March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day. In that light we wanted to be sure you knew that, a little over a year ago, Oregon’s Rogue Valley became the home of Women Enjoying Beer (WEB). It was founded by beer specialist Ginger Johnson, whose husband, Larry Chase, is our brewmaster. We’ve worked with Ginger at our Ashland restaurant and brewery in numerous capacities, and are happy to welcome the next WEB meet-up to Standing Stone Brewing Company on March 10 from 7-8:30 PM. We asked Ginger to share some background on this terrific venture (photos by Kate Parks).
1. What’s Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) about?
We’re all about education and the delicious experience of beer. We’re specialists in developing beer enthusiasm for women through education and events.
2. Why the focus on women? Do you hold events that men can attend?
Women Enjoying Beer is designed to foster enjoyment, appreciation and respect by all – specifically women since they haven’t been invited to take part. Research shows that single sex gatherings of either gender, particularly in educational formats, are much more effective for many. We do events where men are invited – like our Oktoberfest ‘Come As A Woman,’ and partnered events.
3. What’s the goal of a meet up, and what do you do?
WEB is really about ‘enjoying’ – not drinking- and the meet ups are part of the whole she-bang. We extol education, social settings and great value. If women drink beer as part of their enjoyment, great! If they simply enjoy it through others, great too!
While we vary the format, in general, women enjoy a flight of beers (small pours) paired with foods in a fun setting. The event gets rolling and rocking—more than once I’ve had to get everyone’s attention by standing on a chair and ringing a bell. It’s a great thing to see the energy and enthusiasm grow and swell. We give out goodies and feature different beers at each event…styles, brewery, seasonality, etc. It’s an hour and a half of full-on fun!
4. How do WEB activities help change women’s approaches to beer?
Any time you educate people on a topic, they become more confident participants and ambassadors. You empower, build confidence that flows over into other areas of life, and keeps the momentum growing. Increased participation of women in beer, particularly craft beer, helps breweries grow and develop sustainable market share.
5. What other events do you hold for women been enthusiasts?
We partner with interested businesses to hold events, speak and participate in events, ranging from festivals and neighborhood bars to professional audiences to breweries. One program we offer that gets requested often is HerStory: Women in Brewing, a surprising, fun, and thought provoking historical journey for all.
6. What’s your advice to women to start navigating the world of beer?
Start! Start sampling, tasting, hanging out with friends in places that are beer-rich, at homes, and wherever you’re comfortable. Beer is an affordable luxury with myriad choices and wide availability. Be fearless!
Thanks Ginger! If you’re in the Rogue Valley, we encourage you to enjoy a WEB event soon, and invite all women to the next meet up at our brewpub on March 10 from 7-8:30 PM. If you’re not in our neighborhood, check out Women Enjoying Beer online.