Oral history interview with Anita Riley, 2018

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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0:00 - Opening credits / interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Can we go ahead and start by having you say and spell your name?

1:07 - Entering the brewing industry

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Partial Transcript: So let's go ahead and start talking about how you got into this industry.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses her decision to become a brewer after deciding to no longer continue her photography career. She talks about her education from Asheville-Bumcombe Technical College.

Keywords: Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

2:33 - Resources for growing as a brewer

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk a little bit about some of the resources that you've drawn on to grow as a brewer - both AB Tech, but also kind of after the program ended?

Segment Synopsis: Riley talks about the importance of the North Carolina community college brewing programs, as well as conferences, the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, and the Pink Boots Society.

Keywords: Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

3:18 - Mentors in the field

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Partial Transcript: Kind of thinking long over your whole career, are there people that you have kind of considered a mentor or who had a major impact on your career?

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses the faculty of the community college programs. She also talks about Caroline Parnin, marketing manager at Lallemand, as a mentor in the field.

Keywords: Caroline Parnin

4:06 - Brewing career and process

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a little bit about kind of how you got to the position that you have now.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses her brewing career at Mystery Brewing Company and at Lonerider. She also talks about her favorite and least favorite parts of the brewing process.

Keywords: Mystery Brewing Company

5:49 - Current beer styles and trends

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Partial Transcript: So are there any particular beer trends that you really like or dislike?

Segment Synopsis: Riley notes that she prefers a focus on consistency and basic skills over many of the industry trends.

6:44 - Flagship beers at Lonerider

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk a little bit about I guess some of your flagship beers here and kind of how long they've been around?

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses a number of Lonerider beers, including the Saloon Style Pilsner, Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen, and Sweet Josie Brown. She also discusses the awards that Lonerider has won for their beers.

8:11 - Future of the brewing industry

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Partial Transcript: So kind of thinking broadly, not just necessarily here at Lonerider but broadly, but where do you see the brewing industry going over the next five years?

Segment Synopsis: Riley notes that the industry future is unclear to her as things change very quickly. She talks about the importance of staying relevant and standing out in a growing crowd.

9:39 - Lonerider's mission

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Partial Transcript: So how would you define Lonerider's kind of mission or their piece of that puzzle today?

Segment Synopsis: Riley describes Lonerider's mission as uncompromising, with a focus on quality and consistency.

10:56 - Interest in the position at Lonerider

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Partial Transcript: Kind of backing up a year or so, what initially drew you to the position here?

Segment Synopsis: Riley notes that she was initially attracted to the position at Lonerider because it gave her an opportunity to grow as a professional.

Keywords: Caroline Parnin; Galen Smith

12:05 - Production at Lonerider

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Partial Transcript: So, can you talk a little bit about kind of the size, the production, how many folks, what kind of machinery, all of those goodies?

Segment Synopsis: Riley notes that Lonerider produces 20,000 barrels a year. She also discusses their brewing cycle as well as the recipe development process.

17:43 - Changes to the beer scene in the Triangle area

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Partial Transcript: So when was it that you said you came to Mystery, first came to kind of the Triangle?

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses changes to the craft beer scene in the North Carolina Triangle area since 2016. She talks about the growth in number of breweries as well as a growing focus on hyper-local, community spaces.

19:15 - Pink Boots Society

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Partial Transcript: So you've mentioned Pink Boots a few times already, so let's talk about Pink Boots.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses her involvement in the Pink Boots Society in North Carolina. She talks about how PBS informs her writing, including the Brewing Ambition book. She also discusses the importance of community and collaboration.

Keywords: Caroline Parnin; Community; Pink Boots Society

27:05 - Being a woman in the beer industry

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Partial Transcript: So you've talked about some of the challenges that go into being a woman in the industry.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses the importance of having women in the industry as role models for new brewers and owners. She talks about Leah Wong Ashburn at Highland as a role model for her.

Keywords: Leah Wong Ashburn

30:36 - Biere de Femme festival

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Partial Transcript: There have been two, is it two Biere de Femmes so far? So far, yes.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses the Biere de Femme beer festival, which highlights beers brewed by women. She talks about the work that goes into organizing this statewide festival.

Keywords: Biere de Femme

33:57 - Writing about women in the North Carolina beer industry

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Partial Transcript: So you've talked a little bit about your writing already, but let's talk a little bit more about that.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses how she first began writing about women in the North Carolina beer industry through writing a column for the Metro Wines website.

Keywords: Carolina Brew Scene; Community; Metro Wines; Pink Boots Society; WNC Woman Magazine

37:07 - Advice for a woman hoping to enter the brewing industry

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Partial Transcript: What advice would you give if a woman wandered in right now and was like, "I want to be a brewer." What would be the advice that you would give her?

Segment Synopsis: Riley notes that anyone looking to become a brewer should first understand the pay range in the industry. She emphasizes the importance of collaboration as well as formal education.

40:22 - Favorite beer at Lonerider

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Partial Transcript: Now we get to the fun/always challenging particularly for brewers part of the questions.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses Lonerider's Sweet Josie Brown.

