Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Let’s just get this out of the way- I never fully understood the saying “put your money where your mouth is.” Expressions have never been my forte. This article is about taking action and making smart choices as a consumer. But that doesn’t make for a very interesting blog title. Anyway, here we go.

Pictured: My muscles, which I use to crush stereotypical gender roles.

If you know me or have read any of my previous blog posts, you know that I have no problem calling out sexism when I see it. In fact, *sips from mug of White Male Tears* it’s actually a source of joy for me, to do my part to squash the patriarchy at every possible opportunity. It’s pretty easy to look at the beer industry (as well as the beverage industry in general) and find inequalities between men and women*, from the way their treated at the time of service, to the types of jobs they hold at the brewery level. Calling these instances out and talking about them is important. But what do we do about it?

Well, I may not have an all-encompassing answer for you regarding these complex problems. However, I know at least one way to make yourself heard, and it comes down to the concept of “voting with your dollar” or using your power as a consumer to make conscious choices about where you spend your money. Ladies, I know what you’re thinking: “But Victoria, we only make 77% on the dollar to what males make, I don’t have piles of money to be spending on all the companies I’d like to support!” Girl, I hear you. So I’m going to make it easy for you, let’s talk about the bars you go to. If you’re reading this, you probably like drinking (can I get an amen?) and no matter how much your bank account may be hurtin’ this month, let’s be real- you’re probably going to go out and buy a pint or 5 anyway. So take your beat-up credit cards and head to an establishment where ladies are thriving in senior leadership positions or are owners. Show them that you dig what they’re doing and the places they’ve created, and appreciate them for the badasses they are.

Photo from the Ladies Pub Strut during OCB Week 2016

Below is a list of  bars that my friends and I like to go to in Toronto that are owned or spearheaded by strong women. If you have more that you want me to show love to, tweet them to me @_VictoriaBrews! Shoutouts to The Danforth for having so many BossLadies!

  1. Grand Trunk
  2. Brass Taps
  3. Folly Brewpub
  4. The Edmund Burke 
  5. I’ll Be Seeing You 
  6. Little Sister & Noorden
  7. Sauce on Danforth
  8. The Old Nick
  9. Wise Bar
  10. The Local

There you have it. Now get out to these bars and make it rain on these ladies! Just kidding, you should probably just politely pay your tab like a normal human.





* I’d also like to acknowledge that there is substantial inequality faced by those in this field that identify as non-binary, and that these issues also disproportionately affect women of colour. However, I do not feel that my lived experience allows me to speak authentically on these topics, and encourage you to research literature written by my awesome friend Robin Leblanc, and interviews done with my other super cool friend, Renee Navarro, for some more intersectional perspectives.

Brew Like A Girl

12822959_10205018597218258_427009148_oHave you ever been surrounded by a group of uplifting and passionate people who understand things you go through and want you to succeed and give you warm fuzzies? If not, you seriously need to try that shit.

This past Saturday at Folly Brewpub, Christina Coady headed up a completely wonderful and educational brewing session for International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. For more details on the awesomeness that is IWCBD, do yourself a favour and read her thoughts on it and sexism and the industry here. We brewed up something really special- Brett C Ale with Cascade and Calypso hops. It’ll be ready on April 16th at Folly Brewpub, and all proceeds from sales will be going to Working Women, an organization that provides services to help new Torontonians get on their feet. Keep your eyes out for this tasty brew, I’ll definitely be getting my hands on some (read: come drink with me on the 16th?)

The day was all about women brewing together, but really, it was about so much more than that, it was about artistry, quality, and encouragement. Christina says it best, “Everyone wants good beer and to feel welcomed…So please, stop it with the uncomfortable labels. Stop explaining beer to us. Just make and sell women great beer.” The group of women I was brewing with in the first session echoed these sentiments. My fellow east-ender, Erin Broadfoot (@ErinBroadfoot) explained that there have been many men in her career that have been instrumental in her education in brewing, and that isn’t something she magically forgets about. But it’s possible to recognize that AND also really hate the misogynistic labels and derogatory marketing that many breweries still make use of. It’s possible, as a woman, to brew with your husband, and still hate the way that bartenders treat you when you order a IIPA. In fact, that’s probably what makes it so difficult to deal with; the fact that it is so pervasively engrained in all of the menial things like getting interrupted when speaking, not just big huge things (although, beer has it’s share of glaring instances of sexism as well). We all swapped some of our war-stories, and griped about the dumbest comments we’ve ever heard, but that was only for a tiny part of the morning, the rest of the day was spent brewing a damned good beer with a bunch of cool new friends.

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Adding in Whirlfloc tablets for clarity- no filtering at Folly, just tasty, hazy goodness. Photo by Caroline Avery

Christina shared a ton of knowledge with us, and I had been dying to ask her about the freedom that being a small operation lends her. She went on to share with us that the fact that Folly is a strictly farmhouse and Belgian-inspired brewery allows them to do a lot of experimenting with yeast, which many bigger breweries don’t get to do without out tossing their bottling lines out a gigantic window immediately after packaging. Contamination, what a buzzkill. They have access to many ingredients that a lot of bigger breweries have a hard time getting- namely a lot of experimental yeast strains from great friends of Folly, Escarpment Labs.

Surprisingly, my favourite part was getting to spend time with so many women that are seasoned home-brewers. There’s something weirdly romantic about the way that the women were chatting about the different ways they filter water or chill the wort, and all of the mad-scientist methods they have developed. And also hearing about how home brewing has made a lot of them better cooks and bakers. It was inspiring to say the least; I could have listened to it all day.

Erin Broadfoot and I, new buds. Hit her up for all things BJCP related.

So what does this mean for feminism? You had a collaborative women’s brew day, now what? Well, this is the hard part. And it involves speaking out, it involves being supportive, and it involves EVERYONE- folks of every gender, calling out bullshit when they see it and demanding something better. We have to listen to all voices and we have to include everyone, or else this remarkable thing that we all love- beer- isn’t really all that awesome.

Ferment away, sweet yeasties.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts, I’m still a new voice to this issue and this industry. So this is where I direct you to further reading from some eloquent and important people.

On inclusivity- Robin LeBlanc Queer Beers  & Inherent Weisse

On Exclusion in General- Ben Johnson Let’s Stop Beersplaining