The (not so secret) Society of Beer Drinking Ladies of Toronto

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I came across a fabulous group of ladies who were taking their love of craft beer and doing something about it. It was a craft beer support system by ladies and for ladies and the group was called The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies (SOBDL).


With their first event coming up Friday January 31, 2014 – I decided to chat with The Society (including Jen Shute, Erica Campbell, Magenta Suzanne and Jamie) to give me all the “hops” on what people can expect and just exactly who they are and what their take is on the craft beer scene here in Toronto.

FGFS: Let’s start from the beginning, why was the Society created and how did it come to be?

SOBDL: We started because we are a bunch of beer explorers who want to create a community of women in the beer industry and those who love craft beer to connect, network, celebrate and enjoy craft beer and to cheers lady awesomeness. 

FGFS: What kind of potential do you see for craft beer in Toronto?

SOBDL: It has gotten so exciting in the past five years and there is so much to discover. The home brew network has grown so much with Brahaus events and Toronto Brewing opening up a store. We have a female master cicerone living in Toronto and some amazing female beer personalities writing for Toronto publications. 

The Toronto beer bars are exploding and every night of the week you can try something you have never heard of.

From Cask Days, Roundhouse, and Session there are so many sweet Toronto Events and Festivals to bring the craft beer community together. 

FGFS: How did you all get into craft beer?

Magenta: I got into craft beer because I am from the Maritimes and it is in my blood! I am passionate about all things local, sustainable and low impact manufacturing.

Jaime: Through my cupcake company (The Sassy Lamb), I started making beer cupcakes for events and that opened my eyes to all the craft beer out there. I started working at McAuslan Brewery doing tasting events and now I find myself promoting many local breweries at an array of festivals.

Erica: I really started exploring beers while living in Montreal for school. Coming back to Toronto I decided to leave the teaching industry and dove into the wonderful world of craft beer and haven’t looked back since.

Jennifer: It started for me when I realized how much I liked porters. That opened me up to trying different beers at the LCBO. Now I love to try anything new I can get my hands on, the stronger the better!

Renee: I got into craft beer by accident, a friend had come over with a beer that just didn’t taste like what the “big guys” were putting out on the market. After that one beer, I was hooked! Who knew that beer could be that amazing?!?!?!


FGFS: How are you ladies looking to change the landscape of female craft beer drinkers?

SOBDL: We are looking to take away the stigma that drinking beer is masculine. Women have always played a key role in beer production. We want to explore the possibilities of beer, food and cocktails. We hope to provide a space for women who love beer who wouldn’t have the opportunity to get together otherwise. 

FGFS: What are some challenges people have with craft beers (getting into them, appreciating them, etc.)?

SOBDL: Price, selection and choice. People have to be open to spending a little more money on something interesting and different.

There is a large selection of craft beers to choose from and it can be intimidating for someone who doesn’t have the knowledge about types of beer to figure out which ones to choose from. 

We are hoping that with our group we can introduce ladies to a large selection of craft beer to help them figure out what they enjoy. 

FGFS: Tell us more about your first event and what it will entail!

SOBDL: Our inaugural event will be held on January 31. It is a causal evening to introduce our group to each other. 

In the future, we plan on teaching women about beer through guest brewers, home brewing sessions and plenty of other things. 


FGFS: How important do you feel it is for women to have their own group to learn and become friends over a frosty glass of brew.

SOBDL: We think it will be great to give women a space to hang out and chat about beer, however with all of our events, men are welcome after midnight.

FGFS: What does the future hold for the Society? 

SOBDL: The events will take place the last Friday of every month from beer and food pairings, home brewing, new friends and a chance to interactive with people in the industry. We have a lot of great ideas so check into our Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to find out what is happening next!

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  1. […] out. Stay tuned to the group’s twitter feed for news about the next event and check out this Fat Girl Food Squad article on The Society for more […]

  2. […] of Beer Drinking Ladies Bevy #4Having sold out in just eight hours, the SOBDL‘s third event on March 28th is now only open to non-ticket-holding women (and men) after […]

  3. MaryLou Johnson says:

    A colleague at work, Melissa told me about your society and I would love to join. Please count me in!