41:26 - Favorite beer from a North Carolina brewery other than Lonerider

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Segment Synopsis: Riley talks about Hi-Wire's Bed of Nails Brown Ale.

42:13 - Introduction to craft beer

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Partial Transcript: Well I mean that's another one of the other things that I was going to ask.

Segment Synopsis: Riley discusses her introduction to craft beer as a server at a bar in Asheville that was across the street from the space in Barley's Taproom where Highland was brewing.

43:42 - Hobbies and interests outside of brewing

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Partial Transcript: So when you're not here and you're not doing Pink Boots work, you probably sleep and that's about it.

Segment Synopsis: Riley talks about her love of attending roller derby matches as well as spending time with her friends and her son.

49:21 - Interview conclusion / closing credits

0:00

Erin Lawrimore: Can we go ahead and start by having you say and spell your name?

Anita Riley: My name is Anita Riley. It's A-N-I-T-A R-I-L-E-Y.

Erin Lawrimore: Awesome. So, today is Thursday, July 26th. We are at Lonerider in Raleigh, North Carolina, speaking with Anita Riley for the Well Crafted NC project. So, Anita, to start with, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from and how did you get here?

Anita Riley: I'm from Western North Carolina originally. I grew up in Rutherford County and McDowell County and ended up here just through the nature of this industry and came down here for work.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so what's your title here at Lonerider?

Anita Riley: I'm the assistant brewer, cellar tech and lab tech.

1:00

Erin Lawrimore: Awesome.

Anita Riley: So, I do a lot of things throughout the day. I'm never bored.

Erin Lawrimore: So, let's go ahead and start talking about how you got into this industry. What was kind of like your first introduction to beer and brewing?

Anita Riley: So, the recession happened and in 2012, it was very clear that my photography career was coming to an end and that I needed to find a new skill and so I started looking at my local community college, which was AB Tech in Asheville and what could I do to quickly retool myself and that was about the same time that they announced their brewing program and I thought there's a lot of similarities here. It's technical, it's artistic and creative. There's a lot of really cool people in both of those industries and those were things that were really important to me and it just seemed like a natural fit. So, I started home brewing. Starting taking my ... The general education portion of those 2:00classes and as soon as the application was available, I immediately applied to that program and got in.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so had you been home brewing kind of before then or ...

Anita Riley: No, not at all and in fact, I'm mostly a wine drinker. I say a lot of times that I went into beer just because I knew if I made wine for a living there would be a problem but I do enjoy beer and I've learned a lot about beer since just going oh, I could do that.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so can you talk a little bit about some of the resources that you've drawn on to grow as a brewer, both AB Tech but also kind of after the program ended?

Anita Riley: Sure, so AB Tech has been amazing. Actually, I was hired from that program before I could finish my education and so I did one semester at Rockingham Community College as well, which was excellent but I've also attended professional conferences like the MBAA of the Southeast and I think there's a 3:00Carolinas chapter now, so I've been to both of those professional conferences. I've also been to the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild conferences and Pink Boot Society educational seminars.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so are there ... Kind of thinking long over your whole career, are there people that you have kind of considered a mentor or who have had a major impact on your career?

Anita Riley: Absolutely. There's a lot. This is a really great community and so it's more than it's just one particular person, it's a whole plethora of people that stand out in my mind, are definitely Jeff at AB Tech, Todd Isbell at Rockingham Community College but also Caroline Parnin, Parnin-Smith now. So, she has just been a beacon in my career since I got to the triangle area and is a 4:00large part of the reason that I have the position that I have now.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so let's talk a little bit about kind of how you got to the position that you have now, because you mentioned kind of being hired. What year was it that you started the AB Tech program?

Anita Riley: I started my general education in 2013. I was able to start the brewing program in 2014 and I was hired to start at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough January of 2016.

Erin Lawrimore: Awesome and then when did you come here to Lonerider?

Anita Riley: Just about a year ago, June 30, 2017.

Erin Lawrimore: Awesome. So, this is a career path you've been in for about five years now starting with the education, what would you say is your favorite part of brewing?

Anita Riley: Gosh, there's a lot of it. I really enjoy being both mentally and physically engaged. I say a lot of times, if I had a desk job, I would pull my hair out just from the utter boredom of not being able to move around. So those 5:00two things keep me really engaged, excited to come to work but the comradery here is amazing. We have a really, really great team. We work hard and we laugh a lot and my face muscles get exercised as much as anything else, so it's a lot fun.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and of course, it can't all be sunshine and roses. What is the thing that just drives you nuts? What is your least favorite?

Anita Riley: The weather. We aren't climate controlled at all. Most production spaces aren't, and so working in extreme cold, extreme heat and humidity can really be like soul crushing some days but again, that comradery you get through the day together and it's great.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so are there any particular beer trends today that you really like or dislike? What do you see kind of as today's trends and where might they be going?

Anita Riley: I have to say I'm not crazy about today's trends. I feel like the 6:00trend is what's the newest, freshest thing. Nobody's making the same beer a second time and I feel like we're really losing a skillset there. I feel like being consistent, showing a good quality product not just once but over and over and over again is where a lot of the talent in this industry lies and there's a lot of successful breweries out there that are making a beer that they never make again or they make it and then they change it the next time around and so I'd really like to see us steer back toward consistency and perfection.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and Lonerider does a lot of that-

Anita Riley: We do.

