Marketing Learning Lab Offer

Marketing Learning Lab:
Going Deep into your Marketing Strategy & Tactics.
The What, Why, How, When & Where of Building Your Marketing Success.
Join me Wednesday June 22nd from 1 – 4 pm for a 3 hour ask-all-the-questions-you-want in-depth Marketing class.
Extreme Value priced for the first 12 reserved seats at only $100 (crazy, I know!!!). We’ll have room for up to 20, attendees 13 – 20 = $199.
Interactive, open discussion format on all things marketing, following an agenda.
Location: Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon – will share with final registrations.

Call me today through June 14th to save your seat (payment required in advance to save your seats). Want one for your business? We can do that – call me 515.450.7757 to set it up.


A few of my most sought after services include:

  • Full Day, All Out! Everything is possible when you hire me for a full day of work together. We can do one-on-ones, groups meetings, talks, classes, media & press appointments….you name it, we can likely fit it in.
  • All inclusive rate: $2500 + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
  • Speaking – Marketing, Marketing to Women, Connecting (how to meet the people you want and need to meet), The Power of the Customer Experience, Beer & Food pairing and tasting, and Cooking With Beer among available topics. Interactive, entertaining & meaningful. (I can deliver my TED talk as well.)
  • Rate: depends on audience size & scope, $750 – $2000 + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
  • Marketing Coaching program – We get started on this 6 month program to amp your efforts. We begin with an in-person 2 hour in-depth session where we cover all the ground you want, supported with weekly half hour calls between monthly meetings (long distance works well for many in this program too). Ground covered includes marketing expertise and guidance, strategy & tactics, and business development. This can also cover honing your ‘pitch’ and brand and image review.
  • Rate: $600/month, 6 month commitment + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
  • Discovery Session – One time BIG boost of ideas, logjam breaking, and ideation on business topics you want to discuss – including marketing expertise and guidance, strategy & tactics, business development.
  • Rate: $400/per person + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
Marketing Learning Lab

Marketing Learning Lab photo courtesy of Graham Lewis

If you want more topic choices, email me and I’ll send you full Service menus.

For new clients: Rates are an amazing value at regular price
For returning clients: Thank you! Rates will be offered at a 10% reduction incentive
For all: Gift of the book (marketing focused) when it comes out this fall.

This offer is only available on a first reserve, first get – as of right now through end of day June 1st. Call me NOW to book it (I’ll send you an invoice & Letter Of Agreement to reserve the date).

Let’s get your business going stronger together. It’d be a joy to work with you – good, solid, & productive fun!
Call me today 515.450.7757. Thanks for your time and attention. By all means, forward to others who could benefit (appreciate the spread). Cheers!

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What The &%$! Is It??

“That’s bad – but what the hell is it?” – recent off flavor class attendee

So true. We can often identify that something may be ‘off’ yet we can put our taste buds, olfactory or brain on precisely what we think is wrong. Or we can’t name the flavor we’re trying to isolate. Or we can’t remember where we’ve smelled that aroma before.

Smell & taste education = fun!

Smell & taste education = fun!

It’s all part of the learning curve in beer and all things gustatory.

Here’s the key: Keep learning.

Self-education combined with outside education is the answer to all improvement and progress. We can’t learn it all ourselves – and to think we can would only be fooling yourself. The smartest people around know that they must keep learning from others. They proactively pursue what they don’t know and surround themselves with people who know what they don’t.

And why would you want to?! Half the fun and magic of education is when you get to do it with other people who are also turned onto the idea of learning.

Think of it this way: the last time you really enjoyed any type of presentation, what did you enjoy about it? The more we enjoy it, the more we remember. The more we remember, the higher the value and impression of the experience.

So get out there. Find a class, host a class, take a class, and invite friends or plan to go solo to meet new folks.

Education makes the world go ’round. I’ll drink to that!

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Off Flavor Tasting

What a funny term: “off flavor.”

It’s commonly used in the beer industry to identify flavors that should not be present in a particular beer.

Odd name not withstanding, I was able to join an Off Flavor Tasting conducted at one of my local brewpubs by the brewer during American Craft Beer Week (May 16 – 22, 2016).

Brewer Larry & friend Sandi at the Off Flavor Class.

Brewer Larry & friend Sandi at the Off Flavor Class.

While I’ve been to a number of tasting specific events, I choose to keep attending when it fits to keep expanding my knowledge. Each instructor has a different style, different tactics and vocabulary and you meet new people every time. Knowledge isn’t just power – it’s fun!

