THE SECRET HISTORY OF BEER LASS
How did I go from being a young Nittany Lion with sweet dreams of Madison Avenue to singing the "Sly Fox song," schlepping cases and persuading other women to put down their pinots for pints?
For as long as I can remember I drank better beer.
I attended Penn State University, where in addition to having a bar every ten feet, they had a really good beer bar about every 50. I grabbed onto a bottle of Tr?egs long before I got my hands on a diploma.
Post-graduation, I worked at City Tavern in Philadelphia, the colonial tavern that serves up the recipes of our Founding Fathers. I was completely consumed with the idea that our nation was founded by home brewers and sought out as much info as I could. My research revealed that at one point pre-prohibition, the majority of the beer was made by brewsters--female brewers--whom had much toil before the boil, including milling the grain and drying it over coals. I was bubbling over with excitement about a renaissance. The beer industry needed more females.
I was signed up to be on Boston Beer's payroll. While working there as an "account manager," I brewed my first beer. Taking up the craft changes everything. I understood what made up the liquid I loved so much, and then I revered it. But this homebrew was certainly not to be admired. I called it Lambda Lambda Lambic. The "Revenge of the Nerds" reference was much more appreciated than the contents itself.
Within the next year I created beer events like World Caf? Live's first beer festival, B.E.A.T.S. That's when I met Brian O'Reilly, who came by the venue to meet me and see if Sly Fox should participate. By the end of our conversation, I thought to myself, this guy could have done anything he wanted. He wanted to brew. And he made great brew.
I started to seek Sly Fox out and drank it all the time. Within 15 months, I was sitting at a table with O'Reilly, Tim Ohst and John Giannopoulos trying to figure out what my title should be on my business card. I didn't want it to say "account manager." Beer Lass just rolled off my tongue. John smiled, and it went to print.
That same month, I launched "In Pursuit of Ale," the women's beer club of Philadelphia, and tried to integrate Sly Fox into IPA meetings whenever possible. Shortly afterwards, I started a blog to share my ramblings and adventures in beer selling called "I'll have Another Stout." More recently, I also started contributing to Ale Street News and Philadelphia Weekly, covering the beer industry at large.
My world has become all beer, all of the time and one brewery most of the time. And I couldn't be prouder that the upper left hand corner of my business card says Sly Fox.