By Barry Adams The Wisconsin State Journal.
The state's growing craft beer industry is taking another step.
Capital Brewery, one of the founding breweries of the state's craft beer movement, has named Ashley Kinart brewmaster.
Kinart, 30, who began working at the Middleton brewery in December 2012, is believed to be just the third female brewmaster among the state's more than 90 breweries .
She joins Allyson Rolph at Thirsty Pagan in Superior and Jamie Baertsch at Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co. in Wisconsin Dells. But unlike those two breweries -- which produce less than 1,500 barrels of beer a year -- Capital is on track this year to make more than 30,000 barrels and is one of the most-recognized craft breweries in the Midwest.
"That can be overwhelming if you step back and look at it, but we have structure to follow and almost 30 years of tradition to continue to uphold," Kinart said. "I'm a little nervous, but I've got time to grow into it."
Kinart will replace Brian Destree, who remains with the company but will soon be in charge of operations as Capital is nearing the start of construction of a new brewing facility in Sauk City.
The new brewery will allow Kinart to work with state-of-the-art brewing equipment and large batches of beer but also experiment with new recipes at the Middleton brewery.
Kinart grew up in Brookfield and graduated from UW-Madison with Spanish and biology majors. In 2011, she enrolled in the World Brewing Academy. She spent seven weeks at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and another five weeks at Doemens Academy near Munich, Germany. Earlier this year, she came up with the recipe and name and guided the label to brew Fishin' After Dark.
"Brewing beer is her calling. It's a good move for Capital and even better for craft brewing in Wisconsin," said Mark Garthwaite, executive director of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. "She brings stability, and she knows the industry. It's a no-brainer hire. She's very capable."
Rolph, at the Thirsty Pagan, began making wine and cider at home before getting into beer. She interned at the Superior brewery and was named brewmaster in June 2012. More women are destined to become brewmasters, she said.
"There's nothing in my job that can't be done by a woman," said Rolph, 37. "I think there's definitely a lot of women I see getting into home brewing and willing to do what they need to do to get into the brewing industry."
Kinart, who never dreamed of being a brewer as a child or even in college, agrees with Rolph.
"I think it will become a more normal thing," Kinart said. "It's something people can have on their list of cool things to do when they grow up."