Story & Executive Board

Our Story

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The Fermenta story begins at the 2014 Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Conference where Stacey Roth, who has been in the industry for 12 years and currently in charge of cellaring and packaging at Griffin Claw Brewing Co., and Pauline Knighton, Beer Liberator at Short’s, were introduced. The topic of their discussion, women in craft beer. The ladies only talked briefly, but Stacey believed that Michigan needed a women in craft beer group, and Pauline had a goal of getting women together from around the state to brew collaboration beers and develop camaraderie among women within the industry. With these two ideas, they decided that it was time to put something in motion and see if anyone else would be interested. Little did they know how much excitement would build around its formation, and the momentum it would gain.

Following their conversation at the conference, Stacey, Pauline, and Angie Williams (also with Griffin Claw) met up to continue the discussion of the group. From there, a larger group of women met in late April of 2014 at Arbor Brewing Co. to discuss the formation of a women’s trade group for the state of Michigan. The group decided to focus on encouraging more women to get involved in the craft beverage industry, education, and camaraderie. To gain momentum across the state, the group reached out to Michigan breweries to brew beers for the 2014 Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti, MI in support of the group. 

Fermenta is unique in that it welcomes women involved in all Fermented craft beverage industries to join. From the beginning, it was important for the group to be inclusive. This is an exciting endeavor because Michigan has an amazing craft beverage industry and a growing number of female participants. The sharing of knowledge and encouragement of communication will unite the state and further strengthen all of the industries.

The organization is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit and directs funds to educational seminars and continuing education scholarships for its members. A percentage of membership dues and event proceeds are also directed into that fund. The membership structure is four-tiered, Active Professionals (women who earn an income from a craft beverage industry), Associate Members (women interested in the industry but do not earn an income from the industry), Supporting Members, and Corporate Members.

If you are interested in getting involved with Fermenta, we encourage you to attend one of our monthly events (you do not have to be a member to attend) or reach out to us at fermenta.michigan@gmail.com. 


Executive Board

President: Pauline KnightonPicture

I am the South Central Beer Liberator for Short’s Brewing Company (AKA, I work with establishments to plan events, bring in Short’s brands, and ensure they have a good experience with our brand).

Fermenta is important because it creates discussion between both sexes about the importance of diversity within the industry. I look forward to expanding our educational programs and creating scholarship funds for women who want to dig deeper into the fermented sciences.

If you were to describe me, my major in college would say it all- General Studies. I love a whole lot of things and could never dream of becoming a master of just one. Pottery, horseback riding, learning how to cook new things, and enjoying new beers are just a couple of the many hobbies I have.

 

Vice President: Angie Williams

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I work in the cellar/packaging department at Griffin Claw Brewing Company. Before that, I worked as an assistant brewer at 51 North. I am also a licensed lawyer.

I co-founded Fermenta because I believe that as the craft beverage industry in Michigan grows, so, too, does the need to network and create educational opportunities for women in the industry. I believe that Fermenta is a way to celebrate our commonalities and differences, growing our body of knowledge along the way. I also hope to grow and develop the opportunity for women to network in our industry.

Another thing about me, I am a “Boatnerd” for a hobby — I follow Great Lakes shipping trends.

 

Secretary: Stacey Roth

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I oversee the Cellar and Packaging at Griffin Claw Brewing Company in Birmingham, MI. Before I worked at Griffn Claw, I had seven years of brewing experience at the following breweries:  Arcadia Ales, Arbor Brewing and Arbor Microbrewery, and Grizzly Peak. I also worked at Jolly Pumpkin in the packaging department and started off in the industry as a bartender at Michigan Brewing Company.

I co-founded Fermenta and believed its existence was important because it provides venues for individuals, in and out of the industry, to socialize, network and learn from one another.

When I am not at the brewery (which isn’t often) I am an avid knitter, runner, bicyclist and enjoy kayaking.  I also recently discovered the joys of zip lining, rock climbing and mud bogging. In short, I basically enjoy anything that gets me outside!

 

Treasurer: Tracey Kusz 

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I am an IT professional and a business partner in Brewery Terra Firma in Traverse City, MI.  I am the only Fermenta board member that does not work in the craft beverage industry.

Fermenta is needed because it educates others in various aspects of the craft beverage industry, expanding the knowledge of all people in and out of the industry.  The group creates key opportunities for women to socialize, network, gain knowledge, and create new experiences for women in the fermented craft beverage industry.

I enjoy cooking for my friends and family, watching baseball and football, trying new beers, and going on beer vacations.

 

Communications Director: Manda Geiger
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I started working in the brewing industry ten years ago as a bartender at a local brewery. Over the years I became more acquainted with the brewing process and became more familiar with grains and hops. This knowledge helped me learn how to write beer recipes. Eventually, I became a brewer and have since moved on to another brewery. For over three years now, I’ve been professionally at Pike 51. I love the creative side of creating beer. To me brewing is an art form.

Fermenta, to me, is a way to help women in the industry or just interested in the industry to further their education in all aspects of the crafts. It can be difficult for a women interested in a craft to navigate the best ways to educate herself. As a board member I hope to make this easier by spreading the word of events and opportunities that are available, and also promote how many women are currently involved in the industry.

 

Events Coordinator: Annette May

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I  teach people about beer. I’m a Certified Cicerone®, BJCP judge and the founder of Know Beer! LLC. I am also an instructor in the Schoolcraft College Brewing & Distillation Technology Certificate Program, and work for the Cicerone Certification® program as an exam grader and exam proctor.

I am passionate about Fermenta because it is an opportunity for people to form friendships, increase their knowledge, and provide networking opportunities that can lead to mentorship.  All of this will help women get jobs in the fermented craft beverage industry.

I would like to see Fermenta be a voice for Michigan women in the industry on a national level. I would also like to work on providing funds for women to further their fermented craft beverage education.

I would describe myself as “Determinedly Original” but have been described by many as  “Delightfully Odd”.  When I’m not talking about beer, you’ll find me with my nose in a book or watching independent and foreign film.

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