As Haymaker’s Business Development Manager, I have had the opportunity to learn so much about the business, including how amazing our co-owner is. So for my first “real” interview I present: Haymaker Meadery’s co-owner, fierce mother, loving wife, and advocate for good that is often behind the scenes…Erin Crockett.

BRAN: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

ERIN: I think it’s a great concept to recognize women for all they do; it can be quite a revelation to learn of things women have accomplished. Without the spotlight I think they would go overlooked. 

BRAN: What is your background? 

ERIN: I have over ten years of experience in social services. I’ve worked with children for years through Headstart which provides foster care services. Additionally I’ve been working with the intellectually and developmentally disabled for years. In terms of the craft and beverage industry, Adam (our head Mazer) and I met at a great time right when the craft movement hit Philadelphia. We would take part in and work events to support craft beer. We were very involved in Homebrew clubs on Long island and PA. I think I was the first female in the clubs we were in, but I’m not 100% sure. I was typically the only lady at the meetings; luckily that has changed! I used to work with Girls Pint Out and always volunteered for beer events to help promote brands and share information about craft beer. I helped write the original business plan and assisted in creating the initial test batches in my parents’ kitchen. We still have fun trying to come up with names for our meads, but most are too ridiculous to share. We are always thinking of recipe concepts and trying new flavors to work with and share. 

BRAN: What does it mean to be a woman in the part of the world and society you live in? 

ERIN: Being a woman in our current society still has its challenges. I work a full-time job and am raising two kids. We are a hardworking, entrepreneurial family that still struggles with full-time child care because it’s just crazy expensive. It is a lot to juggle while also trying to be available to Adam and Haymaker as much as possible. People expect you to give everything to your work, but they also have high expectations for women to be perfect moms. It’s a lot of long nights to get it all done, but women are master multitaskers, so I make it possible. I don’t think society sees how much working moms have to tackle. 

BRAN: What is your favorite part of being a meadery owner? 

ERIN: I love to help people enjoy themselves through both my social work and meadery work. I want to help others be present and remind them to take time to savor and reflect. Sharing beverages and stories around a fire, a bottle, or a bent elbow and a bar can be some of the best times to engage and share in life.  Also, with Haymaker it’s about my love of Adam. Seriously, since I met him he has been so passionate about making beer, wine, mead, and cider. I’ve wanted to help him share his passion with others.

BRAN: How has your gender influenced/affected your experience in the alcohol industry? 

ERIN: I feel like women do get overlooked and underestimated when it comes to industry knowledge. Being under 5ft tall, there have been instances where I have been underestimated and literally overlooked. 

I will never forget the shock on this beer fest patron’s face when they watched me switch kegs at an event…it was astounding. (I haven’t done that in years though!)

BRAN: What woman inspires you, and why?

ERIN: My mom. She’s amazing. She has always had a great work ethic and a “it all gets done, don’t stress about it” approach. She has been a business owner and always just makes people feel appreciated and welcome. Also, Michelle Obama…AMMIRIGHT?!

BRAN: Are there any assumptions about women in the industry that you would like to change? If so, why? 

ERIN: One that sticks out is the assumption that women can’t tackle physical tasks or sell as much as aggressive men in the business. In reality, ladies shouldn’t have to assimilate to that “bully” sales culture because we are so much better than that.

BRAN: What is your favorite Haymaker mead, past, present, or future project? 

ERIN: I love Greta Bea and Edith because we created them for our girls. The liquid is inspired by their birth months and seasons, and they share their names. I really can’t wait for the tasting room to open this year so we can make more one-off and “just for fun” projects. 

BRAN: Is there anything else you would like to add?

ERIN: Nope! I hope this helps. I tried answering this with two kids running around with markers and butter knives. Thank you! 

BRAN: Thank You!

**Editors note: Erin answered all these questions separate from Adam, and Adam selected all of these pictures separate of Erin. The fact that they matched up so perfectly is just another reason why they are incredibly adorable together.

Gotta Start Somewhere…

My name is Brandalynn Armstrong, and I have a lot to say.

I find it interesting that after months of having this empty blog, my first post is on International Woman’s Day. You might be asking yourself why I find that funny, well, I think I am asking myself about that too. You see, I am usually not at a loss for words, but this blog project has been daunting for some reason that until today I didn’t fully understand.

For so long, I have felt silenced. Silenced by my fear, anxiety, depression, dependence, and, as of late, some pretty sassy non-disclosure agreements. The truth is, with the exception of the last item, all of these barriers mentioned above were constructs of my own doing. I silenced myself because I did not have the confidence to speak up, at least in regards to advocating for myself. I kept quiet because I did not have the courage to reach out for help, because to me, asking for help meant weakness. Weakness opened me up to ridicule, which really punched me RIGHT SQUARE in the shame and embarrassment.

I am thirty-four years old. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, childhood bullying, sexual assault, physical assault, as well as domestic abuse and violence. I have lived in the dark, and I have found the light, only to repeat the cycle. I have been a strong friend and ally, but I have also been weak and petty. All I ever knew through the most of my teens, and the entirety of my twenties was how to put myself down, harbor hurt, anger, and resentment while drowning my sorrows in bad relationships, sex, booze, and spending.

My name is Brandalynn Armstrong, and I have made many mistakes.

I could spend eight million years explaining why I have made myself feel so guilty and shameful. I could daydream about sharing every juicy tidbit or sordid detail just to be free of my secret burdens. But you see, after what feels like eons processing all of these situations and emotions, I finally came to a realization: stooping to a low level isn’t worth it. Pointing the finger of blame towards others does nothing to calm me. Frankly, it only perpetuates the problem. Pointing the finger at myself only leads to constant flashbacks of traumatic events that cause the same amount of pain fresh as the day they occurred. No thanks, BYE, FELICIA!

My name is Brandalynn Armstrong, and I am letting go.

I am saying goodbye to pain and disappointment. I am singing too-da-loo to guilt and shame. I’m dropping a big sayonara to resentment, and a whopping FUCK YOU to the opinions of others. You see, at 30, I started on the most difficult journey of my life: finding (and saving) myself. So, even though this blog started out as a way to share what I am currently drinking, It’s morphed into something entirely more personal. It’s scary and exciting, and as I continue on this journey, I have no idea what I will be inspired to write. If you are reading this right now, bear with me while I navigate my way through this crazy thing we call life. Maybe we can learn together.

I am Brandalynn Armstrong, and I am proud of myself.