Energy Source = Women + Beer

What’s your energy source? Where do you get the gumption to get up and move, shake and otherwise make the world a better place?

My money’s on women and beer. Two universal aspects of Life On Earth, these two everyday and everywhere ‘things’ are what drives me forward.

OBF: Women + Beer = success

OBF: Women + Beer = success

Women and beer were more than prevalent in some recent travels too. First at the 2014 Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland OR. This festival is a massive one, with tens of thousands of guests roaming the breezy Tom McCall Waterfront Park in the heart of The City Of Roses.  Not only do masses of guests descend, the workaday folks in downtown as well as locals show up to support, sip and enjoy.

Women make a healthy amount of the guests attending. And why wouldn’t they: Flavor is for everyone. Beer is not a gender drink, it’s global and meant to be enjoyed by all.

Next, Toronto’s Festival of Beers, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What a joy to get to be at this festival, work it and work with the organizers and guests. The TFOB is a gathering place, for again, tens of thousands of revelers in a comfortable setting at the Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place in

Fun & Flavor Lovers at TFOB, Snowman Brewing booth

Fun & Flavor Lovers at TFOB, Snowman Brewing booth

Toronto.

Last year we lead a Cooking with Beer session in the Grillin‘ Tent; this year I was invited to lead 9 various tasting tours, Trails, we called them, for guests – walking tasting tours covering unique flavors, ciders, and gluten-free choices. Education makes the work go round and it was certainly moving at TFOB!

Finally (at the moment!) onward to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in sparkling Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s obvious females make between 75 – 85% of all purchases, as there are always lots of women in Las Vegas taking advantage of all the opportunities to be had there. Sarah Johnson, an incredible quiet and constantly moving forward force at Mandalay Bay, gets it. Check this out.

Women and beer. You can bet your top, middle and bottom dollar it matters to include women in the conversations. She’s a flavor lover, an adventurer, and ready to jump in.

Cheers to women & beer, OBF, TFOB & Mandalay Bay –

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Beer & Chocolate at Swig & Stitch

Yum! If you already enjoy beer and chocolate, kudos to knowing about how versatile and tasty this combination can be. If you’ve yet to discover that beer and chocolate go hand and glass, it’s time to start tasting.

Last night at Swig & Stitch we paired Dagoba Chocolates with various beers at our host location, 4 Daughters Irish Pub. What a success!

To start – when I announced as much, the room gave an approving “mmmmmm” sound. As a presenter, it’s always good to have the audience excited about the forthcoming event.

Sandi teaching techniques at Swig & Stitch

Sandi teaching techniques at Swig & Stitch

It’s fun to mix and match too…though the chocolate rapidly disappeared and the beers were quickly enjoyed. So it goes for tasting – and so it should go. We feature small pours and portions. Enjoying beer and food includes exercising moderation.

We’ve got the Season Wrap-Up Event June 10th, in conjunction with Medford Beer Week. A fun program, beer & wine, and smackerels are all on the agenda. All are welcome (over 21 years of age) – here’s the info & registration link.

I encourage you to find Dagoba and other chocolates, choose some beers and get tasting. Everything tastes better at a welcoming establishment and with others. Let me know (comment below) the combinations you find delicious – we’ll share them forward.

Cheers!

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Creative Strategy at the CBE 2014

With every conference there comes a time to choose: which sessions should I attend? Which ones would serve me best? Which ones sound interesting? Which ones am I hoping will be worthwhile?

CBE 2014

CBE 2014

One of the very sessions I chose at the recent inaugural Craft Beverage Expo fit all of those desires. Lead by Gary Finnan and co-hosted with Tom Potter, this breakout session was just that: a breakout. Breaking out of tired words, breaking into creativity, and breaking the ice to get people to think about strategy.

Strategy is crucial for all plans. Whether business or home, all sorts of initiatives are served by thoughtful strategy. The tactics you use to execute the strategy are what give it the muscle to move the bones, so to speak. And Gary and Tom provided a number of immediately useful insights.

In fact, they wrapped up this invigorating session with an exercise for the entire audience. It’s always a good plan to have an element of participation for a seminar, well beyond listening (since some people will only hear anyway and that’s not overly active…).

Gary shared three Essential Steps of Business planning, which is a workshop unto itself that would be well worth the investment. Gary’s energetic, experienced and enthusiastic and realistic presentation got the audience involved and thinking. And he made sure to note that creative financing is not creative business!

