by Caitlin McKimmy
Several years ago, entrepreneur Ginger Johnson said to herself, “Self, it’s time to find out what beer is about.” Now, after delving into the intricacies of the beer industry, Johnson owns and operates Women Enjoying Beer, a business that works to help breweries market to the female craft beer enthusiast. Women Enjoying Beer is based in Ashland, but Johnson is excited to appear in Eugene this week for Brew Fest, KLCC’s annual beer-tasting benefit.
Johnson began her beer journey by asking herself why so few women are into beer, and then began countering years of gender imbalance in the beer industry by producing qualitative research into the female beer drinker’s psyche. “I want to explore the enormous opportunity the grossly under-tapped female market share has to offer,” Johnson says, “I’m learning way more about women and beer than I thought I’d ever know.”
Johnson has found that women most appreciate the social component of beer drinking, that they want to be educated about the brews they choose and that they’re looking for a good value. She has facilitated events that pair beers with chocolates, “Swig and Stitch” gatherings that combine beer tasting with sewing demonstrations and even “Raft and Craft” trips that allow consumers to quench both their thirst for adventure and good beer while white-water rafting.
On Friday, Feb. 3, Johnson will be hosting a meet and greet in the tasting room at Oakshire Brewery, and she will be at the KLCC Microbrew Festival all weekend, Feb. 10-11 at the Fairgrounds.
As far as Johnson is concerned, beer is a beautiful thing and beer people are conscientious and engaged — she thinks that the world should know, including women. “I just want to share my tasty and fulfilling ascent into beer enlightenment,” she says.
The KLCC Microbrew Festival will feature 57 breweries from Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Hawaii and Vermont. It also features a used CD and record sale, and Karen Lovely and Ty Curtis Band playing live music. To learn more about Women Enjoying Beer, visit www.womenenjoyingbeer.com and for more on the Microbrew Festival go to klcc.org