Castle Rock Brewery

Local breweries get together to celebrate International Women’s Day

Women of all abilities and backgrounds were invited to a brew day at Castle Rock Brewery, as part of the celebrations to mark International Women’s Day 2023.

On Tuesday 7th February, the brewery opened its doors to offer all women the opportunity to help brew an International Women’s Day beer. The recipe was created by Grantham-based brewer Sara Barton, founder of Brewster’s Brewery.

‘Crystal Clear’ is a collaboration between the two breweries, Castle Rock and Brewster’s. The name was inspired by an X-Ray Spex song and chosen not only in celebration of the late artist (and feminist icon), Poly Styrene; but also in recognition that the aims of the International Women’s Day beer should be transparent – i.e. to raise awareness and educate on equality for women, to celebrate their achievements, and to fundraise for women-focussed charities. The beer is also fined, meaning it will present bright, or ‘crystal clear’.

Launching on International Women’s Day at the Vat and Fiddle’s OId Cold Store, the beer is a 5% golden ale brewed with New Zealand hops. Women attending the brew day could choose which tasks they wanted to tackle, from working with the brewing vessels to taking readings in the laboratory. Alongside welcoming women to the help brew the beer, the two breweries also invited self-identifying women to enter a competition to design the artwork for the beer’s pump clip. The submissions will be displayed at the launch, along with live music from local artists.

Castle Rock’s marketing manager Jess Collins has led the project alongside marketing officer Alexa Hawksworth and Sara Barton of Brewster’s. Upon hearing about the project, Stephanie Brindley, technical sales representative at Murphy & Son, also volunteered herself to provide educational and interactive brewing talks to the women throughout the day.

“The whole thing has been an amazing experience for us all. International Women’s Day is so relevant in our line of work given the pub and brewing industry have been historically male dominated, with a lack of representation in senior positions and within the brewery itself,” says Jess. “It isn’t often we are able to come together to celebrate all that we bring to the table. It was important for us to bring the community into our celebrations, that’s why we opened the brew day up to everyone and launched the design competition, and it was amazing to have so many women get involved.”

Money raised through the sale of the beer will be donated to Nottingham Women’s Centre. This haven on Chaucer Street is run by women for women. It offers a multitude of services, from support for refugees to counselling for abuse victims. Head of External Relations, Kate Lewin, also attended the brew day, providing an empowering talk on the work carried out at the Centre.

Brewster’s head brewer Sara commented:

“It was great to work with Castle Rock on the 2023 IWCBD brew. It is our 25th anniversary this year and Castle Rock pubs were our very first customers when we produced our first beer back in 1998. In the 25 years that we have been in business we have seen many positive changes in attitudes towards women in brewing. Let’s hope for more improvements in the next 25 years.”

On International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8th March) ‘Crystal Clear’ will launch at the brewery tap’s Old Cold Store. The event starts at 6pm and entry is free, all genders are welcome. Local band, Girlband, will headline alongside Alexa Hawksworth, who doubles up as a musician when she’s not working for Castle Rock. The beer will then go on sale at pubs across Nottingham, the East Midlands and beyond, over the following weeks.

International Women’s Day will see activists, charities, educational organisations, and businesses across the world unite in the fight for equality.

Posted on 23 February 2023

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Kinga Kapias

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