6 March 2023

Women in Hospitality Spotlight: Sherri Dill, brewer at Capital Brewing Co

| Lucy Ridge
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Sherri during the brewing process.

Sherri Dill was the first female brewer at Capital Brewing Co. Photo: Supplied.

Meet Sherri Dill: brewer at Capital Brewing Co.

Sherri started her hospitality career pouring beers behind a bar. After a few years, she was more interested in finding out what happened behind the scenes and put herself forward for a job on the production team at Capital Brewing Co.

“Nothing is malicious or intentionally gatekeeping, but I think as a woman you aren’t at the forefront when they’re looking for someone new,” she told Region.

“You have to make your voice heard and announce your intentions. Really put your hand up for something.”

Woman wearing hi-vis at brewery

Brewer Sherri Dill leads the brewing process for a Pink Boots Society event. Photo: Callum Selmes

Putting her hand up led to a job as Capital’s first female brewer. That came with its own challenges. Sherri is relatively short and found that the brewhouse wasn’t always accessible for someone her size. She found that speaking up was important because it hadn’t always occurred to the taller, male brewers that she wouldn’t be able to reach certain pieces of equipment or that she needed smaller-sized gloves and other PPE equipment.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Freddie Raimbaud, Sommelier and Wine Merchant

She was clear when asked what advice she’d give her younger self: “Never ever assume that anyone can read your mind! Otherwise, they just won’t know [what you need].”

Capital Brewing Co. sign

Capital Brewing Co. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

She stresses that the team at Capital have been very accommodating to all her requirements and she was also pleased to see that not long after she took on the brewing job, more women started to join roles across the production teams, including another brewer.

READ ALSO Pink Boots brew crew talks workplace culture, creates pineapple beer!

“In the brewing team, there’s six of us, and two are women. So we’re very much moving toward equality. I’m not the only one anymore.”

It’s a testament to the positive impact of visibility. Sherri also named Canberra brewer Tracy Margrain – co-founder of Bentspoke Brewing – as a woman who has been a role model to her within the industry.

group posing in front of brewing equipment

Pink Boots Society event at Capital Brewing Co. in 2022. Photo: Callum Selmes.

Organisations like Pink Boots Society, which aims to support the careers of women in beer, have also played an important role. Their events create connections between female brewers, provide opportunities for career development through scholarship programs, and amplify the voices of women in the industry.

READ ALSO New mother-daughter distillery proves just the tonic for Wee Jasper

Sherri says her love of beer is shared by her Dad, who she often bonded with over a beer in the backyard. She reckons beer is “a great equaliser” and particularly loves watching the diversity of people who come to enjoy lunch and a beer at the Capital beer garden.

Capital Brewing Co has brewed a beer to celebrate International Women’s Day: a fruity Berliner Weisse, a Belgian-style wheat beer. Sherri describes it as “very weird, very fruity, very sour”.

Sherri opens a bottle, smiling.

Sherri describes beer as a great equaliser. Photo: Supplied.

Read about more female brewers, bakers, winemakers and food creators in Canberra, like Caitlin Baker, who started Venus Vinifera, a wine community for women. Or vegan soft serve creator Maddelene Easterbrook, local farmer Sophie Fitch, or Joss Mustard, who makes the happiest cookies in town.

Want more inspiration? Sherri is currently reading A Woman’s Place is in the Brewhouse by American author Tara Nurin, who spoke about the history of women and brewing for a Pink Boots event.

The IWD Berliner Weisse will be available from 8 March at Capital Brewing Co, located at 1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick.

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