The Women of Ontario Craft Brewing

Watch the Women in Ontrario Craft Brewing videoMarch 8th is International Women's Day and we, the Ontario Craft Brewers, want to send a shout-out to all the fantastic women who are in the forefront of Ontario's Craft Brewing Revolution!

Andrea Mulligan, Sl;eeping Giant

Andrea Mulligan, Co-Founder/Owner, Sleeping Giant Brewing Co.

Favourite beer style: Farmhouse Ales and APAs

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Andrea and her husband started home brewing a decade ago. Their passion, and the desire to educate others, took off from there, and gave birth to Sleeping Giant. Says Andrea: "We wanted to educate Thunder Bay about craft beer and we wanted to create a culture to foster the growth and interest in beer in our local community." For Andrea and her partner, the biggest challenge in the years ahead is to continue to produce high quality beer in a variety of styles and to be creative and true to thier commitment to the 'craft' of craft beer. "As well, we face the challenge to grow our brewery while being responsible to our community, the environment, and to our own vision of what the craft beer culture in Thunder Bay should be."

Val Stimpson, Neustadt Brewing

Val Stimpson, President & CEO, Neustadt Springs Brewery

Favourite beer style: Pilsners

Originally hailing from Manchester, England, Val has worked in the brewing industry for almost four decades — 20 years in England and 19 in Ontario. Val cites her husband and business partner Andrew's love of the different styles of beer in the UK as one of the driving forces behind her career in craft brewing. While she does find equipment breakdowns and the pressure to keep up with production challenging, for her the best thing about working in a brewery is the joy of trying new brews. "It is like baking a cake, you never know what a new beer is like until it has been fermented and filtered." If she had the power, Val would make sure all the licencees and the public were educated on how to look after craft beer.

Ainsley Robertson, Trafalgar Brewery

Ainsley Robertson, Brewer, Trafalgar Brewery

Favourite beer style: Stouts and porters — anything dark Ainsley started working at Trafalgar during her year off between high school and university. She started in packaging, graduated to cellaring, and then to brewing. "Flash forward," Ainsley says, "I didn't end up going to university, but I am in the Brewmaster program at Niagara College." She credits Trafalgar's brewmaster Dave Jamieson as being her biggest mentor by far. "He has always been around to answer any questions that I have, beer related or not. I'm very grateful for everything that he's been able (and willing) to teach me." Although Ontario's craft brewing industry has changed significantly in the past few years and challenges lie ahead, Ainsley thinks variety is key, and so unique flavours and experimental brews will stick around.

Ashley Ritchie, Cameron's Brewing Company

Ashley Ritchie, Operations & Logistics Manager and Go-to-Girl Extraordinaire, Cameron's Brewing Company.

Favourite beer style: Appreciates good beer, period.

Born and raised in Oakville, Ashley has wanted to work in the beer industry for as long as she can remember. "Some of the earliest childhood memories I recall are of watching my dad BBQing (even in the cold of winter) with a beer in hand and him always letting me have a little sip." After a decade working in the wine industry, she saw "a logical transition into working for a local craft brewery whose passion was geared towards producing great quality product with simply pure ingredients." Ashely loves the fact that every day poses a new challenge. "When you work for a small company it's all about understanding your business from the ground up and trying to make sure all the intricacies between each department function as a single unified team."

Courtney Fromm, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Courtney Fromm, Director of Sales, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Favourite beer style: "How can I choose just one?"

Originally recruited by Flying Monkeys for an entry-level customer service and technical role (line cleaning), Courtney has been with the company for nine years. "The first week I was called upon to host a beer dinner for a licensee ... I spent the next 24 hours researching beer dinners and tastings then practiced on all my neighbours and friends. I was so excited with all my new knowledge that I couldn't help falling in love with the industry and all the possibilities within it." Moving forward, Courtney feels craft brewers need to ensure that top quality is a must for all  their products.  "Without an enforced standard in the industry and so many new companies emerging it is far too often that a flawed beer gets in to the hands of the consumer. This can put a 'bad taste in someones mouth' literally and hurts the reputation of all the great beers out there."

Tricia DeSando, Big Rig Brewery

Tricia DeSando, Sales Representative, Big Rig Brewery

Favourite beer style: IPA/ESB

Before joining Big Rig, Tricia had worked for many years in the bar and restaurant industry, dealing closely with representatives from different breweries, "with whom I got along fabulously." She has always been a fan of craft beer and after a close friend, through his passion for beer, took a brewing position at Big Rig, they began speaking more and more about not only beer, but of the industry and its inner workings. "Big Rig was on the hunt for an outgoing person to help expand the brand into SouthWest Ontario and the rest is history." Tricia feels that, as the industry continues to grow, maintaining quality, vision, and independence will be key for craft beer to thrive going forward.

