By Ryan R. Ennis
EXTROVERTS BY NATURE, DANIELLE FRANCASSA AND HER HUSBAND CHRIS BOUGHT AN OAK PARK HOM IN 2010 TO BE NEAR THE NIGHTLIFE IN THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES. AS THE YEARS PASSED, SHE TRIED OUT DIFFERENT PLATFORMS FOR MEETING NEW PEOPLE.
In 2017, she heard about a Girls Pint Out meetup happening one evening at the B. Nektar Meadery in Ferndale and decided to check it out. She ended up having a great time.
Typically, the beer trade is viewed as a man’s world. At the gathering, however, Fracassa happily went from table to table as she befriended women who were local experts on craft beer. While conversing with the ladies, she learned that women’s roles in the industry stretched back hundreds of years, to the days when women living on small farms labored for hours to make flavorful ale without the convenience of modern machinery. They would store their ales in wooden kegs, which they would sell to villagers so that they could earn more income for their families.
That night, she also learned that Girls Pint Out is a national organization committed to recognizing those brewers from the past as well as spotlighting present-day women who are talented beer makers.
WHEN FRACASSA GOT HOME, SHE TALKED ELATEDLY ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION with her husband. Looking forward to the upcoming local Girls Pint Out gatherings, she was disheartened when they fizzled out after only a few months. Eventually, hope reappeared on the horizon for the local chapter. By periodically checking the organization’s social media sites, she saw in early 2019 that the Detroit chapter’s president was looking for someone new to take it over.
“I immediately applied,” she says, “and I’ve been running the Detroit chapter ever since.”
As head of the local chapter, Fracassa is responsible for organizing monthly events, maintaining the group’s social media presence, and purchasing and displaying merchandise to advertise Girls Pint Out at the meetings. Her other duties include building and maintaining relationships with breweries, beer reviewers (writers), beer distributors, and other organizations focused on craft beer.
In addition to all those tasks, Fracassa works full-time as an administrative clerk at Oak Park Recreation. Although her plate is clearly full, she has no qualms about her busy calendar because of the sense of belonging she now feels.
“It took a few years before I realized what this community (of beer connoisseurs) means to me,” she says, “and how I want to make my own place within it. Now, I’m enrolled in the brewing and distillation certification program at Schoolcraft College, studying to become a certified cicerone (a professional who works with beer). It’s such a wonderful feeling to finally discover your passion.”
BY PURSUING HER INTERESTS, FRACASSA HAS GAINED many connections and friendships. “In the past year, I’ve gotten close to a couple of women who regularly attend events,” she relates. “We have our chats, and they’re wildly active — we share memes, jokes, life updates, and advice.”
When they buckle down to business, the women will discuss a variety of issues related to the beer industry, ranging from the reasons why certain beverages tend to be more popular than others, to how certain environmental factors have recently affected the production of them. Fracassa also uses the opportunities to discuss her involvement with similar organizations like Fermenta, whose mission is to provide support and scholarships for women in the industry.
SO THAT THE GIRLS PINT OUT HANGOUTS do not become mundane, Fracassa spices them up by hosting special parties, fund- raisers, and an evening of crafts at the breweries. The special events started in February of 2022, when she threw the group’s first Galentine’s Day party to celebrate the ladies’ friendships at the Urbanrest in Ferndale.
About a month later, the pandemic caused the group’s in-person meetings to be suspended for nearly 18 months, during which time Fracassa spent countless hours increasing the group’s social media subscribers and giving online shout-outs to breweries whose beverages she sampled curbside. In August of 2022, the group was finally able to reassemble for a get-together at Dog & Pony Show Brewing in Oak Park.
“It felt so good to be back in a brewery and be with my girls,” she recalls. “Since then, we’ve held about one event a month with some off-cycle hangs (as we like to call them) at various bars, festivals, and even shops.”
TO HELP ENSURE THAT MEMBERS ARE RESPONSIBLE AND STAY SAFE, meetups typically take place for a few hours during the week. Knowing their alarm clocks will be ringing early the next day for work, the women limit themselves to only a pint or two of beer before going home to bed. Since many are regulars, they feel comfortable talking about what their limits are and, consequently, watch out for each other.
“It’s not difficult to go over your own limit — everyone has done it — but I work hard to make sure the events are a safe space for women,” explains Fracassa. “I want them to look forward to these meetups, whether they’re at a brewery they’ve never been to before, or whether it’s for a specific activity, like Galentine’s Day or a day of crafts.”
Fracassa has had an especially hectic schedule this past summer, occupied with work and family commitments. However, she plans to officially restart Girls Pint Out meetups this fall. On Saturday, October 22, she attended the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival (held at Detroit’s Eastern Market), where she handed out Girls Pint Out materials from 1 P.M. until 6 P.M.
It’s free to become a member of Girls Pint Out. To get updates about the organization and its local chapters, visit www.girlspintout.org and click on the chapter directory. To subscribe to the Detroit chapter’s newsletter, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.