Erin Lawrimore: And can you talk a little bit about, I guess, kind of some of your flagship beers here and kind of how long they've been around?

Anita Riley: Sure. So, and I've only been here since 2017-

Erin Lawrimore: Right.

Anita Riley: Lonerider's been around since 2009, so I'm sure that there are 7:00beers that I don't even know that we made in the past but we will always go back to our Saloon Style Pilsner which is crisp and clean and you have a Saloon Style Pilsner here in our tap room or out in the world, it better taste exactly the same and the same thing with Shotgun Betty and Sweet Josie Brown. Shotgun Betty's our hefeweizen and I think that those two are our most popular beers. Shotgun Betty outsells Josie in the summer and Josie ekes out Betty in the wintertime. That's just a normal beer trend. We go to those heartier, darker beers in the wintertime but those two have won medals over and over and over again. Everybody loves them and they started loving them a really long time ago and still go back to them today.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, you guys just won, was it GABF?

Anita Riley: We've won GABF and the US Beer Open this year.

Erin Lawrimore: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

8:00

Anita Riley: So, with Goldie's Big Bock, which is our doppelbock and then we've also had numerous decorations for Josie and Betty this year as well.

Erin Lawrimore: Awesome. So, kind of thinking broadly, not just necessarily here at Lonerider but broadly, where do you see the brewing industry going over the next five years?

Anita Riley: I honestly have no idea. I feel like this industry is changing so quickly. I'm seeing breweries open up constantly. I thought that I was on the forefront and like really engaged with the community and knew exactly what was coming down the pipe before it even happened, that's not true anymore. There are so many breweries opening up across the state. We went from about a hundred when I started in this industry to well over 200 and getting close to 300 just in North Carolina in the last couple to three years and it's really changing the way that everyone does business.

Anita Riley: The big guys are saying well what can we do with all of this new 9:00competition? How do we compete with the newest, freshest thing? There's a new brewery opening up every week it seems like and there's a new beer coming out every day and so how do we stay relevant during that time and then also the new guys coming out are trying to figure out how do we diversify ourselves. How do we stand out in a crowd and I think that it's the question that we're all asking. I'm really anxious to hit the fast forward button or skip to the last chapter of the book and see how this plays out in the next 5-10 years.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so how would you define Lonerider's kind of mission or their piece of that puzzle today?

Anita Riley: Well, I think that we are staying true to who we are. We've got core values that we have established over time and we don't want to compromise that. Uncompromising is one of the things that we say on our T-shirts and we are 10:00trying to make sure that whatever we do is top-notch quality first and foremost and that it's replicable and so we have done and will continue to do one off beers but those one off beers are coming to the market already perfected in a way that we are happy presenting them and our toying with the idea of those staying around and being additions to the band of outlaws.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and so we're here in the taproom right now so obviously you have the beer in the taproom but can you talk a little bit about distribution? How broad Lonerider's distribution is right now?

Anita Riley: Yes, so we are in nine states, the UK, Singapore, and the Netherlands. So, we are regional in the US but also global.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah. So, kind of backing up a year or so, what initially drew you to the position here?

11:00

Anita Riley: Well, I was in a position where I couldn't grow anymore and it was a little bit like Alice In Wonderland when she outgrew the house, I was continuing to want to grow and learn and develop a skillset and I also wanted to grow in the industry in scale and production size and things like that and so it was really just time to move on to a different brewery. At the same time, again, I had met and had been closely working with Caroline Parnin, now Smith, who is married to Galen Smith, who is my head brewer here, and so getting to know them, talking about the industry, talking about just processes and shop talk. I think that Galen recognized that I had skills that he could employ here and so he needed a cellar tech and I was looking for growth and this is a great place, 12:00great opportunity for that.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so can you talk a little bit about kind of the size, the production? How many folks? What kind of machinery? All of those goodies.

Anita Riley: So, we're very big and very small at the same time. So, we do about 20 thousand barrels a year off of a 15-barrel brewhouse with four production team members, so as I said, we work really hard. We have a lot of fun doing it though. So, we have a 15-barrel mash tun that we stretch to 20, so we're doing 20-barrel batches at times, most times and doing about four of those a day. So it requires two people on the brew stand shift brewing. I do all the cellar tech stuff with fermentation, moving beers, running the centrifuge, cleaning tanks, taking gravity samples, harvesting and pitching yeast, doing cell counts, doing 13:00... We also have some lab equipment that we run tests on our beers before they go to package. I'm doing all of that and then we have people dedicated to packaging as well.

Erin Lawrimore: Wow. That's a busy day.

Anita Riley: Indeed. Never bored.

Erin Lawrimore: So, I was going to say there's probably not a standard day at the brewery but can you talk about kind of like a standard process? Can you walk us through kind of maybe an average week or an average production process, one of the two-

Anita Riley: Yeah sure.

Erin Lawrimore: Whichever one's easier.

