North Texas Women in Craft Beer

Women have long been a part of beer-making history, even if it’s not always been recognized. While brewing may be viewed by some as a boys’ club, centuries ago women were the ones creating beer as part of their traditional roles in the kitchen. A local industry insider shared with us that he estimates about 10% of people working in the North Texas craft beer scene today are women, but that number is steadily growing. The savvy and successful women featured here easily hold their own with industry male counterparts.

Misty Sanford of Manhattan Project Beer Co. // photos Jennifer Shertzer
Misty Sanford of Manhattan Project Beer Co. // photos Jennifer Shertzer

Misty Sanford

Misty Sanford, co-founder of Manhattan Project Beer Company, already had years of craft beer experience before joining the business. She and her husband Karl made their first homebrew to serve at their wedding. And because of the positive feedback and fun they had, they decided to venture into the biz themselves.

“We realized that we made such a good team when we were creating it,” Misty said. “And it all started because of our obsession with beer.”

Now the family business has been going for two years, with no plans to slow down. Manhattan Project just rolled out cans for the first time to bring its creations to a larger market; it is opening its new Dallas production facility/taproom/beer garden early next year.

Misty doesn’t see being a woman in the industry as a drawback. She credits women’s heightened sense of smell, empathetic nature and ability to relate to female consumers as to why women are imperative in this industry.

“People often assume women aren’t welcomed in the industry because it is such a male dominated space, but we actually have an advantage over our counterparts, and breweries are figuring this out,” Misty said. “In my opinion, the future success of a brewery will be dependent on how well it is marketed and designed for female consumers, while also appealing to men.”

Manhattan Project Beer Company >


Carmelle Martinez
Carmelle Martinez of Cork & Growler

Carmelle Martinez

Carmelle Martinez, co-owner of Frisco’s Cork & Growler, also knows it’s just as important to cater to women drinkers as it is to men. When her husband Vincent came to her with the idea to open a bar, she only had one stipulation: It needed to look and feel like a date night spot.

“I said, ‘If we are going to do this, we are going to do this right,’” Carmelle said.

She realized early on that women beer drinkers were rarely asked what they liked to drink, so she enjoys having those one-on-one educational moments that can lead her customers to finding a whole new style of beer they enjoy.

“I want to be able to teach people about beer,” she said. “Here, I tell my bartenders don’t ever assume and always offer choices to customers.”

In addition to 40 rotating beers, Cork & Growler also offers a few wines on tap. Carmelle and Vincent are dog lovers, so the outdoor patio is dog-friendly, and puppy pals can enjoy something from a special menu offering doggy ice cream, Bowser brews and dog-safe beer floats.

Cork & Growler >


Ellie Geller of Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. // photo Jennifer Shertzer
Ellie Geller of Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co.

Ellie Geller

Ellie Geller, Unlawful Assembly Brewing Company’s brand and sales manager, got an early start in the food and beverage business. At 15 she started her first job at a local burger joint and climbed the ranks from hostess to server to bartender and eventually, manager. But it wasn’t until she got behind the bar that she saw there was something different about the brewing community.

“Everyone involved has the same passion for great beer and the drive to grow the brand they are a part of,” Ellie said. “I love being in such a fast growing and creative market and couldn’t imagine not being a part of it.”

Even though she has been an integral addition to this brewery located at Plano’s Legacy Hall, Ellie didn’t start out with a fondness of craft beer. “I just wasn’t a big beer fan,” she admitted. “But when I started learning about different beers, I started to figure out what I like and what I enjoyed.”

It was through that experience tasting different brews that she was able to find her first go-to beer: wheat beer. It’s why she places such an emphasis on education and training to teach her customers how to find something they can enjoy. Because she does believe there is a pint for everyone.

“Young, old, men, women, it’s a beverage that brings so many different kinds of people together,” Ellie explained.

Unlawful Assembly Brewing Company >


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