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Women from ten Long Island based breweries participated in this year’s project (Credit: Connie Lynch Photography)

Women from 10 Long Island breweries have banded together to begin crafting the a charity beer in celebration of Women’s History Month.

This marks the fourth year that The Lady Brewsters, an organization that works to highlight the strength and ingenuity of underrepresented groups within the male-dominated craft beer industry, are brewing a beer during Women’s History Month. This year, as the group expanded to include additional breweries, the group has also rebranded from The Lady Brewsters of the North Fork to The Lady Brewsters of Long Island. 

This year’s brew, created at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. in Peconic, is a sour ale called Holding Up The Sky. “It’s based on a Chinese proverb that women hold up half the sky,” said Michelle Demetillo, the group’s founder. “That we’re equal.”

On Wednesday, — International Women’s Day — the process began to brew and ferment this year’s draft. Holding Up The Sky is a sour ale brewed with freshly zested blood orange, red currant and lime and was crafted with guidance from Steven Paradise, a senior brewer at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. The beer will ferment for the next few weeks and be packaged at the end of the month. 

“This is the first year we’re brewing something besides an IPA,” said Catie Callaghan, a founding board member of The Lady Brewsters who works as a cellar and operations coordinator at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. and created this year’s recipe. “Sours are becoming increasingly popular from beer aficionados to first-time drinkers. We brainstormed on flavor profiles, looked at ingredient costs and our available brewery inventory and took a vote. We expect this beer to burst with tart and juicy flavors, and showcase a nice sweetness on the palate.”

Throughout the month of April, all participating breweries will donate $2 from each pint of Holding Up The Sky sold to Girls Inc. of Long Island, a non-profit organization that provides education and community-based programs to young girls between the ages of 5 and 18 in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“We are grateful and excited to be the Lady Brewsters’ charity beneficiary this year,” said Renee Flagler, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Long Island. “One of our missions is to provide young girls with unique experiences in non-traditional and male-dominated industries. The Lady Brewsters are a great example of strong, smart and bold women who are paving the way for others and giving back to their community.”

Since 2021, an artist has been selected to design the label for the cans. Korean-American artist Cassandra Dotzel was chosen as this year’s illustrator. 

“Being involved in the 2023 Lady Brewsters’ project is an honor to contribute to a community of innovative creators that are trying to push the envelope for a more progressive, cultivated culture in the industry,” said Dotzel. “I love the idea of my art representing ideals that align with my own and coming together with the labors of the awesome women in [The] Lady Brewsters.”

Breweries from Farmingdale to the East End participated in this year’s brew. The ten breweries include The Brewers Collective Beer Co., Eastern Front Brewing Co., Ghost Brewing Co., Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Jamesport Farm Brewery, Lithology Brewing Co., North Fork Brewing Co., Tradewinds Brewing Co., Twin Fork Beer Co., and übergeek Brewing Co.

Tap Room Patchogue, which is managed by another founding board member Sheila Malone, is sponsoring this year’s project along with the Long Island Safer Bars Initiative. The initiative focuses on preventing sexual violence in communities. 

“We are always looking for ways in which we can partner with establishments in meaningful ways,” said Sarah Samson, project coordinator of Long Island Safer Bars Initiative. “When the opportunity was presented for our initiative to help support [The Lady Brewsters], we were excited. In a predominantly male-dominated industry, [they] are using their talent to further equity in this work, and mobilizing communities to raise awareness. These women are leaders in their work, and true advocates for women in the industry.”

Tap Room Patchogue will exclusively debut the beer at a release party on Thursday, April 6, followed by all participating breweries on Friday, April 7. Follow along to see the unveiling of this year’s label at @ladybrewsters on Instagram.