The women of Romania’s craft beer industry

Whether it’s brewing, branding and marketing strategies, or bottling and distribution, Romania’s craft beer industry is no longer a men-only playground. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we thought we’d raise our glass to the women who have shaped it along the way, and who continue to inspire those thinking about joining it. Meet some of the ladies who have been stirring the mash as well as the industry as a whole.

 

Ioana Coca, Oriel Beer

Ioana

What is your role at Oriel Beer?
Co-founder, co-brewer and creative adviser on the branding and marketing side.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
Honestly, the taste. I would not have thought that some beers can have a divine taste and explore such a wide range of notes and flavors. I decided to work in the field because I would like to try to change the general public’s perception regarding beer. It’s a niche field, but if a small number of people manage to see what I see in beer, then I think I have fulfilled my purpose.

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
It is definitely a men’s world, but I’m glad that I can be included in it and that my opinion and input matters so much.

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
At first, I was regarded as being ignorant or not having a clue about beers, but it’s no longer the case. I think that women who work in this industry truly are appreciated and that they don’t necessarily need to prove anything to the men in the field.

What do you think would encourage more women to work in this field?
I don’t think there is a need for encouragement, there has to be a real passion and desire to discover this wonderful field driving the decision.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
I don’t believe that by any means. I always advise my friends to try craft beer, it is only a matter of time, because they will surely discover a beer that clicks and makes them say ‘Just wow!’. Some women are easier to convince if the beers are described in detail, with all the flavours and such: if they are citrusy notes, toffee, espresso, berries, and so on.

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
I have a crush on Imperial Rye Porter from Nøgne Ø, Track # 7: Devil Inside from Lost Abbey, and Oerbier Special Reserva 2015 from De Dolle. But there are many beers I adore and which were love at first sip. From Romania, honestly, Oriel Blond Wild, because it’s all you would want from a blond beer with a different touch.

If you were a beer, what style would you be, and what would you call yourself?
Surely a wild sour, with more alcohol. Name: Seele.

 

Dana Marmorstein Jovik, Hophead Brewing

UBF060419058What is your role at Hophead?
I’m a bit of a crisis manager 🙂 . No, I’m kidding, but not entirely. Initially, I had a job that brought in the money and fueled our dream of having a brewery. I would work at the brewery at the weekend, doing bottling, cleaning, etc. and paperwork, that uninteresting part inherent to any business. I now work on recipes with Darko, in the sense that I keep pitching ideas and he keeps returning them like we’re in a tennis match – he has a lot more technical knowledge than I do. I taste the beer, my favourite part of the job, and I veto what goes into the beer or not. I design labels with my brother, handle suppliers and/or customers, and practically anything the lead singer, as in the brewer, can’t do, as he’s busy making the beer.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
I was first attracted to the diversity and taste, then the industry culture in general. The first ‘craft’ beer I drank was in a bar in Chicago, Hopleaf, recommended by a very friendly and patient bartender who, after asking me if I know anything about beer – I had no clue, as I was, and still am, a wine lover – recommended a Weiss. I didn’t particularly like it, but it had a banana flavor and bready taste, the bartender seemed really passionate, so it aroused my curiosity. I started buying all sorts, and, I don’t mean to brag buuut… I convinced Darko to drink something other than Stella. Darko became even more passionate about it than I was, and whenever we would ask ourselves what it is we’re doing with our lives, as I wanted to go back home, I told him that back in Cluj we would have the opportunity to open a microbrewery with the money we saved. There were only two of them in the whole country back when we started the moving process.

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
I don’t think it necessarily has to do with the industry, per se. It’s more about a handcrafted product. A finished product that I can enjoy and that brings satisfaction to others. Industry-wise, because it’s all so new in Romania, I like seeing the almost child-like joy of some people when they taste a beer and are surprised by the fact that they like it. I enjoy the fact that we’ve increased their perspectives.

