You may have already heard of Wild Card Brewery’s Jaega Wise—especially over the past few months, as she’s positioned herself as a prominent anti-sexism campaigner within the British beer industry. I had hoped to highlight the great work Wise is doing within this field in this episode, but was also keen to learn more about her history as a brewer and her businesses plans for future expansion.
The danger with conversations like sexism in beer, as Wise and I discuss, is that too often the din of conversation can drown out voices, like hers, which are far more relevant and important to these vital conversations that we’re having. While it’s crucial that every effort is taken to create a platform for these voices, it’s equally important to know when it’s time to pipe down and let these voices be heard. And to all the dudes listening in right now, I’m talking about you and me.
Wise originally hails from Nottingham, in the British Midlands—the “land of the Pale Ale,” as she puts it. She speaks passionately about the region’s pub culture and how it raised her into the world of beer. It’s an industry she kind of just fell into, after studying Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. Wise is also a musician, currently fronting a London based rock band as a singer. Oh, and she’s a TV host, providing her wealth of beer knowledge on Channel 5’s The Wine Show.
Despite all of this attention, she appears to be at her happiest and most content when she’s working at her brewery, based in Walthamstow, North East London. When she’s not brewing, you can usually find her in the taproom which, along with neighboring businesses like Pillars Brewery and God’s Own Junkyard, has become an important hub for the local community. That sense of community has been key to this brewery’s growth too, as it raised £300,000 last year, aiding it’s expansion to a new site this spring.
Wild Card’s five years of existence has not been without its obstacles, however. Wise is quick to point out the challenging margins available for cask beer within the current UK market. And, she concedes that despite trying not to succumb to trends, the pull of those such as New England IPA have been too great to resist. Listen in.