by John Moorhead, American Homebrewers Association
I was greeted by a smiling human-sized keg at the door. I could smell the barley mashing in the kitchen and knew I was at the right house.
Kate Power, co-founder of Lady Justice Brewing Company, opened the door and showed me into the house where Betsy Lay and Jen Cuesta, the co-founders, were brewing their “For The Record Stout.”
It was Halloween Day, so costume-wearing friends would stop by to chat, share a homebrew and then carry on with their day. They were wonderful hosts, pouring samples of all their homebrews and walking me through the tasting.
The idea of the brewery was born over drinks at Vine Street Pub in Denver, Colo. The three worked at a Colorado-based non-profit and were talking over a beer about the difficulty to sustain funding. They partially joked about how great it would be if they could make money brewing beer and use that money to help the community.
The three ladies of Lady Justice have humble homebrewing roots. Lay, who hails from St. Louis, Mo., has been homebrewing for about six years and mentioned how bad her first batch of homebrew turned out. “It didn’t taste very good,” she laughed.
Power, from near Portland, Maine, has been homebrewing for three years, while Cuesta, a Denver-native, has been homebrewing for about two years. Despite their varied experience, they all share a common connection: they love good beer.
“The idea of making [beer] and making it good is something really important,” says Lay. “It’s something to be very proud of.”
Many of their fans share the same sentiment. Back in July 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the brewery’s start-up costs. They reached their goal in just eight days.
Their beer is not yet commercially available, but they plan to launch in early 2016. The business model is unique because, as a non-profit brewery, all their over-cost profits go to Colorado-based community organizations that promote the status and opportunity of women and girls. Something they’re hoping drives sales and publicity. Their mission is humble: to give to women and girls to honor the strong women that have given to us, and to support the strong women of the future.
What’s also impressive about these three homebrewers-going-pro is they still depend on homebrew shops to supply their ingredients, and they all work full-time jobs. The three ladies try to brew as often as possible, and with selective ingredients and busy schedules, they still make it work.
“I like to understand [how] things work, and make things people can enjoy,” explained Powers. The feedback and support the three have received has been positive, and hope communities will appreciate drinking great beer while knowing their purchases make the world a better place, hence their slogan “Great Beer, Better World.”
After sampling their homebrew and talking with them for the afternoon, it’ll be exciting to see what this brewery does next. Look out for their beer in early 2016.
Lady Justice Brewing Company, Jen Cuesta, Betsy Lay, and Kate Powers (co-founders)