On March 8, the brewery launched its Witch Craft IPA to honour women, with proceeds from the sale of the 110 cases of cans going to three Yukon women’s organizations, and pint sales at the brewery going to the Pink Boots Society, an organization that aims to assist, inspire and encourage female fermented/alcoholic beverage industry professionals to advance their careers through education.
This marks the second year Winterlong has released a limited offering to mark the day that celebrates the achievements of women.
Winterlong owners Meghan and Marko Marjanovic have been operating the brewery for six years after they started working on their homebrews in university.
“It was something we did together,” Meghan says.
As she started working on the homebrews more and more, her passion for the craft grew.
It’s a bit like cooking in that you experiment with different flavour combinations and ingredients, Meghan says.
About three years ago she started looking at ways to celebrate International Women’s Day at the brewery. While she was a bit too late to plan anything for that year, work quickly got underway for 2020 as the brewery worked with the Pink Boots Society for Winterlong’s inaugural Witch Craft release.
The Pink Boots Society provides a blend of hops to breweries for International Women’s Day with money from the sale of the hop blends going to brewing programs the society offers to women to further their careers in the industry.
Along with money from their purchase of the hops, sales from pints poured from the two kegs of Witch Craft on tap at Winterlong will also go to the Pink Boots cause.
“It turned out really well,” Meghan says of last year’s beer, noting that this year’s blend features tropical, woody, citrus and herbal flavours that showcase the hops.
The name for Winterlong’s version of the Pink Boots mix came about thanks to a brainstorming session with the six female staff at Winterlong. As staff talked about the history of women in brewing, the idea of witchcraft came up.
In medieval times, women who brewed — alewives or brewsters, as they were called — had a few things in common with images many might think of for a witch, Meghan points out.
Tall hats were worn by alewives to ensure they were seen in the marketplace; broomsticks were hung over doorways where ale was sold; cats were kept as pets to keep mice and rats out of the grains used in brewing. And then, of course, there were the large caldrons where the brewing happened.
All that led to the name for the Winterlong brew.
“Witch Craft seemed kind of fun,” Meghan says.
The 2021 brew was enough to create the two kegs and the 2,640 tall cans now being sold at the brewery, with funds from the sale of cans going to the Victoria Falkner Women’s Centre, the Dawson Women’s Shelter and the Yukon Status of Women Council.
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