LBL CARD

Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8th, I am really pleased to bring you the first part of our article on women’s beer groups.

As Director of Beer Appreciation for Moosehead, and a female beer drinker myself, it’s really heartwarming to witness this growing trend. Ladies beer groups are popping up around North America – and we’ve got two great ones right here in our back yard.

Please join me in welcoming Tracy Phillippi to the blog. She’s co-chair of the Ladies Beer League in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Okay, Tracy, here are my questions:

How long has the Ladies Beer League been around?  

The group started last June. We had no idea what to expect at our first event, but 101 women showed up!  

How did the group get started? Whose brainchild was it?

I had been wanting to start a group like this for quite some time – I’ve worked in the industry for the past four years in different capacities (brewer, beer judge, writer, marketing, promotions), and I was surprised that even though my female friends were interested in craft beer, it was an industry dominated by men.

You go to any beer festival and you see 75% men. I really just wanted to even the playing field, and help educate women at the same time.  

I was working at Garrison, so I gathered the women who work there and proposed the idea. Everyone thought it was a great idea, and we decided to plan our first event. The initial group is still involved in various capacities, but my co-partner Pam Crouse really stepped it up, and now we co-chair the board together. 

What is the purpose/form/structure of the group? Is there a membership fee?

We really want to respond to the desires of the female community, and seek to keep it interesting.

We have a variety of events, and each is a little different – we’ve had everything from free social events to $35 festivals and everything in between.  

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How often/where do you meet?

Last year, we had 1 or 2 events per month. Our largest event, the Ladies Beer League Cask Fest, was held in November, and we have about four event proposals on the go right now.

We’re really just trying to solidify who we are and create a sustainable structure. 

What do you do when you meet?

We drink beer, we learn about beer, we brew beer, we try new styles, we pair beer with food, the list goes on.

Can you share any of your plans for the coming year?

Sure! We’re going to be doing a collaboration beer with Boxing Rock Brewing Co. for International Women’s Day. It will be a fundraiser and will hopefully include a special release party. We’ve talked about a film screening, a social media panel, and we are also working with the Noble Grape to host a series of home brew workshops. 

How many “Ladies” are there now?

We had 140 at our Cask Fest in November, but at our more intimate events – like beer pairing nights – we have groups of about 20 women in attendance.

Who are the Ladies? What kind of women join up?

Women of all different backgrounds, with one thing in common: they love craft beer or they want to learn about craft beer. I’d say the majority of us are between the ages of 25-35, but we do have women in their 40s & 50s too!

What would you say is the need that is filled by the group? What do people get out of belonging?

We’re creating equality in a male dominated industry, and we provide female-friendly spaces to learn about craft beer.

Some women attend our events by themselves because they feel comfortable, and I’m very proud the Ladies Beer League has created that kind of space.

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What has been the best “Ladies” moment? Is there an event/tour/tasting that really stands out in your mind? Why?

Every event is great – but I’d go back to Cask Fest. Not only was it our largest and most complicated event, but it also introduced the city to cask-conditioned ale. We also encouraged new small breweries in the area to create cask ale for the first time. It was quite a feat, and we were so happy with the turnout!

How would you describe the beer culture in Nova Scotia? Has it changed over the past few years? If so, how?

It’s growing – Nova Scotia is starting to catch up with other North American cities in the quantity and quality of our craft beer. Plus, consumers are more supportive and curious than ever, and they are pushing the bar scene towards quality craft beer. We have a long way to go before we rival Ontario or BC, but we’re on our way!

What kind of beer drinkers are the Ladies, generally speaking? What kind of brews are they partial to?

I think if you asked every woman in our group what their favourite beer is, you’d get many many different answers. Overall, though, our region loves IPAs.

What’s your “desert island” brew? What beer would you take with you to make being stranded on a desert island more palatable?

I’m obsessed with unfiltered stouts (Big Spruce Brewing’s Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout is my favourite), but I’m also partial to session ales and aggressively bittered British Ales. I can’t pick one :)

What’s next for the Ladies?

I think this year, you’ll see more educational opportunities and a more solidified membership…but who knows, that’s the beauty of a fluid, volunteer-run organization.

Thank you Tracy!

If you’d like to contact the Ladies Beer League, or better yet, join up, you can find them on Facebook.

Stay tuned for part two – my chat with the Maine Beer Mavens – on March 8th!

 

 

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