Meet a Founder of Beer Babes Family
By Joe Pye
Rachel Benkowski will be at Yeasty Brews for her nonprofit’s latest beer release.
While in graduate school, Rachel Benkowski never imagined studying Egyptian art and archaeology would one day transfer over to a career in beer. But today, she’ll release her 11th beer with a nonprofit she helped launch.
The co-founder of Beer Babes Family originally set out to learn more about feminism and women in early civilizations. The deeper she’s dug, the more she’s realized beer was a major part of it – and it was typically made by women.
“Beer is the whole reason why civilization started. So it’s kind of like the chicken or the egg story, like what came first? Farming or fermentation?” Benkowski tells Broward Beer. “By day I work in a museum. But there is this beautiful middle ground between my hobby, which is beer, and my professional passion for history.”
Benkowski says her career trajectory is headed toward educating – and getting people excited – about beer and history. She’ll be at Yeasty Brews this Saturday for a special release with her nonprofit. Broward Beer caught up with Benkowski before her release this weekend.
Here’s what I learned…
An archaeologist’s discovery
Benkowski first learned her love of beer while in grad school at the University of Memphis. But her focus was on her majors first. It was until 2018, that she thought to make her love a beer part a way to earn a living.
After a divorce, she wanted to earn extra money at night. The thought of bartending and waiting tables at traditional bars and restaurants seemed daunting. But a brewery could be fun.
She created a “beer-centric” resume highlighting her background and what she can bring to their business. Bone Haus Brewery in Fountain Hills, Arizona hired her on the spot, and she’s been there ever since.
“I teach beer school, once a month, and we sell out every single time,” Benkowski says. “Most beer consumers don’t know much about beer, which is fine. Those are the people that I get most excited about talking to. I approach every beer school like everyone in the room has no idea what they’re doing.”
She recently earned the title Cicerone, giving her a certification proving her expertise in beer styles.
A nonprofit for women in beer, led by women in beer
What initially started as a couple of friends making beer to support other charities turned into its own. Beer Babes Family started in 2020 as an Instagram account that served as an “engagement platform for women in craft beer to connect.”
A year later, Benkowski and the cofounder Roxy Brossoit were approached by a local homebrewer who wanted to make them a recipe. He asked if they’d use their name to promote it for sale and donate proceeds to an organization they believed in.
They made the now-trademarked “Babe Brew” in collaboration with four different breweries. Each time they donated a portion of profits to the Pink Boots Society, a beer organization focused on granting scholarships to women learning about the beer industry.
Benkowski and Brossoit wanted to do something different:
“We saw that there was nothing for women that are already in the business. They’re trying to improve their business or start a business,” Benkowski says. “If you’re a woman in the industry and need a new walk-in cooler, want new faucets, you want to add a fermenter you know, whatever you need to help improve your business. You can apply for our business grant.”
Beer Babes Family is now a 501(c)(3) organization in both the U.S. and Canada. Benkowski says the organization has collaborations lined up 10 months out of this year. While in Florida this weekend, they’ll stop in Orlando to brew another batch with Broken String Brewing set for release next month.
Benkowski’s goal is to collect $5,000 to donate to one grant recipient this year.
“We’re on our way to meet our goal,” Benkowski says. “We’re learning as we go. But if we can help two women get the funding they need, that would just be amazing.”
You can help Beer Babes Family meet that goal. Their latest beer is at Yeasty Brews, located at 3944 NW 19th St, Lauderhill, FL 33311. Or make a direct donation here. Rachel Benkowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.