The Bully Beer Pulpit

“It’s different to talk about beer with a beer savvy audience than it is to talk to a non-beer audience.” – Julie Johnson

Julie is right. And that lesson is on my mind a lot these days since I’ve got a variety of non-beer (focused, yet included) work coming up soon.

The Texas Restaurant Association is one such audience. It’s a thrill to be returning to the nation’s second largest restaurant industry show to talk about marketing, beer, and business.

Julie’s quote above will help guide me to success as I keep a few things in mind.

  1. All of us in business need marketing guidance; no matter where our beer education is.
  2. Beer has much to teach us in the business world, like how important it is to savor the experience.
  3. Marketing is critical to success of all kinds, no matter tax-status or locale or size of business entity.
Terrific panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace

Terrific panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace

When I head to Houston in a few weeks, I’ll be delivering a few talks: Beyond the Deep Fryer Better Beer & Food Pairing for Better Business Success as well as What’s New Right Now? in craft beverage.

Clearly the titles have been set…and to paraphrase my friend Marti, I’m ready to direct the talk where ever the best direction seems to be, outline or not. The audience always knows more of what they want to know, than I can surmise. So it’s really important to me – as an educational speaker – to take care of the questions they brought with them. I can always send a follow-up outline to attendees afterwards.

The show hosts thousands and thousands of people, hundreds upon hundreds of vendors, and dozens of speakers & events. It’s important to me – as it is the attendees – to invest our time wisely and give & get what will provide value and meaning.

Beer invariably infiltrates talks I give, including my TED talk. I bring it into the conversation because it’s part of who I am. And I’m aware that the TRA crowd will be interested insofar as whatever beer insight I give them will help them improve and build their businesses.

I could talk about marketing all day long – I love it. The TRA Marketplace is be an ideal opportunity to integrate, overlap and connect the dots. Sound hospitality business includes smart marketing; if you hold a license to serve, then knowing about beer and how it affects your success is also important. I combine both, for varied audiences, with success.

Speaking is an activity and work I truly love. Making sure the audience can relate and find useful takeaways is my goal. Call me when I may be at your service in this capacity. ‘Tis always a pleasure.

 

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Waving At Cops

I’ve long had a book title in my mind: Waving At Cops. It’d be a book about smaller towns and how it’s important to wave at everybody to build your world.

I feel the same way about beer. I want to wave at all possibilities, give them all a chance, invite them all in. And why not? There’s flavor aplenty to discover. And I want to share it all with those around me.

Class of 2007, Sheriff's Academy, Story County IA

Class of 2007, Sheriff’s Academy, Story County IA

Perhaps this thought is front and center right now because I’m writing my book on women & beer. It’s on my mind because I think there’s so much more progress and value and life in the welcoming – the waving – to all beers.

It’s like waving at cops. Or the old lady who pushes her wheely cart on the sidewalk. Or the first grader with an oversized backpack. All of these people hold value and stories. They are all part of our neighborhood.

If everyone embraced welcoming & waving all beers and all people, I think the global neighborhood would indeed be a better place. I’m doing my part, waving at my local cops. And I’d encourage you to do yours. It’s fun, it’s good and it matters.

Go on, wave…..they’ll likely wave back.

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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.

How?

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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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!

Menu:

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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 matters...in 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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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.

Friday

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!)

Saturday

  • 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.

Sunday

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?

Good.

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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Beer Syrup

Yes, you read it right – beer syrup. What, you ask, exactly is that?

It’s a lovely elixir of almost unbelievably luscious flavors made by using beer in reductions and, well, to make syrups. On pages 197 & 199 of the new (totally fantastic!!) Beer Pairing book by Julia & Gwen, they cover making syrups.

goodies simmering in beer....

goodies simmering in beer….

I’ve got some in my fridge from the prep I did for the Big Beers festival in early January. For the seminar I lead, I had simmered various fresh citrus fruits & dried vegetables in beer. Once the fruits and vegetables were done, I saved the liquid. Almost every liquid in my kitchen finds a new life in other dishes. At a minimum the worms in my compost pile are extremely happy with what we give them!