Anita Riley: As far as the guys are concerned, they're coming in and just pounding beers out. Typically, we've milled in for the first batch the night before and that's sitting in the grist case. They can just mash in when they get in, in the morning and get the ball rolling and they'll continue to layer different batches throughout the day, so as one is getting into the boil kettle, they're cleaning out the mash tun, getting ready to put the next one in and so we're constantly moving and shaking and then as far as I'm concerned, I usually 14:00start my day cleaning a brite tank and the centrifuge together and then once that's finished, I'll go and run the centrifuge to rack the beer into a brite tank that we have cleaned the day before. Then when the rack is done, I'll do the next CIP, which is clean in place on the fermenter for the next day. So, we're getting all of our prep done for today but also for the next day and we're working about a day or two ahead of time just depending on what needs to be done.

Anita Riley: At the same time, while those cycles are going, because they are long cycles, I'll be taking gravity samples and checking on the beers that are in primary fermentation, harvesting, pitching yeast. I'll be getting the beer ready that we're packaging that day, making sure that it passes a sensory 15:00analysis, that the carb levels are correct and that it's as clear or hazy as we want it to be and what else comes up, dry hopping tanks, things like that. So, again, it's a lot of long processes and then a lot of little things in between.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and you talked already about kind of Lonerider having a number of really solid kind of flagships or standards but that sometimes you do have smaller batches that you put out-

Anita Riley: Sure.

Erin Lawrimore: Can you talk a little bit about the process in developing these newer or even the smaller recipes and beers that you're putting out?

Anita Riley: Sure and so I've actually been a part of one of those, so-

Erin Lawrimore: Which one was that?

Anita Riley: That was Calamity Jane, the beer that I brewed for Biere de Femme-

Erin Lawrimore: Oh awesome.

Anita Riley: In 2018, this year. And so in that process, I went to our team and said hey, we're in the middle of planning this event, do we want to be a part of 16:00it? Yes, we do. This is what we need to do, we need to brew a specific beer created by, brewed by women to be able to showcase at an all women's beer festival and at the same time, we had already started the conversation, as soon as I got here that everyone in production has what we call a beer of ill-repute and what beer did I want to put my name on and so from the beginning, I said, can it be a spicy pepper beer and they said yes, and I said can it be named in honor of Calamity Jane and they said yes and I don't know why but of all the characters in the west, she just sticks out to me as a kindred spirit.

Anita Riley: And I am just a fan of pepper beers, I love them, and I have had a lot that I didn't love and so I kind of had in mind what I wanted as far as the pepper profile goes but then I also wanted to make it not be just another 17:00jalapeno pale, which I feel like people are keen on but I wanted to show peppers in a different way and so I was toying with the idea of a porter or something that had more malt but we were releasing it in the spring and I wanted to be seasonally correct, something that was still kind of light and crisp, so we settled on a Vienna lager and started just developing what would Lonerider's Vienna lager look like as far as the malt bill and the hops and everything and then I created a pepper extract that sung the notes that I wanted it to sing.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so when was it that you said you came to Mystery, first came to kind of the triangle?

Anita Riley: January 2016.

Erin Lawrimore: And even though that literally is like not even two and a half years ago, there have been a lot of changes to the beer scene in this area since then.

Anita Riley: Yes, very much.

Erin Lawrimore: Can you talk a little bit about that and kind of how the 18:00triangle beer scene has changed?

Anita Riley: Yeah, I mean it's really exciting but it's really exhausting at the same time because I feel like my head's spinning trying to keep up and so I think that what we've seen is just especially in like Raleigh and Cary and Durham to some extent just getting really, really full of craft beer bars, breweries, bottle shops, things like that and so there's just so many places to look that most people are just looking in their backyard, what's close to me, especially because what we do is serve alcohol and so a lot of folks want to stay close to home where they can get an Uber or walk or bike and so those concerns are there as well. So, I feel like people are just staying more and more and more close to their own community, their own backyard.

Anita Riley: We've also seen a trend of having like the after work watering 19:00hole, and so some places are hybrid, so they'll have their after work spot but then they'll also have sort of their backyard where I'm going to go on the weekend kind of a thing.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so you've mentioned Pink Boots a few times already-

Anita Riley: Sure.

Erin Lawrimore: So, let's talk about Pink Boots. Can you talk a little bit about how Pink Boots kind of grew up here in North Carolina and its importance to the brewing community here?

Anita Riley: Absolutely. So, I first became aware of the Pink Boots Society when I was a student at AB Tech. I was actually starting my second year in the program and my boss at Metro Wines, Gina Trippi, had asked me to start writing content for her website, Google optimization, get as many images out there, get as many words out there as possible so that when people search and do a Google search for words, your website pops up. I think we all know that, right? So, I 20:00was like yeah, sure, fine, nobody's going to read it. What do you want me to write? And she was like well, could you write about women in the beer industry? I'm like nobody's going to read that but I started doing research about it and found the Pink Boots Society just doing a Google search for women in the beer industry and I was actually a little bit upset that no one came to me like from the school and told me that there was this organization that provides scholarships for women in the brewing industry and I was like, hello? So, I was like alright, I'm going to apply for this thing and I'm going to get it. So, you just have to show that you're a woman in the industry that makes at least 25% of her income through the beer industry.

