TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - An international collaboration has brought a new beer to Tucson and Mexico.
Ayla Kapahi has always wanted a hands-on creative job, one that keeps her busy. A job just like the one she has at Borderlands Brewing as their lead brewer.
“I started in this industry four years ago, and at that time, the landscape looked much different,” Kapahi said.
She said men have been holding the positions in the industry, but in Tucson, more women are showing up in these roles. It’s a spot that took a lot of hard work for Kapahi to get. At a different brewery when she was just getting into the business, she worked two jobs and begged for a chance to learn commercial brewing—facing challenges many women know.
“I’ve heard that I’m too pretty to brew beer or that I’m too small or not strong enough, and when I started in the industry a lot of those doubts I believed,” she said.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, she pushed on—brewing the best beers she could. Then, this winter she heard from another female brewer from Mexico, Sandra Navarro.
“It’s a very male-dominated industry of course,” said Navarro, of Turulata Brewing Co.
She’s experienced many of the same hurdles as Kapahi.
“Some customers didn’t want to talk to me, or didn’t believe that I was brewing the beer,” she said.
Navarro wanted to celebrate the strides they, and other women, are making in beer. They teamed up with about twenty women from the US and Mexico to make Las Hermanas. A hoppy IPA with a meaning that is crystal clear.
“We have a sisterhood…and it’s just great that we have beer that brings us together,” said Kapahi.
They brewed nearly three-thousand liters of the beer in Mexico and in the US, making a sisterhood that crosses borders, boundaries and beers.
“It’s important to highlight any minority in any field, whether its race, gender,” said Kapahi.
A release party at Borderlands served up the collaboration—each pour bringing a diverse room of people together, and sending more women on their path. A majority of proceeds will go to scholarships for women in brewing.
“I really hope more women find inspiration to pursue what they are passionate about,” said Navarro.
Navarro said they’ll release Las Hermanas in Mexico February first. It’s sold while supplies last at Borderlands and Turulata Brewing Co.