Kathrin und Stephanie Meyer

Bavarian hops sisters

Female master brewers from Bavaria

Bavarian hops sisters

Female master brewers from Bavaria

In Nesselwang in the eastern Allgäu everything is right with the world. This tranquil town in the hilly alpine uplands is home to less than 4,000 people. Cows can be seen wandering over the road here. If you gaze beyond the gently rolling flowering meadows and crystal-clear lakes, you can see the Alps. People attend church in traditional dress. And, typical for Bavaria: Beer is, of course, brewed right in the heart of the town; in the Brau-Manufactur Allgaeu. And it is brewed by women.

``Ten years ago, beer was for football clubs and groups of men. Now it has become sexy and cool again.``

Sisters Kathrin and Stephanie Meyer are the fifth generation of their family to manage the brewery. Stephanie is master brewer and beer sommelière, whilst her sister Kathrin is in charge of sales. Together they also brew four different craft beers under the label "Braukatz", and are part of a new female movement in the world of brewing.  Women brewing beer is actually nothing new in Bavaria: "Most female brewers who I know have been around for over 20 years", explains Kathrin Meyer. The difference from today: "People didn't use to mention them."

Braukatz No. 1

Nowadays there is a great deal of interest in female brewers and it is all part of a cultural shift: "Ten years ago, beer was for football clubs and groups of men. It was somewhat outmoded", explains Kathrin Meyer. "Now it has become sexy and cool again. It is served in fine glasses and you can discuss it." According to Meyer, this has made it more accessible to women.

The extremly high valuation of beer appeals to women.

Female brewers are not rare in traditional Bavarian brewing families. The Bräu z‘ Loh, owned by the Lohmeier family, lies in Isental in Upper Bavaria.  The brewery is situated in the small town of Dorfen, which is dominated by beautifully restored townhouses. Here you can find Barbara Lohmeier-Opper at the brewing kettle. She believes that the key to the female taste for beer lies in the Bavarian brewing tradition: "In Bavaria, beer is valued extremely highly. This valuation of the product appeals to women."

Barbara Lohmeier-Opper

Doris Engelhardt is extremely dedicated to brewing her beer. She is a nun in the Mallersdorf order of nuns and has been in charge of brewing in the nunnery brewery since 1966. From her brewery on the Klosterberg hill, Sister Doris looks over the district of Mallersdorf-Pfaffenberg, with its 7,000 inhabitants. It is an idyllic Lower Bavarian village, embedded in the gently undulating Labertal Valley. One thing is clear to Sister Doris: "Brewing beer is a woman's thing. It always has been." She explains: "Brewing beer used to be part of housekeeping, like baking the bread, and that was always the woman's job."

``Brewing has always been a woman's thing``

Gisela Meinel-Hansen from the Meinel-Bräu brewery in the Franconian town of Hof wishes there were more female brewers: "We could do with a lot more women at the brewing kettle", she says. The female master brewer is the 12th generation of her family to be managing the brewery, and has founded the craft beer label "HolladieBierfee" together with her sister Monika and two friends.

Gisela Meinel-Hansen believes that women are just as suited to working with beer as men: "The physical work is only one small part of the profession", she says. "Passion, creativity and resilience are more important."

Doris Engelhard vom Orden der Mallersdorfer Schwestern
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