The inspiration started at home. While Frances Antonio-Martineau watched her husband, Andrew, dig his hands into multiple cultural projects in the area, she decided it was time to follow her own creative spark.
“I love drinking beer,” she laughs, “so I wanted to combine that with my passion for trying to collaborate with and empower women.”
Antonio-Martineau founded FemAle Brew Fest, a first-of-its-kind craft beer event in Broward County. The inaugural event, held in May of last year, featured 18 breweries from across the country and showcased specialty beers brewed only for the event. More than 700 attendees enjoyed tasting beers and shopping artisan vendors to the beats provided by a live DJ and bands.
FemAle Brew Fest, as its name suggests, is focused on female brewers and female-driven businesses. Craft beer has traditionally had a reputation for being a male-dominated industry, but Antonio-Martineau is aiming to change that perspective.
“I wanted to do a different take on a craft beer festival,” she explains. “I wanted it to be educational and let people experience different things.”
Advocating for women in business is a cause close to her heart. Antonio-Martineau is also the founder of Fem Collective, a platform for gathering female entrepreneurs and providing a supportive community in which each member is able to thrive.
Her entrepreneurial journey began with designing jewelry. In December 2016 she launched her own line under the name Halo Halo, and identified a need for support on a local level.
“The Fem Collective started with the women empowerment movement that I’m trying to grow and build,” Antonio-Martineau says. “Eventually I would like for it to be kind of an organization where female entrepreneurs can help up-and-coming entrepreneurs.”
Her vision is for it to become a think tank in which women are able to share ideas, mastermind and support one another through the different phases of the entrepreneurial journey.
It was through Fem Collective that FemAle Brew Fest came to be, and is now on its second annual event, which will be held March 24, already outgrowing its original location in the FATVillage Arts District. This year’s festival will take place at Huizenga Plaza, in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and will again highlight female brewers, female-led businesses and female musicians, including a second appearance by Miami-based DJ La Trice.
“There’s a lot of special things and collaborations that are going to be going on,” Antonio-Martineau says.
Antonio-Martineau and her husband are both instrumental in bringing more arts, culture and varietal events to Fort Lauderdale while having a direct influence in shaping the local community.
“Miami is already set,” she says, “and we’re trying to build things here.”