CAMRA chats with the Queer Brewing Project’s founder Lily Waite about the launch of her first collaborative brew ‘Queer Royale’, which aims to spark conversations about diversity and the LGBTQ community within the beer world.
Tell us about the Queer Brewing Project
There’s been a lot of discussion and conversation around diversity and inclusion within the craft beer world and there are some amazing projects that further that conversation, but there’s not been a huge amount of stuff about LGBTQ issues and people.
I started the Queer Brewing Project (QBP) about a year ago following a collaboration with Marble Brewery for Manchester Beer Week. The feedback I got back was amazing – it was really the first time many people had seen that kind of thing represented in beer and to actually pick up a can and have it on the label. I received some amazing support from many LGBTQ people, and I thought, there’s room for this.
I just felt that I wanted to do something – I’ve written articles and talked about it quite extensively, but I thought, I love beer, this is something that I think can make a difference just by brewing a delicious beer.
What can you tell us about this beer?
This is a kir royale inspired Pale Ale, so it’s fantastically named Queer Royale because who doesn’t love puns in beer? It’s brewed with Bramley cross – quite a traditional hop with some blackcurrant notes. It’s then fermented on whole blackcurrants, blackcurrant tea, a little bit of hibiscus and champagne yeast. So it’s a little bit spritzy, really fruity, simultaneously very drinkable and also very celebratory, so the perfect beer to launch this with.
Why do you think a project like this is needed?
I think we’re getting to a point where things in the beer world are definitely improving in terms of the conversations and topics around diversity and inclusion, but I think we need to do more than pay lip service to it. A lot of times people will go, “cool, so I’ve done my bit, I’ve spoken about this or I’ve put up a poster or I’ve done something, so that’s where my responsibility lies”. We need to change the idea that the responsibility of driving that change forward lies with those who need it most -everyone needs to pick up the slack.
What are your plans for the future?
So we’re launching Queer Royale tonight, it’s going into cans in the next month or so which will go out across the country and hopefully we’ll brew it again over the summer. Ten per cent of this beer’s sales will go to MindOut which an LGBTQ mental health charity.
I want to keep the beers quite accessible so they’re not incredibly expensive and not exclusionary in any way. Some of them might be a little more special but I think, for the most part, I just want to brew things that I like to drink at the moment, so like really tasty pale ales, nice lagers, not crazily hopped or crazily strong beers especially considering as we’re moving into summer. Each brew going forward will have a portion of the proceeds donated to a different charity each time.
I’ve got some really exciting collaborations lined up, some in the UK, some in the US, there’s a bit of interest from one in Australia as well so yeah… taking over the world!
Lily Waite on the Queer Brewing Project
“We need to change the idea that the responsibility of driving that change forward lies with those who need it most -everyone needs to pick up the slack.”
Tell us about Cambridge Beer Festival?
I will be attending the Cambridge Beer Festival (20-25 May) next month which is going to be amazing! I’m going to do an interview with fantastic beer writer Emma Inch on the opening night, as part of CAMRA’s new Learning & Discovery offering. There’s another couple of CAMRA beer festivals I’m in contact with as well, so hopefully more to come in the future!
How can people get involved?
I think the best way to get involved would be just to buy the beer. Part of the point is that the labels and the marketing is aimed to spark conversation – we want to get beer into people’s hands so they can have a chat about it and influence thinking and changes that way.
Lily Waite will be attending the opening night of the Cambridge Beer Festival on 20 May 2019 – to find out more and join the discussion, visit
To find out more and get your hands on a Queer Royale, visit
Watch the video interview here:
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