Making beer syrup is quite simple with perhaps the most difficult part simply deciding which beers to reduce. Caveat: very bitter beers are not good candidates, as they can get very unpleasantly tannic. (I first learned this in cooking prep for the TFOB). It’s not what you or the beer really wants. All the same, experiment and cook a variety of beers down to see what you get, taste every few minutes to learn more about what’s happening and how the flavors change until you find what you want.

In preparation for my Vail session, I simmered ruby red grapefruit, lemons, limes, blood oranges, valencia oranges, and kiwi in 3 different beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash Nancy, and Bruery Terreaux Oude tart with Bosenberries. WOW! Talk about a very fun and tasty experiment – or shall I say exbeeriment….in all events, the syrup in my fridge from those exploits is deliciously awaiting being included in recipes. So far, I’ve used some for baking sweet potatoes (yum), smoothies (yum), and punch

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences - Vail rocks!

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences – Vail rocks!

(yum). They’re quite versatile so get creative.

Lucy Saunders, long time food & beer pro, is an outstanding resource for cooking with beer. Her books are useful, fun and a delight for the enthusiastic cook using beer in the kitchen. And I’m just starting to get to know Adam Dulye, beer chef for the BA.

When you find yourself looking for a new idea, make some beer syrups. I guarantee it’s beer as you’ve never had it before and well worth while. Oh, and sipping on a beer while you’re cooking is the best way to happily wait for the alchemy to happen.

Cheers!

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Superbowl Commercials & Messages They Send

Last year about this time I found myself in a self-imposed experiment: watch the entire Superbowl from start to finish and really look at the advertisements between play. No pre-game show, thanks – it was enough of an investment for me to simply sit through 3 hours of American football.

I had asked the general public for volunteers who wanted to scope out their local beer retailers to make observations on the beer displays they found. Thanks to Joanna in Orlando and Leslie in Monterey among them for contributing their thoughts.

Overall their thoughts were what I’d call positive: no huge gender influence or sexism. YES! It’s a small victory for women and beer and I hope that continues for a long time.

What have you seen for beer ads so far? Displays in your grocers or alcohol stores?

So what was the result of my watchings?

Well, it was a large variety of companies and purposes. You can watch them here. The most profound one to me was the domestic abuse commercial, based on a real chilling phone conversation of a woman calling 911 – unbeknownst to whomever was in the house threatening her – under the guise of ordering a pizza.

They ranged from tax service companies to cars to TV programs to snack foods and, of course, ubiquitous beer ads. I loved this one from Reebok, as it was suited to the event and focuses on their core message and strength of everyone. Kudos!

As it stood, Budweiser was the beer sponsor of the event so it only makes sense to only see their ads. How much does an ad cost during the game? Find out here – and you better be sitting down.

What I was glad to observe was that, while there were certainly questionable ads as far as sexism goes, the offenders were other than beer. I’d give them a pass (the other companies) and say they were simply silly, wondering why they even put the particular ad up during Superbowl. Yet that would lessen the overall message of making sure sexism in all forms is banished and inappropriate no matter the products and services advertised. So I won’t.

A few head scratchers were:

  1. Why was there a male voice over for the female Paralympian Amy Purdy? Why wasn’t a women chosen?
  2. Why the sexed up animals in the tortoise and hare ad?
  3. No females in any of the car ads.

Women make between 75-85% of all purchases. Who’s forgetting this fact? A whole bunch of people working for a whole bunch of different companies apparently. Those who remember will see benefits far and wide in so many ways. Most importantly for building equality for all, the globe over.

The Superbowl is on iconic televised event – those advertisers could help change the world for the better by promoting gender equity and respect instead of the same old tired sexist forays.  What an incredible opportunity for those who can see the forest and the trees!

If you decide to watch the bowl this weekend and want to share your thoughts on the ads, I’d love to hear it all.

I’ll thank my family (again) for participating in the exercise with me last year. It won’t happen anytime in the near future, though I’m sure I’ll still be curious about the ads as many of us are.

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My Take: NYT Article On Beer Ads + Women

Read this: Beer Ads That Portray Women as Empowered Consumers, Not Eye Candy.