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
I can’t say that I’ve encountered more misogyny in this industry than in other fields, but no less either. I can say that I know more about beer than many men around me, and if I’ve seen a negative attitude, it’s along the lines of ‘Look at this one, acting all smart, let the brewer talk instead’ (no, really, it happened to me at a Meet The Brewer event). Or surprise that I know what I’m talking about.

What do you think would encourage more women to work in this field?
If women already in the industry, myself included, would be more visible. In my case, for example, I remained in the background initially because I was working another job on the side, and I was not present at the brewery, then I was at home with the baby, ‘on duty’, as some would call it. It’s a kind of role modeling, as in anything, really. Representing women in the industry would motivate and encourage other women who have been flirting with the idea, but feel intimidated by the overall masculine atmosphere of the craft beer scene.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
I think I’d say the same thing to anyone, woman or man: try the beers and you’ll see that there are many you would like. But for this to happen, people must change their own preconceptions. On top of the fact that many men think this is not a women’s drink, there are a lot of women who think this as well, because they’ve been raised and educated with this perception: that women have a predetermined place and preferences.

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
From the outside, it’s Duvel – for nostalgia’s sake. There are others that I liked, but for me this one has sentimental value, it reminds me of happiness. From Romania, Little D – another happiness.

If you were a beer, what style would you be?
Hard question. Let’s go with Session IPA, as I would be quite bitter and aromatic (citrus, tropical fruits, piney), but easy going.

Raluca Baran-Candrea, Anagram Brewery

Raluca_BaranWhat is your role at Anagram?
My business card says Founder/ PR & Business Development. Official documents have me down as Administrator. But it’s still early days for us, so I handle everything from branding, communication strategy and financial management, to bottling and deliveries.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
Where should I begin? In three words: creativity, quality and community. When it comes to creativity, there are no limits, from the product itself and the entire range of styles it covers, to everything that concerns branding: labels, packaging, artwork. When I say quality, I mean both the quality of ingredients, as well as the brewers’ high standards, the level of detail they work with and the way they constantly raise the bar. As for the community, it is wonderful to see people gathered for a beer, each with their own preferences but open to trying new things, sharing the joy of having discovered a taste they like with others. In a time when we’re all constantly staring at screens, it’s great that we still socialize over a glass of beer, where friends bond, have heated debates, laugh…

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
I’m glad we’re doing something from scratch. This entire alchemy, from ingredients to beer, is very much to my taste. And the passion of brewers – have you noticed how their faces light up when they talk about a new recipe, or how happy they are when it comes out the way they were hoping?

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
It’s an industry where most of the people involved are indeed men, but there’s plenty of room for girls. I haven’t yet had to prove that I know what I’m talking about, partly because I don’t claim to know everything, and when I don’t know something, I have no problem admitting that, asking questions, and trying to understand.

What do you think would encourage more women to work in this field?
Perhaps demolishing the myth that it’s a boys’ game where girls don’t really belong. From the ladies’ side, more of a ‘can do’ attitude, more self-confidence. And from the gentlemen, a bit more open-mindedness. Many people genuinely don’t understand that we’re more than pansies drinking lemon water and getting our hair done. We can also drink beer, come up with designs and marketing strategies, and if needed, even lift the malt sacks.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
If we want to avoid being crushed under a pile of cliches, I think it would be useful if we stopped making it easy for others to place us in labelled boxes. What we drink is a matter of taste, and there’s enough diversity on the market that anyone can find something they like. Especially in the craft beer universe. You just have to try it.

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
I don’t have a favourite beer. I have days when I’m craving an IPA, or a Gose, or a hazy beer. It all depends on the moment. I always try all the local beers, in 2019 I really liked Glitch from Blackout Brewing. I have a few international ‘soul’ breweries, and what I enjoyed the most last year were: Omnipollo – Elsa Açaí Goji Blueberry Mini Sour Smoothie, and Zin Skin and Rosalie from Firestone Walker.

