Building a Society…

Back in late 2013, Erica was working her first full-time beer industry job at Black Oak Brewery. She realized that although the industry was very male dominated, there were women working at craft breweries peppered around the province.

The idea was to bring women working in the industry and other beer-loving ladies, together by creating a sort of secret society to meet, chat, trade beers, connect and make new friends.

Erica approached Renee Navarro, Jaime Dobbs, Jen Reinhardt, and Magenta Suzanne all of whom she knew from different parts of her life. The ladies sat down over a few beers and Society of Beer Drinking Ladies was born.

Tickets were put on sale in January 2014 for ‘Bevy 0001’. Predicting a group of maybe 15 guests, they were pleasantly surprised to find that ninety tickets had sold within a matter of days! They quickly realized the demand for such a group. And so, SOBDL was never a small private gathering in a living room; as alcohol permits, a venue, insurance certificates and most importantly beer, were in order.

We Just Kept Growing

After the success of Bevy 0001, monthly ‘bevies’ were held the last Friday of every month; the location changing each month and remaining a secret until 48 hours before. The energy at the SOBDL was contagious and it kept blossoming into a safe and welcoming space for a diverse cross-section of women-identified folk, to experience rockin’ tunes, great conversation, awesome brews, tasty ciders, delicious food and a charitable component to the Canadian Women’s Foundation .

Read our Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Action Plan

The bevies now average 400 ladies and are hosted regularly in Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton. in 2016, after 24 bevies, Lady Beer Fest was born! It became, and continues to be, Canada’s first and largest beer festival for women. Similar to a bevy, but much larger in scale, it happens bi-annually in Toronto and attracts over 1000 women.

Now the Largest Women Beer Community in North America!

Flash forward to present-day and the SOBDL is now owned & operated by Erica Campbell and Jaime Dobbs with the help of their awesome coordinators. After five years, the SOBDL has thrown over 50 events (Bevies, Lady Beer Fests, tap takeovers, beer dinners, etc.,) and raised over $45,000 for the Canadian Women’s Foundation .

In addition to events, the SOBDL now collaborates with breweries across Ontario to create monthly brews and hosts quarterly intimate beer dinners at top restaurants in Toronto. They have a Good Tap draught initiative at C’est What and Spin Toronto & The Antler Room, featuring a rotating selection of women-brewed beers with $1 from every pint donated to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

The SOBDL continues to create dynamic and diverse spaces to showcase and host women-identified folk. We’re committed to fostering a place where racism, homophobia & discrimination are not tolerated and our differences are celebrated. At Society of Beer Drinking Ladies when we say woman, we mean anyone who identifies as a woman, non-binary, gender-fluid or non-conforming, or any person that would like to be included in this definition.

Stay tuned for what’s to come!