Barb Baker

October 20, 2021

Hopportunity Awaits is a brew on a mission to help highlight careers in craft beer, and inspire more of us to hold the door for the unique talent among us, creating more pathways for diversity, in every sense, across every role. Partial proceeds will benefit Craft x EDU as we work together to launch an educational grant for emerging professionals in craft beer. 

On the cans, you will meet 10 industry professionals who are ready to tell their remarkable stories of how they got their start and paved their own path in craft, rules be damned. 

Without further ado…

Meet Barb Baker, Siren of Stout, brilliant beer coach, and TV personality. 


How did you discover the world of craft beer, or what inspired you to join?

I got into craft beer once I moved to Michigan, after I did fitness competitions. 

Once I closed the chapter on competitive sports, I started looking around, and noticed there are tons of breweries in Michigan. There are a lot from German descent, which is a style that is done so well. 

When I first started going to breweries, I didn’t notice I was the only woman of color in these spaces, which I’ve always been used to. But if I want to do something or go somewhere, I do it. I don’t care who’s there.

When I went to more breweries, I wanted to meet more women, and get their support, and get the knowledge. So, I started keeping my eyes open. I heard about a meeting from Fermenta, a local non-profit trade group initiated by women, committed to education, networking, diversity, and empowerment within the fermented beverage and food industries. 

After my first meeting, I asked the treasurer if I could immediately join. I was like, where have these women been!

They were educators, Cicerone-certified women, and sales reps. The treasurer said, we don’t have a newsletter, want to do it? Six years later, I still do it, and now I’m Vice President. 


What do you love about the craft beer community? Where would you love to see it grow or improve? 

There’s three things I love. 

Community, culture, camaraderie. From the very first brewery I went to, I felt very welcome. I know not everyone feels that welcomeness. Everyone’s journey is different.

It excites me to do more, and get deeper into it. I feel like when I ask questions, I’ve always felt a welcomeness. 

In terms of growth, here’s what the craft beer industry should do.

One, keep doing what it’s doing. All of a sudden, more breweries are saying, “I want diverse customers, I want diverse employees, I want to do diverse recipes.”

For instance, people often think women just want fruit beers. When you actually speak with women, they like everything. Also, we need more Asian Americans in the brewhouse. Being more inclusive will give more opportunity for folks to bring their cultural nuances. 

Right now, I’m part of a black business series. I came up with the idea, and started talking with a brewer, and he jumped on it. Every quarter, we put out a different beer that helps a different black business. And, the recipe process incorporates the culture of the person that’s brewing it too. 

The first beer was a sweet potato pie beer, and it speaks to my southern heritage. We love sweet potato pie. The second was for a brewer from Ghana, and we put in African hops, and sorghum. You can check it out here. 


What types of skills have helped you personally succeed in this industry?

My personality, and that my background is in sports. I was in sports broadcasting, competitive sports person. It helps you be more comfortable with everyone.

I try to absorb as much as I can about this industry, and having a passion to know more.


Who in the craft beer industry do you admire? 

The person who I admire the most is Inet May, an advanced Cicerone. Right now, I’m taking one of her college courses. And, she’s also a mentor for the Brewer’s Association, which I’m in that too. 

She’s actually someone who really had me step up my game. You can have casual knowledge, but she is somebody who really takes it a step further. She’s inspiring, highly educated, sarcastic, witty. 

As far as someone in the beer industry, everyone loves and respects her too. She was one of the first women in the United States to get her Cicerone. 

I started studying for the second level Cicerone before I had my baby. As soon as I had her, I stopped studying. Now that she’s four, I’m like, let’s do it again! 


Tap Takeaway >> Curious about getting your Cicerone certification ?  Learn more here.


What is the most memorable brew you’ve ever had?

The very first beer I’ve had. It was a Heineken. 

I was a college sophomore in an anthropology class, and some hot guy sat next to me, and I’m first wondering, I don’t know why he’s sitting next to me. He was really that hot.

A couple classes go by, and he was like, hey do you want to come to a fraternity party? At that time, fraternities were segregated, so I was surprised. 

I thought, should I go to this, is this safe? I got a few girlfriends, we went. Everyone compared us to En Vogue, or Destiny’s Child. 

Walking in, everyone was great, and we were feeling it. The first thing the guy asked, was do you want liquor or a Heineken? I chose Heineken. It was crisp, it was cold, it was delicious. 

Everything about the beer was spectacular. That’s what makes it memorable. 

50% is beer, 50% is the time you’re having with it. 


Follow along

See what the siren is up to here: 


Say hi on Social! 

Instagram: @sirenofstout


Click here to meet more of our talented rule-makers and read their remarkable stories. Once you hear what they have to say, you will realize that yes, you can brew it too.


Original Source Here

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