Celebrating the Moms of American Craft Beer
To celebrate Mother’s Day, we wanted to give the craft beer community a chance to recognize the mothers that have made their brewing dreams and businesses possible. From bartending and kegging, all the way to construction, these amazing moms deserve some recognition and a beer!
Cheers to the moms of American craft beer (and a few from Canada too!). We hope you enjoy what your family and friends had to say about you!
Momma (Toni) Derby Submitted by Anthony Derby | Cigar City Brewing Company | Tampa, FL
Toni, also known as Momma Derby, is the go-to person at Cigar City Brewing. If you need anything done right the first time, you go to her. My mom is primarily known as the financial wizard behind Cigar City. She works every day…Saturday and Sunday off? Not this craft beer lover. Besides cashing checks, she’s also in constant contact with the local distributors to fill quotas. Momma Derby determines distribution and tasting room weekly production. She even reads every email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org! Although the brewery keeps her running 24/7, she also oversees the recently-opened Cigar City Brew Pub. From homebrew competitions to craft beer tastings, my mom is a huge supporter of local, craft beer!
Vicky Doble Submitted by Jim Brady | Bone Island Brewing | Key West, FL
My brewery mom is not my mom at all—she’s everyone’s brewery mom! Her name is Vicky Doble of Tampa Bay Brewing Co. in historic Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. Vicky is every Florida brewer’s mom because she, her sons, David and Johnny, and husband, John, have done so much for the Florida craft beer industry. It is safe to say they just about built it. Though I don’t want to exclude other iconic Floridian pioneers, Vicky and her family have forged a trail through the tough political and geographical jungle in Florida to pave the way for new brewers like me to follow more easily.
In 2003, Vicky and her family suffered a devastating loss. Johnny, the founder of the business, died in a tragic fire. Despite their loss, the Doble family chose to honor Johnny’s life by not only entombing his remains in an artificial reef in the ocean he loved so much, but they also established two memorial scholarships (one web-based) for Florida brewers to attend the Concise Course in Brewing Technology through the Siebel Institute in Chicago.
Sue Wilken Submitted by Bobby and Karen Wilken | HooDoo Brewing Company | Fairbanks, AK
I thought I’d contribute a little about my mom, Sue Wilken. She’s definitely the best mom ever and has supported me from the early days when I had this crazy idea to start a brewery in our hometown. After brewing school and working in the industry for several years, I finally decided to pull the trigger and start the brewery. She and my dad allowed my wife and son to live in their basement for two years while we built our brewery, and she didn’t skimp on the home-cooked meals.
Now that HooDoo Brewing Company is open, she helps out whenever she can! A couple of months back, we did a beer, sausage and mustard pairing. She slaved over the sausages and then spent a full day at the brewery manning the sausage table, giving hungry beer drinkers tasty bites to eat with their delicious beer—all with a big smile. She’s a wonderful woman and the best mom on planet earth. Of course, I wouldn’t be here without her…but more importantly, our brewery wouldn’t exist without her love, support, hard work and positive attitude.
PROST to Momma Sue!
Kathleen Genco Submitted by Brianna Vereker | Discretion Brewing Company | Soquel, CA
My mom took our dream of starting a family brewery and turned it into a reality. When she quit her job to start working on our business plan almost two years ago, we realized, “Wow, this is happening.” And she made it happen. Here we are and our doors are open for business.
My mom’s history is rooted in the Santa Cruz mountains. She spent much of her childhood in a little red cabin in the redwoods built by her Swedish great-grandfather, and there she played, ate and slept outside on the porch. My mom took childhood memories and turned them into something concrete that’s reflected in our tap room. Everything from the pictures of redwoods in our restrooms, to the pillows on our benches, and even the twinkling lights above the bar encourage a camp-like coziness like the one she felt so many years ago.
My mom created a place for us to gather and enjoy new interpretations of that most ancient and jolly beverage. She is almost always at the tap room, even when she doesn’t need to be, making people feel welcome and at home there. She cares about people, hearing their stories and creating community, all while being an amazing mom to my brother and I, and grandma to my three-year-old son.
Teresa Grossberg Submitted by Mari Kemper | Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen | Bellingham, WA
My mom Teresa Grossberg (who has passed on) supported us in our Thomas Kemper adventure by proudly wearing a Thomas Kemper jacket she had embroidered with: “My son-in-law the Brewmaster!”
I’m also proud to say I’m a brewery mom! Our twin daughters loved to hang at the brewery when they were little (Thomas Kemper) and all the other breweries Will has built as they grew up along our path to opening Chuckanut (Dock Street in Philly, Capital City in DC, Sierra Madre in Monterrey, Mexico and TAPS in Istanbul).
