I'm excited to introduce you to Amanda Petro from Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. Dogfish has been reveared as one of the most creative, outside of the box craft breweries in the country. I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda at the Master Brewers Association of Americas regional conference this spring. She was gracious enough to share experiences with us! I hope y'all enjoy this read! Now, without further ado, here's Amanda!
Q: What’s your favorite beer (style or you can be more specific)?
A: I tend to drink a variety of styles, but my favorites are Russian Imperial Stouts and Sours/American Wild Ales. If I had to pick one of my favorites to have right now, it would be Parabola by Firestone Walker.
Q: How long have you been in the brewing industry?
A: I've been in the industry for about a year and half.
Q:How did you get started/What drew you to this field?
A: I grew up with a father in the brewing industry, so its always had an impact on my life. He worked for numerous breweries as a maintenance manager and reliability manager, up until I started college. Even though I can still imagine the days of watching the bottling line run from the window in my dad's office, I don't think I could have predicted that I would become a brewer. I have my B.S. in Microbiology, so I naturally entered the pharmaceutical industry and worked in Quality Control Microbiology labs. I did a stunt for 2 years in Germany and had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, tasting the beers of each country along the way. Upon returning to the states, I began home brewing to try to replicate the tastes and styles I enjoyed from places like Belgium and Germany. One day, while flipping through a brewing magazine, I saw an advertisement for the brewing programs at UC Davis. I read into the requirements for the Master Brewer's program and I thought, I could do that! As much as I loved (and still do love) microbiology, I wanted to apply it to a product I could be passionate about. I knew I could be much more passionate about beer than I could for vaccines. While at UC Davis, I was contacted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery to join their team of brewers and by the end of the program I had accepted an offer.
Q:What position are you holding now?
A: I'm currently a brewer at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
Q:What are your goals for the future?
A: For now I am looking to build on my experience and knowledge as a brewer in a production brewery. I enjoy the fast paced and dynamic nature of a production sized brewery and I see a lot of potential for myself in this setting. I have some ideas in my head of where I could see myself in 5 years, but for now I am happy with my position.
Q: What are the main obstacles that you’ve experienced as a woman in this industry?
How were you able to overcome them?
A: Prior to entering the industry, I was fully aware that I was about to enter a male dominated field. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I would be the 4th female brewer to join the Dogfish Head brewing team. As a team of 15 brewers total, we definitely make up a large percentage of the team. I feel that we are treated no differently than our male counterparts. The job and workload is the same for all. I think sometimes the guys think we are going to be offended by some of the talk that happens, but I think if you're a person that gets offended easily, you wouldn't be entering the brewing industry. Outside of the company, people are often surprised to learn that I am a female brewer. People at industry events, tend to assume I work in the quality lab. Overall, people are impressed and excited to hear about my job. On the other hand, I have had a few strange encounters. For example, one time, a friend of mine told a 20 something male bartender I worked for Dogfish Head and the bartender asked if I was an Admin. That was rude.
Q:Have you experienced any advantages over men?
A: Nothing major comes to mind when I think of any advantages I've encountered over men. I think female brewers tend to stand out in a crowd of males, but I'm not sure if that is necessarily an advantage. Some of the guys are on team are often eager to help us with the heavy lifting, but by now they all know we can and want to carry our own weight.