We were given a control beer and then a succession of spiked beers. The spikes are liquids added in small amounts to mimic what the off flavor could taste like. In this case the brewer spiked it to 3 times threshold: three times what it would normally take to perceive this flavor. Making them very *ahem* obvious. Oof.

All the unhappy facial expressions aside (which goes with off flavor territory), it was definitely worth taking.

It was a fun hours worth of time learning, sipping, listening, tasting and expanding my brain to increase my knowledge of beer. I’d highly recommend you find and take classes about beer to keep your enthusiasm up and support bolstered.

By the way, I polished off the control beer at the end to relieve my palate. I’m thankful for brewers who make quality consistent beer, Kike Larry.

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Hey Beer: I’ve Got The Solution To Your Problem (Yes, You Have A Big One)

To all the beer pros out there: I’ve got the solution to your problem.

Before I get to it, I’ll identify your problem.

  • Problem: You’re only actively addressing less than 50% of the global population when you put together your marketing plans to sell your beer.
  • Problem: You’re not seeing what other retailers and businesses see right outside their own immediate world.
  • Problem: Active -ism’s are being intentionally practiced which repel enormously valuable market share & customers.

Here’s the Problem: You don’t know how to market beer to women.

Beer companies of all sizes have big problems: They don't know how to market to women.

Beer companies of all sizes have big problems: They don’t know how to market to women.

Yep, its true. And everyone’s got the fever.

And there are solutions everywhere!! I’m writing my first book to this end – a guide-book on How To Marketing Beer To Women, since so many, frankly, stink to high heaven at it.

Being in business means knowing what you’re getting into to a certain degree, its knowing you have a boatload to learn – all the time – about being successful & seeking the help you need. It’s knowing who the heck your market is BEFORE you sign the lease, hire staff, and open the doors.

Women are the worlds largest human population. Women make the vast majority of spending and financial decisions in the household (regardless of make up of members). And women like favor.

So – when you’re ready to solve the problem, starting with your business (yes, everyone has it – don’t think you’re immune), call me. I can help.

Women everywhere are waiting.


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Clean Bathrooms & Organized Cellars

“Well run places have clean bathrooms and well organized cellars.”

– Dan Goode, SteadyServ

Dan’s right. Clean bathrooms are a litmus test which can tell you, as a customer, how dedicated the owners and operators are to the beer.


Clean bathrooms tell us there's (usually) a overall commitment to cleanliness.

Clean bathrooms tell us there’s (usually) a overall commitment to cleanliness.

Well, if the bathrooms are clean, if everything in the restrooms is in working order, then that directly correlates to the care given to the brewhouse and making beer.

Have you been to a brewery, brewpub, or tasting room and been impressed with the cleanliness? There’s a huge likelihood, then, of those same folks having clean and tidy bathrooms. Do the stall latches work? Great – I bet all the butterfly clamps in the brewhouse are working too.

Why? Because every detail matters to them. From the temperature of the air to the toilet paper dispensers being full to the lack or dirt in the corners to completely clean walls (no mold growing) in moist environs.

Cleanliness is the #1 factor in running a solid brewery, hands down. Cleanliness is one of the top factors female beer enthusiasts do and will notice in a beer focused establishment. It’s an easy factor to get right: be diligent, regular in maintenance, and keep it together.

Since I’m in the midst of writing the Women & Beer Guidebook: How To Market Beer To Women, bathrooms cleanliness comes up once again. (p.s. that’s still a working title…)

As both my editor Julie and brewer friend (and beta chapter reader) said, ‘we still need to talk about this?‘ Yep. As long as there are dirty bathrooms, women will equate them to, well – what else could or is dirty if the bathrooms are? As easy as it is to keep them clean, it’s equally easy to be lax and let them go. That’s why we’re still talking about this.

Make your commitment complete: Keep your bathrooms clean, your cellar organized, and your patrons – especially the female ones – will keep coming back for more.

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1 2 3 Brewery Marketing Punch

I had the distinct pleasure to be part of a panel at this years Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia this month.

Abby sharing tips on how to get PR for your brewery.

Abby sharing tips on how to get PR for your brewery.

Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, and Abby Berman Cohen, The Rosen Group PR Firm, were my colleagues to inform, educate, and provide answers and ideas to a room full of beer folk.

As testament that marketing is a forever-desired topic and necessary part of business, the room was indeed pretty full (I’m guessing 200 – 300 people). When Julia asked for a show of hands for new, start up, and in-planning breweries to raise hands, a LOT of the room participated. Whoa.

