Just one in four employees in the independent British brewing industry are women, however, somewhat disappointingly, only 11% of this female workforce are employed as brewers. Imogen Beedham is breaking this bias and along with Gemma Greenbank they make up a quarter of the team here at Fell Brewery.
“I’ve always been a fan of cask beer produced by small independent producers, especially during my formative drinking years growing up back home in Suffolk” says Imogen, “Beer has always been a part of my life but even more so when I started working for Fell in 2017 at the opening of the Penrith bar. It wasn’t long before I realised my passion for brewing and made a gradual transition to spending more time at the brewery finally leaving the bar and taking up brewing full time at the start of 2020.”
Gemma is a Sales and Accounts Manager and joined the Fell team in 2020, she has worked in the Cumbrian craft brewery scene for 11 years, “I knew very little about beer when I started working in the industry other than I liked drinking it” says Gemma, “I’d like to think I now have a good understanding of the pressures faced by small independent drinks producers and of those by women in beer.”
Although Imogen and Gemma are part of a growing number of women in beer there is some way to go in addressing the gender divide and diversity in this sector. Of the 35 breweries in Cumbria Imogen is currently the only active female brewer, she says “We’d like to introduce more people to the world of beer, see more events where you can engage with and meet more women who like beer”. Hear hear!