Equity Brewing Co. is a forthcoming brewery, expected to open in the Spring of 2021, in Norman, Oklahoma, and is the very first all female owned brewery in the state!
This unique all female team is led by two women, Suzette and Jacque, who became friends while working at the University of Oklahoma and their two daughters, Lilly and Hannah.
This is not the first business venture the two friends have taken on. In fact, an event they were hosting at their co-op work space (a safe learning place for BIPOC and foreign students to do their work) is responsible for the lightbulb going off in Suzette’s head!
They were hosting a Paint and Pint’s night, and Suzette was headed to the brewery to pick up a beer donation for the event. Suzette’s sensory experience of the brewhouse on brew-day is what really set it off.
She asked the brewers if any women worked in their brewhouse. A few worked in the front of house, and they didn’t know of too many female brewers. And there certainly weren’t any fully female owned breweries in Oklahoma, well, at least not yet!
Suzette left the brewery and called up Jacque to pitch the idea, and to Suzette’s surprise, Jacque didn’t need much convincing.
They spent the next several months learning how to brew and getting their ‘ducks in a row.’ Hannah (Suzette’s daughter) and Lilly (Jacque’s daughter) were on board as well! Lilly is the head brewer and kind of just dove in head first and made the operation her own. Hannah was less interested in brewing and more focused on social media and customer engagement. She is expected to work in the tap room, upon opening.
In the midst of the chaos of planning a brewery, they knew, foremost, that they wanted to set the model of values first, with such intentionality, and the beer would come second.
“Diversity and Inclusion should be integrated into every business! We will serve as an example … Our mission is to enhance awareness and visibility of important issues.” Further down the line, they hope to position themselves to work with other brewers or other industries to provide assessments.
They have created a board, known as the Equity Trust, which is a collective, with all different backgrounds, to represent and offer perspective. They called on Danii Oliver, owner of Island to Island Brewing and recently elected Pink Boots Board member. Since then, Danii has become a full Equity partner! Also joining the endeavor is Skye Latimer, co-owner of Folded Owl, a company that develops digital marketing and helps companies grow and create inclusive digital space.
“It was the most important aspect of opening this brewery, to be held accountable to our own values,” which the Equity Trust will assist in carrying out and eventually, grow into a consulting group for other breweries and businesses to utilize.
One of Suzette’s favorite Equity brews, to date, is the Solidarity Saison. “This beer we have definitely brewed the most. We have tried to get it just right.”
She also mentions the collaboration brew Yellow Dog Coffee Stout, where they joined forces with their friends next door, Yellow Dog Coffee and procured the beans from a coffee farm co-op in Ethiopa owned by 50 women.
When the pandemic hit, the gals from Equity and the gals from Yellow Dog Coffee started their own podcast, Four Grown Ass Women of the Apocalypse, where the four friends and business owners talk about policy, share stories, and laugh a lot! Give it a listen, here!
Fueled by Hops wishes all the success in opening the doors to Equity Brewing Co. Cheers to these badass women implementing change in the industry and serving as a perfect example of the way any business should hold their values.
Featured image courtesy and property of Equity Brewing Co.