Atlantic Highlands, NJ
New Jersey’s Aud Ragle fell in love with craft beer in college, homebrewing in friends’ off-campus apartments and combing local liquor stores for the newest offerings. After graduation, the geology major began giving tours of nearby Carton Brewing Company, eventually working her way up to tasting-room manager and, finally, to a full-fledged brewhouse employee and, since early 2016, Ragle’s also been heading up Carton’s plan to develop a quality-control lab for its growing fleet.
Her brewing team has been super supportive throughout her rise in the ranks, but as the sole woman in the 13-person crew, some challenges are unavoidable. "Being a brewer is a dream come true, but it's been a physical challenge moving from my stovetop to a 15-barrel brewhouse," Ragle admits. "I'm a 5'6", 120lb female that until recently has been stuck behind a desk. Things I never thought about, like hoses, are heavy. Our grain mill is well above my head. Our mash tun doesn't have rakes or a plough, making mashing in and graining out an absolute nightmare for me. I'm getting stronger and faster every day, but I am reluctantly forced to ask for help occasionally -- this brewhouse was clearly designed for a 6ft, 200lb man." But, she says, at the end of the day, that struggle is well worth it: "It's wonderful to share a passion with passionate people [and] it's highly rewarding to see your sweat and elbow grease evolve into an appreciated product."