Tom added a good point: Believe in yourself, be a raving fan and do everything you can to support your business. At the same time be careful. “You may start to believe your own hype.” Be optimistic in public, realistic in private, he shared.

Don’t just go for the customer, go for the return,” stated Finnan. “Every customer is not a valued customer,” intoned Potter. There’s a lifetime of good advice in these two statements along.

Suffice it to say this talk was one of the top ones that I attended. Two industry pros, realistic and optimistic, sharing what they can for the good of the whole. Thanks to them both, thanks to the CBE for bringing this session to life.

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Craft Beverage Expo, Inaugural Event

“…all we had was a vision and a floor plan…

Hats off and glasses up to Kellie Shevlin and the crew who made the first Craft Beverage Expo a success. It was an honor and pleasure to be there last week in San Jose, California.

Ginger, Kellie and Tom McCormick/CCBA

Ginger, Kellie and Tom McCormick/CCBA

The entire premise is ground breaking AND so sensible, it makes one scratch your head and say “why didn’t anyone do this before?” Well, Kellie did just that. She researched and broke new ground that needed to be tilled.

The basis of the Expo is to bring together beer, wine, spirits, cider and mead people to talk about common ground: Bringing Artisan Beer, Wine & Spirits to Market. Regulatory concerns, marketing, sales, and marketing solutions is what was billed. And guess what? You got that and then some. The brilliance of the concept grew on me and I fully appreciate what we can all do when we help and assist. Not that the conventions I’ve been to have been unhelpful. They’ve simply been solely focused on one very specific niche.

The point being is that when we intentionally cross categories, then we cross pollinate we share ideas. This is one of thee most powerful tools in creating sustainable remarkable change.

To to over 1000 attendees, dozens of trade show exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors the event was one that I took to saying you couldn’t tell it was a first year effort. As a colleague of mine put it, it was well produced. In this he meant that it was all very professional both in appearance and operation.

CBE opening session panel

CBE opening session panel

Are there ways the 2015 CBE can improve? Of course – every convention, expo and conference better be looking at continually improvement. Kellie knows this as does her crew and they encourage and welcome constructive feedback. A wise organizer will want specific input to consider moving forward.

Well, Kellie – your vision has paid off nicely. Bringing various alcohol beverage people together to talk, listen, share, connect and start and build relationships makes us all stronger. The people I met were well worth the trip alone, the friends and colleagues I saw were also worth the endeavor. It was a big bonus to be invited to present as well (3 Universal Truths: Attracting and Keeping Female Patrons). I am eager to get back and explore more of the area too, another benefit to traveling to work events.

Your time and dollars are valuable. You want to be sure as possible that your efforts are well founded, rewarding, offer some sort of payback and it’s all enjoyable. We all want to get helpful and useful information, to meet worthwhile contacts and fun ‘new’ people. Perhaps even to get some press and media coverage.

Lovely San Jose, California

Lovely San Jose, California

The City of San Jose was one place 1. that I had not yet been to 2. that I certainly want to explore more of and 3. has much to offer visitors. The Ethiopian restaurant as well as the Mexican establishment as well as the lovely public spaces….the art museum and technology museum are on my short list. You get the idea.

In my work I travel a good deal. One thing I want from my adventures is to feel like attending was indeed a smart investment of time. Like a friend of mine once said, if you don’t like something, “there’s 3 days of my life that I’ll never get back.” The size of the CBE was very manageable too – meaning you could in fact meet those you wanted, have time to talk and not feel too crowded.

Rest assured when you attend the CBE 2015 you’ll be glad you did. It’s in Santa Clara next year, a relative hop skip & jump from this years host city San Jose. I’m already looking forward to returning. See you there.

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Beer + Food + Quilting = Swig & Stitch

  • Did you know that quilting in America experienced a renaissance in 1976 due to the United States Bicentennial?
  • Did you know that quilting and jazz are two uniquely American arts?

With roots from all over, America adopted and ran with both of these quintessentially (now) classic elements of everyday life. What was once perhaps necessary (quilting with scraps so as not to waste), quilting is in a fade out phase. It’s time to rejuvenate and instigate a much younger wave of quilting enthusiasts into the aging quilting population.

Sandi leading the quilting session last night.

Sandi leading the quilting session last night.

Last night was the inaugural Quilting Edition of Swig & Stitch, a monthly gathering for all that Sandi, Fabric of Vision, and I conduct. She’s done them for years – first with a wine meet-up. 3 years ago we started a beer version that’s been very successful and energetically received.

