Our Panelists

Friday, May 8, we will host a Panel and Q&A session with leading women in craft beer. We are thrilled to announce the women we have lined up so far! Together they bring a vast and varied amount of experiences within the craft beer world. Their knowledge and perspectives should be very informative, inspiring, and worthy of raising a glass to! Also, we are still dialing in our list and may have a couple more additions so stay tuned!

Lauren Clark

Aunnamed-2uthor, Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day As a freelance journalist and former bartender and brewer, Lauren’s articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Jane, and Yankee Magazine, among other publications. She is also the founder of drinkboston.com, which was featured in several Boston newspapers and magazines, the Massachusetts Beverage Business Journal, Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh, and NECN. This September she will be launching a magazine (print and online) about contemporary New England arts, culture, food & drink, called The Take.

Chelsea Nolan & Becky Ballard

AlchemistBrewerLadiesBrewers, The Alchemist (Waterbury, VT) – Chelsea Nolan joined the crew at the Alchemist  2013 and started brewing in 2014. Becky Ballard also joined the crew in 2013 after 11 years of ‘product testing.’ Over the last two years, both have thoroughly enjoyed learning from some of the best mentors in the business and delving into the extensive world of beer and brewing. Both Chelsea and Becky will be on our panel, sharing their experiences and new-found knowledge with us. Webpage | Facebook

Hester Merzi

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.14.26 PMGeneral Manager, Bissell Brothers (Portland, ME) –  Hester has a huge impact on the operations at one of the best new breweries in New England, Bissell Brothers. She’s very excited to change the current pattern so frequently seen in the beer industry of women being perceived to not know their beer. Read more about her in this great article from the Portland Phoenix. We are SO excited to welcome them to our event! Webpage | Facebook

Vilija Bizinkauskas

10606553_10100494777693825_1215116754895985932_nBrewer, Drop In Brewing (Middlebury, VT) – Twenty-seven year old  Vilija Bizinkauskas graduated from college with a food science and nutrition degree. After working one summer in a beer supply store she discovered her love for the chemistry of brewing and found herself working for Cape Cod Beer. Once she stepped foot in the brewery she felt she was home and hasn’t looked back since. As the newest addition to the Drop In Brewing team, Vilija brings her energy and passion for brewing to Vermont as their new Lead Brewer. Webpage | Facebook

Rachel Cleveland

0db7035Manager, Fiddlehead Brewing (Shelburne, VT) – Rachel Cleveland is an integral part of the success of Fiddlehead Brewing. She’s a friendly and familiar face at the brewery and her knowledge and passion for beer is strong. Fiddlehead produces full flavored beers with the true beer connoisseur in mind.  They have several seasonal selections available on tap regularly at the brewery, our flagship beer, the Fiddlehead IPA,  can be found on draft lines all over Vermont. Webpage | Facebook

Gretchen Langfeldt 

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 8.20.13 PMPlant Engineer, Switchback Brewing Company (Burlington, VT) – Gretchen Langfeldt became the ‘second employee’ at Switchback in January 2005, when after calling monthly, she finally convinced founder Bill Cherry to allow her to clean kegs one day a week. Today Gretchen has worked her way through the ranks and now applies her mechanical engineering prowess to the brewery operations and is an integral part the success of Switchback Brewing Company.  Webpage | Facebook

Haley Campbell

bio pic HALEYsmallDirector of Quality Control, Rising Tide Brewing (Portland, ME) – When not making sure our Rising Tide’s beer  is up to their QC standards, Haley enjoys exploring all Casco Bay, ME  has to offer. She loves to ski, hike, drink beer on scenic overlooks, and jump off treacherously high things into the ocean. Although she truly enjoys any well-made beer, she particularly loves saisons, sours, Twisted Tea, and electronic dance music. Webpage | Facebook


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Our Panel will be moderated by Carolyn Tesini. A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell’s senior food editor. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and dog.