Then return to read my post.

I don’t yet have the pleasure of having talked to Mr. Schonbrun, since I was not contacted by him for this piece, and I’ve already ticked off some others. So be it. The voices of others not represented and fully acknowledged weren’t even included in this article: female beer consumers and buyers.

Here’s what I agree with from Mr. Schonbrun’s article.

  • It’s good he’s writing about a topic which, sadly, should have been equalized millenia ago. I thank him for bringing to light a matter of gender equity. Yes, women + beer is about equity, not about beer at all in the big scheme of things.
  • A publication of such note and influence internationally like the New York Times is a great place to share information, insight and knowledge.
  • He contacted some interesting sources to cite and quote. Not knowing his record of accuracy in work, I’ll assume he’s sound in his practices to be accurate and careful. And I appreciate his efforts to seemingly accurately put forth with his sources shared with him.

I sincerely hope it gets a lot of people talking about how poorly beer represents women and I hope the many woman who tell others to “relax and have a beer” about this rethink their glib attitudes. Indeed, did they have relatives and loved ones in their family & friend trees who died in human rights struggles to so carelessly tell me to chill? More importantly I hope it moves you to action. Stand up, step up, speak up.

The article opens:

“For years, one of the main criticisms of beer advertising was that it tended to either objectify women or disregard them entirely. Marketers seemed to be too busy trying to appeal to the young male audience they knew would consistently drink beer by the case to worry about anyone else.

Now, that appears to be changing.”

As an impatient optimist, I’d like to believe this statement. However I’m skeptical. I’m skeptical by the fact that we’re still myopic when it comes to gender, that people still judge ability on sex when it’s such a ludicrous idea.

I’m skeptical because I know that companies everywhere, of all goods & services including beer, would be better off to throw off the yoke of sexism and embrace people of all makes and models as their potential audience. How could conditions not improve by opening minds to opportunity and education? That’s the crux of the issue here, not beer.

I’m skeptical because so many articles and pieces which influence thinking are monolithic. Beer isn’t monolithic, women aren’t monolithic, business isn’t monolithic and brands aren’t monolithic even though some of them have put way too many of their own eggs in one basket. Nothing is monolithic except true monoliths, like these. To lump everything of every category into one narrow window of definition is dangerous for everyone.

Skepticism is joined by astonishment as the article continues:

” ‘It was fine to show a frat party making fun of girls five or eight years ago,’ Mr. Adamson said. ‘But it’s ineffective and potentially damaging to do today.’ “

Mr. Adamson is the former chairman of the brand consulting firm Landor Associates. Let’s ponder his comments for a moment.

First of all, the actual definition of a ‘girl’ = a female child. It’s denigrating to have someone who is supposed to be in a position of impact and authority start off with a gross indicator of disrespect. Women & females are appropriate and full respect titles; girls are girls and they are different. It’s easy to get it right. He got it wrong.

Next, it was never ‘fine’ and has never been fine nor will it ever be fine. He’s telling the world that it’s okay to disrespect, dismiss, and in general dis women outright and accept and welcome the ‘frat party’ humor that reduces us all. Mr. Adamson needs to work at a women’s abuse shelter for a bit of reality of how much farther we still need to go to develop gender equity.

Enter David Kroll.

“The number [of female beer drinkers] astounded David Kroll, who became chief marketing officer at MillerCoors in July. “Disappointing,” Mr. Kroll said in an interview, “that we weren’t speaking to women.”

I find it astounding that Mr. Kroll, in this global role, is so apparently clueless to the true state of marketing to women. Maybe I’ll send him a copy of Marti Barletta’s book as education. How does someone inserted into the role of the head of a global brand company ascend with such ignorance? How can one be astounded when the fact is that females are herstorically over half of the global human population*? How can a massive business be so self-blind to the fact that women make 75 – 85% of all purchases, across categories? How is that even possible?

“The thought of being fully inclusive to women, when you speak to millennials, they’re like, ‘Yeah, duh,’ ” Mr. Kroll said. “In some respects, beer is just catching up to the millennial mind-set.”

