Photography © Nicci Peet
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into beer?
I have always drunk beer funnily enough, even back when beer was nowhere near as good as it is today. I’ve been a beer drinker since my uni days and I’ve followed the evolution of beer over the recent years which has been incredibly exciting.
So how did Women on Tap get started?
Women on Tap is a festival celebrating women in beer. We showcase women that work in the beer industry and those who drink beer to get more women involved in beer. We run an annual festival in Harrogate but it’s spreading out across the North. We put on lots of events – a beer school for people who want to expand their palate, a music showcase, visual art – lots of different free and ticketed events.
The idea sort of originated from a visit to Magic Rock Tap, which was the start of a really exciting phase of beer for me. I was just really inspired by the decor, glassware and ambience in the tap room it all sort of game together and the penny just dropped.
For anyone who’s interested in checking out the movement they can just visit the website for our upcoming events!
Can you tell us about the Beer for All Conference?
The Beer for All Conference took place last month and was fantastic. It was a bit of a risk to bring everyone together in one room and discuss topics that are important to women beer drinkers. It went really well and we touched on some really important issues throughout the day. One of the themes was on the beer agenda – the new report by Dea Latis about why women just don’t drink beer in the UK. There’s a lot that needs to be done to tackle that. We talked about the representation of women in the beer industry – even things as simple as photography that is used in publications and websites. We also conducted a survey earlier this year about sexual harassment in pubs which we’re starting to review, so there’s a lot more work and information to come out of it.
How do you think we can get more women interested in beer?
I dont think that there’s one answer. I think it’s just a commitment to the cause and we just keep going with what we’re doing. There are a lot of women’s social groups across the country like Women on Tap and there are more and more people realising that there are still issues out there that need to be tackled.
One of the themes we talked about at the Beer for All Conference was the need to bust the ‘beer bubble’ and be more aware of the echo chamber. We need to reach out to people who aren’t in that bubble and make beer less exclusive. I think sometimes to the outsider it seems like you have to have a certain level of knowledge to enjoy beer and it shouldn’t be that way at all. If you know someone who might be interested in trying a beer take them down to the pub or encourage them to go into a good independent local pub. Anyone can go in and speak to the bar staff to get recommendations and tasters to help you find something you enjoy.
How will you be celebrating Summer of Pub?
We are looking to put on a load more events with Women on Tap this summer. While we’ve done our main festival this year we don’t stop here – we will keep going and hopefully work with venue partners to put on a load more events to celebrate the independence pub scene. We want to get more women involved and just have a big party in Harrogate and beyond.
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