer classes and pop-up events. Price is also building a fully-equipped kitchen, which she plans to rent out to home brewers and those in need of commercial kitchen space.
She sees the project not only as a shop but as a “place where people can learn, prepare beer to take home to pair with their food — a space that takes beer to the next level. It’s a different approach to customer service.”
Price is one of the few women of color in the beer industry. She hopes to shine a spotlight on others in her position, and on educating women to help remove the stigmas and labels often associated with women and beer.
Her own love of beer began with her father, who never reprimanded Price for taking a swig when she was young. “As a kid, it was more like a ritual we shared together. It’s a bit of a nostalgia for me because it was something we shared,” she says. “He doesn’t drink anymore, but he continues to enjoy my passion for it and lives vicariously through me.”
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Price holds bachelor degrees in both mathematics and civil engineering as well as a masters degree in city planning. She’s lived in Boulder, Charlotte, and Philadelphia. It was in Boulder where Price says she was first exposed to, then fell in love with, craft beer.
In 2014, Price started a blog that continually pushed her to learn more about the making of beer and its various nuances. She soon began hosting beer events and even wrote a book, “The Chick’s Guide To Beer”.
Price is currently studying to be a certified cicerone (think sommelier but beer), and is ready to get the ball rolling on her all-inclusive bottle shop.
“I knew I wanted a shop eventually, so I started out doing beer events, classes, and workshops while blogging about beer,” she says. “I took the love I have for community and educating people from my planning career and applied it to my passion for beer.”
Price began her Kickstarter campaign in April hoping to raise $25,000 for Atlanta Beer Boutique’s permanent location. As of publication, the campaign has raised $30,100. She is currently working with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center to flesh out her business plan and is developing her draft inventory list while she looks for a permanent location. Price says the ideal space is around 1600-square-feet and is located in an area with good walkability. She’s expressed interest in neighborhoods like East Atlanta Village.
The visibility of women in the beer industry is slowly growing. The most recent research shows a nominal percentage of women in top roles at breweries around the country. But, organizations like Women in Craft Beer and the Pink Boots Society do foresee growth and more access in the future to leadership opportunities for women in the beer industry.
A 2018 survey done by the Brewers Association estimates people of color make up only 14.5 percent of the nation’s craft beer drinkers—a statistic Price says jives with her own experiences as a black women beer drinker and educator.
Price sees progress in the industry, however, and hopes the Atlanta Beer Boutique and its inclusive environment will keep pushing the industry and the beer drinking community forward. While she recognizes that most of her supporters are black women, Price is encouraged by the diversity she’s seeing at her events in Atlanta’s tasting rooms.
“I love remixing what a brewery looks like. I think it is eye-opening to the industry,” Price says of the future of Atlanta Beer Boutique. “There are invisible barriers we deal with everyday. I think that having my events [around Atlanta] gives everyone permission to be there and be accepted.”
Article written by Ngozi IzE Ahanotu via atlanta.eater.com