No, Mr. Kroll. The reality is beer of all size isn’t paying attention to the full range of the drinking age population. See above*. All you seem to be concerned with is sticking to and trying to stitch & mend a brand which hasn’t changed with the times. Strong brands are always evaluating the landscape; many beer companies of all sizes continue to focus on the young male, which is foolish, short sighted, outmoded and will eventually sink ships. That’s your aha moment right there.

And then there’s this from Heineken.

“Heineken has recently appealed to “moderate drinkers” with a new ad that suggests modern women will be more attracted to men who drink less. The latest commercial, one of three since the campaign began in 2011, features women singing the Bonnie Tyler song “I Need a Hero” as they walk away from ostensibly inebriated men.”

Newsflash: Women who enjoy drinking beer don’t need men to do it or even sanction their own activities. That’s archaic thinking. And who the heck says women ‘need a hero’ in a man? (How do lesbians think about all this by the way?) This idea only perpetuates the ‘need’ for women to have men. It only underscores the inaccurate shoring up of the false ground that females need males. Women need to be strong women in their own right. The irony is that beer ads targeted towards men don’t indicate a ‘need’ for them to have smart women. Good grief! This just gets more ridiculous…

“Some brands have also introduced new products to attract women in recent years, though results have been mixed. In 2011, for instance, Molson Coors introduced a “bloat resistant” beer called Animée that came in different flavors and colors, while the Carlsberg Group created a gender-neutral beer called Copenhagen with a minimalist aesthetic that resembled a sleek bottle of white wine. Both were short-lived.”

This makes me want to laugh out loud – and laugh I must as the sheer idiocy of the apparent brand think of Molson Coors and Carlsberg. The key here is they are clearly NOT doing market research to find out what women of varied vantage points want from their relationship with beer. I’ve done 7+ years of qualitative research talking and listening directly to women all over the USA (with some international voices chiming in, happily) and it’s never once come from a women that she wants a “bloat resistant” beer. If Molson Coors, Heineken, Carlsberg, ANYONE wants to know what women want, they need to directly ask women with no brand influence to speak up.

The whole Copenhagen campaign – where did that come from? It would seem to me Carlsberg should have marketed that towards wine lovers if it was modeled after a “sleek bottle of white wine” (and does red wine feel left out here?).

If they did that, if they really asked women what they want from beer, why they do and don’t engage, they will find a treasure trove of insight – useful immediately impactful insight from women who are eager to be heard. And not lumped or grouped. It makes me wonder, do males resent being lumped in the frat party stereotype like many women hate the T&A?

The truly sad part of seeing this about Carlsberg is the fact that they have some brilliant marketing out there – wow!! It’s right on with humor, focusing on the beer, and really tapping into the beer drinkers enthusiasm. How did it go so drastically off kitler?

We are all more than the sum of our parts. We are our brains, our taste buds, our beliefs. We are all different and all unique and therefore this article is a real (good) slap in the face to get people thinking about women and beer.

Anheuser-Busch, on the other hand, has had some success with its fruit-tasting Bud Light Lime Rita range since 2012. Hard ciders grew 13 percent in 2015, while other flavored malt beverages gained 10 percent, according to Nielsen. “

This paragraph seems to stand alone, perhaps by inference in its placement in the article the author is stating that ABI has been marketing the above products towards women; though I don’t want to assume. It’s an absolute ball of hogwash to think that women are first attracted to fruit & sweet and that they should be sold cider & FMB’s. What an insult to everyone’s intelligence to think that. It’s long been recorded that all humans go towards sweet flavors, base don our preherstoric need to survive, thus looking at caloric rich sometimes sweet food sources to survive. Clearly we’re way beyond that….or are we….?  Let’s move on.

“When it comes to gender-neutral advertising, though, the brand consultant Dean Crutchfield says that Coors Light, which has long sought to portray a robust masculinity in its marketing, is taking a considerable risk.

“If you alienate your core, your credibility and relevance tumbles,” Mr. Crutchfield said. “It’s about your brand, your heritage, your past and your future. It’s been all wrapped around the males. To suddenly unwrap that, it does carry risk.”

