Women & Beer go together like hand & glove.
Robust crowd sounds abounded last weekend at the 13th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, held at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Resort in Ashland Oregon. It was my 6th year presenting and they’ve come a loooooong way since they started. They’ve continued to see increased attendance, invite a variety of tasty and engaging vendors, host a line-up of educational presentations and have even added a run.
Six years ago when I started giving the classes, I literally didn’t know any chocolate makers. So – about twenty minutes before my talk, I ran around the festival floor, introducing myself and asking, “would you like me to feature your chocolates?” to a handful of vendors.
Dagoba was one of those vendors and they’ve become a long-term partner for me – and I’m so grateful and glad! World class organic chocolate, variety of flavors and styles (drinking chocolate powder, bars and so forth) and very easy to work with. Props to Jill and the Dagoba crew for their continued support. If you were there and liked the chocolates, be sure to let them know (they graciously give [read: donate] the goods each year).
This year was so much fun, as usual – because of the guests who come to partake of all the fest offers. And I’d like to give a special shout out to all the fine flavor lovers who attended one of my two Beer & Chocolate Classes! Thanks for everyone who came back and thanks to every one who experienced it for the first time.
My thanks as well to the fine volunteers from The Hospitality Club at Southern Oregon University, Asante, and the world class staff with the Neuman Hotel Group who makes sure everything is smooth and fabulous for me and our guests every year. To my captains, Katrina & Larry – you rocked it! Till next year ~
Love live the Festival!!
Here are the menus we enjoyed.
- Standing Stone Brewing (all beers deliciously made by their brewer Larry Chase) Milk Chocolate Ale + Polenta with Dagoba Superberry + fresh blueberries & strawberries
- Twin Plunge Double IPA + Dagoba Orange & Lemonberry bars
- Chocolate Porter + Ginger cookies with Dagoba Chai drinking chocolate & Xolcolatl chocolate chevre
- Chocolate Porter + Dagoba Milk Chocolate bar
- Twin Plunge + Lemonberry polenta & lemon zest
- Milk Chocolate Ale + Ginger cookies with Dagoba Chai drinking chocolate & Authentic chocolate chevre
I made a large batch of polenta (to feed 100!) for each day. Essentially 12 cups of water + 4 cups of polenta; adding 2 bars of chocolate to each batch + 1 cup cream (not milk – it’ll separate). You can add more as desired – and I didn’t add any sugar at all, so the results were lovely and mild. Enhance and play with them as you wish.
Since I love love love goat cheeses, it was an easy pick to enhance chevre with the drinking chocolate powers. Allow the cheese to reach room temp and soften a bit more. When they’re room temp, sprinkle in the chocolate as desired. I highly recommend you add, mix & taste – following this pattern until you reach the flavor target desired.
Ginger Cookies (on which we spread the chevre)
Yield = approximately 108 with a size 60 scoop dollops cut in half
Beat together until creamy: 1 + 1/8 c bacon fat* and 1.5 c sugar (mixing white and brown is a delight!)
Add: .25 c malt syrup or molasses + 2 large eggs
Sift together: 3 c flour, 1 t salt, 3 t baking soda, 1 heaping t powdered ginger, pinch cayenne, 1 heaping t cinnamon and .5 c Dagoba Drinking Chocolate powder of choice
Add dry ingredients to the wet, combine completely and don’t overbeat the batter.
Scoop or spoon out as desired. Note – with the bacon fat, they’ll spread so be conservative unless you want wide and flat cookies! Chilling the dough after mixed and before baking may help retard spread somewhat.
Bake at 350 for only 9 minutes; they can dry out and be really crumbly (if you like that style of cookie, go for it). Remove from the over after 9 minutes, cool for 1 minute, and remove to cooling racks. They cool and harden quickly too; store in airtight container. I surmise they’d freeze okay – and are always best fresh!
*I use Beeler’s 2# packages of bacon cuttings; it’s really low in salt and simple high quality bacon and a great value.
Beer is an ingredient. So is Chocolate.
That’s how I sometimes view it – as a component, rather than limiting it to a glass for drinking. To limit is to cut off future opportunities and my taste buds don’t appreciate that!
So into the kitchen I’ll go this weekend to develop a menu and likely new recipes for the coming Oregon Chocolate Festival. While the sessions I lead would be successful with straight forward beer & chocolate, I’m more ambitious than that….preferring to come up with new ways to use tasty foods.
