Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News
Marko Marjanovic readies cans of Witch Craft for International Women’s Day at the Winterlong Brewery in Whitehorse on March 8.

Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News Marko Marjanovic readies cans of Witch Craft for International Women’s Day at the Winterlong Brewery in Whitehorse on March 8.

Brewing up Witch Craft

Winterlong celebrates International Women’s Day

Winterlong Brewing celebrated International Women’s Day by brewing up some Witch Craft.

On March 8, the brewery located on Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse, launched its Witch Craft IPA to honour women, with proceeds from the sale of the 110 cases of cans going to three Yukon women’s organizations and pint sales at the brewery going to the Pink Boots Society, an organization that aims to assist, inspire and encourage female fermented/alcoholic beverage industry professionals to advance their careers through education.

This marks the second year Winterlong has released a limited offering to mark the day that celebrates the achievements of women.

Winterlong owners Meghan and Marko Marjanovic have been operating the brewery for six years after they started working on their homebrews in university.

“It was something we did together,” Meghan said in a March 8 interview, noting it was Marko who initially started home brewing.

The Witch Craft IPA ready to be placed on cans at the Winterlong Brewery in Whitehorse on March 8. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

As she started working on the homebrews more and more, her passion for the craft grew.

It’s a little bit like cooking in the same way you experiment with different flavour combinations and ingredients, Meghan explained.

She said it was about three years ago she started looking at ways to celebrate International Women’s Day at the brewery which she and Marko opened three years before that. While she was a bit too late to plan anything for that year, work quickly got underway for 2020 as the brewery worked with the Pink Boots Society for Winterlong’s inaugural Witch Craft release.

The Pink Boots Society provides a blend of hops to breweries for International Women’s Day with money from the sale of the hop blends going to brewing programs the society offers to women to further their careers in the industry.

Along with money from their purchase of the hops going to the society, sales from pints coming from the two kegs of Witch Craft on tap at Winterlong will also go to the Pink Boots cause.

“It turned out really well,” Meghan said of last year’s beer, noting that this year’s blend features tropical, woody, citrus and herbal flavours that showcase the hops.

Coming up with the name for the Winterlong version of the Pink Boots mix came about thanks to a brainstorming session with the six female staff at Winterlong. There, the staff talked about the history of women in brewing and the idea of witchcraft came up.

As Meghan pointed out, in medieval times there were a few things women who brewed — alewives or brewsters as they were called — had in common with the images many might think of for a witch.

Meghan Marjanovic pours a pint of Witch Craft IPA on International Women’s Day at the Wintering Brewery in Whitehorse on March 8. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Tall hats were worn by alewives to ensure they were seen in the marketplace; broomsticks were hung over doorways where ale was sold; cats were kept as pets to keep mice and rats out of the grains used in brewing. And then, of course, there were the large caldrons where the brewing happened.

All that led to the name for the Winterlong brew.

“Witch Craft seemed kind of fun,” Meghan said.

The 2021 brew was enough to create the two kegs and 2,640 tall cans that are now being sold at the brewery with funds from the sale of cans going to the Victoria Falkner Women’s Centre, the Dawson Women’s Shelter, and the Yukon Status of Women Council.

For those who wanted to gain some more in-depth knowledge about the beer, Winterlong provided an opportunity to take in a behind-the-scenes video of the brewery as well as a Q&A with the Marjanovic’s during a virtual tasting event that was held March 10.

Meghan said the brewery was excited to be asked to be part of a series of virtual tasting events the Yukon Beer Festival Society is hosting and thought the March 10 date seemed like the perfect time to showcase the Witch Craft brew.

Meghan said she was excited to share the behind-the-scenes work at the brewery (which includes a video produced for the tasting), answer questions about Winterlong, and discuss brewing.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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