Women In Beer: HonestBrew’s Annabel Causer

Annabel Causer is a founding member of HonestBrew. She is a company director and also heads up HonestBrew’s marketing and growth activity.

Why do you think it’s important that we have a day that celebrates women?

International Women’s Day allows us to celebrate the many achievements of women and brings the conversation of equality to the forefront. We’ve still got work to do to achieve equality and having a day like International Women’s Day is a good way to focus conversation, challenge stereotypes, raise awareness through education, and encourage change.

What are you enjoying drinking at the moment? What is your go-to beer?

There’s so many it’s hard to choose. I’ve picked Partizan Sasion Lemongrass as my beer of choice for the mixed case as it reminds me why I got into craft beer, discovering flavours in beer I never thought possible. For me, Magic Rock have nailed a really strong core range with beers like Fantasma (gluten free!) which is my go to, and seasonals like the Sour Passion Gose. Most recently I’ve been enjoyed a range of breweries outside of the UK like Stu Mostow from Poland and Basqueland from Spain.

What do you love about craft beer?

The thing I love most about craft beer is the people and passion behind it. Seeing people’s passion for beer – the story, the taste, the ingredients, the method – is one of the best bits about working in beer. It is a very collaborative and friendly industry where people are genuinely excited by innovation. I love trying new things and there’s nothing better than sitting around with a few friends and tasting a range of beers together.

What (if any) is the biggest misconception you’ve had to face in the craft beer world?

It took me a while to notice misconceptions as HonestBrew started with a team of 4 close friends who were all passionate about beer and I didn’t notice any difference between myself and my male colleagues. My wake up moment was when we took on some temporary event staff to help us with events, I found that people constantly approached the two males (who had started that morning and were new to craft beer) for advice on beer and HonestBrew.

People continue to be surprised by women in beer and I did a quick ‘poll’ around my male colleagues at a beer festival and asked them how many times they get asked if they actually drink beer. There was a pause, some confusion and a general agreement that none of them have ever been asked that while working in beer. They were gobsmacked when I told them this was a common thread in conversations when I meet people and tell them I’m in the beer industry.

I’m proud that the HonestBrew team are passionate about equality and it’s encouraging that, while there’s still more to do, the craft beer industry is having strong discussions on equality and challenging stereotypes that have traditionally existed in the beer industry.

If you were a beer, what style would you be?

I would be something hoppy as I’m always bouncing around the place. Probably a session IPA brewed with New Zealand hops (as that’s where I was born).

How did you first get into craft beer?

I arrived in UK 6 years ago and couldn’t believe how many new beers there were. At that time in New Zealand it was standard to buy beer in 6 packs or 12 packs and I loved the concept of buying single beers and trying a range of styles. Pretty soon I fell in love with the industry, the people behind it, the flavours of the beers and wanted to introduce as many people as possible to it.  

Where is the craft beer industry heading in 2018?

The craft beer market has changed so much since HonestBrew launched and continues to evolve. This year we’ll continue to see more brewers moving their small pack packaging to 440ml cans. Amongst limited release beers which will continue to drive sales and awareness, I think as breweries mature we’ll see them looking more at refreshing their core range and perfecting one or two hero beers. I also think we’ll see places like cafes, restaurants and venues bringing in craft beer to align with the rest of their quality ranges (top shelf wine but mainstream beer!) and more beers from emerging craft beer markets like Poland, Lithuania and Spain. Exciting stuff ahead!

How would you introduce the world of craft beer to a complete novice?

This is one of my favourite challenges! At a simplistic level it’s similar to the shift people made from drinking instant coffee (black or white) to cafe culture (flat white, latte, double shot espresso). People don’t want to feel like novices when moving into something new. I normally start with finding out what kind of other drinks/ flavours people enjoy. Do they like coffee? Do they like chocolate? Try a stout like Wild Beer Co Millionaire Salted Caramel. Do they like cider? White wine? Try a sour like White Hag Puca or Siren Calypso. Do they like lager? Try Magic Rock Dancing Bear. We also encourage people to try a range of different things until they find something they like.