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There is no memorable record - official or anecdotal - that after William Webb Ellis first picked the ball up at The Close, Rugby School, Warwickshire, England, he stopped off afterward at the town pub for a beer with his schoolmates. But, from the sport's earliest beginnings, downing brewskis has married the centuries old beverage with rugby football. For all the rugby matches since then, and all the post-game celebrations that happened after, (usually off the field but not always), the shared beer between opponents and teammates represents a generous and hospitable act of camaraderie and good fun.
Traditionally, beer companies in all countries have supported rugby in union and league form, the marketing finding the right target (male or female) for the brand. Rugby Magazine, during its forty-years in print, ran frequent ads from Michelob, Steinlager (NZ), Schmidt and other beers.
However in all those many decades, no beer brand can claim to be brewed exclusively by a female for rugby consumers until now. And it is happening successfully today in the Untied States, Boston to be specific, via the artisanal branding of specialty session beers by rugger pro Bev Armstrong whose passion for the past ten-years has been to introduce Brazo Fuerte Beer to the Beantown, Massachusetts market.
Armstrong possesses a splendid education and work resume. She holds a B.A. and MBA from Harvard, and is also a Harvard Law School graduate. She served as a CFO in the biotech field for many years, accumulating knowledge on how start-ups succeed. She transferred this education to fund her own Brazo Fuerte line. (And, if your Spanish language skills are good, you'll realize that the brand translates to Strong Arm, a reversal of her last name).
Armstrong started with a beer making kit using her own kitchen. Her goal from the beginning was to make beers with interesting flavors, organic grains, and slightly less alcohol that could be consumed in quantity, the ideal beverage for the post-game rugby ritual. The beer choices range from a hobby Big E IPA to a K-Wags Chocolate with a western beer flavor. And there's even the unique, Green Tea Pale Ale.
She has received numerous awards for the beers, including winning the Northeast Regional Beer Festival. The industry has recognized her considerable skills by asking her to be the judge at many beer tastings.
Armstrong played rugby for many years at Beantown and also for Atlantis. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of the Women's Rugby Foundation.
Currently, the Brazo Fuerte beers are sold only locally in the Boston area with plans to expand to other sections of the country. Armstrong hopes to open a taproom in her hometown of Watertown, and, when she does, you can be sure it will be welcoming watering hole for local rugby clubs and ruggers.
For more about Bev Armstrong's rugby oriented, female-owned beer venture go to www.brazofuertebrewing.com/index.html.