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Hopkins microbiology graduate turns her beer-making hobby into a successful business

Hopkins microbiology graduate turns beer-making hobby to successful business
Hopkins microbiology graduate turns beer-making hobby to successful business 01:21

BALTIMORE -- In honor of Women's History Month, WJZ is highlighting a pioneer in Baltimore's brewing industry. 

Judy Neff is the owner of Checkerspot Brewing Company. 

Brewing is a male-dominated industry, but Neff told WJZ that has never mattered her. 

"The traditional roles are starting to go out the door," she said. "I'm just another brewer to them and it you work hard and make good beer thats all that matters." 

Neff started brewing from home 18 years ago and turned her passion into a profession. 

"It just started as a hobby in the kitchen and then it got bigger and bigger and bigger," she said. 

Checkerspot Brewery will soon celebrate five years in its 12,000 square foot facility in South Baltimore. The brewery offers in-house beers inspired by nature.

 "What I really love is you are making something with your hands, and at the end of the day you have something to show for it," Neff said.

Neff graduated with her doctorate in microbiology from Johns Hopkins University. She said her degree has allowed her to intertwine her love of science and the creativity of brewing. Now, she is working to bring more women into both fields. 

"In STEM and brewing we need to be getting more women involved but also in more leadership positions," she said.

In celebration of Women's History Month, Checkerspot is debuting a limited-edition beer in partnership with Yelp's Women Run Baltimore campaign.

The beer, Five Star Hoppy Kölsch, supports the non-profit Hons Honey, which works to help women trauma survivors.

"To be connected with Judy and for her to see us and the work that we are doing with the incredible work that she is doing here at Checkerspot is really an incredible opportunity for us," said Mandy Memmel, founder, executive director of Hon's Honey. 

Checkerspot Brewing Company will be selling the limited-edition beer in store until supplies last. 

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