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International Women's Day

Meet the women breaking the gender divide in the beer industry

Two Birds Brewing

L-R: Two Birds Brewing founders Danielle Allen and Jayne Lewis.

Australians have been brewing beer since the beginning of the British settlement, with Australia’s oldest operating brewery, Cascade Brewery in Tasmania, serving customers since 1824.

The industry has since exploded, with more variety of products and suppliers than ever before.

However, the biggest players in the sector are still predominantly white men, with recent reports highlighting a serious diversity and discrimination problem running rampant in the brewery business.

Despite significant progress towards greater workplace gender equity, a report found concerning rates of abuse and harassment towards women working in the Australian beer industry.

Even in the face of discrimination and harassment, many women are courageously breaking the gender divide and making strides in the brewery business.

Enter Two Birds Brewing.

Two Birds Brewing: Australia’s first female-owned beer company

Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen set out to create Australia’s first female-owned brewing company, Two Birds Brewing, in 2011, having discovered a mutual love for excellent food, wine and beer.

Lewis had been working as a brewer for almost a decade, while Allen was an experienced product development and marketing specialist.

“The idea struck us when we were holidaying in the US, after visiting lots of really cool brew pubs and small breweries,” said Allen.

“Our skills were complementary, and it made total sense for us to team up and use our experience to start a brewing company together.”

Before long they had begun making beer, initially as “contract brewers”. For Lewis and Allen, this meant approaching commercial breweries with their recipe, using their commercial production and packaging facilities and then marketing and distributing the product themselves.

After a few years of learning and fine-tuning, the women decided they were ready to set up their own premises. In 2014, the pair brewed their first beer at Two Bird’s official home in Spotswood, in Melbourne’s western suburbs – a cultural influence that remains central to their brand today.

After operating as a family business for ten years, Lewis and Allen decided to sell Two Birds Brewing to their ‘long-term idols and mentors’, Stone & Wood, to help the company reach its full potential.

“Both co-founders remain heavily involved in the brand and work hard to inspire others and keep blazing a trail for women in male dominated industries,” said Allen.

Two Birds Brewing
Two Birds Brewing
Two Birds Brewing

Breaking into the brewery boys club

Allen and Lewis’ experience of breaking into the brewery business was overall a positive one, with neither co-founder experiencing significant gatekeeping or barriers to making their mark in the beer world.

Far from making beer ‘in spite’ of being women, the unique life experiences Two Birds’ co-founders bring to the industry is a defining feature setting them apart in an increasingly saturated market.

“While we might refer to it in some of our advertising that we are Australia’s first female-founded brewery (as well as cheekily in our brewery name) it’s not something we dwell on too much,” said Allen.

“I feel like we’ve proven ourselves by now that we’re not making good beer ‘for a woman’, we’re just making good beer. We’ve never changed or adapted our thinking to suit anyone and thankfully our story and beers have been well received.

“I believe staying true to yourself is so important, as consumers are very savvy and appreciate authenticity.”

The journey was not always easy, and in tougher times Allen and Lewis were grateful for all the encouragement they received from loved ones.

“The support of family and friends is priceless, and we also had so many supporters who have had our backs from the start. One sip and we had them hooked!” said Allen.

Most importantly, the pair knew they had an excellent product to offer, which kept them motivated and driven to get it out to consumers.

“Women have great palates and are rather skilled at picking up the different flavours and profiles in beer,” said Allen.

“We bring a different dimension to a drinks category that was pretty stale for many years. We shook it up and the only way is up, even further! What a great benefit for everyone to enjoy.”

Two Birds Brewing

L-R: Two Birds Brewing founders Danielle Allen and Jayne Lewis.

Two Birds Brewing soaring to new heights

Two Birds Brewing is now a flourishing business, having cultivated a strong community presence out of their Tasting Room, ‘The Nest’, in Spotswood.

The space has evolved into something of a community hub, where people can enjoy new products, celebrate company milestones, and appreciate the work of local artists.

Two Birds Brewing’s core values of equality, individuality, creativity and entrepreneurialism are embedded into every layer of their business, which is run by a team of hardworking and passionate individuals who are equally committed to achieving the vision that inspired Allen’s and Lewis’ journey.

The team remain committed to opening doors for other women with an interest or passion for making great beer.

This year, Two Birds will release the fourth edition of their special brew, ‘Warrior Woman’ which they create each year in celebration of International Women’s Day.

“As Australia’s first female founded brewery, Two Birds lead the way to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women,” said Allen.

“A Mango and Pineapple Hazy Pale will fly out to over 150 venues and bottle shops across Australia, providing the opportunity for Australians to raise a glass to the warrior women in their life and keep the conversations going to #BreakTheBias; which is this year’s global theme (for International Women’s Day).”

This year the duo is taking things one step further, partnering with retailer Dan Murphy’s to raise funds for women who are re-entering the workforce, but require financial assistance to purchase work boots.

In the two weeks leading up to International Women’s Day, the profits from all sales of the Two Birds Summer Ale will be donated to GIVIT, a charitable online platform established by Order of Australia Medal winner Juliette Wright.

To support Two Birds Brewing’s International Women’s Day product launch, or to find your local supplier, visit the Two Birds Brewing website.


All images courtesy Two Birds Brewing.

Emma Lennon

Emma Lennon

Emma Lennon is a passionate writer, editor and community development professional. With over ten years’ experience in the disability, health and advocacy sectors, Emma is dedicated to creating work that highlights important social issues.