We sat down for a Q&A with Ashli Hazel, head Brewmaster at Cultivation Brewing in Norcross. Ashli is the only female brewmaster in Gwinnett County and we are excited to get to know her a little better. Continue reading for more on her story and be sure to stop by Cultivation to say hey!
Q: How did you get started brewing beer?
A: "After I graduated from KSU in 2016, I began working at a craft beer bar, still not quite sure what I was doing with my life. It was there, I fell in love with beer and began an informal education through books and online resources. I then began to work in breweries in the taproom, but soon realized my calling was in production. I started by washing kegs and folding boxes, but was able to work my way up through the various roles, which has lead me to becoming the head brewer at Cultivation Brewing in Norcross, GA.
Q: What are some challenges you have faced along the way being a female?
A: "Unfortunately, like most male-dominated industries, being a woman in beer comes with some challenges. I have often been disregarded or completely ignored in conversations with men who assume I don't have anything valuable to add in regards to craft beer, and I have received a myriad of comments concerning my gender and/or appearance. It sometimes feels like a constant battle against some metaphorical "boys club," but luckily that culture has begun to change."
Q: What is your favorite part about your job? Hardest part?
A:"My favorite part of my job is that I get to do something new every single day. From juicing fresh fruit, to filling barrels, to brewing new recipes. The creativity that comes with my job is something I am forever grateful for. I love to see people enjoying the finished product. The hardest part of the job is making sure I keep my standards high. I won't tap a beer that I'm not proud of and I always want to hear others critique what I've made. Not everything is going to be a winner, but it's a great way to stay humble and motivated to keep improving."
Q: What goals do you have for yourself and your career?
A: "I am really proud to be a woman in craft beer and my goal is to continue to encourage and showcase the amazing women that are already in this industry, or those who want to be a part of it. The brewery I work at has been incredibly supportive of me and my craft, and strives to be an inclusive space for anyone and everyone. One day, I'd love to start a brewery of my own, but until then, I plan to continue educating myself, learning from others, and being an open and friendly resource for whoever needs it!"
Q: What advice would you give to other women wanting to get into the brewery industry?
A: "My advice to women wanting to enter the brewing industry is: go for it! It is a laborious, demanding, and dirty job, but incredibly rewarding all at the same time. I think I have one of the coolest jobs in the world and I am always excited to see more woman in beer. However, as women we have to make ourselves heard sometimes. So, don't be afraid to be seen, befriend local breweries, join a homebrew club, and start asking around! You never know when a golden opportunity may present itself."
Explore Gwinnett continues to make an effort to promote local minority-owned, LGBTQ, and women-owned businesses. To support this initiative, we are writing blogs focusing on owners and telling their stories. Click here to read more Local Love stories.
Post by Clara Rooks
Clara lived in Dacula for 14 years before moving to Bethlehem with her husband and Goldendoodles, Sadie and Tally. She loves to get a book from the local library and take it to one of Gwinnett's many coffee spots. Outside of work you can find her fishing with her husband, going for a run, getting smoothies or hanging out with family.