Women-Focused High Heel Brewing Coming to Florida in June

Kristi McGuire, master brewer and founder of High Heel Brewing Company, stands on the brew deck at Brew Hub.
Kristi McGuire, master brewer and founder of High Heel Brewing Company, stands on the brew deck at Brew Hub.
Jordan Weiland - Indie Atlantic Films

Women-centric High Heel Brewing is coming to Florida in mid-June, bringing with it a duo of craft beers aiming to fill what master brewer Kristi McGuire calls “a gap in the market” of product that targets women.

“There isn't a beer that's speaking to them,” she says.

It may come as a surprise, but women were the main brewers of beer for about 5,000 years. Beards and beer have only become commonplace as recently as the Industrial Revolution barely 300 years ago, and it’s been the quick shift toward men and huge industrial apparatus that has displaced the decentralized domestic, family-centered production of beer.

The history of women and beer is long and revealing, and a fantastic read, especially as chronicled by Tara Nurin, the historian at the Pink Boots Society, an international organization whose goals are to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.

Today, in the male-oriented industry of craft, McGuire is putting her own experiences into beers that will look toward women but satisfy any gender’s palate. She is a food scientist, has brewed at Alaskan Brewing Company, worked as a quality assurance manager and operations manager, and did time with Anheuser-Busch running brewing departments in several different states.

With High Heels Brewing, she is bringing two different beers to market, backed with the brewing power of Lakeland, Florida’s Brew Hub. The first is called Slingback, a hybrid cider/beer brewed by combining a traditional ale with pear cider. It’s formulated with natural passionfruit juices, Hallertauer hops, and spiced with chamomile and elderflower. The result is “a fresh, fruity, floral beer with a crisp, clean finish” according to a recent press release. The beer will come in at 5.4 percent alcohol by volume, 15 international bitterness units (IBUs), and will be a bit more effervescent than most beer, most likely similar to a good bottle-conditioned saison.

“It’s the Prosecco of beers,” McGuire says. “Perfect for the hot summer days to come. What I really like about American beer is we’ll honor certain styles and put our spin on it. It’s extraordinary. With Slingback, it's a perfect marriage, and makes a special brew."

Eye-catching packaging for Slingback perry ale.
Eye-catching packaging for Slingback perry ale.
Brew Hub / High Heel Brewing

The second beer is Too Hop’d to Handle, an American IPA that reads like it should be a double IPA. It's hopped with Columbus, Mosaic, and Simcoe with a malt bill that utilizes Munich and honey malts to add a bit of toasted character as well as Belgian candied sugar. A rotating fourth hop varietal will be added to both the boil kettle and dry hopping to reflect seasonal flavors and trends. For the initial launch, Calypso hops were used. It’s an 8.4 percent ABV beer that sits at 89 IBUs. Ten years ago this would be a DIPA for sure.

“I definitely have a few rabbits in my hat yet to bring to market," McGuire says. 

“I think there is a little bit of a gap in the marketplace," she says, adding that women make up 32 percent of the craft market. "There isn't a beer that's speaking to them. I think its something that's overdue, something to celebrate."

However, the vastness of the market is something that McGuire feels could prove to be an intimidation factor.

"There's many women that are intimidated by the number of craft beers out there. We just want to listen to that audience and be confident to bring something to the market and include as many women in craft beer.

“I'm a big fan of Pink Boots," she said. "Women are supporting women in the industry. I think that that's fantastic in bringing wonderful people into the industry. It's good for beer.”

High Heel Brewing will begin distributing in Florida in June. Follow @highheelbeer on Twitter.

Brew Hub is located at 3900 S. Frontage Road, Lakeland. Call 863-698-7600, or visit brewhub.com.

Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers. He is a Certified Beer Server and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.


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