Anita Riley: I was like, I got that. So, and then there wasn't a whole lot going on at the local level. There was one fundraiser that happened in the summer of 2015 while I was doing my internship at a brewery in Asheville and it was kind 21:00of my first little glimpse at the Pink Boots Society and then it just kind of went away and so when I started at Mystery, one of my first assignments, I started there in January and in February, they told me that I was going to host a Pink Boots collaboration brew day, which happens every year, March 8th is international women's day and one of the big events throughout the year is to get together and brew together as women, so bringing women from outside the brewing process that maybe are in sales or distribution or what have you, into the brewhouse and so I was like, alright and 25 women showed up and I knew none of them but that's how I met Caroline and Caroline had a similar viewpoint of she had just come on as the state chapter leader and was like we aren't doing a whole lot, how do we change this, how do we put North Carolina on the map?

22:00

Anita Riley: And so I said, well, I write about women in the beer industry. I can put some of those articles together and get new ones and put together a recipe book just based off what I had seen my son's PTA program do. Put it together, family recipes, but let's make this home brew recipes and put together a recipe book and then tell who these women are, what they do and I wanted to showcase a plethora of roles and that sort of a thing. So, that's how Brewing Ambition came up, which is the book that was the fruit of that labor and at the same time, Jordan Boinest, who is in Newgrass Brewing, and I had just been writing an article about Jordan, said the same thing about we need to really put North Carolina on the map, how about we host an all women's beer festival and so we put both of these ideas together, launched the book at Biere de Femme which was the fruit of that labor and Caroline and Jordan and I just worked really 23:00hard to get that festival and that book off the ground and then through that grew a ton of awareness about the Pink Boots Society, which now it has five chapters instead of just one in North Carolina in two years and so it's a short history, I think, similar to the beer industry history in this state.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and as a woman in the industry, can you talk about just ... You've been so involved in it that I'm not sure if you can kind of look outside but kind of what's the overall value of this type of just community group within the beer industry?

Anita Riley: Sure, so I think first and foremost it's scholarships and education for women because we do have obstacles to overcome just in the interview process alone, just getting that interview and so being able to put education on your resume and say I'm not just Joe Blow off the street, I actually have a head on 24:00my shoulders and know what I'm doing, I think that that's first and foremost key for women in this industry. To help us stand out in that selection process, but also just to make sure that the women that are here have tools and resources that they need to stand out and to be head and shoulders above their competitors and it's weird to talk about colleagues as competitors but in the hiring process, we absolutely are.

Anita Riley: And so just to make us stand out in a way because we do get looked over quite a lot but as far as the comradery in the community is concerned, I think that it's really nice to have someone that you can call and say hey, I'm going through this thing, how did you handle it? What did you experience and I've had several phone calls of women in the beer industry who are in tears about I'm really facing an obstacle at work. I don't know how to handle it and how do I stay true to myself and true to my career and be here and I can say 25:00from the outside looking in as well, because I was there when I was pursuing this industry as a career option, doing that one year of general ed prior to, I didn't even think about it as being a male-dominated industry because quite frankly, I hadn't been looking at it.

Anita Riley: As a consumer I was just like oh here's a beer, I'll drink it and so people in those general ed courses started telling me ... Like you do, you ask what's your major, what are you going for? We're in an English class, what does that mean? And so I was like oh, well, I'm going to the brewing program and they're like you can't do that, you have to have a beard. I think that's a prerequisite that you have a beard and I was like, really? I didn't think that. My parents ran auto body shops when I was growing up so I grew up in an industrial environment, I have three older brothers, very comfortable in a male 26:00dominated atmosphere and so it was never an obstacle in my mind but I started interviewing other women in this industry, reaching out to breweries and saying, hey, is this really true? Am I wasting my time? And several breweries took time out of their day to talk to me and to say, no, that really isn't and especially as I started scratching the surface as a writer and trying to find women to interview, there are way more women in this industry than I ever imagined.

Anita Riley: It's just that they're behind the scenes often and you don't see them and so I think that a large part about Pink Boots is just communicating that women are here, women are doing great things. Women are standing out and rocking their careers and there is an open invitation for women to join the ranks. Again, there're obstacles but I think as long as women are willing to work hard and do their best, there's absolutely space.

27:00

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so, we've talked about some of the challenges that go into being a woman in the industry, can you think of particular benefits that come from a woman's perspective maybe in the industry?

Anita Riley: Well, I think that the nature of what we do, I mean as you heard me rattle off my day and it's large brush strokes are never really fair but for the most part, not everyone, not every guy, not every girl, but for the most part, women are better at multitasking and I think that I employ those skills quite a lot throughout my day organizing my time and those sorts of things and I think that I'm naturally disposed to the kind of work that I do. I can brew, I do brew but really fermentation and that nurturing of the yeast, that maternal instinct comes out and I think as far as other roles, give me a role and I can tell you 28:00how a woman could stand out and employ skills that she has over men. Leah Wong Ashburn at Highland stands out in my mind.

