(Ashland, OR) Standing Stone Brewing Co (101 Oak St, Ashland) will host the regional kickoff gathering of Women Enjoying Beer on Thursday February 11 from 7-9 pm. This event is for women only, and focuses on helping females learn more about many different aspects of beer, have fun doing it and identify varieties. Women Enjoying Beer will be held on a regular basis, providing participants with a chance to try new beers and deepen their knowledge and appreciation in a relaxed, social setting.

This unique concept is the brainchild of Ginger Johnson, a beer enthusiast, industry specialist and consultant who organizes such events and helps breweries develop and serve the female consumer base nationally.

Johnson will lead a guided tasting of 4 beers, facilitate a discussion about qualities and flavors, describe the beer making process and the factors that contribute to a beer's overall taste experience, and answer questions. The gathering is designed to be an informal, fun opportunity to meet others and explore beer at the same time. The event costs $10 per person. Food may be purchased separately. Interested attendees can call Ginger at 515-450-7757 to sign up or get more information.

Johnson started Women Enjoying Beer in 2008 after seeing a huge opportunity, for both business and consumers, to get a lot more women together over beer. Women approach beer differently than men and are overlooked by beer marketers, leaving them markedly underrepresented in the beer market, less informed about beer and less inclined to explore its diverse offerings. Johnson recently moved to Ashland to join forces with Standing Stone, focusing on customer service, operational efficiency and business development. She plans to maintain her consulting.

"It's incredibly rewarding to turn on the beer switch for women who may not otherwise have an opportunity to explore and discover all that beer has to offer, and they really welcome and savor the experience," says Johnson. "For women, Women Enjoying Beer is a great way to enjoy good company and beverages simultaneously. For businesses, it's all about developing and serving the female beer consumer though events, presentations and workshops."

Johnson has spoken at the Craft Brewers Conference and the California Small Brewers Association, is a member of the Brewers Association and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and is on the board of BreweryFans.com. She engages consumers and industry alike around the female beer experience and best practices in customer service through her blog and website, www.womenenjoyingbeer.com.