Bromlyn Bethune, Steam Whistle Brewing

Bromlyn Bethune, Director of Sales & Marketing, Steam Whistle Brewing

Favourite beer style: Pilsner

Bromlyn is approaching her 16th year in the beer industry. She previously spent a number of years at the LCBO's Merchandising department after attending Sheridan College and fell in love with the beer category. At that time she "spent a solid year bugging Cam and Greg for a job at Steam Whistle" and was lucky enough to secure a retail sales job, becoming even more attached to the world of Craft. "Beer is such a part of our social landscape. I love watching people come together over a beer, be that with great conversations and discussions or a way to end a hard earned week. These days it has to be the most exciting packaged goods category going. New breweries popping up month to month and styles of beer to sample. Something for everyone."

Erin Kloos, Grand River Brewing

Erin Kloos, Filtration & Cellar Operator, and Packaging Supervisor, Grand River Brewing Company

Favourite beer style: A well carbed, bright IPA, or Black Lager

Erin started working on the packaging end of the industry six years ago, before moving into the cellar part of the business. She worked with Waterloo Brewing and Seagrams Canada before joing Grand River Brewing. Predominately a filtration and cellar operator, she has stayed quite busy operating fillers, commissioning expansions, and "keeping my hands dirty with troubleshooting." She found that "the novelty of the brewing atmosphere alone kept me coming back every morning until enough hard work got me noticed by supervisory staff." After working on fillers and packaging she was selected to help run the cellar and credits her supervisor for fostering her career. "Mike Krall shared all of his 20 years of experience, knowledge and finesse with me, never seeing my being a woman as any bit of a difference and helped me to gel into my all-male team — a team I would eventually end up being able to lead and supervise."

Jen Beauchesne, Beau's

Jennifer Beauchesne, Director of "Not-so-Corporate" Communications, Beau's All Natural Brewing

Favourite beer style: American wild ales

Jennifer started working for Beau's in 2006, volunteering in the brewery store on weekends and filling growlers at night. Back then she was writing and editing how-to books to pay the bills. When a paid position opened up as a sales rep that was it for her writing career for a bit. Ten years and many beers later, she once again writes for a living, but now about brewing and beer. Since her brother and father started the brewery, Jennifer got into the industry by proxy, but says, "the reasons it captivated and kept me were the awesome people, and my profound love of beer. The people I've met in this industry are inspiring, passionate, and willing to share their knowledge and experience." Next, she's taking her passion and curiosity to the next level in April at Siebel Institute's Brewing Technology course in Chicago.

Karyn Bosco, Wellington Brewery

Karyn Bosco, Event Coordinator, Wellington Brewery

Favourite beer style: Berliner Weisse and American IPA

After having children, Karyn felt compelled to pursue only those things that brought her joy — and beer was at the top of her list. "Mere weeks after that epiphany, I found myself working events for Welly, then filling holes in production, retail and admin." She gradually carved out a position that uses her skillset: "Being social, giving back to the community and helping folks gain a deeper appreciation for the Ontario Craft Beer family." Karyn's inspiration continues to be the women she meets while at events, "both participants with a fiery passion for what they're drinking, and the women who are taking the industry to new levels with their expertise. Having a staff that consists of at least a third women puts me in a lucky situation. I receive a hands-on education from their knowledge as well as learning plenty from the awesome dudes of Welly."


Samantha Gould, Territory Manager/Brand Manager, Black Oak Brewery

Favourite beer style: Belgian Saison

Samatha began her career working at Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, Australia where she got her first taste of craft beer and learned about draught systems. Later on, she was inspired by a trip through the Netherlands and Belgium where she decided she wanted to continue with a beer career. "I then took a position at Beer Academy, learning under Stephen Rich and Justin Lamontagne, and completed three levels of Prud'homme Beer Sommelier training from the knowledgeable Roger Mittag." Samantha feels the best thing about working in a brewery, beyond the exciting array of styles and history, is the like minded community of craft beer workers and drinkers. Trends in craft brewing to keep an eye on, according to Samanatha, are sour beer, wild fermentation, fusion of beer styles, barrel aging, and extreme ABV (Alcohol by Volume).

Kim Cranfield, Publican House Brewery

Kim Cranfield, Director, Marketing, Events and Promotions, Publican House Brewery

Favourite beer style: "Sadly, gluten free"

Kim's background is in event marketing where she worked on different brands, the most enjoyable being with Bacardi. She found the experience she gained from her work with them was valuable in transition into the brewing industry. After a move to Peterborough Ontario, the timing worked out perfectly with an opening at Publican House where her background matched up with what they were looking for at that time. "The people are great. It's a very collaborative industry, so meeting people at other breweries, sharing stories and information as well as everyone at Publican House has been a great experience." Kim agrees that, with the incredible growth in the industry, there are challenges. "With so many options facing consumers, breweries need something unique to stand apart. With this comes great opportunities for breweries to create some unique brews and challenge the traditional ideas of beer flavours."

