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Something’s brewing in Pink Boots

Krystle Eaton, Meg Evans and Devon Murdoch enjoy a beer at Grist House Brewing in Millvale.

Krystle Eaton, Meg Evans and Devon Murdoch enjoy a beer at Grist House Brewing in Millvale.


Brewing isn’t a boys club.

Just ask Krystle Eaton, one of the owners of Grist House Brewing in Millvale. Or Devon Murdoch, who blogs about the city’s beer scene — along with food, restaurants and other libations — at Or Meg Evans, who just took over as head brewer at Rock Bottom in Homestead.

The three are the leaders of the Pink Boots Society of Western Pennsylvania, the local chapter of a national group that unites and promotes women in the craft beer industry. And since the group was founded earlier this year, its members have found plenty of support, here and as far away as Denver, at the recent Great American Beer Festival.

Ms. Evans said she started thinking about organizing a local chapter after International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day last spring; that event, which resulted in a United Red Ale that raised money for the Pink Boots Scholarship fund, brought together women from all segments of the industry, and Ms. Evans said it was enough fun that she wanted the collaborations to continue.

That’s resulted in tasting sessions, a trip to a local hop farm and plans for more, including training towards beer judge certification. It’s also resulted in growth; the chapter’s Facebook group already counts 45 members.

Ms. Eaton said the point isn’t necessarily a hunt for equality; women are already well-established in the industry, here and elsewhere. But, she added, there is much the chapter’s members can teach each other: she knows the business side of brewing, for example, while Ms. Evans can discuss professional brewing and Ms. Murdoch, who manages the chapter’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, has a handle on marketing and promotion.

Knowledge and networking are the keys, the trio says. They’ll make everyone in the industry — women and men — better for it.

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