With over 2 breweries opening every day in America, there’s a huge need for people going into any kind of beer business to get smart with their marketing plans. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. With well over 4300 breweries in America already, the field becomes more populated every day. This  makes the clarity of your marketing message and brand all the more crucial to survival.
  2. All breweries must have a plan. Because opening a brewery is a business like any other entity, you must plan to succeed. Marketing is part of the foundational planning.
  3. Marketing = communication, education. Knowing your market and desired target market needs to be done before any tanks are bought, leases signed, or beers brewed. You must know who you will sell to before you begin.

One statement I made in my remarks was that the days of ‘if I brew it, they will come’ are long lover. The public – all of us – are more and more savvy to beer now than we were even a few years ago, never mind 5, 10 or 15+ years ago. It’s a whole new landscape and people wishing to open breweries need to prepare their marketing plans in order to succeed long term.

Philadelphia Convention Center

Philadelphia Convention Center

Being a flash in the pan works for gold mining. All other endeavors need to understand the full and total value of developing a marketing plan to make a living.

If you want to make beer in your garage and give it to your friends, fine – go for it. That’s what home brewing is about.

If you want to go up about 5 levels to pro level brewing and open a brewery, then do everyone the best service – you especially – and become business savvy. Study up, find a partner who likes and is knowledgeable in business to help, or work for someone else for a while to learn and figure out a lot of the actual day to day operations in running a business.

The first year I presented at the CBC was Boston 2009, effectively launching Women Enjoying Beer. So it was enjoyable to be on the East coast again for the event.

Cheers to Julia & Abby for what they shared. When you want a marketing expert, advisor and coach for your beer business, call on me.

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What (Beer) Defines You? What (Beer) Doesn’t?

If you were to fill in the blank below*, what would you write?

If I was a beer, I’d be _________________. And I’d never be _________________.

(*brand, style, flavor, whatever and however you define beer)

This idea gives me pause thanks to Jim Sullivan for the inspiration today. He asked this question of the audience at the TRA last year, where I was also speaking. ‘What defines you? What doesn’t define you?’

So many beer enthusiasts proudly wave the snob banner. The best banner to wave is the diplomacy banner.

With the 'Sullivisionary' in Texas.

With the ‘Sullivisionary’ in Texas.

Diplomacy is so much better, productive, and progressive than any snob banner would be, I’m miffed as to why anyone would claim to be a beer snob.

Who wants to hang out with a snob anyway!? Perhaps only other snobs… I don’t know but it sure ain’t me.

Plus, as an open minded beer enjoyer, I want to try everything I can to see what’s available. It’s a tragic error for anyone to turn down any beer they’ve not had – regardless of all factors – unless they’ve tried it in the last month. How do you know you won’t find a brand new friend you can wait to enjoy again if you don’t try it?

Answer: you can’t.

So you allow your taste buds to go without something that could have enlightened, pleased, and delighted your entire sensory system.

Diplomacy reign supreme.

If I were to fill in the blanks above today*, here’s what I’d tell you:

If I was a beer, I’d be the fresh one you bring over for dinner. And I’d never be stale.

*qualified with “today” – it can and likely will change, as I hope it does for you.

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Changing Perception

“If there’s a problem, it’s my job to change the perception.”

These were big words uttered by a long time hospitality pro during a very worthwhile panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace. She said a mouth-full, for sure.

So how do we 1. know there’s a problem and 2. how do we change perception.

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

In keeping with this being a site on women & beer, I’d relate it to a huge problem being the misnomer that women don’t drink or enjoy beer. While millions understand that’s simply not true, millions and billions more seem to think (actively or passively) that is it true.

So how do we change that perception, knowing there’s a problem.

Wait – first you want to know how I judge there’s a problem? Glad you asked.

Do a quick online search of articles on women and beer, beer labels and sexism in beer and it’ll come at you with lightning speed.

The problem, Houston, is that we’re making much ado about an incorrect and damning stereotype. I can tell you for a fact – women enjoy beer. Women enjoy beer, they enjoy wine, spirits, cider, mead and sake…and everything else out there any one person can enjoy. Like Nancy Nichols, the author of the cited piece above said, “don’t view your sex as a factor.”

There’s a misperception that certain alcoholic beverages hold a lock on a certain gender. It’s a bunch of bladerdash.

Think for yourself and with your own brains and taste buds. If you run into a misperception – when you run into a problem with this thinking – set the record straight.

