SEATTLE — Rose Ann Finkel, a matriarch of the Seattle craft beer scene, died this week. She co-founded Pike Brewing in 1989, one of the first craft breweries in Seattle, and together with her husband Charles they helped the industry become what it is today.
Originally called Pike Place Brewery, the business has called the iconic Pike Place Market home for decades.
Kendall Jones, who started the Washington Beer Blog, said he first met Finkel in the 80s and it was the start of a long friendship.
“I can’t remember what she looked like without a smile on her face,” said Jones. “I don’t think I ever saw her without a smile on her face. She was just a wonderful bright light of a person that made everyone around her better. Made the world a better place. Made everyone around her a better person.”
Finkel's husband Charles told Forbes she passed away peacefully at home, several months after a bone marrow transplant to treat blood cancer.
She’s also remembered as a pioneer who paved the way for women in the brewing industry.
“She was one of the owners of a craft brewery when there were no women in the industry all,” Jones said. “The industry was basically devoid of women and she was a rock star.”
“I think she had this drive to, it sounds almost cliche, but I think she had a drive to make the world a better place,” he added.
“Rose Ann was a leader, and remains a role model, in the beer industry,” said former Pike Director of Communications Stasia Brewczynski. “Women remain sorely underrepresented in beer leadership roles, so it's especially hard to lose such a visible figure who inspired countless folks both directly and indirectly.”
“She was just such a wonderful woman,” said Drew Gillespie, president and co-owner of Pike Brewing. “Powerful, gracious, kind, loving. Everything you could ask for in a person you know and work with. Her passion ran deep and it showed.”
Jones also remembered Finkel as a fierce advocate for equality and justice, a voice he said he'll miss in these times.
“I know she’s looking down on us right now, still loving us all, but wanting us to do a better job loving each other,” he said.