Since quitting her day job and founding her own brewing company in 2015, Katarina Martinez has emerged as one of the most watched women on New York’s beer scene.
As the only female brewery owner and head brewer in Brooklyn, Martinez hopes she can help inspire women to put down the martini glass and pick up a pint.
“I want women to feel comfortable ordering beer because there’s such a stigma of ordering beer instead of a cocktail, where beer is a man’s drink, which is not true at all,” Martinez said. “I think if women see more women in beer and they have opportunities to learn about it, it’ll open the door.”
Martinez runs Lineup Brewing, opening its first taproom in Sunset Park’s Industry City in 2017. Over the last year, the demand for her craft beers has grown so immensely that she is planning to open a new space — including a brewery with a 15-barrel system, an outdoor area, and a bar.
But before Martinez made a name for herself on the city’s beer scene, she worked in product engineering for various tech companies. She had been a home brewer for years, but grew so fond of it while becoming disenchanted by the tech industry that she eventually decided to quit her job and launch her own business.
“I was just like ‘I want to start my own company, I don’t want to work for ‘The Man’ anymore,’ ” she remembered. “It was that moment when it clicked that I could do my hobby and my passion as a real-life career.”
Martinez started churning out popular beers such as Under Pressure, a David Bowie-inspired pale ale, and Bieryonce, a popular German-style pilsner that went out of production after the entertainer Beyonce ordered the brewery to stop using her name.
Whether or not Martinez has a connection to Queen Bey, this Woman of Distinction is lauded as a trailblazer who makes a damn good beer.
“She’s seen as a pioneer,” said John LaPolla, the owner of Bitter and Esters home brew shop in Prospect Heights, where Martinez shopped for her early recipes. “Her beers are excellent, she makes really good quality and well-crafted beers. She’s doing well because she has a good product and at the end of the day that’s the most important part of any business.”
Her female peers agree — Martinez is seen as a positive role model for women both inside the industry and out at the bar.
“I think there’s sort of a misconception that women aren’t as into beer or beer isn’t for women, and to see someone with Kat’s enthusiasm, knowledge, passion, and excitement is a really great thing,” said Lindsey Storm, a co-founder of Brooklyn Cider House, who struck up a friendship with Martinez through industry events.
Although Martinez has achieved success pursuing her passion, she won’t ever forget the hard work that comes with being a woman taking a risk.
“It’s the most scary thing I’ve ever done because you leave behind a lot of security and you depend on yourself to actually make everything happen,” she said. “It’s definitely hard. I have a newfound respect for female small business owners. Females already have it harder, it’s crazy; it’s a big leap of faith, honestly.”
Neighborhood: Sunset Park.
Owner and head brewer.
Company: Lineup Brewing.
Claim to fame: Only sole female brewery owner and head brewer in Brooklyn.
Favorite Brooklyn Place: Green-Wood Cemetery.
Woman I admire: Michelle Obama. Being in a male-dominated industry, you are often critiqued more than others. To me, she’s grace-under-fire defined.
Motto: “Leap and the net will appear” — John Burroughs.