Come join us for the festival.
And if you run a food oriented event and are looking for a lively and crowd pleasing presenter, call me anytime. T’is always a pleasure to enlighten taste buds + brains with fun people.
Need a boost for your marketing?
Join me for complementary marketing seminars Monday April 10th, immediately prior to the Craft Brewers Conference, Washington DC.
- Beer Marketing Seminar – graciously hosted at Gordon Biersch
- Two sessions to choose from: noon – 1 pm, 2 – 3 pm
- Material will include: 5 top reasons women drink and buy beer & Do’s and Don’ts in successfully marketing beer
- All questions answered as time allows
- Free to attend, $100 hold-your-seat/s deposit check required to hold your seat/s – you get it back upon arrival. To each their own tab at Gordon Biersch.
- Come for an hour packed full of insight into marketing beer, with the emphasis on earning and keeping more of the future market share of beer: women (they make 85% of all purchasing decisions, hold the largest opportunity for growth).
- My book will be available as well, to interested parties.
- All categories and ages of beer-focused companies welcome.
These sessions fill up fast (with waiting lists) so call me today to register (only international registrations will be taken via email). 515.450.7757 PST Call me to register and I’ll send along final details. Do not call Gordon Biersch to register.
- I’m also co-presenting with Larry Chase at the CBC (Brewpub track, training), so you can come find me there as well.
- You can find me at the BA Bookstore doing a Book Signing Wednesday the 12th of April, 12 – 1 pm.
Cheers & thanks –
Founder, Women Enjoying Beer
Marketer, Speaker (TED+), Author, Innovator
It’s that time of year again – the Oregon Chocolate Festival is coming right up. And yours truly is again presenting lively & delicious chocolate and beer tasting sessions.
For the past 5 years (this year = 6th) it’s been a pleasure to be part of this event at the invite of my fine colleague, Karolina of the Neuman Hotel Group. As I look back at the previous years, I like what I see.
2012: First year invited to the festival by Karolina. My Fine Husband is a brewer in the same town and he was invited to make a beer for and talk at the Friday night Chocolate Makers dinner. Yum! I was lucky enough to go along and enjoy the hospitality and get a glimpse of what was ahead. We also were given a booth in exchange for my presentation, wherein we sold WEB goodies.
2013: On the grow – the festival keeps attracting return guests and new guests into the flavor fold. I’m invited back thanks to our success last year and it’s a great time again, this time with an even fuller room (2 sessions, one Sat & Sun) that last year. Returning guests provide a humbling bonus.
2014: Getting bigger! And our last year in the actual room inside the hotel. We’re bursting at the seams and I give away a few tickets to the event – even better to help the Hotel generate more enthusiasm for a consistently well run and well done event. Felicia is the Winner and I’m so glad to have her the other 40 – 50 guests for each session. The Hotel Group has a terrific team, year over year, too so that makes the life of a presenter so much easier and more fun.
2015: Last year at the Ashland Springs Hotel, Downtown Ashland. In the tent we had a ball with as many guests would fit on Saturday, as well as a robust audience on Sunday too. Still with chairs only, we can snugly fit 60ish guests seated, with a few standing in the back. Thankfully I had enough of everything to serve the groups. Even better, my filmmaker Sean and PR pro Erika are in the house to capture all this tasty fun (clip above).
2016: We made a big leap forward to the new location, Ashland Hills Hotel, where the room can seat significantly more. We set up for 80 (seats & tables) and had big overflow of likely 100 = 120! While it’s a thrill to get that many people in the room who want to take part, it’s a disappointment to not be able to fully serve everyone who wanted to be there. Big thanks to my team, Stacy & Russ, for working with the NHG crew to make it sing for me and our fine guests. I also gave away some private beer & chocolate tasting sessions (only 1 of 3 was redeemed…).
Soon: March 3 – 5, 2017. We’ll seat 100 people only, making sure that those who get there in good time have a literal seat and chair to enjoy the fun. Saturday & Sunday will allow for two different sessions, separate menus and as likely a few surprises. I’m deep into the throes of menu planning and development – creating a fun and delicious & enlightening menu for the 100 guests we’ll have Saturday and the other 100 we’ll have Sunday. Plus Karolina has given me the opportunity to be the moderator of a panel of beverage & food specialists – can’t wait!