First of all, where did the idea come from that beer has any gender to it at all? Women have long been the worlds brewers as well as consumers. We drank beer originally to boil away harmful nasties in water to make it safe to drink and somewhere along the way we developed the rut of think that Beer Is For Men. It’s illogical and unfounded. Secondly, we’re only doing a disservice to men who drink beer here as well. Really? Yes, really. If the pressure on men is that need to drink, guzzle and otherwise be the primary beer drinkers, then we’ve just shot a lot of flavor opportunities in the foot, as well as disrespected men in the process.

I agree with Mr Crutchfield in that alienating your core market is risky. That said, if the brands would have and would now recognize who is doing the majority buying and address that person, then they’d build their own safety net. Market share takes commitment to build, develop and nurture. To upend those who have stood by you is bad business. However it’s worse business to purposefully ignore those who are actually doing the shoring up of the brand: the buyers, who in this case and many, are women. Where the heck are you acknowledging her?

It isn’t sudden for women to be drinking beer. It’s been going on as long as here have been humans making beer. It’s not sudden to turn a corner to better market your brands to address, acknowledge and purse females in various ways. Risky – maybe, though it’s sheer stupidity by choice if you stay a course which isn’t working. Steer away from the rocks, find the open sea. Remember: none of this is monolithic.

Which brings us to Ms. Dougherty, whom I’ve read about previously.

“Britt Dougherty, MillerCoors’s senior director of marketing insights, says that women rarely self-identify as beer drinkers, and that beer companies have not done a good job trying to recruit them. According to Ms. Dougherty’s estimates, a more gender-friendly advertising approach could add from five million to nine million barrels to the industry’s sales in the United States over the next five years.

“It takes time to undo that baggage,” she said.

She really needs to get out and be among women and ask them how they self identify, because it’s obvious to me she’s not even doing that yet stating as much. She’s right when she says beer companies have not done a good job recruiting them, for sure! And – with a nod to Jackie – all beer companies are in this pool, size doesn’t matter here. We simply think the Bigs are guilty, smalls are guiltless because we see the wide spread campaigns of the bigs and not the smalls.

The Statement of Miff here is this: “We’ve represented a version of masculinity that wasn’t appealing to women.” Seriously. Why are you trying to appeal to women by marketing to men? That’s what this statement tells me and of course it’s absolutely the wrong tact. We don’t market tampons to men who care about women, we don’t talk about eldercare with teenagers with grandparents. If this is her vantage point, I’d be glad to meet with her over a beer and discuss.

And finally, to satisfy Ms. Dodd’s question of what I took offense to, here she is in closing the article:

“Jackie Dodd, who runs the popular cooking and beer blog The Beeroness, said she felt that craft beers, or microbrews, had always been about community and collaboration, including male and female brewers.

“I don’t think craft beer ever marketed towards women, they just valued them and that conveyed,” Ms. Dodd wrote in an email. “I’m not sure macro can do that, or even knows how. But if they can, more power to them.”

I’ve no beef with Ms. Dodd. As a comrade in kitchen pursuits, I appreciate her inventiveness and yes, Jackie, we are all entitled to our own opinions. So you get to respect mine like I’ll respect yours.

What smacked of incredulity is the fact you are using terms which aren’t helpful, in fact damaging, to the beer universe in general, macro & microbrews among them; ‘craft’ is a useful word in the industry but confusing and ill applied in the consumer world. Plus your so-called “microbreweries” are just as bad at sexism as any larger capacity brands. Take a quick internet search break and google sexist beer ads; tell me what you come up with and from which breweries of what size. I say let’s just call it beer.

And finally the subtle back-handed complement: But if they can, more power to them.” Size has nothing to do with ability.

So, there you have my take. This was overdue in coming forth.

Thank you Mr. Schonbrun for your piece; please be in touch with me when I may be at your service as a singular resource with a much deeper pool of insight on women and beer. Same goes for all the others in the article. You’ve certainly fired up my resolve to keep at my endeavors to educate and enlighten. I’ll buy the first beer the next time we are in the same room.

Now, back to my book draft on women and why they drink beer…..onward. Cheers.

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