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Fempocalypse is back! Wayward is throwing an all-day festival that champions the mega talent of Sydney's female artists, musicians, chefs and brewers — and women everywhere — on Saturday, 13 March.

At the heart of the festival is Wayward's Apprentice Brewer Emma Elmslie, who is brewing up something extra special for the day. We chatted with Emma about her journey into the brewing industry, what it was like to brew her first commercial beer and what she has in store for us at Fempocalypse 2021.

Tell us about your journey towards becoming a professional brewer.

"I was previously in the finance industry actually, and though it’s a pretty secure job, it just wasn't what I saw myself doing with the rest of my life. I’d been getting into homebrewing for a while and it’s something that I really enjoyed and wanted to explore more of. Then COVID kind of gave me that push to start seriously thinking about what I wanted in a career.

So I started a dialogue with Shaun [Wayward's Head Brewer], just to get to know a bit more about how to go from homebrewing into more commercialised brewing — and craft beer is definitely more of my passion. I was lucky enough that Wayward wanted to bring on an apprentice brewer, and that’s how my job started here."

Earlier this year you brewed your first commercial beer at Wayward. Tell us all about it.

"It was very exciting to have my first beer on tap at a bar. I brewed a Belgian wit beer on the pilot system and called it The Merchant — I worked in merchant services, so it was a bit of a tribute to crossing over into the brewing industry. Of course I had Shaun giving me a lot of guidance on the beer and sharing his knowledge on how to incorporate ingredients like orange peel and coriander."

Now your next beer will headline the upcoming Fempocalypse festival!

"I know, it’s so cool to be part of an event that’s promoting women in the beer industry. All of the industries I’ve worked in so far are very male dominated, so I think it’s really great to be part of an organisation that wants to promote and encourage women to be present in the industry. Even though I’m new to professional brewing, the whole team at Wayward has been so great in getting me up to speed. Although I still have a lot to learn, they are really open to sharing knowledge and to help me forge a successful path as a brewer.

I actually used to come to Wayward with a group of women at least once per week before I worked here — so I’m excited to share the beer I’ve made for Fempocalypse with these same mates. I’m also keen on the opportunity to try beers made by all of these other female brewers and to spread more awareness around women in the industry."

Can you give us a sneak peak into what you’re brewing up for Fempocalypse?

“Well we’re keeping the beer style a secret for now, but it’s in the tanks and I can’t wait for our punters to try it.

I can tell you the name: I’m calling it The Wayward Woman. If you Google ‘wayward woman’ you’ll see that, in the past, the term had negative connotations attached to it. Instead, this beer is really about redefining the wayward woman and encouraging women everywhere to take the path less travelled and to feel empowered to take risks.

It took me a while to give myself the permission to work in an industry like brewing, which is heavily male dominated and a very physical role. It’s not typically thought of as a career path for someone like me, but I’ve taken the plunge and want to encourage other women to pursue whichever path is right for them.”

Grab a pint of Emma's latest brew, The Wayward Woman, at Fempocalypse 2021 going down at the Wayward Taproom on Saturday, March 13 from noon. While you're here, you can also enjoy tunes by Canned Fruit DJs, live art by Pep, Asian-fusion eats by Vege4Love and a tap takeover by some of the best brewers in the industry. For the full details, head to our Facebook Event.

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