THE WOMEN IN BEER (HIS/HERSTORY) EXHIBITION
20th – 27th May Good Beer Week 2023
The Fox Hotel, 351 Wellington St. Collingwood. VIC. Australia
Dr. Tonya Meyrick + Ms. Clodagh Harris
Gender visibility and the imbalance of women’s contribution to beer, brewing and production in Australia and internationally has resulted in optics that showcase men as the primary constituents, receivers, and holders of knowledge in this domain. This imbalance is seen contemporaneously through advertising and marketing of beer to a male audience; the composition of beer flavours for a ‘hard earned thirst’ showcasing male labour; and the erasure of any presence of women in the industry and many history books. This erasure has a long tale and can be traced to before the 13th Century when the Roman Catholic Church enforced strict gender roles and prohibited women from brewing beer. In Australia laws up until the 20th Century made it illegal for unmarried women to operate hotels or hold licenses. Through the application of the Research through Design (Zimmerman, 2006) method, the research and the production of these contributions drew on qualitative sources in material culture. This resulted in a cross-disciplinary approach culminating in new insights into the subject.
The curatorial approach to content focused on the concealed culminating in the development of 5 large format exhibition panels emphasising the often-hidden contributions to redress the gender imbalance of women in the history of beer.
The ‘Women in Beer (his/herstory)’ exhibition was developed for Good Beer Week 2023, an initiative of the Independent Brewers Association of Australia and the Australian International Beer Awards to educate the public about good beer and support the local industry. Attendance figures run in excess of 75,000 over 10 days for the annual event. Sponsored by The Fox Hotel the resulting exhibition brings to light diverse contributions of women to the history of beer both in Australia and internationally.