Kim Jordan: Raising a Toast for Women

October 20 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: The World’s First Home Brewers

I dare you to read or listen to today’s On the Dot and not make happy-hour plans with your girlfriends. After all, today we’re talking about women in the beer industry. This is nothing new, of course. While Thomas Jefferson is often called the “founding home brewer,” it was actually his wife, Martha, who did the majority of the work!

And Martha was far from the first female brewer. In fact, women began brewing beer as far back as 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, and maybe even earlier. Ancient Sumerians even had a goddess of beer named Ninkasi. I’ll toast to that!


One place women brewers are making their mark on the beer world is in Mexico, where five particularly amazing women are changing the country’s beer scene. Two of the women founded their own breweries, one is a professional beer taster, another is a brewery-marketing wizard and the final woman, Paz Austin, is the general director for the Mexico Association of Beer Makers. She says one of the ways she wants to put a dent in this male-dominated industry is to work with the National Institute of Women to provide scholarships for female brewers.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Kim Jordan, Co-founder and Owner of New Belgium Brewery

Another woman brewing up some change in the beer industry is Kim Jordan, the co-founder of New Belgium Brewery, the country’s fourth-largest craft brewer, worth about $225 million, by the way.

New Belgium makes more than a dozen year-round beers, as well as seasonal releases. (Consider trading in your pumpkin spice latte this fall for the tart Pumpkick pumpkin beer!) New Belgium is also responsible for the super popular Fat Tire amber ale.

Though she’s been a longtime lover of beer, Kim didn’t always plan to head her own brewery. In fact, after graduating from a Quaker high school at the age of 16, then heading to Colorado State University, she followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming a social worker. It wasn’t until much later that Kim worked with her then husband to create the brewery, working as the company’s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer, financial planner and CEO.

There’s a charming photo published in Fortune showing Kim bottling beer in the basement of her home in 1991. In 2015, after many successful beer-fueled years, Kim stepped down as CEO, but remains at the helm as chair of the board and in charge of New Belgium’s long-term strategy.

Kim says she started the company because of her desire to say yes to things in life. She said yes to New Belgium, even though it meant taking out a second mortgage and maxing out credit cards. It was obviously the right decision, as the company sold more than 914,000 barrels of beer in 2015 and Kim is now the most successful female brewer in the country, just short of making Forbes’ list of America’s 60 richest self-made women.


With Kim Jordan as our inspiration, we’ll sign off today with this quote from Canadian writer Hugh Hood, who said:

“Nothing ever tasted better than a cold beer on a beautiful afternoon with nothing to look forward to than more of the same.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us!

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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