“A lot of jobs like this, you don’t see a lot of women in,” said Jade Sheffield, head brewer, Phat Fish Brewing.
The job Jade is referring to is brewing craft beer.
It was invented in the 1960s, and it’s been a male dominated industry since it’s inception.
“I think it’s one of those more traditional jobs that’s why men are the one’s you mostly see doing it,” Jade said.
But Jade is breaking tradition.
She is the head brewer at Phat Fish Brewing in Dickinson and says to her knowledge, she is the only female head brewer in North Dakota.
“I’ve had people come in and talk to me and an owner and they’ll automatically assume the male is the brewer and they’re shocked when they say ‘no, this is our brewer, I’m the one who owns the place,’” Jade shared.
A Wyoming native who grew up in a family of beer lovers, Jade’s path to brewing beer came natural.
She is a graduate of Dickinson State University and the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
While working as a bartender, her interest in brewing beer continued to grow.
“I got a degree in chemistry and I really wanted it to go towards something that was along the lines of what I got a degree in, as well as doing some thing I enjoy,” Jade explained. “There is a lot of chemistry and math that goes into the brewing process so I use my degree everyday and do something I love is my favorite part of my job.”
Like any job, it comes with it’s challenges.
“Our system is really old,” Jade said. “They don’t even make this kind of system anymore so when things go down, we kind of have to sit back and look at it ourselves so we can fix it.”
They fix it and continue to make beer that appeals to the tastebuds.
Jade favors the more traditional flavors like the Belgian White, while many others gravitate more to the Peach Wheat.
“As times have changed the styles of beers have changed and since we are a college town, that really fruity, easy drinking beer is what people lean towards,” Jade said.
And being a female head brewer has its benefits as well.
“It’s really cool to be able to say that,” Jade exclaimed. “I do get to work out front every once in a while so a lot of the customers when they find out that I’m the brewer they find it fascinating.”
Jade Sheffield, head brewer at Phat Fish Brewing, is Someone You Should Know.