Sara Tilley, Brimstone Brewing

Sara Tilley, Sales and Events Coordinator (Toronto), Brimstone Brewing Company

Favourite beer style: IPA

Sarah is our newest brewery industry member being profiled. "I started working with Brimstone Brewing Co. on February 29th. To say that I'm excited to officially work in this dynamic, inclusive, locally-driven industry is a vast understatement." Sarah's first leap into the industry came helping out her partner's family with a community pub they had just bought. "The Grover, in The Beaches, Toronto — shameless plug!" The place was in need of a lot of love and care and they quickly worked to ensure all 20 taps were pouring local brews. "We had a lot of fun exploring what Ontario brewers had to offer." What was meant to be a unique but short-lived experience soon turned into a new career path. "I joined beer clubs, took courses, attended (too many?) beer festivals, met others in the industry, and fell in love — not just with the beer (naturally), but with the beer community as a whole."

Mary Beth Keefe, Grabite Brewery

Mary Beth Keefe, Head Brewer, Granite Brewery

Favourite beer style: IPA

Mary Beth is a second-generation brewer, and has been on Granite Brewery's payroll since 1992. "Growing up with the business it was something I always felt I would be a part of. I worked summers as a waitress from the time I turned 18 and would also spend some mornings mashing in with my dad, who has always been my biggest mentor." Spending a year living and working at a pub in England really opened her eyes as to what she had at home in the Granite brewery, and when she returned to Toronto in 2008, Mary Beth became permanently involved in the business. "The best thing about working in a brewery is making beer! Being able to come up with new recipes is my favorite part. I also like having a physical job where the reward at the end of the day is having a delicious pint I made myself."

Andrea Woods Chiodo

Andrea Woods Chiodo, Creative Director & Ego Management, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Favourite beer style: "Craft. Craft Beer. Pretty much any Craft Beer."

Andrea came into Craft Brewing "through Osmosis." Moving to Ontario from the the late 1990s, she brought with her a passion and interest in craft beer, only to find a fresh local brews weren't readily available, especially in Barrie. "My husband and I felt a calling to bring the Craft Beer Revolution to Ontario and centre it in our town that was once a bastion of Molson." If she could have superpowers, Andrea would opt for Chronokinesis, or the Power to Manipulate Time. "In an independent craft brewery, there is just never enough time to do all the creative things you obsessively want to be involved in while still maintaining a small business, marriage, family, and a semblance of your own soul." And while she night want to undo some of the mistakes and worry lines, she would keep the laugh lines. "Those are a happy reminder of my craft brewing family and the great journey I've enjoyed."

Barbara Ziola, Magnotta Brewery

Barbara Ziola, Head Brewer, Magnotta Brewery

Favourite beer style: Red Ale

Barbara has worked in brewing for over 20 years, having started at Creemore Springs as a weekend retailer before earnng the opportunity to become a brewer. She went on to study Malting/Brewing Science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. One of the biggest challenges she cites is the ongoing need for gender distinction within her peer group. "I have spent my career trying to be a competent brewer, not a competent female brewer. Gender has no business in this industry. My gender should not be celebrated nor denounced. It does a great disservice to the people in this industry when gender is factored into the equation." What she enjoys most about working in a brewery is how "it bridges my sensibilities and passion – my technical and pragmatic side vs. my creative side."

Emma Nudd, Lake of Bays Brewing

Emma Nudd, Supervisor of Customer Care Centre, Lake of Bays Brewing

Favourite beer style: India Pale Ale

Emma has been with Lake of Bays Brewing for 2½ years. "Before I started working at Lake of Bays I was working ... hocking cell phones. This job kind of just presented itself to me and I jumped at the chance. Clearly, beer was the more attractive commodity." The job does have its challenges. "As supervisor, with all the retail and licensee calls that go on, I have a lot of deadlines to keep track of and routes to coordinate and puzzle together. It's incredibly fast-paced, and you can never predict a shipment to go perfectly — especially dealing with the snowbelt and all the fun elements Ontario brings." Still, she is excited by the craft brewing industry's growth in the last five years. "the entire culture is what really keeps you in it for the long haul.."

Erica Campbell, Collective Arts Brewing

Erica Campbell – Sales, Events, Social Media – Collective Arts Brewing

Favourite beer style: Porter

Previously an educator, Erica came across an ad on Kijiji to work events with Great Lakes Brewery in 2011. She had been interested in beer and was looking for a new challenge. Now at Collective Arts Brewing, her career is still going strong. "It's dynamic with constant challenges, there is never a dull day!" says Erica. In addition to brewery life, Erica also founded the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies with 4 other craft beer loving ladies which creates all women craft beer events around the city of Toronto. She is excited by the innovation and growth happening around the province and the overall sense of camaraderie and community that continues to be a central element to the craft beer industry.