Ain’t so such thing as a woman’s beer nor a man’s beer. To thine own taste buds be true and we’ll all make progress breaking down the sexism in beer.

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Creating Believers: Beer & Chocolate Tastings

“I used to be a beer racist, but you changed me.” – April A

Ninkasi’s Believer Red has long been a beer that makes me smile. Yes, it’s delicious. More importantly I really like the philosophy around the name: Believer.

We all want to believe in something and last night I made believers of new beer & chocolate tasters. April’s quote, my host of last nights event, nails it: remove your prejudice and simply fall into the possibilities.

Beer: Just Add Chocolate to pair.

Beer: Just Add Chocolate to pair.

As part of the annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, I deliver lively & tasty “Beer & ____” sessions each year. This year – my 5th year doing so – I also introduced what I dubbed the ClassPort. Everyone who attended all three of my tasting sessions over the course of the Friday – Sunday weekend event was eligible to win a complimentary private beer & chocolate tasting; they got their ClassPort stamped at each class.

Three people dedicated themselves to the task (!) and I ended up giving away 3 sessions. Why not!? They made the time and participated, I love engaged guests, and it’s fun all the way around.

Last night I delivered the first of the three private tastings to 8 game and mostly unfamiliar-to-this-concept folks. Suffice to say minds were changed!

Here’s what I find are 3 of the consistent surprises when people put beer and chocolate together.

  1. Most people have never even thought of putting beer and chocolate together, never mind attended an actual planned tasting event. The element of Surprise & Delight is on my side!
  2. The tasting first of the beer alone, then the chocolate alone, then the two together is a good pattern for the S & D factor. “Wow! Who Knew? Really??” are all rallying exclamations from guests.
  3. Since beer is so incredibly diverse, it’s easy to blow minds multiple times with however many courses you choose to feature. I planned 3 last night (menu below).

The next time you think of beer, think of chocolate.

The next time you think of chocolate, think of beer.

Then invite some friends over and make some new believers out of them.

Oh – and Ninkasi beers, by the way, make great choices. I’ve featured them many a’time with success. Choose the beers and chocolates you like, mix and match, and simply have fun exploring.

Discovery awaits!


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Book Writing & Beer Size

When I put forth the 2012 Women + Beer survey, I was still pretty new to the idea of effective research. Sure, it’s easy to ask questions. Folks like to answer and talk about themselves.

The knack is to ask the question you’re really wanting people to consider and respond to.

One of the questions I asked was: Does size matter for your beer?

What I should have asked was: Does size of serving or strength of alcohol matter?

What I got was a whole avalanche of input and insight that was so much richer than I had intended, and happily so.

In working today on the chapter draft covering that question, I am reminded that specific is terrific (with a nod to Mark G for that gem). Specificity is critical in doing research for a number of reasons.

  1. Being specific will provide critical focus to your work.
  2. Specificity will make it easier to move forward with other specific queries – one step and specific question at a time.
  3. It allows for elimination, which, in research, is really a helpful concept too.
Yes, size context and with explanation and specificity.

Yes, size matters…in context and with explanation and specificity.

As I keep writing this draft, it’s both entertaining and re-educational to read the hundreds of replies to that age-old snicker-inducing question: does size matter.

You’ll have to wait for the book (due September 2016) to read the whole thing. Suffice to say a qualified “yes” is the answer. AND you have to have the context around it and what “yes” actually means, since there are qualifiers for yes’s and no’s.

Stay tuned. And in the meantime, enjoy the beer you like, in whatever serving size & strength you like. Doing so with friends makes life taste even better.

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Yes, You Can!!

The classic (for a reason) children’s book, “I Can’t” said the ant by Polly Cameron is on my radar right now.

When I was moving furniture around a month ago to paint my floors, I unloaded our full book cases. In a former life I taught school and would often order books when my students could. Anyone else remember the thrill of getting the Scholastic order forms?? Anyway….

What I continue to love about this book and what makes me keep it is the inherently positive message it conveys.

Yes, you can!

Yes, you can!

Yes, the title has a negative. Can by it’s very nature is a word of choice – you can and you can’t; it’s up to you. It annoys the crap out of me when someone tells me they can’t do something. Baloney! It’s usually because you don’t want to, not that you literally cannot do whatever. I stay away from can’ters.

Here the ant thinks it can’t…yet all the ants friends and encounters tell it YOU CAN! It’s how I choose to look at the world every day, regardless of what’s going on. I can.

