The beer industry may be laden with gender stereotypes, assumptions and sexism, but that’s all about to change. Enter Agi Gajic. The 28-year-old Head Brewer for Sparkke - a new beverage company with a conscience, brewed by women.
Successfully crowd-funded and launched in November 2016, Sparkke is a bold new alcohol brand that’s shaking up the male-dominated beer industry. Led by a team of nine like-minded and passionate women in Adelaide, the company is out to ignite collective change, and ultimately serve up some tasty tipples, of course.
While the majority of companies and brands steer clear of political positions, Sparkke’s products brazenly display conversation-sparking statements on the front of their cans. Raising important issues like asylum seeking, consent, gender and social equality, Sparkke’s cans drive 10% of direct sales to the causes aligned with their message.
Chatting to Lifestyle about Sparkke, her unique career path and the lack of females in the beer industry, Agi says she’s inspired by brands and companies that have ethical values and practice what they preach. “Our idea is to disrupt the industry and the capitalist paradigm in constructive and meaningful ways. As well as create a company and a product that belongs to our generation and a positive platform for change.”
With four solid years of brewing experience under her belt, Agi is one of three Aussie female head brewers under 30 and is now considered quite the trailblazer in the Australian beer industry.
In the beginning, Agi and the Sparkke team conducted some research into the Australian beer industry, and soon realised that most beer brands weren’t focusing on what their generation really wanted – authenticity, equality and universal fairness.
“We saw a real gap there and it totally resonated with us,” Agi added. “We explored women in the sector, again, such an incredible gap. There seemed to be so much opportunity to create a brand like Sparkke, so it was born!”
Agreeing that the beer industry is a bit of a boys club, Agi admits she was a little intimidated when she first started out. “I kind of had no idea what I was doing. Now that I have established myself a little more in the industry, I tend not to think of myself as a female but more just as a brewer. I think that that's how females should be viewed in the industry, as equal," she explained.
Although Agi never anticipated becoming a brewer, her studies in philanthropy and sustainability, in conjunction with her casual hospitality experience, barrelled her to brewing success. “It makes a lot of sense now… It is a bit of a dream job, really,” she boasted.
Agi and the Sparkke team might not have chosen an easy path but they hope that women and companies alike will show support, take note and emulate their progressive approach.
For more stories about inspiring women, take a look at our International Women's Day hub.