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Beer Baroness Society hosting first in-person event on Saturday

'It’s a really big part of our mandate to support and celebrate women in our community and bring awareness to what they are doing, not just in the brewing and hospitality industry but really with any kind of business or idea they may have'

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The Beer Baroness Society will be hosting its first-ever in-person event on Saturday and Executive Member Abby Cook says it is something they have been waiting to do since February.

“Our inaugural virtual event took place on International Women’s day, but since then we have not been able to do any in-person event,” says Cook.

“We’ve done virtual educational events, virtual trivia and we’ve done our beer boxes. But this was never our real intention because we wanted to do in-person events and that will finally take place this weekend on October 2nd.”

Cook says it is to celebrate the launch of their collaboration beer in partnership with Gateway City Brewery.

“We can’t tell you what the beer is, but we are currently doing a guess that beer contest and it will be unveiled during Saturday's event. What we can say is that it is brewed for the fall and it is a German-style beer.”

Cook says the beer was brewed by the executive members of the Beer Baroness Society.

“We brewed it at the end of August and it is being canned today (Wednesday, September 29th),” says Cook.  

“I and the other two executive members went into Gateway City and we were there all day long with Brew Master John and we were the ones who put the ingredients in. So that beer was made by us and that was just a really fun experience to get to do that.”

Cook adds Gateway City has been a very supportive partner of this initiative.  

“When they heard we were creating this society they reached out and said to us that they wanted to be our first collaboration and we plan on doing many more with them both in town and throughout the region,” says Cook, who adds the event will promote many of the women-owned businesses in town.

“From noon to 4 p.m. the brewery will still be open to the public, but there is going to be a female artisans and makers market taking place, with about eight different vendors setting up,” she says.

“It’s a really big part of our mandate to support and celebrate women in our community and bring awareness to what they are doing, not just in the brewing and hospitality industry but really with any kind of business or idea they may have.”

Cook says they wanted to make sure that the women in North Bay and the area are getting the recognition they deserve for all the work that they do.

“Sometimes women have to work twice as hard as men and there’s a big movement in this industry to remove the sexism and misogyny from the brewing industry and so it is important for us to bring awareness to that and celebrate women in the industry.”

She adds Kristen Labelle of Wild Made Goods made the labels for their promotional beer and she says, “it was important for us to have a female artist design what the can will look like.”

Cook says, at 4 p.m. on the day of the event, the brewery will only be accessible for those who have purchased tickets.  

“We have regular priced tickets for $35 that includes access to the brewery from 4 to 9 p.m. and you’ll also receive one of the beers that we are launching that day. The VIP ticket is $80 and gets you our beer as well as two extra taproom pours. You’ll also get a stein that was designed for our society and a few other perks,” says Cook.

The evening will begin with a toast and a talk about what went into making the beer, followed by trivia at 5 p.m., and a 1990s-2000s female pop singers dance party from 7 to 9 hosted by DJ Shim.

Cook says purchasing one of their beers will also mean you’re helping out a prospective student who will be looking to go into the brewery industry.

“Gateway is going to be donating 50 cents from every beer sold to the Beer Baroness Scholarship Fund, which will be used to create a bursary for one or two ladies who want to go into the brewing industry in northern Ontario,” she says.

“We’re hoping to make close to $1,500 per bursary and with Gateway, we’re expecting to make close to $2,000 through our sales.  We hope that whoever gets that bursary will come back here with the experience and knowledge to be able to get a job at either Gateway City or New Ontario or any other brewery within the area.”

Cook says that one of the fundamental goals for starting this group was about the education and socialization for women, centered around the craft beer industry and “giving them a safe place to learn, discuss and socialize while enjoying craft beer.”

She says they started selling memberships in March, and the group has grown beyond their expectations.

“On the membership side, we are so pleased with the reception that we have had. We have about 150 members and that’s without having an in-person formal event yet,” says Cook.  

“It’s been growing outside of the North Bay area with members as far away as Thunder Bay and Barrie and we’ve also got people who are living out of the province and out of the country as well who just happen to have roots here and wanted to get involved. It’s been great especially for some ladies who are new to North Bay who have no connections to the area and are able to make some fast friends who have very similar interests. We’ve also grown our 'perks partnership' to include partners from around the region who give discounts at their establishments for Beer Baroness Society Members.”

Cook says the main way they stayed connected with their members was through their beer boxes which were sent out during the summer long weekends.

“In July, August, and September we had beer boxes containing products from craft breweries from around northern Ontario get delivered to our members, and with restrictions opening up we have been able to do a couple of craft nights at New Ontario Brewing as well as setting up a table for their trivia night in support of the CIBC Run for the Cure,” she says.

But Saturday will be the first big formal event the Beer Baroness Society will host, and Cook says it is open to everyone.

“You don’t just have to be a Beer Baroness Society member, we welcome everyone who wants to have a fun night in North Bay.”

Tickets are available here. 

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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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