Anita Riley: I don't get starstruck around a lot of women but ... Or a lot of people for that matter but every time I'm around Leah, I learn more about how to be a person and she just really stands out as a person that does not compromise her femininity, is very graceful, is very patient and nurturing to her staff, has the utmost respect for them and just supports them and I think in a lot of ways when I think of her in the way that she approaches her role, it's kind of like a mother hen, like let's just all go and make this a great place and so I think that there's plenty of room for us to be rock stars.

29:00

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and I guess kind of tying on that plus the Biere de Femme that you were talking about earlier, can you talk a little bit more about the benefits or the potential benefit of something like that reaching women who might still think they have to have a beard to enter the industry?

Anita Riley: Absolutely and that was a huge part of it is how do we communicate this outside of the industry to consumers, to maybe home brew enthusiasts, to people that are interested in craft beer but even a couple years ago, women were still going to craft beer bars and getting overlooked or their boyfriends would be addressed when they're asked what they want to order, like she doesn't know what she wants, what do you want, what do you think she'll like? And she knew what she wanted the whole time and so I think just showcasing the women that are in this industry in all different aspects of this industry to the general public 30:00not only makes the women that are kind of thinking in that way like I really love home brewing but I don't know that there's a place for me in this industry or I really love accounting but how do I employ that ... Just letting people know that there are spaces for that but also letting the guys know that hey, you want a really good New England IPA, there's this gal over here that makes a fantastic one and you should try it. I think that that goes a long way just to say ... I think there's a different way to think about this.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and so there've been two ... Is it two Biere de Femmes so far?

Anita Riley: So far, yes.

Erin Lawrimore: Can you talk a little bit about, I guess, the process, not even kind of the mindset behind it but just the process of organizing something like that? It's such a big festival.

Anita Riley: It is, it is a very big festival and so we pull women from across the state to create beers, which means they have to get on their production schedule at a brewery and those can be collaborations. We do try to pull in 31:00people that aren't necessarily working at a brewery but still want to participate in these beers and so that can be complicated in and of itself. You have to have support from the brewery itself. And so that said, every year that we've done this, we get our 30 breweries, which is all we have space for, filled up within two weeks and so we are constantly contacted by more breweries that want to participate and didn't meet that deadline. We're like you can go collab with these guys. Here's a list of everybody that signed up and so make it work. We try to include as many people as we can.

Anita Riley: At the same time, we're finding sponsors because we are a nonprofit organization without a lot of funds and so we aren't able to bring this festival to fruition without our sponsors and again, this industry is very hospitable in this state in particular and so that usually is already done by December and so 32:00media sponsors, all of those things. We're sending out press releases. We're sending out ... coordinating with the event space itself, making sure that if we need porta potties that they're rented, making sure that if this person needs their keg transported or stored overnight that there's refrigeration. Making sure ... it's a lot of details and it takes a lot of people and a lot of communication and so by the time we get to that festival, it's a lot like planning a wedding, we just get to sit back and enjoy the day a little bit aside from set up and tear down and so it's really great just to kind of see this community come together, to be able to see the consumers that bought tickets to support the scholarships here in North Carolina, just kind of go oh wow, I had no idea and to have a great time and just enjoy the beer and the day together.

33:00

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, and you've rotated locations too, which has to be a ... When you're planning a wedding every year in a different place, it has to be a little bit of a complicated task.

Anita Riley: It is and so because we have pulled in women from across the state to be part of the organization as well, we have people in each city that have done this before now, so we're getting there and at the same time, we're growing awareness about the festival itself and so people know that it's coming up but I guess the mentality behind the rotation is just to be able to bring it to as many consumers as possible but also for those breweries that couldn't travel to be a part of it to let them shine in the light for a little while as well and so we really do want to show off as much of the state and as much of the talent that we have here as possible.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, definitely. So, you've talked a little bit about your writing already but let's talk a little bit more about that.

34:00

Anita Riley: Okay.

Erin Lawrimore: Because you mentioned the book that you wrote and you mentioned writing for a website but you're also writing columns for magazine, trade magazine in Western North Carolina and so you really are doing a lot of different things to help get the story of women and beer out. Can you talk a little bit about kind of all of the various things that are going on?

Anita Riley: So, at one point, I was writing for WNC Woman magazine, the Metro Wines website, Asheville Grit and Carolina Brew Scene. I've also written for Wine Searcher, which is an international publication. Again, I really thought nobody was going to read this and then within an hour of me posting the first blog post on the Metro Wines web page, I had an email from the director of my program saying that he had been contacted by a beer enthusiast senior citizens 35:00group that wanted to take a tour of the brewing program at AB Tech and to meet me. It was bizarre. It was really bizarre. And I had no idea how interested people would be in this topic, and Gina, God bless her, pushed me right outside my comfort zone. I'm an introvert, I don't enjoy being in the limelight at all and she was like, no, you're going to do this. Oh, and by the way, I picked up this magazine the other day and noticed they don't have a beer columnist, you're going to contact them and see if they want a beer columnist.

