This past Sunday, I went to one of my LHBS's to get ingredients for Stone Soup IDA.
I consider myself pretty lucky in that I have 2 good Local Home Brew Shops (LHBS) that I am able to frequent. Lots of homebrewers do not really have any shops close by, but the Denver area has several. I have one that is about a 15 minute drive from my house, and one that is about a 15 minute drive from where I work. The one close to my house is called Beer at Home. The one close to where I work is called Stomp them Grapes.
They are both good places to obtain beer-making ingredients. I prefer Stomp them Grapes slightly because it has a better selection of grains and I just feel more familiar with where everything is and how the store is set up. It also has better prices on extracts, and its website is far superior, which is nice when I need to formulate recipes and can actually look up what is in stock. Beer at Home, though has GREAT prices on hops. For the most part, I get my hops at B@H and everything else at STG.
Sunday, though, I decided to get all my grains / extracts and hops for Stone Soup IDA. There were 2 women working the shop this particular Sunday afternoon, which was a surprise. I have rarely seen women in LHBS's, and when I have, the woman has obviously been along with her husband or boyfriend, just because she did not want to wait in the car. Obviously, there are women who brew (I talked to one on Sunday), but homebrewing is certainly a male-dominated hobby.
My understanding is that this has not always been the case. Back in the days before commercial breweries, just about every home had a home-brewer. If you wanted beer back then, there was really no other choice. And, for the most part (from what I have heard / read), this was one of the wifely duties around the house. Apparently, 4000 years ago in the Babylonian empire, all brewers were priestesses. And, as you go through the history of beer making you can find other examples of women being the primary beer-brewers.
But now-a-days, the fact that I ran into two beer-brewing women working the LHBS is a rare occurrence. I probably should have taken a picture so I'd have proof that it actually happened.