BVC - women and brewing -Reply

Norman White gn-white at
Fri Apr 2 08:12:40 PST 1999

Greetings from Jin Liu Ch'ang:

Clare asked the following questions:
>1)  What caused the sharp increase in books on the art >of brewing and beer/ale/wine making in the middle to >the end of the 17th century?
The increasing availability of the printing press and cheaper paper?

>2) Since women in the Middle Ages were the primary >brewers -- why aren't more women in the SCA >interested in brewing?  What prompted this >disinterest?  Is brewing in the SCA truly a "MAN's" >Activity? (grin)
I believe that beer is more of a "man's" drink now than in the Middle Ages where everyone including children drank beer (or ale) with every meal including breakfast (with the possible exception of the rich who drank wine).  For that reason, brewers may be more likely to be male.  To be truthful, speaking as one who is equally at home with non-SCA homebrewers, the fraction of brewing and vintning by women in the SCA is orders of magnitude higher than that outside the SCA.  One needs only to go to a non-SCA homebrewing competition to find that out.  The only women at such activities tend to be the significant others of male homebrewers.  If we lived further north where fruits and berries were more common, we may would see more women as vintners.

I wish more women were interested in brewing and vintning.

Jin Liu Ch'ang
a.k.a. Norman White
gn-white at
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