When I think of this book in context of beer (yes, I have a connection) I know that I can and will try any beer put in front of me. Home brew, professional beer, international – whatever. It’s because I know there are flavors and beers out there just waiting for me to enjoy. Discovery excites me.

To say ‘I can’t’ before I even sip and try is pessimistic and fatalistic. And certainly not how my taste buds choose to roll!

Say “I Can!” each and every time someone offers you a beer, no matter what kind it is. Seriously. If you back off because of an earlier experience that was negative – guess what: that’s not happening right now and you are different than you were, this is a new circumstance.

So try it. You may like it and find a new friend.

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Cooking the Books

Today I got to speak, yet again, with the energetic and whip sharp Laura Kimberly. Laura is the Branch Manager of the Medford Public Library, Medford OR.

A beer and food tasting event held at a local brewery.

A beer and food tasting event held at a local brewery.

Laura and I started to get to know one another last year, pre-TED talk. Since then we’ve kicked off a very fun and tasty relationship discussing and planning ideas and events to further bolster community support of our public libraries. Scott, one of their fine Reference Librarians, is also in cahoots with us for even more fun.

And a bunch of fun it is!

We’re focusing in on an event June 10th at the branch called Beer & Books. I’ll be giving a very fun program built around the beer related books the library has in circulation. There’ll be free tastes of beer for attendees, likely from a local brewer, generously provided by the Friends of the Medford Library + snacks to go with that tasty beer.

Beer brings people together. People love to hear about beer, food, and herstory. This will be one of those events. Watch the Events page of the Library for full details. We’ve planned the event to happen in conjunction with the annual Medford Beer Week.

In the meantime, support your local library and save the date! Plan to join us and we’ll get bookin’ into beer.

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Open Your Mouth

  • Silence = agreement.
  • Speaking up = challenge, agreement, inquiry, support, debate.

Whenever we speak up about what you support and believe in, we can make progress forward. Indeed, when I applied to give my first TED talk (April 2015), I didn’t realize it was going to land firmly in the humor-cum-gender-equity arena.

So it goes for me. Why I can’t keep my mouth shut is the same reason I have a damn near impossible time not piping up when I see, read, and otherwise witness some sort of insult to gender related to beer.

Open your mouth...

Open your mouth…

The primary reason: it’s not necessary in anyway shape or form. Great brands lead by people who understand smart business rely on the quality factors, on consistency and on opportunity. Education for all with beer & women & men will move the progress needed forward. Gender equality is good for all.

So – speak up for your beer. Speak up for gender equity. Speak out against any -isms that we unhelpful to all of the above.

“If I’m too strong for some people, that’s their problem.”Glenda Jackson

After all, sharing a beer with people all over the globe should bring us together. And I say cheers to that.


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Stout & Porter: What’s the Difference?

Having been asked what the difference between Porter and Stout style is again last weekend by a Oregon Chocolate Festival tasting workshop guest, I came across this document My Fine Husband shared with me. It’s courtesy of the Brewers Association Style Guide; MFH = Larry Chase, professional brewer. Hope this helps.

How Stout & Porter Differ

Disagreement abounds on the differences between stout and porter. Different answers arise depending on who you ask. The line between the two can be quite blurred and obscure. Often it’s what the brewer says it is. Two general differences tend to include:

  • Stout uses more roasted barley and black malt
  • Stout generally leans to black color while porters are dark brown to almost black

Brewers Association Style Guide

Robust Porter

Whatever it is, it'd delicious! Photo courtesy Kate Parks

Whatever it is, it’s delicious!
Photo courtesy Kate Parks

Often more bitter and roasted malt flavor than a brown porter, but not quite a stout. Robust porters have a roast malt flavor, often reminiscent of cocoa, but no roast barley flavor. Their caramel and malty sweetness is in harmony with the sharp bitterness of black malt. Hop bitterness is evident.

Brown Porter

Brown porters have no roasted barley or strong burnt/black malt character. Low to medium malt sweetness, caramel and chocolate is acceptable. Hop bitterness is medium.

Irish-Style Dry Stout

Dry stouts are black. These beers achieve a dry-roasted character through the use of roasted barley. The emphasis of coffee-like roasted barley and a moderate degree of roasted malt aromas define much of the character. Hop bitterness is medium to medium high.

English-Style Sweet/Milk Stout

Sweet stout, also referred to as cream stout, is black in color. Malt sweetness, chocolate, and caramel flavor should dominate the flavor profile and contribute to the aroma. They also should have a low to medium-low roasted malt/barley derived bitterness. milk sugar (lactose) lends the style more body.

