In some exciting news, I’m going to be working with the team at Cloudwater Brew Co, as the first participant in their exciting and meaningful new Wayfinder initiative.


This is an initiative that opens up the brewery’s resources, team, and their collective experience to be used by the participants to create meaningful change work. You can read about what that means to Cloudwater via the link above, but, essentially, this is a brewery recognising their limitations in terms of change work, and using their brewery and all that it entails as a platform for others.


I started The Queer Brewing Project with a handful of aims, but not much else: I wanted to take up space and provide visible representation for LGBTQ+ people in a predominantly cisgender, heterosexual industry, using collaboration beers to start conversations around LGBTQ+ issues that might not otherwise happen, whilst raising money for LGBTQ+ charities. In the year and a half it’s been running, Queer Brewing has grown into a recognisable brand within the industry, has raised thousands for invaluable and incredibly worthwhile charities, and even won an award!


I’ve written a lot in my work as a beer writer about the need for the industry to step up and do more for LGBTQ+ people—as well as all other marginalised groups. There is a lot of work to be done for the industry to reach a point where it is truly as diverse and inclusive as it proclaims itself to be. I created Queer Brewing, in part, as a way to work with the industry to not necessarily outright reach that goal, but do some of the work to get there. But Queer Brewing has the potential to become so much more than a means to an end: there’s room for it to grow beyond fighting to simply take up space. And I want to start by bringing other LGBTQ+ people on board.


In order for Queer Brewing to reach its full potential, however, it needs to grow and change. And to do so, it needs external input. That’s why I jumped at the chance of working with Cloudwater as part of the new Wayfinder scheme: here’s an opportunity to steer Queer Brewing in the direction it needs to go, with the help and guidance of an established, highly capable, and experienced team. I’ve got a number of big ideas for my project, so who better to work on them with than a brewery with big aspirations, loud voices, and strong values?


I’m incredibly excited to be working with the team at Cloudwater from October to December, and for the work we can undertake together, and as well as helping equip me with the skills and knowledge I need to step Queer Brewing up a level (or two!), working on future Queer Brewing plans, we’ll also be brewing some delicious beer.


Though Queer Brewing has been somewhat quiet in recent months, due to a number of predominantly-pandemic-related reasons, things are starting to pick up again. As well as a collaboration with London’s wonderful Mondo Brewing Company, I’m in the planning stages of collaborations with a number of breweries in the UK and USA. Though I can’t be there to physically collaborate (i.e. dig out the mash tun…), remote collaborations will certainly be going ahead.


On top of all of this, there are plans to give Queer Brewing a bit of a face lift, with a few new merch pieces in the works, as well as a website redesign, which is all possible due to the generosity of the project’s Patreon supporters. To help with this, my partner Charlotte will be doing some work for the project, and I couldn’t be happier to be working with her.


Though it’s been a tough year on pretty much every front, there are some positives on the way. Expect big things of Queer Brewing in 2021!


Lily


The work done by The Queer Brewing Project is made possible by the generous support of our Patreon subscribers, including Gautam Bhatnagar, The Twelve Taps Whitstable, Peter Burger, Jolly Good Beer, Bob Preece, Ed Sharman, Edwin Methu, Hannah Davidson, Joe Hillyard, Michelle Midwinter, Timo Laak, CJ Ward, Charlie Docherty, Charlotte Cook, Claire Bullen, Daniel Barrowcliffe, David Holden, Doreen Joy Barber, Georgia Gallant, Kaleigh Watterson, LipstickNLager, Phill Palgrave-Elliott, Sarah Harding, Steve Rimington, Tina Ambury, and Weiyu Chen.


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY US!


A little over a week ago, we turned a whopping ONE YEARS OLD! We forwent a celebration on the day itself in favour of something bigger, more fun, and more prehistoric…


That’s right—we’re celebrating our birthday by releasing an extra-special, dinosaur-based beer! Dinosaurs Will Die, the papaya and guava Gose I brewed with Marble Brewery back in 2018, was the beer that started this whole thing, so it felt only right that we did a re-brew of sorts.


Birthday Dinosaurs is an evolution of Dinosaurs Will Die, a papaya and guava Berliner Weisse that’s actually pink this time. With a ridiculously fun label, this is the perfect way to celebrate this tiny project going a full 12 months.


And what a year it’s been! The original aim was to brew one beer a month, totalling 12 beers across the first year. We actually brewed 27 beers with over 30 different collaborating partners in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and across America, with breweries big and small. The as-yet unconfirmed total of donations will be close to £25,000, benefiting charities across the world fighting a broad range of issues impacting the LGBTQ+ communities. It’s been an epic journey so far.


Absolutely none of this could have been achieved without the incredibly generous support of our Patreon subscribers. There is no other source of funding for the project, so every single pledge has meant the world, and, as I don’t pay myself for the work I do on this project, 100% of the money goes to running the project, brewing delicious beers with great people, and raising funds for incredibly important charities. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. To say thank you, all Patreon subscribers will be sent a discount code for the soon-to-be released new merch, and I’m also going to be popping a little something extra in the post, as a personal ‘thank you’ from myself.


To help us celebrate, we’d love for you to to snap a photo of yourself enjoying Birthday Dinosaurs, at 6PM on Friday the 8th, and post it on social media using the hashtag #BirthdayDinosaurs. We figured there’s enough going on on Instagram Live that you don’t need another livestream, but if you could share a beer and a photo, that would be amazing. We’re also asking people to fill this image in and share on social, to help look back at this crazy year.


FINALLY, we’re running a competition! Want to win a bunch of Birthday Dinos? We’re giving out prizes for the best birthday party thrown in honour of Queer Brewing. How much you get involved is up to you: from baking a dinosaur-themed cake to dressing up as a T-Rex for a day, anything goes. Just make sure you post a photo by midnight on Thursday using the hashtag #QueerBrewingParty. Winners will be announced on Friday evening!


