From female consumers to producers and specialists
Once they had legitimately carved out their place as consumers, both in private and in public, what role did women play in the production process and alcohol industry in Quebec?
Long kept out of wort boilers and wineries, and the beverage industry in general (with the exception of cabaret-keepers of the New France era), women are now key players in the sector. As such, Quebec women are showing a growing interest in beer: whereas we could once count female crafters on the fingers of one hand about ten years prior, many of them are now crafting beers with terroir notes. A growing number of women are now also present in the cider industry. Quebec viticulture also came to include various female winemakers in its ranks over the past few decades, with vineyards multiplying in several regions. The microbrewery sector, however, remains widely dominated by men.
In addition to producers, there are also women in specialty areas, such as sommelier, œnology, and mixology, as well as reporting, critics, copywriting – all traditionally male-dominated fields. Having female authors for wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverage guides is now common practice. Several women are also part of Quebec’s media, hosting reports on wine and spirits. More and more women are becoming wine connoisseurs: in fact, Quebec has the highest number of female sommeliers in the world! Some of them are even internationally renowned, their seasoned taste buds having allowed them to take to the podium of various prestigious competitions. How can we explain this wonderful phenomenon? The fact that Quebecois’ interest in wine is relatively new, rather than imprinted in a long-standing male-dominated tradition, no doubt has something to do with it…
There is a beautiful story behind the cheerful toast among girlfriends, the crafter inviting you to discover her most recent creation, and the sommelier sharing her knowledge with you. Cheers to progress!