Why am I walking down this chocolate memory lane today? Because in a world of sometimes feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything some days, these events are incredibly tangible and real. They’re like my fairway: a successful event like this helps me keep moving forward, knowing what I do matters.
- Thanks to all the guests – one timers, repeats and stalwarts.
- Thank you to Karolina and my crews – you make it all the better and successful for everyone.
- Thank you for my flavor partners, including Dagoba Organic Chocolate and Larry/Brewer and others.
I’m relishing the upcoming festival and hope to see you there. Here’s the agenda. Please, come join us.
Think Like An Entrepreneur: 3 Books Beer Pros Need to Read in 2017
In our world where the sea of written work is growing exponentially by the day and our time grows ever more precious, how do you determine what’s worth your time?
For us it’s pretty simple: Do we enjoy it? Is there a useful lesson or applicable message in the pages? Are we recommending it forward?
Here are three books we recommend beer pros – and anyone in business – read now to improve their business.
- Creating Customer Evangelists, How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Huba and McConnell write that successful early phase businesses are paying attention to the early adopters of your products and services, which leads to buzz and sales. Their conversational style and case studies of who’s doing it right make this a fast read.
- Uncommon Service, How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. If it were really common, then there wouldn’t be a need for this book. Service is fundamental to success from the very beginnings of business. Practicing the ideas from Uncommon Service starting Day 1 helps create great brands.
Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. Motivation is a fascinating realm that Pink has dived into head first, gone to the bottom and then comes up to share his eye-opening findings of what moves people. The brief history of motivation and correlating eras is interesting and, more importantly, useful.
Plain old knowledge isn’t power: applied knowledge is. It’s up to you to do something with the knowledge you gain. And it’s as easy at 1-2-3.
- Use these books in personal and staff development: give, review together, apply the principles – readers are leaders.
- Give these books as rewards in your training and education programs.
- Develop an in-house, in-business library of hard copy books for check-out and development.
Valentine’s Day Bonus
Order the book, How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer, today till midnight & receive a delicious bar of Dagoba Chocolate as a bonus with every book (yep, everyone you order). It’s our sweet little thank you.
The Fifty Percent is a project Using Data To Improve Our World by co-founders Meagen Anderson and Ginger Johnson. Syndicated data, consumer insight, consulting, speaking, writing.
Ginger: 515.450.7757 PST [email protected]
Meagen: 972.821.6983 EST [email protected]
The Fifty Percent, On The House, V1 #1 Feb17
Thank you for giving a great session*. I really enjoyed your entire lesson. The thing that stood out the most to me was your suggestion on how to get a better understanding of what flavors people like to transform them into a beer drinker. I never really thought about asking a wine drinker what flavors they like in their wine and use that as a gateway to beer. I have always tried to start with a blonde, amber, etc and work my way up, typically finding that wine drinkers usually tend to go with something more flavorful anyways. I’m excited to have the opportunity to try my new technique.
Megan Scheerhorn, Marketing Coordinator
*Beer & Sex: Marketing Beer To Women, Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Conference, Kalamazoo MI January 2017
Happy New Year All ~
It’s always a good time to welcome in ‘new’ and shake things up.
I’ve been to Michigan and back – where (accordingly to my last post) the work of an event has transpired. The Fermenta crew hosted a superb event, the guests were fully engaged as was the host location, Arcadia Ales. My thanks to them all.
This is an example of being in a learning pattern, not a holding (stagnant) pattern. The invite to join them stretched them in new ways. Ways I wanted to support and accommodate. It’s the working together , in new ways – hence new pattern development – that stimulates and motivates.
A learning patterns means minds are open to escort the open eyes and ears of the learning.
As you sally forth into 2017 with beer, beer and food and all other culinary adventures, I’d encourage you to do the same. Consider life one continual learning curve. Out of the stale, into the possible.
Events are a lot of damn work.
So I’m always grateful for client partners who understand a few things:
- They want to work together to further beer education, for the beer and for the education.
- They understand we both have skin in the game and anticipate – ne expect – to pay me for my services.
- They are on top of the details. Logistics are involved and time-consuming – no wonder people specialize in events management!
- They forge ahead and make it work.
So my new year goblet of beer is raised today to the hard-working, smart and clever people with Fermenta today. I’ve the pure tasty pleasure to being their guest for a special January event coming right up on the 11th. Here’s the link – save your seats today (space is very limited and it’ll be a tasty blast into the new year).