Sue Hall Submitted by Thom Page | Hall Brewing Co. | Parker, CO
Head brewer Aubrey Hall’s mom, Sue, is the CEO and head of sales for Hall Brewing. Along with Aubrey, she built the dream: she rolled up her sleeves and became a construction worker to build the barn, putting in posts, beams and assembling the brewery. She is currently Hall Brewing’s main salesperson, rolling through Denver and calling on accounts, making sure they are happy and stocked with beer! From planning to construction, day-to-day business and sales, Sue puts her heart and soul into the brewery with Aubrey.
Shirley Holle Submitted by Paul Holle | Sawtooth Brewery | Ketchum, ID
When I called to tell her that I was leaving my job as a church worker to open a brewery she was amazingly supportive and excited! Ever since, she continues to be the proud parent sharing the latest news with her friends. Thanks Mom!
Jacinta Simoncini Submitted by Precious Putnam and Aaren Simoncini | The Beer’d Brewing Co. | Stonington, CT
We at The Beer’d Brewing Co. would like to shine the spotlight on our mom, Jacinta Simoncini. Jacinta has supported her son Aaren’s dream since the beginning when he was creating messes in the kitchen while homebrewing. Jacinta then allowed Aaren to expand hobby throughout the house including the garage and basement.
Once we decided to take the dream to the next level and open a commercial brewery, Jacinta didn’t hesitate to put on her tool belt and get the brew space ready. From April to November 2012, Jacinta worked side by side with us to create The Beer’d Brewing Company in the American Velvet Mill. It took a lot of sweat, hours and pizza to complete.
Jacinta works hard at her day job and continues to put the same effort into our business weekend after weekend. We wish our mom, Jacinta Simoncini, a great Mother’s Day, for wherever she goes, she makes life a little brighter.
We love you mom!
Baby Jankowska, due May 19, 2013 Submitted by Marta Jankowska | ChuckAlek Independent Brewers | Ramona, CA
My husband Grant and I opened our brewery, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, when I was about five months pregnant in January of this year. ChuckAlek is a nano brewery in Ramona, California specializing in Old World and historic styles of beer. Its almost like we’ve been growing two babies at once!
The build out and construction of the brewery, which we did mostly ourselves with the help of friends, happened primarily during my first trimester—not a fun time! Other than that, opening and working at the brewery while being pregnant has been wonderful, as many of our customers have really gotten to know us and are just as excited as we are for our new family addition.
Last weekend was my final weekend of working behind the bar with about two weeks to go until my due date. The only real drawback has been the inability to enjoy a pint of our awesome beer after a hard days work. Soon enough! Grant has brewed a Scottish wee heavy that we’re calling Wee One, which is ready to tap when the baby comes so that our customers can celebrate with us.
Jean Johnson and Shirley Chase Submitted by Ginger Johnson | Women Enjoying Beer
My mom, Jean Johnson, has been a constant support of my live adventures, regardless of what it was. When I started my business (WEB), she wasn’t quite sure what it was all about, yet she gamely would ask me and encourage me to talk about it – and still does.
She also started to try more beers. When my brewing husband and I go to a brewery or brewpub with my Mom and Dad, she’ll gamely ask what she might like and try a glass. Dad’s usually game to try anything too, though he already knows the styles he prefers.
Shirley Chase, my beloved mother-in-law is also a great sport and is curious about beer, because both me and her son work in the beer world.
So my pint’s up to my Mom’s, year round, for their unflagging support of me and hence the beer community.
Mar Routson Submitted by Ashley Routson | Bison Organic Beer | Berkeley, CA
My mom is one of the biggest cheerleaders for Bison Brewing. She has volunteered to pour for us at festivals and events, she “likes” and comments on all of our Facebook posts, she tells everyone she meets how great our beer and shares it with them when she can.
Anita Lum Submitted by Garrett Marrero | Maui Brewing Co. | Lahaina, HI
Fellow craft beer lovers, industry peeps and friends, my mom is just plain cool. Self-promoted to Mainland Operations Manager and doer of all things necessary to drive us forward and promote our craft wares at festivals all across southern California and beyond.
Active in the industry? I’d say so, many brewers know M.O.M. as the lady that has everything you forgot you needed to set up your booth at festivals, many even call her mom nowadays, as she takes care of us all. She stops now and again for her favorite beer styles, the light stuff usually—yeah right—M.O.M. is an imperial stout, Belgian dark strong, barley wine type of woman.
