Gabe Barry of Brooklyn Brewery tells Sam Wylie-Harris about how women can get a foot in the door of a male dominated industry.

Like a lot of people who work in the drinks business, Gabe Barry's background had almost nothing to do with beer, and yet somehow, everything to do with it.

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In 2005, she was at college when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans - one of the deadliest storms to ever affect the United States. She went down to volunteer and ended up spending two years helping rebuild the city and support communities displaced by the storm.

During those years she realised her "naive agenda of what change in the world looked like didn't always fit. But what does fit, is the magic and cultural power of the bar, not a place to simply go for a drink, but a watering hole where people gather to be together."

Barry later moved back to her hometown of Syracuse, New York and having always worked in hospitality, picked up a bartending shift at a new brewpub, Empire Brewing Company - and realised right away the "craft beer thing" was where art, science and community come together.

Within a month she was offered a job as assistant to the brewery, and by 2011 she'd relocated to New York City and was managing the brand.

Today, Barry is Brooklyn Brewery's education manager, Europe, and has worked in a multitude of roles from tasting room manager to inspiring beer enthusiasts to see the craft beer industry as a global movement, particularly in the areas of flavour and culture.

"One of my main aims is to encourage other women to join the industry. My approach is mentorship, advocacy and pushing visibility for anyone feeling excluded from 'the club' the industry can sometimes feel like - and shake it up a bit," says Barry.

So which route should women take to get into the beer industry?

"There are a number of trusted educational institutions, but I think one of the most important elements is to do your homework about the beverage as a whole - look at the way beer was a central part of people's lives hundreds of years ago, look at the way the industry has formed over the last 50 years, and make your own rules of where you fit in."

What do you need to know if you want to be a part of it?

"Ultimately, it's important for women to have confidence in their skills and know they can do the job. Although it's currently a male dominated industry, the increasing visibility of women is paving the way for females of the future.

"Being bold and visible shows there's space for you and others, and will give women strength to shift perceptions.

"It's also important to know it's not all about drinking beer. There's lots of hard work that goes into it, even down to supporting other breweries, networking at events and ultimately being the face that people come to recognise and trust. Beer is like people - trust is key."

How do you think women can stand out in the world of beer?

"Having confidence in your knowledge is the best way to stand out. Things are changing for women in the beer industry - the more visibility and greater representation we have, the more equal the playing field will become.

"Male domination isn't something that's unique to the beer industry. However, industries that do have a more 'factory' style way of working are harder to break into. I myself have faced challenges, but women were actually the leaders when it came to brewing before the industrial revolution."

Do you think there's been a shift in the amount of women getting into the beer industry?

"As the saying goes, there's safety in numbers. As more women move into the industry, women are feeling more comfortable and encouraged to join the beer world.

"Social media has played a huge part, as it's a platform for women to show what they're doing, and you can see females all over the world getting involved. Women feel supported standing up and being proud to be a woman in beer. Even if you are the only woman in your town drinking beer - the power of social media communities are strong.

"Technology has also played a key role with an increasing focus on quality, more than ever before. With this change comes the most modern technology and scientific advances, and there's an increasing number of women leading the way."

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