English-Style Oatmeal Stout

The addition of oatmeal adds a smooth rich body to these craft beers. Oatmeal stouts are dark brown to black in color. A roasted malt character which is caramel-like and chocolate-like should be smooth and not bitter. Coffee-like roasted barley and malt aromas are prominent.

Imperial Stout

American-style imperial stouts are the strongest in alcohol and body of the stouts and black in color. These beers typically have an extremely rich malty flavor and aroma with full, sweet malt character. Bitterness can come from roasted malts or hops additions.

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Chocolate In The Kitchen Class Registration

Join us!

I’m looking forward to seeing you at our new class: Chocolate in the Kitchen. It’s a 3 part series of demo classes to fill you up with ideas on how,where, and when to include chocolate and cocoa in your cooking adventures. Simple, lively, fun and tasty. You’re sure to walk away with loads of ideas and meet other terrific new people.

  •             When: Tuesday nights 6 – 8 pm, April 12th, 19th, & 26th
  •             Where: my sweet ol’ etcetera Bakery, 250 Oak Street #2, Ashland Oregon
  •             What: Classes (demo style) on using chocolate in the kitchen – new ideas, recipes and tastes abound. You’ll get copies of everything post-class as well so you can relax and enjoy it fully. (by all means take your own notes as you wish!)
  •             Value: Only $129 per guest, includes all instruction and supplies per person

Dress comfortably and know it’s a cozy space. I recommend you bring a water bottle – we’ll have some tea available too.

Chocolate In The Kitchen - ideas aplenty!

Chocolate In The Kitchen – ideas aplenty!

Since the classes are during the dinner hour for many, feel free to bring snacks as you wish. We’ll have you taste & nibble, though it’s not a full meal.

Please call me to reserve your seat/s. You can print off and mail all necessary information below & send payment in for each person and we’ll look forward to welcoming you in April.

  1. Guest First & Last Name ____________________________________________________

Direct & best phone number _______________  Direct email address _______________________

  1. Guest First & Last Name ____________________________________________________

Direct & best phone number _______________ Direct email address ________________________

Add more as desired – NOTE: we have room for 8 guests total. You’ll get confirmation when payment is received.

Payment can be made with checks (yep!) & cash.

Send registration and payment of $129 to: Ginger Johnson, 509 James Street, Talent OR 97540.

Payment for the class is due in full before April 10th to ensure we’re ready for you – and ready we want to be for a great time.

I’ll be glad to connect with you in person if you’d like to pay with cash. We’re fine tuning online payments – my apologies for any inconvenience at this time!

Note: Once you buy the series, the seats are yours. Like a scheduled concert, you’re welcome to pass your seat/s forward to someone else if you have a conflict with any of the dates once you pay (said another way, sorry – no refunds).

Thank you & see you soon ~


World HQ: 515.450.7757                                    gcj 2016/ Women Enjoying Beer / Ginger Johnson LLC

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Oregon Chocolate Festival 2016: Workshop Recipes

Welcome back!

Thanks to those who are seeking this out do to your attending one of my sessions at the 12th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. As a returning presenter, I’m very glad to share the menu + recipes (or links therein) so you can do this at home.

OCF 2016 Workshop signage

OCF 2016 Workshop signage

Of course, if you liked the presentation – if you like lively engaging entertainment period – call me for your own events. Business and home, private and public events are all fair (and fare) game.


Chocolate Gingerbread cookies, courtesy Martha Stewart

Fast Fondue, courtesy Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library, Chocolate cookbook

  • 1.25 c brown sugar
  • .25 cup stout/robust deep roasted flavored beer
  • .5 heavy / whipping cream
  • 9 oz semisweet chocolate chips/chopped
  • In a medium saucepan, stir together the stout and browns sugar, then add cream and bring to a steady boil. Remove pan from heat, stir in chocolate till all melted. Keep warm to serve. Fresh fruit, biscuits, and cookies are all good dippers.
  • Dip, drizzle, have fun!

No-Fail Fudge, courtesy Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library, Chocolate cookbook

  • Grease an 8 x 8 pan with butter.
  • Combine: 1.5 c unrefined sugar, 2 T unsalted butter, .5 t salt, .5 c evaporated milk in a roomy saucepan over medium heat. Stir continually until boiling, lower heat slightly, and simmer & keep stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate until smooth. Add 2 t vanilla extract and stir again. Quickly pour into the pan, smoothing the surface as desired. Place in fridge for 1 – 2hours until firm. Cut & serve. Store in airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week.
  • (I used Scharffen Berger’s Coconut Macadamia Nut in one batch, their Sea Salt Pistachio in another. Both delish!)


