Barley’s Angels and Craft Beer Exploration

Barley’s Angels is a rapidly growing network of women around the world promoting craft beer education and exploration. The group’s mission is to expand the appreciation and understanding of craft beer among women through events and collaboration with craft beer professionals.

Barley's Angels Logo

From craft beer aficionados to curious craft beer first-timers… Barley’s Angels provides its members with opportunities to learn, ask questions, sample, and experience craft beer in a fun and laid back environment.

Our very own Jule Hand is a member of the Duluth-Superior Chapter and in this article she explains the Barley’s Angels mission, describes the growing the role of women in the craft beer community, and encourages other women to join in on the craft beer adventure. It’s a great community of amazing women who are seeking out new experiences and information about craft beer and helping to expand the opportunity for women to get involved. Check it out!

Barley’s Angels Encourages Education and Empowers Women to Explore Craft Beer

By Jule Hand

From across the world to our own community on the North Shore of Lake Superior, beer has been culturally known as man’s drink of choice. But let’s face it… there are a lot of women out there who enjoy a delicious craft beer as well. Just like men, we enjoy the robust flavor and silky finish of an Imperial stout, or the hoppy bite and floral aroma of an India Pale Ale. Women shouldn’t be shoehorned into the category of a beer drinker only looking for “something fruity,” or “something light,” but rather, recognized as an educated craft beer lover of many different beer styles.

In fact, women are widely considered the fastest growing demographic of beer drinkers in the United States. According to Julia Herz at, a 2014
Nielsen study revealed that women represent approximately 32 percent of craft beer consumption in the U.S. And a Stanford study which surveyed more than 2,500 breweries during the same year found that 21 percent had at least one woman in a top role like founder, CEO, head brewer, or brewmaster.

Women North Shore Craft Beer Scene

Click the image to view an excerpt from our North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable Series!

Our very own North Shore Craft Beer Scene has a strong female presence – Allyson Rolph is the Head Brewer at Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Jamie MacFarlane is the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Manager at Castle Danger Brewing Company, Laura Mullen and Karen Tonnis are both Co-Founders at Bent Paddle Brewing Company, Melissa Rainville is the Lead Brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, and Liz Gleason is the Co-Owner of Carmody Irish Pub & Brewing.

Related Article: Strong Women & Strong Beer

There is no question that the craft beer world is well represented by women – and that representation is growing. Along with growing representation professionally is a growing interest from the the female consumer base. We’ve witnessed that trend here with The Duluth Experience Brewery Tours – more and more women are exploring the science and art behind the brewing process and expanding their palates with behind-the-scenes tours where they can sample a wide variety of beer styles.

And because of organizations like Barley’s Angels, women are being encouraged to express their appreciation and opinions about beer, and generally empowered to get involved in the craft beer scene.

And it’s working!

Barley’s Angels Duluth-Superior Chapter

The Barley’s Angels Duluth–Superior chapter was established in 2012 as a way for the local ladies to explore their local craft beer scene, learn about beer styles, discover their favorites, and communicate with local breweries and brewpubs about the female consumer as a craft beer enthusiast. This effort is resulting in increased patronage by women while encouraging interest in beer among this often under-recognized demographic group.

Barley's Angels group at Lake Superior Brewing

Barley’s Angels group photo during a tour at Lake Superior Brewing Company.

The female craft beer demographic includes a wide spectrum of women – some who have never even tasted a craft beer and others who consider themselves avid enthusiasts. Barley’s Angels is open to all women and there are no credentials required by to get involved with the group. All one really needs is an interest to explore and experience the craft beer scene, the desire to grow in her craft, and the willingness to lend her knowledge and experience to other, like-minded women.

Throughout the year the Duluth-Superior Chapter offers educational and social events in collaboration with craft breweries, brewpubs, restaurants, alehouses and other public beer affiliates. Hosted events often include visits to local breweries with private tours and tastings that provide a behind-the-scenes look at where (and how!) the magic happens. In many cases, these events include great learning opportunities from the brewers themselves. Social events include evenings of craft beer sampling, discussion, and food pairing.

With the expanding role of women in the craft beer industry and blossoming groups like Barley’s Angels who provide open environments for women to nurture and further their craft beer knowledge, we’re bound to see some really exciting developments in the craft beer scene.

If you’re interested in getting connected with the Barley’s Angels Duluth-Superior Chapter check out their Facebook Page to find out about upcoming events.

Barley's Angels border

If you’re interested in learning more about the North Shore Craft Beer Scene, please visit our Brewery Tour Page and book a brewery tour with Jule and The Duluth Experience!

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