Top 5 Reasons To Love Fall

Fall has arrived. Gone are the days of the Summer heat and sunshine, patios and beach time. But instead of mourning Summer’s passing, we’d like to encourage you to get on the Fall bandwagon and enjoy what this season has to offer, before the blustery, cold, snowy days of Winter are upon us. Here are our top 5 reasons to love fall:

5. Sweater Weather

Yes, this time of year is all about getting back into jeans and big, warm, woolly sweaters. Of course there is the occasional scarf or toque on the extra chilly days as well. Oh, and don’t forget about the sweat pants and flannel pjs for evenings in with Netflix!

Top 5 Reasons to Love Fall: #5 See, even the penguins are into sweater weather.

See, even the penguins are into sweater weather.

4. Changing of the Leaves

Who doesn’t love nature during these Fall months? The changing of the leaves can be absolutely spectacular during this season. Road trips can lead to fantastic scenery and you don’t have to drive very far to escape from the city and discover a quiet forest or park to relax in.

Top 5 Reasons to Love Fall: #4 The gorgeous colours of Fall

The gorgeous colours of Fall

3. Comfort Food

Chicken Pot Pie, Bangers and Mash, and Fish and Chips, oh my! Because we’ve been eating salads and trying to stay trim all summer, but now is the time to indulge in those delish British dishes and maybe add a little extra gravy while we’re at it.

Top 5 Reasons to Love Fall: #3 Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

2. Beers

It’s a time for stouts and porters and of course, pumpkin ales too. Seasonal beers this time of the year are always interesting and tasty. And of course Fall is the season of Oktoberfest, with events going on all over town and the world!

Top 5 Reasons to Love Fall: #2 Sam Adams OctoberFest seasonal lager in a festive stein

Sam Adams OctoberFest seasonal lager in a festive stein


1. Warm, Cozy Duke Pubs

If you’re not out and about enjoying Fall’s lovely landscape, then the next best place to hang out during this time of the year is a warm, cozy Duke Pub. We’ve got plenty of comfort food and of course beer, and sometimes there’s nothing better than heading to your neighbourhood local to see some friendly faces and enjoy some great conversation in a comfy booth.

Top 5 Reasons to Love Fall: #1 Warm, cozy Duke Pubs

All we’re missing is you!

Top 5 Reasons Why Toronto Is Awesome

Happy Birthday Toronto! As we wish our fair city a happy 181st birthday, we thought we’d celebrate by sharing our top 5 reasons why Toronto is awesome.

Happy Birthday Toronto!

Happy Birthday Toronto!

5. The Economist Says So

A recent article in The Economist listed Toronto as the best place to live, based on their Safe Cities Index. The study included factors such as urban safety, livability rankings, the Democracy Index, Business Environment Rankings, and the Global Food Security Index. If that’s not totally awesome, we don’t know what is.

4. Entertainment and Culture

There’s always something to do in Hogtown. It doesn’t matter the time of the year, or the day of the week, there is always an exciting event happening in one spot or another. Be it live music, museums and galleries, theatre, or an array of cultural festivals, there is no excuse for boredom in TO. Don’t believe us? Then check out Tourism Toronto.

Reasons Why Toronto Is Awesome #4: Entertainment and Culture

Royal Ontario Museum

3. Toronto Islands

Toronto may play host to the rat race in the downtown core, but there is no better place for escape than the Islands. Whether you feel the need to sun yourself on the beach, ride your bike, toss a Frisbee or enjoy a picnic, the Toronto Islands can provide the perfect break from a Torontonian’s day-to-day grind. Not to mention that view of the skyline from the ferry!

Reasons Why Toronto Is Awesome #3: Toronto Islands

Toronto Skyline

2. Amazing Local Craft Beer

Need we say more? From the much-loved Steam Whistle Brewery located at the historical Roundhouse site to Amsterdam Brewhouse to Bellwoods Brewery to Great Lakes Brewery, the list goes on and on. Heck, there’s even the Black Creek Historic Brewery, located at Black Creek Pioneer Village! Toronto beer is delicious and fresh and the local craft beer community just keeps on growing. It’s definitely an exciting time for beer lovers in the Tdot.

Reasons Why Toronto Is Awesome: #2 Awesome Craft breweries

Steam Whistle Brewery

1. Inclusivity.

Everyone is welcome in Toronto. We are an extremely multicultural and diverse city, and everything from our food to our events and festivals to our local businesses, demonstrates this. Caribana and Pride Toronto are just a couple of examples. It’s a wonderful characteristic and something we are very proud of.

Reasons Why Toronto Is Awesome: #1 Inclusivity


So Happy 181st Birthday, Toronto! Thanks for being so awesome.


Women and Beer: Breaking the Barriers

As far back as our generation can remember, beer has been considered a ‘man’s drink.’ Brewed by men, marketed towards men, consumed by men. Of course some women enjoy beer, but there are definitely more men involved in the beer industry. Was this always the case? Have women never cared for the creation or consumption of beer? More importantly, can women break the barriers and get (back) into the market? Are there outlets available specifically for women? Let’s find some answers by starting at the beginning.

It may surprise most, but historians believe women were the first to create and brew beer. It is commonly believed beer was created mistakenly by a woman who was making bread in open air, when fermentation occurred. Women then remained the sole brewers or “brewsters” of beer, for many years. Four-thousand year old Mesopotamian tablets describe the brewing process in a hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer. But this may not have been limited to Babylon and Sumeria. It was recently discovered that women have been brewing “Chicha” – a grain-based fermented beverage, in the Amazon basin for years.

