Part five in a series on the women who have risen to the top of Nevada’s burgeoning brewery industry
Humans have been drinking beer or similar drinks for several thousand years, but many do not realize early brewers were mainly women, making beer as one of their normal household tasks. However, by the 18th century the brewing gradually became a man’s job and women were relegated to roles as barmaids, pub operators, bottlers or secretaries for breweries.
Over time beer also came to be viewed as a man’s drink. Now with the craft beer renaissance and the realization and acceptance that beer can be enjoyed by all, more and more women choose beer as their drink of choice. They are also entering the beer business as brewers and brewery owner/operators.
In this series we delve into the backgrounds of several women—co-owner/operators, brewers and operations managers. These accomplished women are leaving their mark on the beer industry in Southern Nevada in occupations integral to the brewing business. Read on to discover the paths that led them to this field and the quite significant contributions they have made and continue to make.
Paige Holehouse—From Criminal Justice to Brewing Beer
Ohio native Paige Holehouse had her sights set on working with high-risk kids after graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. She loved working with children, but the lack of support from her coworkers drove her to burn out. In need of a change, Paige drew inspiration from another passion that involved serving others: beer brewing.
Developing the Love of Craft Beer
The 28-year-old moved to Memphis after college to accept the first job offer she received in her field. While she already liked craft beer, it was here where she began her education in the nuances of beer. One craft beer bar she frequented was Flying Saucer, where she explored numerous beer styles. She tried enough to earn her name on a plate on the ceiling after trying 200 different beers. This beer program experience pushed her to taste beers she never would have otherwise and also planted a seed for what would become her future career in brewing.
Path to Brewing
In 2018, Paige says she moved to Las Vegas to “change things up.” She checked out the local brewpubs, and became a regular at Tenaya Creek. After getting to know people in the brewing community, she decided that was the kind of work she wanted to pursue.
“I wanted to do what I enjoy doing, and what I enjoyed the most was the craft beer scene,” Paige says, “so I literally walked up and down the Arts District passing out my resume to try and get my foot in the door somewhere.”
In February 2020, she accomplished her mission by landing a part-time bartender job at Three Sheets—a craft beer bar in the heart of the Arts District. Post pandemic, the job became full-time and she was promoted to bar manager two years later.
Working at Three Sheets would become fortuitous. Three Sheets had just turned its second-floor space into a taproom shared by Henderson breweries Astronomy Aleworks and Mojave Brewing. Around this time, Paige got to know the owner of Astronomy, Matt Brady and the Head Brewer, Marcos Lopez, which led to a new opportunity. She accepted a position as an assistant brewer at their company on July 4, 2022, while managing at Three Sheets.
Details and Challenges of the Work
A typical day for Paige at Astronomy involves several tasks, including cleaning the taproom beer lines, kegs, fermenters and brite tanks. She also assists with canning, organizing and inventorying the cooler.
But the best part of her time at Astronomy is shadowing her brewing mentor Marcos Lopez, and learning the ropes of brewing beer on an industrial scale.
“I like best seeing the full circle of beer, from start in the malt bags all the way to finishing up in the taproom and selling the pints,” she says of her beer education. “What’s most challenging is retaining all of the knowledge that I didn’t have prior, taking in everything I’ve learned.”
Of her progress Marcos relates, “I had met Paige at Three Sheets and knew she had a good reputation. Once I got to know her more, I knew she was going to work out and was going to be great. It was confirmed when she started that Paige fits the bill. She’s motivated, has a good work ethic and attitude, is willing to learn and is very bright. She is coming along ahead of schedule and it’s just a matter of time till she’s up there brewing and we’re splitting brewing schedules.”
Aspirations and Women in the Beer Industry
Regarding moving forward, she says, “I’d love to work my way up through the ranks and eventually be a head brewer as I am continuously learning.”
As for the future of women in this industry, Paige says, “Everyone’s been open arms. There’s been nothing but support [from other local brewers]. With all the different styles of craft beer more and more women are getting into craft beer in general and that’s going to lead to more curiosity when it comes to [jobs in] brewing.”
Interested in learning more about inspiring local women in the beer making industry? Meet Becca Halpin.