May 8, 2017
Did you know that brewing beer was at one time a woman’s job, not a mans? In fact, in ancient Egypt beer was traditionally brewed by women, which gave them a way to earn extra money and bargain for goods. It wasn’t until the 1700’s and the introduction of commercial breweries that the roles reversed.
Today, women are not only living up to that age-old custom, they’re celebrating it with an event called Big Boots Brew Day. Since 2008, on International Women’s Day, women have gathered in breweries across North America to simultaneously brew a similar beer, which is then canned and sold in various retail locations.
One of those retail outlets is Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, which has sold the Big Boots Brew beer for the past three years.
“As a Co-operative, this is a great fit for us,” says Melissa Rizzuto, Beer Manager at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer. “Not only does it raise the profile of women in the beer industry, but a portion of the Alberta proceeds goes towards funding a bursary for female students enrolled in the Olds College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Course.”
This years beer is a ‘Heather Ale’ and was brewed at Tool Shed Brewery in Calgary. Head Brewer, Lisa Caul, says it’s a homage to a Traditional Heather Ale, which is light in body, and fragrant with the delicate aroma and flavor of Scottish heather. Heather was used in beer long before hops were discovered and provide a slightly herbal bitterness.
“In recent years, the local beer industry in Calgary has exploded,” Melissa says. “We are fortunate to have an outlet that allows us to partake in events like this. Supporting local is always something Co-op strives for, and as a woman in the industry, it’s really cool that we can also come together to support other women and help to grow the industry.”
In the future, Melissa hopes to become more hands-on with Big Boots Brew Day.
“We’ve been participating for the past few years by being a proud retail supporter. I would like to see more and more of our female employees participate in the brewing process, and one year collaborate with a brewery from start to finish to really empower our female staff.”
The Heather Ale will be available for purchase at all 25 Co-op Wine Spirits Beer locations in Calgary and surrounding area, starting on Mother’s Day, May 14th.
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