- Arcardia Ales is our fine host for space and beer – yum!!
- Dagoba Chocolates has generously donated their delicious organic goods.
- Rogue Creamery is giving us sumptuous cheese to enjoy as well.
I’ll even be bringing some bootlegged Women Enjoying Beer koozies as gifts for all guests. The company Kolder stole my logo this summer and called it a mistake’… (more on that another time).
This event is open to all flavor enthusiasts, all makes and models. We’ll have a grand time in Michigan Winter tasting, talking and learning together.
Over the yeas I’ve been asked a number of times: So, how do I put together a women’s beer group?
Today’s the day I want to shed some light on successful components to planning and executing a women’s beer group.
- Education has to be the primary purpose. Educating a new segment in a population to an idea must drive the endeavor forward.
- Single gender education has some unique benefits so do it right. Full respect, no pandering or pinking and by all means make sure it’s worthy of the time you put into it.
- Title: this is the easiest and toughest for some people. What do I name it? Easy: use the words “Women” or “Females” for starters. Simple and descriptive rule the day here. Check to make sure the name you think you want to use isn’t being used by others as well (trust me, says the logo-infringed upon business owner). If it is, think again for another choice.
Conversely, never use denigrating or less-than-full-respect terms for women & beer: babes, broads, girls, chicks, and all other ilk of slang terminology holds everyone – and beer – back.
- A regular schedule is in order to get any sort of momentum. Whether you design a 3 part series or year round program, hold it consistently – day wise, time wise, location wise. Consistency builds brands.
- Charge guests for it. Part of the value proposition includes monetizing the education. Create a budget expressly for this effort and follow it. More guests will show up and take it seriously when you have a fee attached. $$ = investment of time and effort for everyone.
- Provide goodies. Free doesn’t make the world go round, but goodies can. I often get small glasses in tip-top shape at the thrift stores, put my vinyl stickers on them and give them away at tastings. Meaningful mementos of use are a great incentive and fun for all.
- Invite select media and press to attend, one at a time. Make M&P seats as valuable as the others. Budget 1 seat per event for proven press pros to enjoy, record and report. Show them a good time – just as you do all your guests – and do not expect glowing press in return. The job of the press is to report, as they see fit professionally to do so. Give them a good story and news they can use.
This gets us started today.
Want more tactics and strategy on how to put together a women’s or men’s or general beer enthusiasm group? Call me. I can help.
With a nod to the Ancient Mariner, one of the very best aspects of beer is flavor – hands (and pints) down. And one of the reasons is that we all enjoy flavor.
Do we all enjoy the same flavors? Oh goddess, no! That’s not important. What is important to is to enjoy beer and the beer community for all it offers, all beer flavors and characters included.
In my travels and adventures of beverage and food, I frequently lead beer and food pairings – often beer and chocolate. This eye-opening and often unexpected partnership of two everyday goodies is met with skepticism and enthusiasm. “Really, we’re going to have chocolate with beer?” Yes, really. Here’s why.
Beer’s grain bill – the actual grains in the beer recipe – has so many affiliations with flavors in various chocolates. In fact, since they both have a prominent base ingredient (beer = grain, chocolate = cocoa), they are naturally set up to deliciously co-exist. While I may sound bias, I can tell you that the light bulbs I see go on in a room experiencing beer and chocolate make the effort so incredibly worthwhile.
Teaching to flavor, opening minds by starting with our palate is gratifying and satisfying. Gratifying because there are always people in the room who have epiphanies. Voila! “Whoa – who knew??!!” reactions that in turn make me grin. Satisfying because I get to refresh my taste buds with beer and chocolate at the same time, thereby renewing the joy of flavor exploration.
Join us January 11th as the fine Fermenta folks and I host a lively educational event at gracious host Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo. I’ll be giving the talk, HerStory: The Story of Women & Beer, with the bonus goodies of fresh beer, Dagoba chocolate and Rogue Creamery cheese. Bring your open mind and open palate, good humor and a friend. Space is limited so register today.
See you soon in the Great State of Michigan for a flavor filled night. Cheers till then!
this article was originally written for Fermenta, 2017.
The power of getting where you’re going is a milestone.
“Milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination.” – Wikipedia
Where is it you want to go? What do you want to measure? What road are you creating that you’re heading down?