  • Fast Fonue (see above) – I used Dagoba’s Xocolatl in one batch, their Milk chocolate in another
All that remained after one of the workshop tasting sessions...

All that remained after one of the workshop tasting sessions…

Barley wine Poached Pears

  • Peel, quarter and core as many Bosc pears as desired. Chunk if desired (hint: more surface area = quicker cooking) Make sure they are just ripe, not overripe. Place them in a pot and add roughly 4 cups of barley wine + water so they are gently floating. Add mulling spices for extra flavor. Simmer until pierceable with a fork. Remove from heat, letting them cool down in the liquid. Place pear pieces in serving dishes, drizzle with Fast Fondue (above), garnish with fresh mint if desired. Serve.
  • Tip: Keep the liquid to keep cooking with.

Citrus Cookies

I adapted the Gingerbread cookie recipe above, replacing fresh lemon & orange zest for the savory spices and cocoa. These cookies will cook best if the dough is chilled for .5 – 1 hour before scooping & cooking. I rolled the dough into fat logs to cut into coins for baking.


Both the Sour Cherry Jam & the Apricot Lemon Marmalade are from the excellent book, The Canning Kitchen, Amy Bronee. I highly recommend you buy it for the recipes.

Cheers & keep nibbling ~

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2016 Oregon Chocolate Festival Recap: Beer & Chocolate &…

First of all, THANK YOU to all the super engaged and fun flavor loving guests at the very recent 12th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, Ashland Hills, Ashland OR.The organizers moved it to a roomier venue – and in my opinion, with great success. Way more room and opportunity for everyone to fully get around

Elegant tasting-ready room at OCF 2016, Ashland Hills

Elegant tasting-ready room at OCF 2016, Ashland Hills

and mingle. The previous venue is now too small for this ever-growing destination event.

It marked my fifth year presenting at this yummy Theobroma cacao saturated festival. Each year I’ve given lively & tasty beer and chocolate tastings. We’ve gone from a room that’ll seat 30ish to a tent that seats 45/50ish to (now) a roomy room for 80+.

When people started coming in, 30 minutes before the sessions started, I knew we were in store for more incredible crowds of enthusiasts. I’m happy to report, every single person who was our guest at all three of the sessions was a pure pleasure to have in the room! I especially liked the multi generational families with offspring of varying ages.

With 22+ Friday night, 80 – 100+ Saturday afternoon, and 80 – 100 Sunday, it was a packed crazy good time had by all. Can’t wait to return next year! I’m always humbled by guests who return to my sessions on purpose – so a special thanks to them all.

Russ, Ginger & Stacy - revved up for the 2016 OCF

Russ, Ginger & Stacy – revved up for the 2016 OCF

The sessions ran smooth in large part thanks to my exceptional (not exaggerating here) crew, starting with my second in command for the weekend, Russ. He’s a service professional, kept it all going, gave directions to the hotel staff (who are always fantastic too!), and made my job easy. Hats off to my colleague and occasional assistant Stacy, equally competent, sharp and guest focused. The hotel staff & crew, management and security hired – all of them were smiling, helpful and fun to work in delicious harmony with and for.

So – what’d we have, you may be asking? Good question! Let me whet your whistle with the menus we served. I encourage you to try this at home:

Friday / Always a Classic: Beer + Chocolate Pairing & Tasting

  • Standing Stone* Chocolate Stout with chocolate gingerbread cookies & Dagoba** Lemonberry Zest chocolate.
  • Barleywine* with shortbread cocoa sticks with Xocolatl** fondue + red raisins
  • Milk & Honey* with Scharffen Berger Coconut Macadamia fudge

Saturday / Together Forever: Beer, Wine & Chocolate Tasting

  • Barleywine* + Weisingers Syrah with barleywine poached Bosc pears drizzled with unsweetened** fondue and Rogue Creamery Flora Nelle blue
  • Chocolate Beer* + Weisingers Sauvignon Blanc with citrus cookies and mandarin oranges

Sunday / Better All The Time: Beer, Chocolate & Cheese Tasting

  • Noble Stout* with more Coconut Macadamia fudge + Scharffen Berger sea salt pistachio fudge and unsweetened coconut shavings
  • Twin Plunge Double IPA* with Orange** chocolate, mandarin oranges, and rustic french bread crostini topped with Rogue Creamery Cacow Belle cheese & either lemon orange marmalade or cherry citrus jam
  • Milk & Honey* with Milk chocolate** and water crackers topped with soft chevre, dusted with Drinking chocolate powder**

Hungry yet?


