Friday, April 12, 2013

Mary-Kate Laird: A Lady Who Loves Beer

Often mistakenly referred to online as “sir,” “man,” or “dude,” this Alabama-born-and-raised Atlanta-transplant is the female voice behind the Suwanee Beer Festival’s social media pages. Though she mostly drank rum and Coke in college (“out of necessity” of course), she graduated to craft beer once she earned her diploma. When she’s not working the beer pages, you can find her kicking around the soccer ball, investigating the taps with her friends, and running around town with her dog Porter.

May I introduce, Mary-Kate Laird: a lady who loves beer.

Before MK was a beer drinker, she mostly drank…
Diet Coke and Captain Morgan. Mainly by default given that we weren’t allowed refrigerators in our dorm rooms. I had my first legal beer in Ireland my senior year of high school sitting in an Irish pub. Guinness, of course. It definitely doesn’t taste the same state side.

In 2008, which was around the time when Alabama finally did something about the alcohol restrictions, I also turned 21. That summer, I worked in a grocery store and frequented the beer aisle. I think I bought half my paycheck in beer working there and going out. When I came back to Atlanta for the fall semester, I began frequenting Brick Store and Taco Mac in Decatur. (Don't worry, Coach. I strictly obeyed the 72 hour rule.)

Due to schoolwork and varsity soccer, I didn’t have a chance to visit a brewery until I graduated. Sweetwater was my first stop and I loved it. Since then, I’ve tried to visit breweries wherever I go. I went to Boston over Thanksgiving and visited Harpoon. It was THE best tour I’ve ever gone on. We even got to drink their IPA from the tank. I can’t wait to go back.
When she’s not drinking beer, she enjoys…
Playing soccer. I’ve played since I was five, and kept goal since I was ten. I like to run with my dog, Porter, too. Right now I’m training for a triathlon in May so it’s a “down to the wire” situation. Then I’ll be running the Peachtree Road Race in July. I’m also obsessed with Alabama football and I have a massive pint glass collection that I keep in my grandmother’s china cabinet (and no, she wouldn’t approve).

Because of my job, I’m encouraged to go to breweries and beer fests to do “research.” Meeting new people, talking about the beer fest, bonding over beer—it’s a blast. I definitely receive some surprised remarks when they realize it’s a female they’ve been interacting with. Other than that, I do a lot of everything for Veugeler Design Group. Anything from web development to graphic design to taking pictures for Suwanee Magazine, they keep me busy.
Can you tell us about the beer culture in your area? How do you see women represented locally, nationally, globally? What you’d like to see less/more of? 
At this point, I think Georgia needs to realize how important the craft brew culture is to its development. Breweries and Brewpubs are appearing all over the place and to have them limit the sale and distribution is unfortunate. Alabama too; it’s the only state where it’s illegal to homebrew. Even after “freeing the hops,” breweries there are taxed to the max for brewing beer. I’ve definitely noticed an increase of female beer drinkers and I see it feeding into more female brewers in the future. I’d love to see brewpubs with female brew masters start popping up. I’d definitely like to be a part of one. 
Can you tell us about women friendly spaces of note in your area (or wherever you travel regularly)? 
Most definitely The Square Pub in Decatur. I go to Birmingham often and love the atmosphere at J. Clyde and Good People Brewing. The presence of female bartenders at Good People is always a refreshing sign.
Her current drinking obsession and/or favorite beer(s) of the moment are… 
I love Alabama brews. I try to go to Good People every time I go home. They have this new brew called Strongman that’s phenomenal. It’s a Belgian Strong Dark ale. I don’t normally go for darker beers, but the bartender insisted. Bell’s will always be pretty high on my list. I have a weak spot for HopSlam. I stalked local beverage stores and had to drive all the way to Roswell to get ONE six pack. My heart aches when I see that bars near Michigan are still serving it.
My favorite place to drink is…
Square Pub on Wednesday nights, $3 drafts! But really, the atmosphere is amazing and the owners, Bob & Jason, are crazy cool. They always have Bell’s and Heavy Seas on draft. It’s pretty much a weekly staple. 
My favorite person to drink with…
Probably my fellow ginger, Sarah. We went to Agnes together and have made it our weekly ritual to meet up at Taco Mac for pint night. She volunteered for Suwanee Beer Fest and we’ve gone to a handful of beer fests together. My friend and co-worker, Laura, too! She introduced me to the broader existence of local craft beer and has very much contributed to Wednesday nights at Square Pub and most importantly, my love of IPAs.

To connect with MK, follow her on FacebookUntappd, and Twitter here and here.

Are you a lady who loves beer? Do you know someone who is? To get in on the already evolving lineup of women, email me at heybrewtiful{at}gmail{dot}com with your story.

Want to meet more {LadiesWhoLoveBeer}? Meet me here each Friday for a weekly focus on women and beer, or meet the ladies who've already contributed to this growing collection of interviews.

1 comment:

  1. Who is this awesome chick? I want to hang out and drink beer with her!



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