Stepping out with a special quilt version was a natural step. I found myself leaning in to the story of quilting and information within this fascinating facet of life.

Coupled with beer + food tastings, Swig & Stitch is an engaging educational endeavor that I’m very happy and proud to be a part of. Thanks to our fine Host, 4 Daughters Irish Pub, and all the guests who perpetuate this event in good taste. And a big fluffy thanks to Sandi for the vision and opportunity to work side by side, beer by beer, project by project. Lucky me.

4/29/14 Swig & Stitch Menu

  • Stella Artois with Chicken Pot Pie
  • Ninkasi Total Domination with Tomato Bisque soup and bleu cheese crumbles
  • Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA with 4 Daughters’ signature Oregon Salad

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Why Do You Do What You Do?

If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing…

Why are you doing it?

Those words of insight should be blindingly obvious. They were delivered by the venerable Dr. Michael Lewis at the CBC earlier this month in conjunction with proper professional education.

2014 CBC Opening Session

2014 CBC Opening Session

I took his meaning to be: If you don’t know why you’re doing what you do, if you can’t answer that question first, then it’s time to rethink what you’re doing. There are too many brewers in America that are not focused on quality and too many that are putting out poor quality beer. And there are plenty of brewers, like many other kinds of businesses, that are too myopic about the big picture.

Yes, it’s important to be passionate about your ventures. Yes, it’s important that you like it.

AND it’s critical that you focus your energy on proper education and therefore quality of progress as a cornerstone and driver of that business. That’s bad for everyone.

Education provides a singular opportunity and atmosphere for the best results, skills development and therefore an elevated end product, whether it’s beer, information, or any other product or service. Education is not replaceable by experience. They should go hand in hand and work together. Though without one, the equation is lopsided and will inevitably be imbalanced.

Like Mitch Steele, Stone Brewing and the 2014 recipient of the Russell Schehrer award, “If you hire someone, makes sure they know what they’re doing.”

With beer schools and programs popping up all over, it’s best to investigate and vet the choices.

Start with: Which programs am I interested in and why? Then do your diligence to carefully examine those you look into. Doing the research on the front end will more than make up the time you put into it very quickly.

If you know why you do what you do, good. If you don’t, it’s time to stop and answer that question. Education is powerful and always a good idea.

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SOU Leadership Series Talk

It’s an honor to be invited to speak at the SOU Leadership Series, on campus in Ashland, OR.

For all interested parties, here’s the scoop:

Tuesday 22 April, Ginger will be speaking at Southern Oregon University as part of their ongoing Leadership Series. Potential guests are vetted by the various department staff and then invited to present on campus.

From 1230 to 120 pm, at the Hannon Library, Meese Room, I’ll be talking and answering questions. The gist is to bring in community business people who are unique and have a singular angle to how they got into doing what they do.

If you are interested in attending, simple show up and tell them I invited you (I’m allowed!). I welcome all guests, friends, colleagues and curious folks. After all, Women Enjoying Beer is a pioneering business and I’m very glad to chat and answer questions as it’s helpful to guests.

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2014 Craft Brewers Conference Wrap-Up

Wow! What a week. The 2014 Craft Brewers Conference was an event to behold and participate in hosted by the fine City of Denver, Colorado.

Over 8000 people attended the 2014 CBC

Over 8000 people attended the 2014 CBC

It was a record setter…and here’s what the Brewers Association tells us:

“Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) wrapped up Friday, and it will be remembered as the largest gathering to date. How big? 9,000 industry professionals participated in the conference—that’s a 40 percent increase over the 2013 event. About 1,100 American breweries were represented in this pool of attendees.

BrewExpo America also continued its growth and remains the largest trade show of its kind, with 490 exhibitors in 2014.

In addition to the main events, the Craft Beer Wholesalers symposium saw 370 attendees, and the Craft Beer Bar Owners Conference brought together 100 participants.

To wrap up the week, 2,700 brewery representatives and select members of the trade gathered at the Hyatt Regency to celebrate the 10th World Beer Cup®. They enjoyed an array of craft beer and food pairings at the Award Ceremony and Reception, where 281

10th Annual World Beer Cup, Denver CO

10th Annual World Beer Cup, Denver CO

World Beer Cup awards were presented in one of the largest commercial beer competitions on record.

Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America will travel to Portland, Ore. in 2015, April 14-17.”

If you’ve yet to attend one of the CBC’s and are in the industry in some way, I highly recommend you plan on participating. Regardless of where you are in the greater pro beer community, there are connections and friendships to be made, educational seminars to take advantage of, and an overall camaraderie that is like no other on the planet.

See you next year in Portland!

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All Conferences Are Not Created Equal

Today you may see me in a few airports then in the fine City of Denver, Colorado for the week. Tomorrow starts the 31st edition of the Craft Brewers Conference, put on by the Brewers Association hosted this year in the Mile High City.

Sky High view of Denver

Sky High view of Denver

I attend this conference every year, without fail, for business development, camaraderie, and education. It’s one of the biggies and has grown from 2400 attendees at my first one in 2009 to an anticipated crowd of 8900+ this year. Wow!

What does this conference hold for attendees, beyond the three attributes mentioned above?

  • World class people. Speakers, educators, and vendors. Connections are there for the making and it’s up to attendees to navigate and take full advantage of this unique super concentrated event to start and build relationships.
  • World class people and events. Every single moment of the week, no kidding, is overfull of happenings and the chance to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues.
  • BrewExpo America Trade Show is chock full of literally hundreds of vendors, suppliers, growers, and service companies at the ready to talk, field questions and take orders.
  • Great City. Denver itself is a terrifically fun and engaging city to visit, stay and play. As a mecca for not only beer, the pedestrian friendly 16th Street Mall area with complementary bus, light rail and public bike share, myriad food and drink establishments, and world-class Museum are all attractive reasons.

I’ve spoken at a number of the conferences. In fact WEB launched publicly at the 2009 CBC in Boston, MA, to a standing room only audience. It’s a constant challenge to try to see, take in and talk to everyone you want.

Making time to view and plan the agenda, your plans and the lay of the land in advance is the best way to tackle this event, whether seasoned or as a first time guest.

Challenges notwithstanding, it’s a must attend for me. The coming together to so many incredibly plugged in people, helping each other, sharing information for the good of the whole, having a great time and sipping mighty fine beverages are more than enough reasons to go.

Education is the opportunity to improve your life. The CBC is one of those opportunities.

Hope to see you there with 8000+ of my friends – Cheers!

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Grizzly Peak Winery & Beer

Sunday inaugurated a brand new idea to a local winery: Beer & Wine tasting, together. The open-minded and community oriented owners, Virginia and Al of Grizzly Peak Winery, were gracious hosts of this first time effort. They’re taking their time to build the winery slowly and

delicious Grizzly Peak Wines waiting to be tasted...

delicious Grizzly Peak Wines waiting to be tasted…

steadily with great results.

It’s a lovely location that exhibits a lot of love, hard work and investment. What a perfect place to hold a tasting event. It’s a place many consider for other events, as they’ve hosted plays, weddings and all kinds of other happenings.

With much success, the room filled with over 20 guests, 2 hosts and a few other special people to enjoy a sunshine filled afternoon learning about beer and wine together. The cheese and chocolate that accompanied the tasting was a flavorful and impactful addition as well.

Why beer and wine? Because you don’t have to only like one. You don’t have to choose one over the other. They are both eagerly awaiting the opportunity to give your senses a terrific experience.

The first time I gave a beer and wine event it was also at another winery. It’s yet another reason we need to shatter the idea that one beverage is the elite, the only, the one that strangely earns the self-imposed and very unsavory title of snob. And really it doesn’t surprise me since the wine folk I know embrace beer. After all it takes wonderful beer to make tasty wine!

Ginger & Virginia - happy tasters!

Ginger & Virginia – happy tasters!

Flavor is where you find it. The exploration of various liquids and solids can be enjoyable for all if the mind is open before the lips even part.

Menu: Beer & Wine, Together Forever

Cheeses featured were from Cypress Grove Chevre: Midnight Moon and Bermuda Triangle

Chocolates featured were from Dagoba: Hazelnut, Lemon Ginger, Beaucoup Berries, New Moon

I invite you to taste the two categories side by side – chocolate and cheese in the mix only teaches us more varieties of what’s possible for our palate.

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CBC DEN 2014

Got it?

Craft Brewers Conference. Denver, Colorado, USA. 2014.

The world abounds with acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms (seriously, check it out). How we speak with each other is often rife with at least some of these on a daily basis.

Some are fun – ASAP. PBR. CBC.