I’ll post recipes tomorrow.

*Standing Stone Brewing Company beers

**Dagoba Organic Chocolates


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Water, Water Everywhere…But….

With a hats off to Lucy, here’s the scoop on the very important 2016 Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference. Information and registration is here.

It’s totally my option to endorse and publish the press release here with more detail.

We’re all responsible for water conservation: it’s the key to life on earth. Never mind our selfish enthusiasm for beer!

Conserve, attend, support.

Conserve, attend, support.

Beer requires a hefty amount of water to produce it – from the cleaning and sanitation to actual production to the beer that lands in our glass. It’s critical we give it the attention, time, and effort required to help our planet stay healthy starting with our water.

“The Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference brings together brewers to consider innovative answers to water and wastewater management issues and discover collaborative, sustainable solutions for the community and for the environment.”

Do your part to conserve:

  1. Exercise restraint and smart use at home, business, volunteering and all places you are and go.
  2. Educate others and help them execute the same.
  3. Appreciate the life water helps us live.

Here’s a terrific 100 Ways To Conserve Water. Apply immediately.

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Personal Anniversary Beer Dinner

My Fine Husband and I met February 6th, 2002. I was on a date (with someone else) and he was the Brewmaster leading a beer dinner with the AKM, at Granite City Food & Brewery, Sioux Falls SD.

To celebrate this meeting and then our first date March 1st 2002, we recently decided to recreate the specialness of that meeting by making our own in-home beer dinner. Date night. What a great idea!! And why hadn’t we thought about it before….oh well…no matter.

First course....complete with a cozy fire.

First course….complete with a cozy fire.

Once we decided to have this fun dinner celebrating us, we endeavored to put together a menu. Larry chose and procured the beer he desired for the evening, then I put together a complementary food menu. What fun it was to do so – knowing so much more about beer, pairing and cooking with beer now than I did 14 year ago….

When I went on that fateful February date, I went because it was Something To Do – not because it was a beer dinner proper. It was a fun thing two people who hardly knew each other could do together and converse throughout. In retrospect, it was the fact that the date in particular was quickly becoming a first and last with that person (nice guy, just not for me) that motivated me to turn my full attention to the event: learning about beer and food together.

Now, I grew up with a dinner party throwing family so the idea of coming together over beverage and food was familiar and attractive to me. To feature beer was the new idea – since my family mostly had cocktails and a bit of wine. Beer was around, simply not at these parties for whatever reason. I shared a bit more of the story in my TED talk here.

Fast forward to a month ago. The beer dinner we decided to throw ourselves was a really fun way to celebrate meeting and beginning our relationship. Here’s the menu we enjoyed.

My Fine Husband & me celebrating - cheers!

My Fine Husband & me celebrating – cheers!

If this all sounds good to you, go ahead and reproduce it as you wish, of course! Celebrate your own wonderful occasions with this or a menu of your own devising.

Life is worth celebrating. Do it often.

Cheers to My Fine Husband, professional brewer and love of my life. Here’s to years of fun dinners together forever.


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Does Size Matter For Your Beer?

That question, along with 9 others, is forming the foundation of my first women + beer book, due out this fall.

It’s a curious, often snicker inducing, question that deserves full respect.

Book it!

Book it!

First of all, I have learned I should have asked a more specific question: Does serving size of your beer matter? – or – Does the ABV (size?) matter? – or – Does having options to pick a size of serving you want matter? – or…there are a few others which you can read about when the book comes out.

Overall, I’m really glad I fumbled the question! Without the unintended open-ended query I gave women, they would have never given me deeper, broader, and more useful insight and information.

Good humor reigns supreme and the vast majority of women’s written replies were straightforward and covered a lot of ground. As I’ve been working on grouping the patterns in each of the questions for the book, it’s been a refreshment of purpose, making me smile and look forward to the tough job of writing a book. Seriously, I’ve no romantic visions of writing one – it’s a lot of work, which transplants other work. As my own boss and Person In Charge of Making Income, it’s no small commitment to set aside chunks of writing time to get this bird off the ground.

I’m grateful for all my friends and colleagues who have written books and have given me the benefit of their valuable insight, advice, and suggestions. And I am love love loving working with my Editor! These people make the world of difference in this protracted process, for sure.

Please nudge me in the coming months and ask how it’s progressing. Your encouragement is always noticed and appreciated.

Write on.

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