Now on Tap: Pink Boots Beer Marks Full Circle Moment for Tempe's Woman-Owned Brewery

The Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day at Hundred Mile Brewing Co. in Tempe drew members including Victoria Pietrasik, brewery owner Sue Rigler, head brewer Valerie Adee, Billie McGovern, and Liz Rosevear.
The Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day at Hundred Mile Brewing Co. in Tempe drew members including Victoria Pietrasik, brewery owner Sue Rigler, head brewer Valerie Adee, Billie McGovern, and Liz Rosevear. Sara Crocker
The Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day has always been special for Sue Rigler and Valerie Adee. It marked their first meeting, back when Rigler was coordinating brew days for the society and Adee was brewing for Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in California.

Now, Rigler owns Hundred Mile Brewing Co. in Tempe and Adee is the head brewer. On March 8, they hosted their own collaboration day, producing a beer called Beyond The Pale. As of Monday, March 27, it is now available on tap.

The hop-forward pale ale was made with a hop blend created by the Pink Boots Society and shared with over 500 participating breweries around the world. The blend features Loral, Ekuanot, and HBC586 hops, providing notes of citrus, melon, and green tea. One dollar from every pint of Beyond The Pale goes back to the society, with funds supporting professional development and education for members.

Pink Boots Society works to "assist, inspire, and encourage women and non-binary individuals" to enter and advance their roles in the craft beverage industry, according to its website. It started in 2007 with 16 members and has grown to more than 2,500 members in 25 different countries, Rigler says.

“There aren’t many females in the industry, and there’s even fewer owners,” Rigler says, reflecting on the male-dominated industry. The Brewers Association estimates that only 2.9 percent of U.S. breweries are completely female-owned.

“Women used to be the historic brewers, way back when," Rigler says. "Women brewed, not men, so we’re kind of taking that back.”

click to enlarge
Hundred Mile Brewing Company owner Sue Rigler rejoices over the arrival of the tanks for her 10-barrel brewhouse. The brewery is now open in Tempe.
Photo courtesy of Hundred Mile Brewing Company
The collaboration brew day aligned with International Women’s Day on March 8. On that day at Hundred Mile Brewing Co., Rigler welcomed people – including women sporting pastel and hot pink rubber boots, a trademark look of society members – while standing next to the door between the tasting room and the 10-barrel brewhouse. Behind her, framed on the wall in a hand-written script, hung a riff on a popular quote with the Pink Boots logo.

"Well-behaved women seldom make beer history," the sign read.

Before founding Hundred Mile Brewing Co., which opened in December, Rigler coordinated Pink Boots Society’s collaboration brew days at breweries around the world. Adee helped restart the Los Angeles chapter of the society because she wanted to create a “safer space for women for learning in the industry.”

The rarity of female brewers follows that of ownership. The Brewers Association estimates women hold about 7.5 percent of brewing roles in the U.S.

“It’s an honor to be one of them,” Adee says. “But it is a tough row to hoe… There are more of us and we’re getting louder. Women are realizing they do have a place in the brewhouse.”

click to enlarge
Arizona Craft Brewers Guild Deputy Director Andrew Bauman lifts a bag of pilsner malt during Hundred Mile Brewing Co.'s Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day.
Sara Crocker
During the brew day, the handful of helpers stepped up a ladder to each pour a 55-pound bag of pilsner malt into an oversized vessel filled with hot water. Pulling samples and taking notes on a clipboard, Adee quickly moved around the brewery floor.

She stopped to point out a measurement she was taking to Krystian Johnson, a cook in Hundred Mile Brewing Co.’s kitchen. Often, when Johnson arrives at work, Adee is already midway into a brew. The brew day allowed Johnson to see the entire process and learn from Adee.

“It’s awesome to see her,” Johnson said of watching Adee work. “I found a teacher for life, in a way.”

That community and connection are what Rigler set out to build through her brewery. Now, she hopes to share the story of the Pink Boots Society through every pint of Beyond The Pale.

“The brew day is about unity, really,” Rigler says. “There's a story in every beer, and that goes beyond gender.”

Hundred Mile Brewing Co.

690 North Scottsdale Road, Tempe
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sara Crocker is a food writer for Phoenix New Times. She has called Phoenix home since 2020, getting to know the Valley through every restaurant, brewery and bar she can. Her work has also appeared in Phoenix Magazine, Phoenix Home & Garden and The Denver Post.
Contact: Sara Crocker

Latest Stories