Which brings me back on topic. As soon as possible, April 8 – 11 to be specific, a large portion of the professional beer community will descend on Denver, Colorado for the Craft Brewers Conference, aka CBC. (see, there we go again….).

It’s a humdinger of a conference for many reasons.

  1. Attendees come from all over the globe. This year will be the biennial World Beer Cup awards as well, which definitely skyrockets the global representation.
  2. The many tracks and seminars, workshops and events that happen as part of the conference proper as well as unofficial yet anticipated pack the days full of learning, networking, relationship building, and visiting.
  3. The variety of talent speaking and presenting is impressive – from the seminars to the trade show floor. If you want to get questions answered, here’s a great place to do so.
  4. It can be overwhelming for some, since there’s so much going on. You really have to know how to strategically plan your trip. Get lots of sleep in advance, bring a refillable water bottle, and plot your schedule.
Corkie Odell, Odell Brewing, at a previous CBC

Corkie Odell, Odell Brewing, at a previous CBC

It’s super easy to get distracted and if you want to go that route, go for it. Planning will usually yield better, more productive and meaningful results.

I’ll be there again hosting a meet-up for professionals, holding a Marketing Beer To Women workshop and presenting as part of a panel during the CBC. Go through the site to find out what’s going on.

Education and ongoing professional development are critical to progress and idea sharing. It’s also sometimes the last thing we put on the list to invest in, when it should be a list topper. Support, insight, camaraderie and relaxation make us all better in the short and long run.

See you there and then.

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Inaugural Craft Beverage Expo

A new expo is in town. The first ever Craft Beverage Expo is launching on May 6 – 8 in San Jose, California. I’d been getting mailings from the CBE and have recently become more acquainted with the conference.

Here are a few aspects that may make this conference appealing to attend.

1. The site states the conference is designed to help “artisan wine, craft beer, craft cider and craft spirit producers do business and increase sales in a regulated space.” It’s a cross industry effort that looks to create broader conversations with interested communities. No need to delineate when we can share best practices, helpful ideas and talk for the betterment of the whole.

2. It’s essentially two full days of seminars, speakers, and trade show. Breakfasts are provided with registration two of the days as well as a mix and mingle happy hour one afternoon.  When you plan your conference strategy well, you can take in the seminars that best suit you, search out vendor information, and take advantage of the relationship building and networking built into the event.

3.  The list of 58 scheduled speakers should give you plenty to listen to. While the mix of gender in speakers is better than a lot of alcohol conferences, the women in beer need better representation. It’s important to have realistic population representation – half the population is female.

4. Well over 100 exhibitors are making the investment and will be readily available to the attendees.

5. Here’s some of the press information to read.

LogoOverall, everyone has to prioritize and decide which opportunities to pursue, for what reasons, and for a particular investment. Heading to a conference is way more than simply paying registration. It’s travel time and expense, time away from the business, and lost productivity and sales in some cases (a trade out so to speak).

What do you stand to gain? Education is always a wise investment. The way to approach whatever you choose to attend should include “What 1 – 5 specific things/concepts/ideas/solutions/connections can I walk away with if I attend the XYZ conference?” Plan to plan. Set goals, do your research of what’s available, what’s close to you, what you can afford (on various levels), who should go, and then do it.

I’ve always been glad to have attended conferences, whether for a single afternoon or multiple days. It’s easy to shoo it away, thinking we don’t have time. Put the effort into the things you want to see benefits from. Do your diligence. Make the time for the right events.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Marketing Beer To Women Workshop

WEB is offering a rare free workshop to professionals: Marketing Beer To Women.

Tuesday 8 April 2014, Denver Colorado USA.
See full details here.
Registrations must be made in advance.
Call Ginger at 515.450.7757 PST to save your seat. No email RSVP’s, only phone calls.

photo bu Judy Pavlik

photo bu Judy Pavlik

Ready to step up your marketing to successfully address the primary buyers of all goods and services in America? Reserve your seat today. If you’ve been to my presentations before, you’ll know they are lively, full of immediately usable information, well worth your time and will help you increase your business.

With the continued growth of the industry and increased choices for the consumer, you need to know how to reach the most valuable buyer around: Women.

Is there a problem selling beer to women? There will be if the continued trajectory of brewery openings maintains. The men that already drink beer will get stretched further and further – it’s time to look at new populations to support this growth. There’s still much to do to totally tap into the female beer buyer and consumer.

