How women in craft beer are crossing borders and smashing stereotypes


Baja Craft Beers, Tinta Negra, Surf Brewing — on a recent drive along the free road between Tijuana and Los Gaviotas, I saw as many tasting rooms as fish taco stands. Like their San Diego counterparts, Baja California brewers are re-imagining traditional beer styles, venturing far beyond the weak lagers made by Big Beer in the U.S. and Mexico.

This creative ferment is fueled by another binational phenomenon: the rise of female brewers.

On Saturday, about 25 women — roughly two-thirds Mexicans and one-third North Americans — will meet at Tijuana’s Cerveceria Rámuri. The wheat ale they make will be tapped at the Ensenada Beer Festival, March 15-17.

This is the latest in a growing number of cross-border collaborations. Recently, San Diego’s SouthNorte and Mexicali’s Cerveza Fauna joined forces to make a weizenbock, Big Jefe.

The San Diegans found that, despite the cliche of Mexican machismo, Mexican craft beer is becoming an equal opportunity employer. Melody Crisp, vice president of marketing at SouthNorte, recalled her tour of a Tijuana technical school’s brewing program.

“There must have been 20 women in the class,” she said. “It blew me away!”

Perhaps more importantly, Saturday’s participants include women from some of Baja’s best breweries: Rámuri, Fauna, Insurgente, Amante, Lúdica, Tres Fuegos and others. The San Diego contingent includes representatives of Stone, SouthNorte and Second Chance, plus the Brewers Guild’s past president, Jill Davidson of Pizza Port.

Beer being universal, it may not be surprising that brewers from Mexico and the U.S. will make a German-style beer.

“A common beer route!” Crisp said.

Think global, drink local and thank brewers of every gender and nationality.