Hymn to Ninkasi tablet

Hymn to Ninkasi tablets

Later in Europe, women continued to be the primary brewers until the Industrial Revolution. Taverns were run by women at first, until men took the reins when they realized there were profits to be made. In Colonial America, the craft of brewing was brought over from Europe. Women were again tavern keepers, as well as house wives brewing beer within the home. However, as in Europe, beer became a male-dominated business by the eighteenth century.

So other than being kicked out of their own industry many years ago, what has prevented the women of today from consuming, purchasing and producing beer?

First, there is no doubt the marketing and advertising of beer has targeted men. Women have featured in commercials, magazine ads and billboards as a means of selling beer to men, rather than women being viewed as a viable market. In these ads, women are always beautiful, often bikini clad (or at least dressed in something revealing) and always very interested in the men drinking beer. For obvious reasons, many women see this as sexist – not exactly inspiration for women to run out and grab a six pack.

Budweiser ad

A stereotypical ad of girls in bathing suits selling beer.

The beer industry has, however, begun to recognize the large untapped female market. Over the past decade, large breweries have targeted women, although not always successfully. In 2011 Molson Coors created a beer specifically for women in the UK, called Animée. It came in three citrusy flavours and one bottle’s liquid even appeared pink in colour. This did not go over well with the female beer aficionados – they considered it insulting as the product neither tasted nor looked like beer. The masses agreed.

Animée flavours

Animée beer in flavours targeting women.

Another problem is the stigma attached to beer and weight, aka the dreaded ‘beer belly’. This idea would (and has!) deterred many women from consuming the beverage. While beer definitely contains calories (approximately 200 per pint), like any other food or beverage, it will only cause weight gain when not consumed in moderation. Beer enthusiast and author Jane Peyton says “along with (beer’s) natural vitamins and minerals, beer’s fermentation process increases a beer’s nutritional value, making it more nutritional, in moderation, than a package of peanuts”. Whether this will encourage women to drink beer I’m not sure, but the word needs to spread: you will NOT get fat from drinking the occasional pint!

As for women working in the beer industry, there are, or perhaps we can already change that to ‘were’, a few barriers they face, keeping them from being hired by breweries. Teri Fahrendorf, founder of the Pink Boots Society (we’ll get to that shortly), says many of the barriers challenging would-be female brewmasters are similar to those in other male-dominated professions: outdated attitudes and the belief that women will focus more on family than career. Also, brewing is very physical and requires the management of large equipment and heavy sacks of barley and hops, and this adds to the prejudice. One woman recounts being asked in an interview if she could lift multiple fifty pound sacks to prove she was fit for the job! Perhaps this was a fair enough question, but certainly not grounds to overlook someone, and definitely very intimidating.

Logo of the Pink Boots Society.

Pink Boots Society was founded by Teri Fahrendorf.

Things are beginning to change though. Despite all of this, women in beer are making a comeback. This is largely in part to a few women who have broken through the boundaries and made it known to the world that beer is not just for men! Through the internet, meetings and education, more women are showing interest.

Teri Fahrendorf plays a particularly strong role in supporting women in brewing. She is an award-winning craft brewer (Steelhead Brewing Company) in Portland, Oregon who believes in mentoring and educating young women to get them into the field. In 2008, she founded the Pink Boots Society, an organization created to “empower women beer professionals, advance women brewing careers and make damn good beer along the way”. There were sixty members at the time, mainly brewers and beer writers. Today there are more than eight hundred – ranging from brewery owners and distributors to servers and beer journalists. In their meetings, Fahrendorf says “we talk about a lot of non-brewing info too – like sensory analysis, beer line cleaning, building a small incubator and lab culturing and how to become a beer judge”. They educate in all aspects of beer and hope to continue with this path in the future, and have recently started to offer scholarship programs.

Another important female figure is Carol Stoudt, who founded the family-owned Stoudt’s Brewing Company in 1987 in Pennsylvania. She is regarded as a ‘pioneering’ female brewer.  When she started, most retailers assumed she was doing sales for her husband. In fact, Stoudt was the one brewing, filling the kegs and taking care of the paperwork. She claims it was mostly female restaurant operators who decided to support her and carry her beer. Her beers began to win awards and gain recognition, and aspiring female brewers have looked to Stoudt as inspiration ever since.

Besides the Pink Boots Society, there are other groups tailored to women. Barley’s Angels is dedicated to beer-loving women, with chapters worldwide. “Barley’s Angels fills an environ to explore and learn about Craft beer while allowing publicans, brewers and restaurateurs a platform demonstrating their commitment to provide safe, friendly experiences for their female customers. Barley’s Angels effectively grows the female demographics for craft beer – globally”. They believe encouragement and exploration can lead to good things. Again, education is the key.


Having worked in the restaurant/pub industry for over fifteen years, I am seeing more and more women drinking beer. The modern woman seems open to the idea of trying new things (craft brews help in this aspect) and for many women, beer is their primary drink of choice.  Also helping is the education of servers and bartenders. Businesses are ensuring their employees are informed and can discuss beer with their patrons in a friendly, but also educated, manner. Men and women appreciate this and can make informed decisions. And when the server is female talking to another female, it sends a positive message.

It appears then that education and breaking old stereotypes are the keys to women having a larger impact on the beer industry. Hopefully these trends will continue moving forward. It seems we are well on our way!

Women are once again making strides in the beer world.

Women are once again making strides in the beer world.

Written by Amber Pachla, Duke of York General Manager
Amber is a big fan of beer and achieved her Level 2 Prud’homme Certification earlier this year.