Anita Riley: I'm like, Gina, no, I don't do that. Can I just please do my job and go home? Is that okay? But she was right, and so I contacted them and they had been looking for someone to write beer, especially women in beer content and so it was symbiotic and that's how I started writing for WNC Woman magazine and 36:00that was a monthly basis and then quarterly for Carolina Brew Scene and I've written for the department of agriculture. It just ... People read these things and I have no idea who they are until they contact me and say ... That said, since Pink Boots has started really taking off, Biere de Femme has started really taking off, I was working two jobs for about a year and I was just exhausted and so I've stepped away from that monthly column and I've gone to just writing quarterly for Carolina Brew Scene now and it's been really amazing because I do feel kind of like that needle and thread pulling this community together in some ways, letting people know that the Pink Boots Society is out there, letting people know both on the consumer end and on the industry end.

Anita Riley: I can't tell you how many women I interviewed that had never heard 37:00of the Pink Boots Society before they talked to me.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, so can you ... What advice would you give if a woman wandered in right now and was like, I want to be a brewer? What would be the advice you would give her?

Anita Riley: I would say that if you have a really high paying job, that maybe just stick to hobby brewing. I think that a lot of people think that we make a lot of money and we don't and you have to be the kind of person that is okay with that. I make good money. I don't have to worry about my next meal or where it's coming from. My son's in college, I'm able to help him a little bit while he's there but I don't know how I'm going to retire yet and so people in the healthcare industry or in the research industry, we are in the research triangle, have been like yeah, I think I want to do that. I'm like I think you should consider that but if those are things that aren't obstacles to you then I would say, do it, do it. Get your skills, make friends. This industry is all 38:00about making friends and knowing somebody and just follow your dreams. I'm not going to poo poo that for anyone and to have more women in this industry especially in production would be amazing.

Anita Riley: I think we have really old census numbers from the BA, which is the Brewer's Association but I think in 2014, we were about 25% of the population in the industry, like across the industry and so I would really like to see us be more like 37 to 44% of the industry and I'd really like to see production populations grow as well.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah and do you see kind of the growth of the community college programs like AB Tech helping with that? Is that a way that you see that kind of maybe helping with the production gender balance?

Anita Riley: Absolutely, absolutely. Again, like education in my mind is key in 39:00order to be able to get in there, just to get your foot in the door or knowing someone again. And so if you've been part of a home brew club, and you have a community around you and you've got people that can vouch for you, that's another way in as well, either way but prior to 2013, when AB Tech launched their brewing program, there was no real education on that level in this country and so you had to get an undergrad in either biology or chemistry and then do a master's program at UC Davis, which is all the way on the other side of the country. Not a lot of people are going to travel for that or go to Siebel, which is really expensive and not accredited and so it's really good education, but you don't have an accredited degree and so to have accredited degree programs that are accessible to the community, I mean I as a single mother would never 40:00have been able to attend either of those programs and so being able to offer it to people that are looking for a blue collar job because that's what this is, they need to be able to have that community college accessibility.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah. So, now we get to the fun/always challenging particularly for brewers part of the questions.

Anita Riley: Oh good.

Erin Lawrimore: So, what's your favorite beer from here? What's your favorite beer that you brew? Can you pick?

Anita Riley: I mean Josie is always my favorite. I've always loved browns and that's one of the things that made me really start to take notice of Lonerider in general as a company. I've always been a fan of that style. A friend of mine is also a fan of browns and we have this communication quite often when we're drinking especially, saying you know what goes good with white meat? Browns. You 41:00know what goes good with red meat? Browns. You know what goes really good with dessert? Browns. You know what goes good in the wintertime? Browns. You know what goes good in the summertime? Browns. It's always good. It's always going to be good. It's drinkable, imminently drinkable and I love it and my friends love it too.

Erin Lawrimore: It's tasty beer. So, what's your favorite beer from North Carolina brewery other than here?

Anita Riley: Would it be cliche if I said Hi-Wire's brown?

Erin Lawrimore: No, it would not. It would not. There are a lot of good browns though that are made in North Carolina.

Anita Riley: There are. I especially like theirs because it's an English style, as is ours. The American styles I also appreciate but the hop character is just a little too bitter for my taste especially when I am trying to pair it with food and I feel like the absence of that hop character or the less noticeability 42:00of that hop character makes it a little more universally applicable and so yeah, Bed of Nails was one of my very first favorite Asheville beers and-

Erin Lawrimore: Well, I mean that's one of the other things I was going to ask, kind of being from the Asheville area, that's an area where a lot of this work was being done. They've been brewing beer there for longer than anywhere else in the state other than Uli out at Weeping Radish really.

Anita Riley: For sure.

Erin Lawrimore: It's been part of the culture for a while now, can you remember what your introduction to craft beer was?

