In 2013 the idea for the IWCBD came from Project Venus (https://projectvenusuk.com/) member, Sophie de Ronde, Head Brewer at Burnt Mill Brewery, Suffolk, UK. Project Venus is a UK based group of brewsters (female brewers), who get together for collaboration brews. The brewsters take it in turn to host a collaboration brew at their places of work and will generally produce a beer with a particular theme or style. The idea of taking the brew days internationally was discussed at a Venus brew and 8th March, International Women’s Day seemed like the most logical day to hold the event. Sophie de Ronde got in touch with women in the industry for involvement and in particular, the Pink Boots Society based in America. Denise Ratfield, at the time controlled social media for Pink Boots Society and quickly came on board with the idea. She developed the social media platforms, artwork and the IWCBD Map that pins all participants from around the world; each year’s map can be seen in Unite Brews. Through Ratfields’ connections in the industry, Monarose Ryan came forward and offered her highly skilled design services to help the cause. Ryan, https://www.monarose.com, developed the iconic IWCBD logo and promotional material and continues to help with further brew days. Ratfield, the Director for IWCBD brings together the social media platforms and organization of all the world wide event.
2014 saw the first International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day come to fruition. The event was so successful that the demand for a follow up brew day every year was created. Since then de Ronde and Ratfield have worked closely together, along with Ryan, to design and organise the brew days year on year.
Reorganization: IWCBD and the Unite beer brand was originally promoted by Denise Ratfield via the Pink Boots Society website during her tenure as Social Media Committee Chairwoman for the organization. At the completion of this 2 year volunteer position with PBS, she and Founder Sophie de Ronde made the decision to run the event autonomously in order to maintain it’s original vision.
Expanding the Team: As 2018 was drawing to a close it was decided the time was right to expand our team.
Ratfield has decided to step back and open up the opportunity for a fresh face to take on the organization of the event. Maintaining the international aspect of the project, we searched over the globe and found an enthusiastic fermentation specialist, who jumped at the chance to become involved. Gaia Freytag fell in love with beer while studying Food science and Technology between Italy and Belgium and is now working as the Quality Manager of Birrificio del Ducato in Parma, Italy.
Ratfield will always remain an integral part of the team and we thank her from the bottom of our fermenters for the hard work and time she has put into IWCBD.