From writing press releases, staffing festivals, repacking beer, working with White Labs to promote Beer for Boobs, membership director for Pink Boots—so many things I can’t list them all—all while supporting our business. M.O.M. is truly an amazing woman. All of this she does “in her spare time,” while ensuring my three siblings and I are supported in all our independent efforts. My world, our world wouldn’t be the same without her.
I love you Mom! We love you!!
Mom Mo Niemi Submitted by Risa Meynarez | Rogue Ales | Newport, OR
Mo Niemi is indeed the Mother of Rogue Ales. Her generosity and spontaneity is how Rogue Ales brewery got its start in Newport, Oregon and Rogue Brewmaster, John Maier has been with us in Newport from the beginning.
Here is the story:
Back in 1989 one of Rogue Ales founders, Jack Joyce, was trapped in a freak snow storm in Newport, Oregon. Jack was wandering the streets around Newport and was stopped by Mo Niemi. Mo invited him to her restaurant for a hot bowl of her famous Mo’s Chowder and told him about her dream of living above a bar and how she might just have the perfect spot for a Brew Pub.
Mo offered the vacant space and the garage in her building to Jack under two stipulations: that a picture of Mo herself, naked in a bath tub, be forever displayed at the Pub (it’s still there today just left of the bar at Rogue Ales Bayfront Public House) and that Rogue “feed the fisherman,” meaning that we give back to the local community. That was the beginning of Rogue Ales Brewery and Pub.
Everyday we celebrate the woman we see as the Mother of Rogue Ales, Mo Niemi. For the occasion of Mother’s Day we release MoM Hefeweizen with Mo Niemi’s image on the bottle. The dedication on the bottle reads: “Dedicated To The Mother In Each of Us.”
Thank you Mom Mo Niemi.
Tami Plourde Submitted by Joe Katchever | Pearl Street Brewery | La Crosse, WI
I’m writing this for my daughter Adele, because she is only three.
My mom works at Pearl Street Brewery. She is in charge of all the people who sell the beer and who pour beers in the tasting room for all the people who love beer. She always takes me to the park and children’s museum after work. Sometimes we hang out with my friend Leah after mom picks me up from daycare! She is the best mom ever!
Grace Robbings Submitted by Adam Robbings | Reuben’s Brews LLC | Seattle, WA
Grace, my wife, is mother to Reuben, who we named our brewery after—Reuben’s Brews. She and Reuben bought me my first homebrewing kit which got me started with brewing, and the rest is history! Grace has written our story about the founding of Reuben’s, check it out.
She is a co-founder, owner and helps serve in the brewery when we’re busy. Her day-to-day role in the brewery is covering all reporting, tax and accounting for the brewery. Her business card’s share her title as: “Co-founder, and Reuben’s mama.”
Elanie Robertson, Kelly Monette & Cheryl Tovey Submitted by Bev Robertson | Bushwakker Brewing Company | Saskatchewan, Canada
My wife, Elanie Robertson was the manager of Bushwakker Brewing for nearly 15 years. She is a mom, grandmother and the great grandmother of seven. Our daughter, Kelly Monette is the current general manager of Bushwakker, and is also a mother and grandmother. Read more about these amazing ladies in “Women in the Brewing Industry” which appeared in Pink Magazine.
Barbara Button Submitted by Jim Button | Village Brewery | Calgary, AB
Each one of our beers is a character in our village. IT just so happens that the first beer we made was the Village Blonde – A Natural Golden Ale. With each of our beers we have an affiliation to someone close to us. The blonde in this case is my mom. She passed away just prior to the start of the brewery as a result of cancer. The beer is my way of thanking her for all her support.
Judi Robinson Submitted by Clay Robinson | Sun King Brewing Co. | Indianapolis, IN
My Mom, Judi Robinson, has helped out at Sun King from the very beginning! If she hadn’t agreed to change her lifestyle after five years of traveling the country in a motorhome with my father—who I talked out of retirement to be the business mind behind our brewery—then Sun King wouldn’t be what it is today.
During the early days, she lent moral support and helped keep things clean and organized around the brewery. When we opened our tasting room, she took over as our lead bouncer, greeting people and checking IDs. As the brewery has grown, she has done a breadth of jobs including four packing cans and sampling beer, but her main role has become to manage our merchandise program. Her official title is M.O.M., which of course stands for Manager of Merchandise. We operate a 27,000 square foot facility, so she’s got a tricycle that she uses to haul boxes from one end to the other and scoot around with quickness.
Meghan Storey, the Brewers Association’s Web Editor, has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer for the past three years. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She loves to introduce friends to new craft beers and food pairings. Since beginning work on CraftBeer.com she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.