Editor's note: This story was originally posted on DiscoverSD.com on May 10, 2016.
Women in the craft beer industry cheered when fellow industry lady Jill Davidson, regional sales manager of Pizza Port, was elected vice president of the San Diego Brewers Guild.
With more than 10 years in the craft beer business, from award-winning Iron Hill Brewery in Delaware to Pizza Port in Ocean Beach and Bressi Ranch, Davidson has a firm grip on the direction of craft beer locally and nationwide.
Vibrant, personable and passionate about the craft, Davidson has the personality and skill to connect to brewers, business owners, the community and consumers. I chatted with her about her role and the workings of the San Diego Brewers Guild:
How did you come to the guild and your position as vice president?
Pizza Port has always been a part of the guild, and our owner Gina (Marsaglia) was on the board. In 2015, Mike Sardina from Societe approached me about being on the board. You have to get nominated and voted in, so I feel really lucky.
How does a term work?
As VP, I serve for one year, then the normal track is president, then president emeritus, then you become a board member.
For those who don't know about the guild, what does it do, and why is it important for San Diego?
We fight to make sure that small craft breweries are represented, with visibility through education and events. Consistently getting brewers in touch with each other, working with laws, ABC issues, helping members follow processes and provide resources and communication links. Everyone is of the same mindset to lend a helping hand to get people up to speed. We want a lot of great quality beer in San Diego.
Have you ever faced any discrimination as a woman in beer?
I've never felt discriminated against. We have such strong role models. There is always a stigma, but here (in San Diego) we have a pretty level playing field. There is no holding back because we are female. Advocacy groups like Pink Boots Society and Barley's Angels are fighting to let people know we are just as passionate and care just as much. And with Pizza Port being owned by a woman, it's great to see the line of success and respect.
What is the future of the brewers guild?
The landscape is changing so rapidly, so really being able to keep people excited and appreciating the small guy, and where we all came from. There are 121 breweries right now, so making sure everyone is looked after and working together.
Some advice for upcoming brewers and those looking to get into the craft beer industry?
Craft beer is a labor of love, it's not a lucrative job. Like everything else, have confidence. Do your research and take your time. There are a lot of resources. Make sure you've cleaned kegs a thousand times (laughs). And make great, consistent beer.
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.