Foghorn Brewing Company has collaborated with “Women on the Water Saint John” to create a beer that honours women who sail in the area. Called “She Sails,” the beer is being launched around the same time as the arrival of The Maiden Factor, an all-women sailboat coming to Saint John this week as part of its three-year world tour.
Johanne McInnis, a member of Women on the Water Saint John (WoW), said the local organization gets women together to teach and mentor each other.
“We sail together, we work together [and] we do educational processes together,” said McInnis.
The organization, which was officially launched in 2010, has about 50 members from Saint Andrews to the Fredericton Yacht Club and the Greater Saint John area.
“It’s one of those things where you hear people find a passion in life and then they just go for it and I think that’s what it’s become for me,” said McInnis, who has been sailing for most of her life.
The idea for collaborating on a beer came in March when McInnis’ friend and owner of Foghorn Brewing, Steve Russell, told her they brew a beer in honour of International Women’s Day.
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McInnis said Foghorn Brewing is always involved in the community.
“I think it’s because people gave [Russell] a hand when he had a dream to open Foghorn on his own and so that’s his way of repaying – anytime there’s an opportunity to help out someone in the community, he’s right there,” said McInnis.
The name of the beer, “She Sails,” comes from Lisa Frechette, a member of WoW and someone who McInnis mentored for a couple of years.
In an email to Huddle, Frechette says the idea for the name came from watching a short film submission from the Outdoor Outdoor Film Festival. The short film was from the “More Kids on Sailboats” non-profit, which led her to look for sailing groups that promote women and girls. She found one called SheSails from Australia and that provided the inspiration for the name.
Fittingly, Foghorn has a co-op student this summer pursuing a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) education.
Sarah McEwen, an Acadia University chemistry student, is completing her last co-op term brewing beer with Foghorn and said the process of making beer relates to chemistry in a lot of ways.
“The fermentation process is chemistry. The chemistry in the flavour profiles, the hops, in all the different chemical reactions. We do lots of cleaning [too] that uses all kinds of different chemicals,” she said.
McEwen heard of the “She Sails” beer collaboration when she started at Foghorn.
“It was pretty interesting because I know it’s in support of women in STEAM and so it was nice to be a part of that knowing that it exists because I am a woman in STEAM,” said McEwen.
Jason Hickey, Foghorn Brewing’s business development manager, said the “She Sails” beer is an American wheat ale. The brewery wanted to go with something fun, light and “summery” for the collaboration.
The soft launch of the beer is happening at Foghorn on August 2 at 7 p.m. and its official launch on August 10 at Saint John’s waterfront container village. The official launch will coincide with a showing of The Maiden’s documentary that same night.
The beer will be available at different distributors before the official launch.
All the money raised from the “She Sails” beer with be donated to WoW. They haven’t picked an organization to support with the donations, but it will be one that provides funding for young girls trying to get an education.
McInnis is excited to have the “She Sails” beer launched during a time of celebration for women who sail and mentor young women in STEAM fields.
“This is going to be a really huge celebration, for the 10 days [The Maiden Factor] is here,” said McInnis. “There’s 100 years of proud women that sail in the Saint John area and so we’re honouring all the women out there that sail.”
Jessica Saulnier is an intern with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.
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