The workshop is free and space is very limited. Serious people are invited to contact me directly (not Cheeky Monk) to save your seat. This event is for professionals in the industry: breweries, distributors, vendors, growers, suppliers, retailers…. every one who has a vested interest in marketing to women correctly.

Details:

  • Tuesday April 8th, 2 – 4 pm.
  • The Cheeky Monk, 534 Colfax, Denver CO
  • FREE, buy your own beer & food (to each, your own tab!)
  • RSVP’s required, limited seating
  • Call Ginger to save your seat 515.450.7757 PST, daytime calls only, no emails
  • First reserve, first sat; we’ll create a wait list as necessary – and it’s filling up fast.

The workshop will include the newly available reports based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey, basic Do’s and Don’ts in marketing to women, and there will be plenty of time to ask questions. Please be prompt.

NOTE: This is going to be full. A fully refundable deposit is necessary to complete registrations. Be in touch to make arrangements after you’ve read the link please.

One comment

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Marketing Beer To Women Workshop Invite

Immediately prior to Craft Brewers Conference in Denver this year, I’m giving a free workshop that specifically addresses marketing beer to the world’s largest and most influential population: Women.

Ready to step up your marketing to successfully address the primary buyers of all goods and services in America? Reserve your seat today. If you’ve been to my presentations before, you’ll know they are lively, full of immediately usable information, well worth your time and will help you increase your business.

Save your seat today by calling WEB

Save your seat today by calling WEB

With the continued growth of the industry and increased choices for the consumer, you need to know how to reach the most valuable buyer around: Women.

Is there a problem selling beer to women? There will be if the continued trajectory of brewery openings maintains. The men that already drink beer will get stretched further and further – it’s time to look at new populations to support this growth. There’s still much to do to totally tap into the female beer buyer and consumer.

The workshop is free and space is very limited. Serious people are invited to contact me directly (not Cheeky Monk) to save your seat. This event is for professionals in the industry: breweries, distributors, vendors, growers, suppliers, retailers….everyone who has a vested interest in marketing to women correctly.

A few seats are being reserved for interested qualified media & press as well.

Details:

  • Tuesday April 8th, 2 – 4 pm.
  • The Cheeky Monk, 534 Colfax, Denver CO
  • FREE, buy your own beer & food (to each, your own tab!)
  • RSVP’s required, limited seating
  • Call Ginger to save your seat 515.450.7757 PST, daytime calls only, no emails
  • First reserve, first sat; we’ll create a wait list as necessary – and it’s filling up fast.

The workshop will include information from the newly available report/s based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey, basic Do’s and Don’ts in marketing to women, and there will be plenty of time to ask questions. Please be prompt.

Thank you. See you soon –

One comment

One comment »

Great Flavor Partners, Beer & Chocolate

People file in…anticipating flavor and fun…they’re happily satisfied.

So went our annual Beer & Chocolate Tasting sessions at the recently concluded 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. The whip sharp and inspiring Karolina of Ashland Springs Hotel (Neuman Hotel Group) started the festival 10 years ago to create a shoulder season event for residents and visitors alike. Suffice it to say: it’s been a big success.

Ashland is home to 23K+ permanent residents, a few thousand University students and innumerable visitors every year. A festival of this caliber is a pleasure to be a part of – Karolina and her fantastic assistant Paula along with the entire crew (Gina, Charlie, Gigi, and dozens more staff) are a joy to collaborate with.

Find a local beer class - and take it!

Find a local beer class – and take it!

When I approached Karolina 3+ years ago to inquire about adding their first ever beer and chocolate session, she was ready to embrace it – new, interesting, and attractive to the hundreds of guests that visit the fest. Some of them year after year after year, from far and near.

I love teaching. The lightbulb moments, the opportunity to open minds and pleasing palates, the myriad people you meet and the comfortable and accommodating setting are all reasons the love continues. Teaching in an ideal setting helps make it the best it can be for the guests too, never mind the presenters (!).

Get out and support your local festivals. Attend as a paying guest, volunteer to help, and spread the word.

Here are the menus for the 2 sessions we gave this year. Hope to see you in class next year!

Great Flavor Partners: Beer & Chocolate

Saturday

  1. Milk and Honey Ale with Roseberry
  2. Twin Plunge IPA with Lavender Blueberry
  3. Humboldt Fog
  4. Hop Night Cascadian Dark with Mint

Sunday

  1. Steel Cut Stout with classic Dark
  2. Noble Stout with New Moon
  3. Truffle Tremor
  4. Milk and Honey with Eclipse
  5. BONUS: award-winning Amber (with whatever was remaining!)

