The women of FemAle Brew Fest
The women of FemAle Brew Fest
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FemAle Brew Fest Returns to Fort Lauderdale With More Breweries

Last year, the inaugural FemAle Brew Fest celebrated women in the beer industry. For its second installment, the festival returns to Fort Lauderdale in a larger venue holding more breweries.

This year's event will take place in Huizenga Plaza, an open green space in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The fest's inaugural edition took place in a small warehouse space in FAT Village, which held 700 attendees. The plaza's capacity is at least 2,000.

A larger space also means more breweries, this time 30, double the number that participated last year. There will also be double the live entertainment, with four live bands instead of two, and the benefit of an amphitheater.

Frances Antonio-Martineau, CEO of the Fem Collective, a cooperative enterprise of female entrepreneurs who support and empower one another, founded the festival to focus on women in what is considered a mostly male industry.

She was inspired after viewing the 2016 documentary Dream, Girl. The festival is considered the nation's first all-female beer fest. But it's not a women-only event.

"I just want people to know it's a unifying kind of event, something to inspire women," Antonio-Martineau says. "Just go after what you want. It is a male-dominated industry, but that doesn't mean we can't be a part of it."

At the festival, meet female employees and owners of breweries from across the nation, including Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Co. from California and Black Star Line Brewing Co. from North Carolina. Of course, Florida breweries will also pour, including many from Miami, such as Bousa Brewing and M.I.A. Beer Co.

Representing M.I.A. will be operations manager Kathleen Fleming, taproom assistant manager Amanda Edwards, and brewery assistant Allyson Betancourt.

"FemAle is bringing everyone together to learn, network, and share our insight and taste the beer that many of these women brewed," Fleming says. "I'm thrilled that there is such a strong and brazen presence of women moving the industry forward."

A must-try beer that will be poured at the fest is Boss Bird, a hazy pink hibiscus session IPA. Brewed with a blend of Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra, and Loral hops, the beer sits at 4.5 percent ABV. It was brewed in collaboration with women brewers across Florida and the Pink Boots Society February 23 at Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville.

Since founding the festival, Antonio-Martineau has become more involved in the industry. These days, she notices more female-owned breweries and female brewers — a jump, perhaps, from a 2014 survey of 1,700 active breweries conducted by Stanford University that showed only 4 percent of them had women in lead roles, according to Thrillist.

"I don't think it's different than any other industry or job," Antonio-Martineau says. "Women are able to get things done."

FemAle Brew Fest. 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24, in Huizenga Plaza, 32 E. Los Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.
Tickets cost $15 to $95 via femalebrewfest.com.

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