FemAle: a queer, feminist brewery in Berlin

FemAle is a guerilla, feminist brewery project by and for female-identifying and queer folks. We are "fascinated" by the deep gender disparities in the brewing industry - brewing as a hobby and taste booms in Berlin, yet most of those who we identify with are absent in the scene as makers. Beer is considered a masculine hobby. A big serious male industry. We want it to be taken over by a revolutionary community of brewsters (feminine word for a brewer). We want to brew experimentally, collectively and with local hops/ingredients, in a circular manner - baking bread from leftover malt, using the yeast as a fertilizer for plants, and experimenting in other ways this production is as local and sustainable as it gets.

One needs to think of the history of beer and fermentation as a deeply feminine, domestic practice - beer is one of the oldest beverages that women would make in their kitchens from grains used also for baking bread. Beer was a wildly diverse and magic thing that hardly resembles what we know it as now. It was rooted in the local ecology, it drew inspiration from surrounding herbs, it had magical and healing properties. Sometimes, it was trippy. Later, it was political - beer would be used as an indicator of witchcraft. As women were banned from breweries and taverns, Europe saw the commons enclosed. We lost contact with the skills and plants that feed us. The magic was gone.

We want to bring the magic and joy of brewing back. This is why as FemAle, a collective of aspiring brewsters and fermenters, we are working towards creating a space in which we can learn brewing in a decentralized, peer-to-peer way, experiment with recipes and ideas, get creative, and build a community embedded in feminist history and values.

FemAle dreams to become a space of consciousness rising and solidarity, using fermentation and beer as a medium through which we share stories of the role women played in beer brewing in the past. We’re reconnecting with our grand-grandmothers and the not-so-ancient commons they inhabited. We are tracing our steps back to women who, just a few centuries ago, gathered in taverns and gossiped about their families and struggles, over a herby potion.

There are myriads of other stories that we still want to share, discover, and understand collectively. And a brewery needs a home - which is why we are fundraising now a minimum of 3000 euros/circles (alternative currency ran by a cooperative in Berlin) in order to be able to buy the equipment and materials to start us off.  We'll need to pay rent. Furnish a kitchen and a library. Get the equipment and the ingredients. If we grow big enough, we'd love to offer scholarships and support for those who want to learn brewing and need support to take the time to do it, or maybe even create a community space and a fund for feminist and LGBTQA+ folks needs.

What will the money be spent for?

1. A brewing system for our kitchen - a minimum of 2000 eur for a small setup. If we get more, we will be able to build a bigger capacity

2. Kegs and equipment to keg and bottle our beer - 600 eur

4. Ingredients: malt, yeast, hops - approximately 300 eur for 240 l of beer

For our donors, we will offer 6-packs of beer (for a donation of a minimum 50 eur) and invitation to our brewing workshops (min 100 eur) in the future.

And a note: this is all a very small operation, run by myself (Nat Skoczylas, artist and activist based in Berlin) and Jennifer Aksu (artist and researcher based in Berlin), and a growing collective of collaborators, so the time of production and delivery of some of those goodies might be slow, but sure.

Stay healthy and warm,

Nat and Jennifer, FemAle

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Natalia Skoczylas 

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