A great time was had by all – thanks to all the guests, new and returning. Cheers til next time –

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International Women’s Day 2014

Saturday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. What does that precisely mean? And why do we feel we have a need to recognize women?

Here are 10 good reasons.

1. Females make up over half of the population. From those who enjoy Your Home to those who are as far-flung as our imaginations can carry us, and everywhere in between.

2. Women have always been brewers (see, I stayed on topic). Brewing is cooking, and women have always been actively engaged in the food arena in life.

Celebrate women: International Women's Day 3.8.14

Celebrate women: International Women’s Day 3.8.14

3. In a great majority of countries women are still second-class citizens and that’s fundamentally wrong. No one gender of person has more or less value than another.

4. Women in America are still paid, on average, 23% less than male counterparts.

5. Women are capable of everything and able to do anything.

6. Women are the reason we’re around. Yes it takes two to reproduce and women bear the majority of that task.

7. There are certainly celebrated women the world over, yet not enough.

8. There are scores of underappreciated and even recognized women and females the world over, wherein “any” is too many.

9. Women keep changing the world for the better.

10. It’s a proven fact via myriad research that societies with a mindful equity respect for women and men are so much more productive, healthy, and happy populations.

Notice I use the word equity instead of equality. (Mirriam-Webster) Nature has a way of equalizing things, yet we’re not in charge here. Humans should aim for equity instead of equality.

I look forward to the days where gender is a non-issue. Alas! It still is and talking about it and acting to change it will be the way to remove the inequitable in our world. It’ll never be the impossible perfect, yet it can be a whole world of good better.

So today’s the day (as is every day) to recognize, thank, and appreciate women. Skip the chocolates, massages, and other tired pithy nonsense and say THANK YOU. Ask her what you can do for her that holds real meaning and purpose. Do something that really matters. It may make you slightly uncomfortable and that’s how progress is made.

I thank you for reading. And I’ll thank you more for acting for women the globe over.

Till the next glass –

g

Go Here: Time is one of the most valuable gifts we can give. Volunteer with an organization that truly works towards female equity. A quick Internet search will yield countless opportunities to help, from the Girl Scouts to human trafficking.

Try This: Give the gift of your time to a female you don’t know: Visit an elder care facility and talk with the women you meet (residents and staff), walk some dogs at the shelter (equal opportunity here), and anonymously donate a few dollars to a female focused charity.

This column was originally published on Your Home with Karie Engels.

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Winner of 2014 Oregon Chocolate Festival Ticket Giveaway

In a highly scientific and competitive contest, we are happy to announce that the flavor lover Felicia Reninger has won the giveaway of 2 tickets to the 2014 Oregon Chocolate Festival, March 8 & 9, 2014. Congratulations Felicia!

In asking for help to choose, Twittersphere community member @cingoodwoman chose #2 without knowing anything else other than to pick a number – see I told you: highly scientific. And I was glad for help as I wanted to give all three finalists free tickets!

Cassie, Ginger & Karolina at the 2013 Chocolate Festival - having a ball!

Cassie, Ginger & Karolina at the 2013 Chocolate Festival – having a ball!

The complementary tickets from the venerable Karolina, originator of the festival and amazing Marketing Director of the Ashland Springs Hotel. Our many thanks.

In the spirit of fun and sharing, I wanted to share the top three contenders and their creative entries (which is what we asked for).

1. Sasha Tokareff

I need 2 free tickets to the OCF! Oregon Chocolate Fest! I need them because my boyfriend lives in Boston and chocolate is the only thing keeping me sane!”

2. Felicia Reninger

“Yes! I would like the two tickets to the chocolate festival! I attended last years event, all by myself, but the sorrow of going alone was soon forgotten. I was drunk on chocolate and forgot my loneliness! This year my sister said she would go with me, and it would be awesome to surprise her with a ticket.”

(Also, Ginger’s beer and chocolate tasting class inspired my homebrew. Been pairing and tasting ever since!)”

3. Mary Sharbatz

“YES! I want to Win 2 Tickets to the OCF 🙂 I have not been to one of Ginger’s Beer & Chocolate classes yet, and I’d love to go to this festival! Sounds divine 🙂 Ashland is calling my name. I have never won anything before, and to be chosen would feel so great, like I hit the jackpot!”