Anita Riley: Absolutely. Actually I was cocktail serving in Asheville in my 20s. I was 20. I was not legally able to drink but I was able to serve and so I was actually a server at Hannah Flanagan's which is right across the street from Barley's Taproom where Highland was brewing in the basement and somebody told me this and I was like nuh-uh and they showed me the label and I was like, really? 43:00I didn't think that people could just make beer wherever, that's not a thing, and until ... People had to really prove it to me. I was dead set that that was not a thing that was possible and so it was really eye-opening for me and it's definitely been part of my entire drinking history as well. And every time I see Highland, there's a little ... It's like oh, it's home. Ah, it's like going back home for Thanksgiving kind of a thing and I think that that's why Cold Mountain is so adorable and everybody just keeps going back to it. It's that fuzzy home feeling.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah. So, when you're not here and you're not doing Pink Boots work, you probably sleep and that's about it but do you-

Anita Riley: It does seem that way.

Erin Lawrimore: What do you do ... What do you enjoy doing away from brewing and Pink Boots work?

Anita Riley: I have some really great friends that I adore and love spending 44:00time with and blowing off steam and cutting up and just being ridiculous together. Part of that ridiculousness is that I really do love to rollerskate and attend roller derby bouts and things like that. Actually, one of my colleagues and classmates from AB Tech was a former roller derby gal and she got me back into rollerskating for fun, which is something that I'd always done. I had my own skates when I was little and you just kind of forget about it into adulthood and so that's something that I've started doing. I'm also kind of a gym rat and really enjoy working out. It's kind of my stress relief.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah, were you a derby ... Did you play?

Anita Riley: Oh gosh, no. I don't enjoy pain. I don't think that I could actually like elbow anybody if I tried. That's just not something I enjoy. I enjoy watching. It's a great spectator sport.

Erin Lawrimore: It really is. So, that's pretty much the list of questions that I came with. Are there things that we didn't get a chance to talk about that you 45:00want to make sure we loop in just in order to tell your whole story?

Anita Riley: Oh gosh, I can't think of anything. I mean I didn't really talk a whole lot about my son. I mentioned him but I don't really know what I would say about him either because he's going to be like ah, mom.

Erin Lawrimore: That is one of the challenges that ... Well, in talking with folks though, that's one of the challenges that some of the other women have talked about is the challenge of being a mother working in an industry like this that it's not an industry built for working moms.

Anita Riley: Oh sure, well, and I have the good fortune of pursuing this education as my son was older. So, he started high school the same time I started at AB Tech. And so he was able to tie his own shoes. He was able to put the food in his own mouth. I didn't have to carry him in my arms anymore and so I think that that made it possible. There was definitely some separation anxiety as I was like no, you're going to have to cook dinner for yourself tonight and he's like there's nothing here to eat and I'm like, okay, let's go to the cupboards and the refrigerator together. Here's this, this, this, this, this, 46:00this, this. You know how to make this, this, this, this, this, this, this, go at it. And he's like, oh, and so we had some learning curves and some moments. I also insisted that he work part-time when he was in school and he was in marching band and I was working full time and going to school full time, so we both had really busy schedules and he didn't have a license yet and so he couldn't drive himself and so that taxi mom thing was really kind of complicated but we got through it together.

Anita Riley: And so I think that my being a mom in this industry is a little bit different than what women with young children would experience for sure and so I have to say that in some ways, I've been saved some of that. That said, I mean I was a single mom from the time that I was a teenager until he's out of the house 47:00now and on his own and working 45 hours a week and going to school full time and I think I did alright. I have to share too that he did contact me, his 21st birthday's coming up in December and he said, mom, if I come down and visit you for spring break, could we brew a beer together for my 21st birthday and I'm going to tear up, just like I did then and I said, yes and so we've got a barrel-aged oatmeal chocolate stout that's in the barrel now. I'll be bottle conditioning that really soon for him and some 22s and sending it to him for his birthday but that's based off of the cookie recipe. So, anytime there was conflict in the house, especially through those teenage years when we were all really busy and stressed, I would make a batch of cookies and we would sit down 48:00and talk about it and so it's really cool.

Erin Lawrimore: So, now it comes around with beer.

Anita Riley: Absolutely, yeah. I mean those were chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and so this beer is definitely a take on that.

Erin Lawrimore: That's awesome.

Anita Riley: Yeah.

Erin Lawrimore: Yeah. That'll be fun and it'll be a good experience for him. Does he have an interest in brewing?

Anita Riley: Oh god no. When I started home brewing, he's a prude. How did I raise a prude? He started being forced, by me, to help me, especially with bottling because it's just so tedious and time consuming and you want to get the caps on there as quickly as possible and so I would be filling bottles and passing them to him to cap and he would be capping the bottles and he would just be ... I don't think this is legal. I'm only 15. You could go to jail. And I'm like just shut up and put the caps on. So, he's come around and he's like well, 49:00maybe since my friends think this is cool now, maybe this is a thing that we can do and somewhat quasi-legal and ...

Erin Lawrimore: That's awesome.

Anita Riley: Yeah.

Erin Lawrimore: But it's also not the first story that we've heard talking with folks about young children helping with the bottling process, yeah. But awesome. Well, I'm trying to think if there's anything else that we've... We hit up Pink Boots. We talked about AB Tech.

Anita Riley: Yeah.

Erin Lawrimore: I think we've hit it all.

Anita Riley: Yeah.

Erin Lawrimore: So, thank you very much.

Anita Riley: Absolutely. Thank you.