Women are making their mark on KC’s brewing industry and breaking stereotypes

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Beer culture doesn't look like what some people might think it is.

"They're like, 'Oh, what are you doing here?' I don't know. The same thing you are, I guess," Bri Burrows said.

Burrows is the head brewer at Big Rip Brewing Company in North Kansas City -- and the first woman to hold the head brewer title in the metro.

"There is some not being taken seriously in this industry, but luckily in KC it's mostly pretty awesome," she said.

Brewing is still a male-dominated industry, but the women in it are thriving.

Last year, Heinekin USA hired its first female CEO, and the Pink Boots Society, a national group that helps women in the industry advance their careers, continued to grow with new members in dozens of chapters.

"In the Pink Boots Society, we raise awareness that women are more than the stereotypes that people think we are," Burrows said.

Big Rip has a Pink Boots beer, with a dollar from every pour going to scholarships for members.

"There is a lot of science behind it and math behind it," Courtney Servaes said. "There is a lot of hard work. It isn't just for fun."

Don't forget the business savvy.

Across the state line in Shawnee, Servaes opened Sevaes Brewing Company. She's the first woman to own a brewery and serve as the head brewer in Kansas.

"There's really no reason it can't be a female-oriented career," she said. "There's nothing back there you can't do as a woman."

Servaes is a first-time small business owner. She uses her MBA at a day job in marketing and then runs her brewery on the side.

"I'm here until usually midnight, one, two," she said.

Balancing a job, a business, two children -- it's a lot. But it's worth it for Servaes to show her kids, and all children, that nothing should stop you from reaching your goals.

"I did what made me happy and what I'm passionate about," she said. "Anyone should do that whether they're a boy that's trying to do a career that's female dominated or vice versa. Go do what you want to do. Go do what makes you happy. Otherwise you will be pretty miserable."

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