To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we’ve once again spoken to a select few of the many inspirational women working within the craft beer industry today. Today, Sandra Prenyanosa, a key figure in Catalonia’s bustling and vibrant craft beer scene. Discover more interviews and Women in Beer content here.
Why do you think it’s important that we have a day that celebrates women?
Unfortunately and rather sadly (and let’s not forget that we live in the 21st century), society isn’t fully aware of the importance and the relevance of women. As we all know, we’re highly underestimated, so a day to celebrate women hopefully helps some people to realise this and work towards a world that’s more fair with gender equality.
What are you enjoying drinking at the moment? What is your go-to beer?
Oh, there are many! I’m a big, big fan of Lambrate, I love ALL their beers, I could drink litres of American Magut. Of course, Guineu beers (I can’t sell what I don’t like), IPA Amarillo and Dr Calypso are probably the ones I drink more often. Refu’s Bruno is absolutely delicious. La Calavera’s Blue Blood Fuck You (wow). I love Moor’s Stout and No’Hop; anything by Brekeriet, Cantillon or Tilquin and basically pretty much any Russian Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel-Aged. We’re lucky enough to have a few bottles left of 18th Street’s Barrel-Aged Bitch B Crazy 2016 in La Taverna dels Predicadors, so on very special ocasions, we open one. Ok, I better stop now…
What do you love about craft beer?
How a few ingredients can become such a wide variety of products. I love that’s the alternative drink. Beer is unexpected, it’s great to have someone come into your bar asking for wine or a gin and tonic, seeing their faces or comments to the “sorry, we only sell craft beer” and then telling you “oh, this is really nice, I like this, I don’t usually like beer*” after you’ve asked them to give craft beer a chance and choosing for them what you think they’ll like. (*industrial beer)
As an industry how can we encourage more women to get involved in craft beer?
I think we’ve been doing it for some time now. The are, for example, great brewers such as Judit Càrtex (currently at Garage Beer) and Janneke Vorstenbosch, who’ve been in this sector for many years. It’s a bit easier for women in their late teens and early twenties, as the way has already been cleared. The great thing in this industry is that usually (and I’m sure there are exceptions, unfortunately) at the breweries, there’s no gender. Women and men are indeed equal. The trouble comes once you leave the brewery.
How do you see the role of women in craft evolving as the wider public becomes more aware of the high-profile examples of mistreatment of women at the hands of powerful and influential men?
I don’t think this is exclusive of this sector. Women have always had to work harder and be better than men to be acknowledged. The only way this can change and get better is with education. Only by teaching boys that girls are their equal, not just at school but also at home, we’ll be able to achieve gender equality. I’d say, though, that men will have to work harder at this issue than women…they need to start almost from scratch, as we’re already ahead because we understand the problem. I do think changing the way society is set is already happening, only a bit too slowly.
How has Catalonia’s beer scene grown over the past few years? What are you most excited about in terms of whats coming next?
It’s grown enormously! And we’re very proud of it. There are excellent breweries in our small country, and it’s all happened in the last 10 years or so. Many Catalan breweries have been exporting for some time now, so our beers can be enjoyed internationally. We’re terribly lucky to have a big tourism industry, so people from all places in the world can taste what we’ve got to offer when they come over, and maybe ask for these beers at their local pub when they get back home. The most exciting thing for the future is already happening, really; the invitations to international craft beer festivals, tap take overs everywhere, quality restaurants swapping industrial beer for craft beer…us being asked for interviews for specialised magazines!
When you opened your bar, did you find that you needed to prove yourself and your worth more so than your male counterparts?
When I opened my bar!? Nine years on and I still have to prove myself over my younger brother (who is the co-owner)! Sadly to distributors as well as customers. And I think that distributors should know better. Over the years, though, I’ve taken a more relaxed view on that: if they don’t want to know my opinion, it’s their loss. Luckily neither my brother nor my two other co-workers at the bar think my opinion is less valid than theirs. It’s a tedious task to try and educate some of the customers that come in and ask for “a beer for women”. Ok…what does this mean? To this question, we often say “would these women like something bitter, a 17% ABV Imperial Stout, something light in alcohol but tasty, something strong flavour-wise but with a low alcohol percentage?” Of course, they then look puzzled, a bit embarrassed when they’ve realised what they’ve asked for and some even blush a little.