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Ontario Craft Brewers launches scholarship for women

The Cicerone scholarship is part of a larger effort to build a more women-friendly beer scene.

Christina Coady at Folly Brewpub.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

Christina Coady at Folly Brewpub.

As part of a larger effort to support women in the industry, the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) association announced new scholarships on Tuesday.

The scholarships will allow up to six women to complete Level 1 courses in the internationally recognized Cicerone Certification Program, widely regarded as the top beer-related certification course.

Garnet Pratt Siddall, chair of the OCB, said the announcement is the first of many female-friendly initiatives the organization will explore in the coming months.

“The brewing industry is quite male-dominated,” the former investment banker told Metro — however, there’s a lot of enthusiasm among membership to address the issue, and the organization is putting together an ongoing working group to share ideas.

“People are very keen. A lot of women have come forward to help out.”

Siddall said that while the OCB currently lacks stats on the gender breakdown of its membership, that will be the next big project they undertake. Collecting these numbers well help establish a baseline to judge their progress, she added.

Christina Coady, co-head of brewing at Folly Brewpub in downtown Toronto, was encouraged by the scholarship announcement.

“It’s a small step but a good step,” said Coady, who is not an OCB member.

Coady got her start home brewing in Newfoundland and she’s encouraged by the new and varied ways women can get involved in the GTA.

She stressed that while gender representation remains a concern, there are women at all levels of the local beer industry and things are steadily improving.

“There’s been a lot of awareness that this is a problem, and we’re seeing it become less of a thing,” she said.

Christina Coady of Folly Brewpub gave Metro the lowdown on different ways women can get involved with craft beer.

• Barley’s Angels holds casual meet-ups at bars and breweries on the 15th of each month. Head to barleysangels.ca

• The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies are “passionate about all things craft beer” and meet the last Friday of every month. See ladiesdrinkbeer.com/about-us

• Folly Brewpub will mark International Collaborative Women’s Brew Day on Saturday from 12 to 4. It’s already at capacity, but you can add your name to the waiting list by sending an email to info@follybrewing.com

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