To buy Birthday Dinosaurs (from Tuesday 5th May), please visit Marble's webshop here, or for trade, get in touch here.


That’s all for now! Thanks again for all of the support over this past year—it’s been incredible. Here’s to another, even queerer, year.


All the love in the world,


Lily xxx


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When I launched The Queer Brewing Project at the end of April this year—a time that already feels impossibly far away—I couldn’t possibly imagine that the project would come so far in a matter of 8 (eight!) months. If you’ll allow me the indulgence, I’d like to take a moment to look at everything that’s happened in that short period of time, to recognise everyone who’s made it possible, and to take a look at what’s going on next year.


April saw the launch of Queer Royale, the project’s first collaboration; an oh-so-juicy blackcurrant pale ale brewed with Affinity Brew Co. The aim was to generate a huge buzz about the beer and get people talking about the project, and it worked: this beer poured at over 40 different venues on the launch night, and the excitement on social media was more than I could have hoped for.

The summer saw collaborations with Goose Island Brewpub Shoreditch, Northern Monk, Brick, Denmark’s People Like Us, Beatnikz Republic, and Florida’s 7venth Sun. Interestingly, all of these collaborations proved how geared towards seasonality my brewing mind is: each of these beers were light, easy drinking, and fruit forward—with the exception of the Brick collaboration Preferred Pronouns, each beer was fruited in some way.


In the autumn, I brewed with Austmann in Norway, and then Brewery Bhavana, Fifth Hammer, Big Rip, 2nd Shift, New Belgium, and Our Mutual Friend over in the US, in what was the most epic trip of my life. Not long after my return, I headed up to Saltaire to brew with Salt Beer Factory (FYI, Flavortown is still available!).


The past couple of months have seen a slightly less busy collaboration period, with one brew apiece in November and December, with Sean Ayling at Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse, and Mills Brewing in my home county.


Since the start of the project, I’ve brewed 17 collabs, just shy of two a month (which is double my initial target of 1 brew a month). Some of those beers are yet to be released, with three sitting happily in various barrels. Some sold out quickly, and were rebrewed, and some stuck around for a little longer. Some found their way across Europe (being tagged in Instagram posts by excited people drinking Queer Brewing beers in numerous other countries is truly one of the best feelings), and a few were poured only on site.


All of the beers meant a great deal: the space that these queer beers have taken up is considerable; the visible representation they (and the collaborations themselves) have provided is important; the money donated is both greatly need and hugely appreciated by the beneficiaries; and the response has been staggering. The messages of support the project has received, both from allies and people from the community it aims to support, and the visible support in the form of people wearing merch across the world, and photos of people loving the beers, has been nothing short of mindblowing. I can’t describe what it means to me.


At the time of writing, 6 of the 17 beers have raised roughly £5,600 for various charities—those are only the collaborations from which the proceeds have been donated. 11 beers are yet to be totted up. With a good number of collaborations already lined up for next year, my target for total donations in the first year of operation is £30,000, but I’m hoping to exceed that.


Speaking of next year: what’s next? Well, I’m looking to bring more people into the Queer Brewing fold (and increase the number of team members from one to, well, more than one). I’ll be thinking on strategy and talking to some knowledgeable folks early in 2020. I want to get more people involved in the brewing itself, to provide an opportunity for those interested in getting their hands dirty, and to see the inner workings of a brewery. I want to hold more events (including a big birthday party!), to further increase the reach of the project. I’ll also be attending Queer Brewing’s first ever festival: People Like Us’ Social Revolution By Beer festival, in Copenhagen. I’d also love to hear suggestions for where you want the project to go, or what you’d like to see it do—whether that be collab suggestions, merch ideas, or anything else. Let me know.


None of this could be achieved, however, without the support of so many people. I’d like to thank all of the Patreon supporters, without whom the project, quite literally, couldn’t exist: Gautam Bhatnagar; The Twelve Taps; Peter Burger; Jolly Good Beer; Rachel Thomas; Amber Dernulc; Bob Preece; Michelle Midwinter; Edwin Methu; Joe Hillyard; Edward Sharman; Timo Laak; Elisa Walsh; Hannah Davidson; Dani Neal; Tina Ambury; Charlotte Cook; Sarah Harding; Daniel Barrowcliffe; Andrew Clarke; Melissa Cole; Steve Rimington; Weiyu Chen; Bethany Baker; Chris Ward; Jon; Doreen Barber; Claire Bullen; Katy Holliday; Grace Robson; Matthew Curtis; Lewis Husbands; Ruvani de Silva; Katie Mather; Merlin Ward; Dianne Tanner; Nicci Peet; David Holden; Chris Norman; Logan Rockmore; Kaleigh Watterson; Philth D; Sarah Dunn; Sarah Wetherbee; Megan Armstrong; and Ewan Munro.


I’d like to thank each and every brewery I’ve worked with, for taking a risk, brewing some frankly delicious beer, and for donating to so many incredibly important causes. I’d like to thank all of my friends and industry peers who’ve offered support, an ear to bend, or encouragement—this year has been filled with anxiety, worry, and imposter syndrome, and your words kept the good ship Queer Brewing on a straight (lol) course. I’d like to thank my parents for their support and encouragement, even if a few of the beers weren’t quite to their taste, and my patient and long-suffering partner, Charlotte. Sorry about all the merch literally everywhere. Finally, thanks to everyone who’s poured or served beer, bought a pint or a can, or proudly worn merch. You’re amazing.


Here’s to next year!


Lily Waite

Founder of The Queer Brewing Project.

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