People of Beer

The Ladies of Olds Get Brewin’ For International Women’s Day

Never had a Kottbusser before? Now’s your chance! 7 women from the Olds College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Program are bringing it back for Big Boots Brew Day aka: International Women’s Day. Get out there, buy it and try it, but first read all about it!

The Ladies of Olds Get Brewin’ For International Women’s Day

Every year, women who love beer across the world get together to honor International Women’s Day with a Pink Boots Society tradition called Big Boots Brew. This year Zoei Thibault (Organizer and second year student), Amanda Kieswetter (Brewer’s Assistant), Emily Gusse (second year student) Rebecca Spence (second year student), Marian Dyck (second year student), Jenna Patterson (first year student) and Tracy Vornbrock (first year student) from the Olds College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Program got together to create a very special brew which will be packaged and ready for sale for at Olds College Brewery and a few select locations for International Women’s Day on March 8.


Big Boots Brew: Kottbusser

“So the style we’re brewing for this year’s Big Boots Brew is called a Kottbusser. It’s an old German style that died out when Reinheitsgebot was introduced back in 1516, due to the large portion of wheat and oats that are present in the grain bill. It’s not too far off in style to a honey wheat ale, except it includes the addition of molasses and is lagered for a short period.”

Even though Zoei has a lot on her plate she decided to take on the task of organizing and coordinating this project, she explains:

because it’s a great opportunity to participate in an event that involves more than just the students and faculty at the college and I wanted to make sure that the ladies had a chance to embrace that. The women of the Brewmaster program have participated in the Big Boots Brew twice prior to this and both times, it was a huge hit. I believe it’s important for us to have an established tradition of releasing an annual Women’s Day beer; it’s a great excuse for all of the ladies to come together, our local customer base loves it, and it supports a great organization. Being an organizer is obviously a lot of work and can be very time consuming, but I think the rewards – not only for myself, but for everyone – are what really make it worthwhile. – Zoei Thibault, Organizer, Big Boots Women’s Brew at Olds


Women in the Beer Industry

Besides being a great opportunity to have fun brewing for a fabulous cause Big Boots Brews also give women the chance to talk to other female colleagues about their experiences in the industry and learn from one another.

Here’s what some of the participants had to say about Women & Brewing:

“Brewing is a wonderful, creative process which, unfortunately, still attracts a lot of gender bias. Historically, brewing was the domain of women, so it’s great to see more and more of us choose a career within the brewing industry.” – Marian Dyck, 2nd Year Student

Image by: Zoei Thibault

“Having the opportunity to be in the Olds College brewery program has been an amazing ride thus far. I have had lots of chances to meet with individuals who work within the industry and each one of these experiences has left me with more knowledge about the art of brewing. Brewing the Women’s Day beer for Olds not only gave me more practical brewing experience, but also the chance to spend a couple days hanging out and learning from some of the great female brewers coming into the industry.” – Jenna Patterson, 1st Year Student

Image by: Zoei Thibault

“Resiliency is the best word that represents being a woman in the brewery to me. Being able to recover quickly in tough situations, which you encounter time and again in the brewery. Learning from situations and increasing your passion to create a better beer. Being in a field mostly dominated by men helps to motivate me to be tougher and confident in the decisions I make in the brewery and have made in my career choice.” – Rebecca Spence, 2nd Year Student

Image by: Zoei Thibault

“Being a woman in the brewing industry is completely okay. Contrary to what some women say about the industry being a “locker room” workplace and industry. For me it is really no big deal being a woman in a male dominated industry. As long as you can perform the same tasks as anyone else in the industry I don’t see what the big hype is. The brewing industry is not the “locker room” scenario; it is a safe, open workplace for all.” – Emily Gusse, 2nd Year Student


Are you doing anything for Big Boots Brew Day?
We’d love to hear about it.

Send details and photos to

Special thanks to Zoei Thibault for organizing the brew and for her help with this article.


For more articles about women in the beer industry, check out these links:

Chatting With Zoei Thibault of the Olds College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Program
Women & Beer in Alberta
Women Only Nights in the Craft Beer Industry

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