Thank you to everyone who entered. I sure hope to do it again next year. All the finalists are encouraged to come find me and take a photo at the fest – I’ll have some goodies for all three.

In the meantime, know that this tasty festival happens this weekend, starting with a fancy dinner Friday night, Saturday & Sunday are the festival and I’ll be there Saturday (12-1) & Sunday (1145-1245) giving Beer & Chocolate classes (3rd year running). You can register for them here – and they’re free. Heck of a value to be sure.

Cheers & chocolate to you ~

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Oregon Chocolate Festival 2014 Ticket Giveaway

If you’d like two complementary tickets to the uber luscious and fun 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival happening March 8 & 9, Ashland OR, then speak up!!

Here’s the mash:

  1. Get to our Contact page, scroll down to General Inquiries (past the Media Inquiries)
  2. Fill it out specifying you “YES! I want to Win 2 Tickets to the OCF” in the How Can We Help You space.
  3. Include full first and last name, email address and one good fun reason we should give them to you.
  4. Entries taken until Sunday March 2nd.

We’ll draw a winner randomly from all entries – women & men are encouraged to enter. The only thing that would trump the random selection process is if someone gets super creative with an entry. Extra weight to creativity!

Festival Link here.

p.s. We’ll be offering our usual tasty Beer & Chocolate classes Saturday & Sunday too – register here.

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Bring On The Questions!

Last night’s monthly episode of Swig & Stitch was particularly gratifying. It’s always fun, enlightening and invigorating – for me and the guests.

And last night was all the more engaging for a few reasons.

1. We had a really nice guest list of both returning and new folks. We’re glad for and appreciate both.

2. The beer and food pairings were really in a groove. Our host 4 Daughters Irish Pub and the GM, Brandy, are super easy to work with and we’ll stay as long as it’s still groovy.

3. When talking with a few guests (2 brand new, 2 having been to only one S&S before), I asked them what they wanted to learn about. The questions that came from them helped drive the nights beer education forward.

Swig & Stitch: Beer & Food tastings partnered with Sewing technique lessons = success!

Swig & Stitch: Beer & Food tastings partnered with Sewing technique lessons = success!

As an educator, I’m keen on knowing what the audience wants to know. It’d be pretty conceited if I only talked about what I wanted to talk about. All audiences are different and many presenters seem to neglect that. They get caught up in themselves and the material and forget who the heck they’re there for!

One of the questions that was a terrific one to discuss was this: How do I learn to like beer? WOW! Talk about open-minded, willingness and a desire to learn. In reply to this question, I asked her why she wanted to like beer…and we chatted for a bit until I needed to move to the next table.

It’s a great question and precisely the reason why we do the qualitative research WEB conducts. These are powerful “why” questions – they drive our decision-making process and are important in all facets of progress.

Thanks to Tammy and all the attendees last night. Here’s the menu we enjoyed.

p.s. I got a few more questions from the guests to explore at future episodes…all welcome, RSVP’s in advance needed. Contact Fabric of Vision to reserve your seats.

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Gluten Free Tasting

NOTE: This post was originally drafted during our HomeFreeTour, which started in September 2009. Enjoy the post & thanks for reading.

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Our friend April in Kirkland WA was good enough to invite some friends over for a tasting while we’re on the road. It was huge fun and I believe all the good humored guests learned at least a few new things about beers and ciders.

Gluten free = lots of flavor!

Gluten free = lots of flavor!

This is my first mention of cider I think…and they fit nicely for diets that require glutenfree beverages. Plus here in the Northwest, where I currently am, apples abound!! Whew!

Here’s what the menu looked like (foods gotten at Trader Joe’s).

  1. Course 1 – Redbridge with soft tangy Chevre on soyrice crackers
  2. Course 2 – Newton’s Folly Draft Cider with Washington Honeycrisp apples, apple smoked garlic cheddar cheese, and corn/potato/rice tortilla chips
  3. Course 3 – Fox Barrel Black Currant Cider with fresh spinach &mixed greens salad with local melon, pears, and almonds and a touch of champagne gorgonzola dressing
  4. Course 4 – Green’s Discovery Amber Ale with freshly smoked salmon
  5. Course 5 – Bard’s Gold with Dagoba chocolates

Mmmmmmmm….All Gluten Free, all flavorful and fresh.

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