Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies

Department

Southern Studies

First Advisor

Andrew Harper

Second Advisor

Evelyn Lowrey

Third Advisor

Catarina Passidomo

Abstract

This thesis explores three different forms of narrative in order to understand how and why craft beverage industries, specifically beer and whiskey, have been framed as masculine spaces. Women who seek to work in or around these industries are often sorted into the marketing, sales and service corners of the industry, and the production floor still hosts very few women, and those women must negotiate performing their femininity and the masculinities deemed necessary for the environment simultaneously. I argue that the way that we talk about women who choose to do this work is rooted in a history of domestic expectations around the production of household alcohol, the gender shift of industrialization and the creation of a regulated market, and the de-regulation and re-regulation of the 18th and 21st amendments. These historical roots that offered agency through production only to men lead to a male-dominated industry. The industry has maintained itself through advertising, branding, external media, and social media. These representations form a grand narrative, in which each piece reinforces the centrality of masculinity to the beer and whiskey industries, consumers and producers alike. Even as each form of representation might center women who work in the industry, they do so in such a way to continue marginalizing and exceptionalizing the women. The last narrative that is explored in this project is the personal narrative of three women who work in the industries in question in the South. Through a set of oral history interviews, I seek to understand the types of performance, kinship building and communality that must take place in order for women to feel comfortable in the production side of craft beverages. Through the analyses of these interviews I find that the key to creating a work environment that is welcoming to women is diversity in management, and the creation of family-like bonds between staff.

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