With just hours to go until the launch of this year's Harrogate-based festival championing the cause of women in the male-dominated beer world, organisers say they are delighted it is starting with a soldout event.
First launched in Harrogate in 2017, Women On Tap presents unique events fusing beer, women and the arts in order to raise the profile of women in a traditionally male-dominated industry and to tackle some of the issues that brings.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 30 will see the Festival Launch: Beer & Cheese Crawl at the Little Ale House on Cheltenham Crescent in Harrogate which is already sold out.
The following day, Wednesday will see Alison Franklin and Steaming Tom’s presents: Beer & Food, The Perfect Match at the Cold Bath Brewing Co on Kings Road in Harrogate.
The same day will see the launch of Beer School at Blind Jacks in Knaresborough which will run for the duration of Women on Tap which runs from May 1-5.
Happy organisers are emphasising that this exciting five-day beer event in the area's top independent bars is for men, too!
Co-founder Rachel Auty said: “We’ve got an exciting vision to really push forward with even more bespoke events, a fringe programme at some of our favourite venues, Beer School, and a one-day Women In Beer conference. It’s going to be big!
“What we want to do now is raise the profile of not only women in the wider beer industry in order to further our social mission.
“But we also want to fly the flag for Harrogate as a serious player in terms of beer and the range of quality independent pubs.”
Proof of this Harrogate event's national significance comes this year with the Beer For All conference, the first of its kind in the UK.
Taking place at Harrogate Theatre on May 3, speakers from all across the UK will be coming to Harrogate to discuss why Britain has the lowest percentage of female beer drinkers in the world and what is being done to change that.
The inaugural festival was funded personally by founders Rachel Auty and Andrew Cameron but it has since attracted sponsorship, including from Manchester-based brewer Cloudwater.
The first financial support came in the form of headline sponsorship from Cloudwater, listed as the Ratebeer number two brewery in the world for 2017*.
This commitment was closely followed by pledges from northern beer brands North Bar Ltd, Black Sheep Brewery and the 5 Barrel project, Brass Castle Brewery, Individual Inns Ltd, Roosters Brewing Co, The Harrogate Tap, Brew York, and Ilkley Brewery.
Founder Rachel is delighted with the response to date: “I met Paul Jones from Cloudwater at a beer festival early in 2018 and he was incredible positive and supportive about the work we do. I’m delighted that Cloudwater has now come on board as headliner.
"I think as a partnership it’s a great fit and we have the potential to move mountains! Women On Tap is a small but bold and ambitious team.
"My plans for 2019 were to create a northern powerhouse of incredible beer brands and to deliver something exceptional. We’re making great progress.”
Paul Jones said “Since Cloudwater launched we have put meritocracy and equal opportunity at the heart of our company. Our Brewery Manager and Head of Retail both joined us as assistants. For the past few years women have made up around 50% of our team in roles from production to management, not only in number but in spirit, in grit and determination, and in results.
Among the bars and breweries hosting Women on Tap events such as Beer School, Beer & Food - The Perfect Match and an evening with comic Maisie Adam will be The Little Ale House, North Bar, Cold Bath Brewing Co, Harrogate Brewing Co. Tap Room, Blind Jacks, Major Tom’s Social, Starling and Corner Haus.