Woman Crush Wednesday: Julia Herz
Volunteers at Great American Beer Fest are often the unsung heroes that allow brewers to step away from their booths and explore. Frequently beer enthusiasts themselves, it is an opportunity to really see the industry from a different perspective. Julia Herz took full advantage as a homebrewer and curious about the brewing industry, it was her chance to get to really hang out with a brewer, geek out, and really represent a beer brand.
How did she get to the point of having this taster of the brewing community that would be a pivotal moment towards her career in beer? Hopping in her gypsy Jetta with a friend to explore the country, they explored brewpubs and found community when staying with friends or networking to sleep on a couch (or a lawn). Julia was raised with an appreciation for beer and food pairings as her parents educated her older brother, so it is no surprise that she pursued to learn more herself. She started homebrewing in college while majoring in journalism, but obviously, her interest in beer won out over continuing a career at CNN. A major highlight on a journey filled with both highs and lows was volunteering at GABF, probably playing in her choice of moving to Denver.
After leaving her job at CNN for the second time, she landed in Colorado and began keeping an eye out for jobs with the Brewers Association. Over 16 years, she held two roles that propelled her to become known as the face and fire of craft beer. Julia created and published CraftBeer.com in 2009, a platform for reliable information, education, and celebration of breweries and their stories. While increasing interest in craft beers nationally, she also launched the independent craft brewer seal in 2017 which now has over 5,000 participating breweries.
As if she wasn’t busy enough, Julia pushed for diversity and inclusion in the craft beer industry. In her position as a female leader in beer, she made good on the unique chance to advocate for change and has not stopped as she moved into her new endeavor, Gray for Good. Noting that women and girl’s causes only get 1.6% of funding from overall charitable donations, she created Gray for Good. For not only normalizing that a woman can go gray and be celebrated but encouraging the donation of money that would otherwise be used to meet societal expectations of what a woman should be. The brewing community has a wonderful ability to inspire us to find out not only who we are, but also what our calling is, and Julia has not wasted her learnings by sharing them not just in craft beer, but the world beyond it.