If you were a beer, what style would you be?
A wild specialty beer. A blend. A Gose. It depends on the day.

Oana Dan, Nembeer

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What’s your role at Nembeer?
Being a family-run business whose soul is the brewer himself, I think I am ‘just’ a sort of handyman. While Daniele is left alone to make beer as he knows best, I deal with the less fun side, such as strategies, partnerships, acquisitions, documents, marketing, events, and basically everything that’s outside the production area.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
Four years ago, I met Daniele, an engineer on weekdays, and master brewer at the weekend. On a beautiful spring day, he gave me some of the beers he had made in Italy. Since then, we have started two very important projects for us: Nembeer – the craft beer factory, and Nembrini – the family, now consisting of three members. We are business partners, family, confidants, friends, we support each other in what we do and … we do everything together.

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
I take the best possible energy from my day-to-day work fulfilling Nembeer’s vision. I truly believe that our beer is healthy, and I’ve been advocating a healthier world for years. Good beer also binds people together, it’s a reason for them to meet, socialize face to face, not through messages or FaceTime. Taken together, a healthy lifestyle and thriving social interactions will lead to a happy society, won’t they?

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
No, I never felt that. Apart from the fact that I am not very interested in social confirmations, I admit that I am not a brewer. However, being a curious person, I have learned a lot.

What do you think would encourage more women to work in the field?
Well, if you don’t have a Daniele, you’d best get one 😆 But seriously, I can assure you that what I do now is not something I would have done alone. It’s a very complex field, however simple it might seem at first glance.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
Beer is not for ‘men only’, the same way trousers aren’t either. And I would tell the ladies: ‘You have no idea what you’re missing out on! More for me!’

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
Nembeer, obviously 😉

If you were a beer, what style would you be, and what would you call yourself?
Awesome question. You do know that all our beers are women, right? I’m Amarilla, American Pale Ale.

Amanda Morariu, Double Drop Crew Brewery

Amanda

What is your role at Double Drop Crew?
Co-Founder / Legal / Brewer – I am involved in all processes, from buying the raw ingredients, brewing, bottling, labeling, to finally delivering the finished product. The administrative part is also there and takes up most of my time. We are only two people currently in Double Drop Crew, and the workload is large.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
I started off by making cider at home, as well as various fruit liqueurs. Then I discovered craft beer, and that was a step that lead to dry-hopped cider and homebrewing. I think what attracted me most was the complexity of flavors and the fact that you can experiment a lot. Wanting to make more than the 30L our homebrewing equipment would allow, as well as sharing our beer with more people, we decided to take it further and open our own brewery.

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
What I probably love most is always having a fridge full of beer and, of course, the satisfaction you get when the recipes turn out just the way we wanted them to. The highlight is the feedback we get from people.

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
So far, I think I’ve had pleasant interactions with both those working in this field, those we collaborate with, as well as the audience we’re addressing. I’ve never felt that I am treated differently from my fellow brewers because I am a woman.

What do you think would encourage more women to work in the field?
Honestly, there is a lot of work to be done in this industry, and it’s not necessarily easy work. To those passionate and wanting to try working in the industry, I’d tell them that the satisfaction you get is high. It’s a unique feeling to know that you produce your own beer, according to your own vision, personality, and taste.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
I think craft beer is a drink for everyone. It’s equally intended for men and women. I would encourage women to, first and foremost, try as many beer styles, to find the ones they like. Craft beer has a very varied styles palette, and there’s definitely at least one beer for every taste. There are lighter or stronger beers, with different flavors, sweeter, sour or bitter, with added fruit or spices.

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
At the moment I don’t think I have a favourite beer. The styles I prefer have changed over time, I’ve tried different beers from different producers, and I’ve experimented with new tastes. One beer I really liked and I would always enjoy drinking would be Alefarm – Virtuous Strains (Calamansi Gose). From Romania, one of my favourite beers is Blackout BrewingDelicate Psycho (DDH IPA).