Milestones in beer are infinite. What was the first beer you tasted? What was the first beer you really connected with? Who were you with when you enjoyed a special beer? Where were you? How do all of these experiential milestones factor into your beer life going forward?
A few milestones for me include:
- First sips of beer in the company of my parents. Curious, though unremarkable. No big deal.
- First beer at college parties. Socially more of a big deal, taste wise – unremarkable to my taste buds.
- First taste of a sour or wild beer. Life changing, I loved it.
- First brewpub I patronized, though for the vibe & food, not the beer.
And so on.
As a researcher of women and beer, I find it interesting to learn about others’ milestones in beer. Finding out what resonates and what is benign. Hearing stories and tales of their experiences.
It places Women Enjoying Beer in a singular space, with an insight library of personal recollections and opinions unique to the entire beer world.
When beer makers, importers, distributors and retailers want to really know the milestones for women and beer, were at the ready to serve. Sharing the information through our services is how we are aiming to complete the milestone of a gender-free beer community. One in which gender is irrelevant (because it is) in relation to beer.
What are your beer milestones?
Beer for everybody. Everybody for beer. That’s a milestone worth aiming for.
To everyone who helps operate a beer with food establishment:
Ditch the Appetizers, Sell them Beer.
Why do so many places feel compelled to cut into the already thin margins of food as attractant for business for ‘happy hour’ or other reduced price events?
This practice makes no sense – in fact it can only damage the business. And never mind reducing prices on beer. That’s sacrilege in real life. Good grief.
Here’s what we need to all focus on: VALUE.
Value is the worth we place on some thing, experience and all other whatevers in our lives.
Are they worth our time? Our money? Our attention? Our repeat business? Our talking about them? Our sharing them? Our buying them to give as gifts?
Value is the true proposition we can all embrace and really sit back and ponder. It’s how we perceive worth. It’s also a smart business practice: to price on value.
For instance, I don’t offer my services by the hour – that’s simply encouraging the practitioner to keep you in the loop for longer to make more money. Is that really an ethical idea? No. Is taking care of your customers within one project rate better? Absolutely. Will you sometimes spend more time and others spend less in accomplishing what you agree to do? Yes, and it all evens out in time.
Appetizers are teasers. They warm up our palate and theoretically get our (literal) juices flowing to entice us to order more food. Is offering a reduced price appetizer the best way to get people to come to your business? It may get them in but it won’t keep them. There’s no value in discounting.
Don’t ask for a reduced price and don’t offer one. Offer value, in all ways, all the time.
Beer deserves to be a full value for everyone, all the time. Get the appetizers, order a beer and simply let it all be.
Do you respond or react when you learn of information which startles you into the reality of life?
Case in point: many beer companies are selling to other companies and entities these days. This pattern will likely continue, as does any industry that experiences robust growth as the beer making industry has.
So do you react – or do you respond?
First of all, let’s consider one very important facet of businesses selling to other businesses. The business that chooses to sell is the seller. There’d be no sale if the seller wasn’t interested. So for people who get irked or high and mighty about their favorite brewery being ‘bought out’ is a misnomer: the seller has to agree to that first. Start with them, the seller, before accusatorily getting righteous.
Next, if the plan of the ownership of a brewery – like any business – sees their business plan and exit strategy as selling to another party, good for them. That is strictly the business of the ownership, not ours as the consumers or observers. If that’s your plan, go for it.
A reaction is a response to an influence or event.
A response is an answer or reply.
They’re similar yet still different.
Everyone needs to withhold judgement before seeing what actually unfolds with a change of ownership.
Here’s the newsflash: when one company sells to another and a spokesperson for either entity comes out and says, “Nothing Will Change”, they’re lying. It may be innocent lying, but they are lying all the same.
The business has changed hands – how could it possibly remain the same!? It can’t, literally – it’s now changed. So before you blow up when you perceive that the business or beer did in fact change (whether it actually did or not), remember: the first thing that changed was ownership so of course operations will change.
Change seems to be something resisted with a great deal of effort. We’d be better served to simply observe, consider and then experience before judging and shouting.
Beer companies will continue to change hands. Breweries will continue to come online and grow into attractive enterprises to buy. It’s the way business can work for all of us. Simply enjoy what you enjoy, go with the changing-hands flow and be nice. There will always be more beer.