If you were a beer, what style would you be, and what would you call yourself?
I think a Fruited Sour Ale, probably barrel aged 😆 And I’d call myself Sativa.

Melinda Huszar, Bereta Brewery

melinda2

What’s your role at Bereta?
For almost two years, my role in Bereta has been to bottle beer. In addition to bottling, I label the bottles and pester my colleagues, because someone has to.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
Craft beer doesn’t bore me. Something new and interesting always comes up. I was curious about what it could offer, which is why I started going to beer tastings, where I met one of the boys from Bereta, Silviu, who spoke so passionately about beer, that you couldn’t help being captivated. I was curious about the process, I wanted to see how things work in a craft brewery, and that made me want to work in the industry.

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
The people. I got to make friends with some really awesome people, whom I might not have met if I wasn’t in this industry, which is wonderful!

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
I think we’ve outgrown this, at least as far as the beer industry goes. The craft beer scene doesn’t care about gender, but about passion and dedication.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
Beer is for everyone, for all tastes. You can try a craft beer festival, where you meet the brewers and they’re just waiting to find you a beer to your liking. COURAGE, there’s got to be at least one you’d like: sour, bitter, sweet, fruity, you name it.

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
It’s a battle between Cannon Fire from Hop Hooligans and Black Damnation XX – Ma Boule.

If you were a beer, what style would you be, and what would you call yourself?
I would be a Sour IPA with melon, of course, called Melonda.

Ina Biebel, Bereta Brewery

Ina

What’s your role at Bereta?
At the moment, it’s a counseling one. I do not consider myself to be very involved in any of the beer production processes, but rather in communication, yet that’s not full on either. But I chip in with opinions 🙂 ‘Too bitter, sour enough, you have to change the word order here, this event needs to be promoted more, leave posting to me, it’s faster that way, I’ll be at that festival as well’. My input is along those lines.

What attracted you to craft beer, and why did you decide to work in the industry?
Up until craft beer, beer itself was ‘too bitter’. It slowly became enjoyable, then I got to sours, and I was sold. Once you go sour, you can never go back. As for working in the industry, that decision is not yet 100% taken. I have other personal projects that I don’t want to give up, but for Bereta, I’m there whenever they need me.

What do you enjoy most about working in this field?
I can sum it up in one word: the community. Which is more cohesive, more honest, more ‘in it’ than any other community I’ve ever been a part of. I learned a lot from craft brewers, and not about beer, but about creating and building communities.

Do you think women in this industry are treated differently from their colleagues?
I don’t really like to differentiate between the sexes, but I think some of it comes from women as well… It seems to me that we have a privileged status in the field, which, again, is not ok 😆 Maybe if I were involved in the production processes, I would stammer and be made fun of, but in communication and tasting it’s easier, more so when you know very well what you have to do.

What do you think would encourage more women to work in this field?
Maybe if it were all more fashionable and more Instagrammable… Kidding. I think natural selection plays its course and everyone works exactly where they should be.

Do you think beer is more of a men’s drink? What would you say to women to encourage them to drink craft beer?
You just have to lure them with sours. For me, the success rate is 99%. Maybe because they are used to wine, prosecco, champagne (girls’ drinks, am I right, boys?), they are more open and even curious about sour beers.

What is your favourite craft beer (Romanian or foreign)?
Do I give you the politically correct or the honest answer? Any sour, anything with, vanilla, and the latest barrel aged sour Magic Trait (2019) by Speciation Artisan Ales.

If you were a beer, what style would you be?
If I say sour, would I be repeating myself? But I definitely wouldn’t be bitter or pale 😆 A pink sour barrel aged with vanilla, strawberry & a cherry on top. Is there such a thing?

Thank you, ladies! May you continue to create, thrive and inspire! 

Cover photo credit: ELEVATE via pexels.com

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