The Lady Brewsters of the North Fork team at Long Ireland Beer Co. this morning, where they brewed a special IPA to celebrate International Women's Day and raise money for the Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island.
Photo: Connie Lynch Photography

An all-women brew crew from eight North Fork breweries celebrated International Women’s Day today by brewing a beer for charity.

The women came together at Long Ireland Beer Co., which hosted the brew event — the second annual for the “Lady Brewsters of the North Fork.”

The 2021 International Women’s Day beer is a guava and orange blossom honey IPA called “Fragile Like A Bomb.”

Each of the participating breweries will get a half-keg and 15 cases of “Fragile Like A Bomb,” Long Ireland manager Sheila Malone said.

Participating in this year’s event, in addition to Long Ireland, are Eastern Front Brewing Co. of Mattituck, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Jamesport Farm Brewery, North Fork Brewing Co., (Riverhead), Peconic County Brewing Co. (Riverhead), Tradewinds Brewing Co. (Riverhead), and übergeek Brewing Co. (Riverhead).

Proceeds from the sale of the beer during will benefit the Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island (ECLI), a women-founded trauma-focused agency that provides services to survivors of abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, incarceration, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, poverty, gang and community violence.

The idea to brew a celebratory Women’s Month beer originated with Michelle Demetillo, the hospitality and community manager at North Fork Brewing Company, which hosted the brew event last year.

“When I entered the industry a few years ago, I looked at the women in it and really admired and respected them,” Demetillo said.

“We work hard to make sure we are heard and acknowledged. Some of us are lucky enough to be seen and feel valued as equals, but it’s not always the case in a male-dominated field,” she said.

“We have so much to offer, and I wanted to empower and connect with this community and show that we are a force for good,” Demetillo said. “Thankfully, I have male bosses at North Fork who truly appreciate my insight as a woman and a person of color and were on board for this project from its inception in 2020. While COVID has presented some obstacles, we were still determined to continue this collaboration into 2021,” she said.

This year’s event was organized by Demetillo, Malone and Catie Callaghan, cellar woman of Bedell Cellars and formerly of Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. The Lady Brewsters collaborative involves several women from each venue in management, sales, marketing, hospitality, or production.

“Being a part of the Lady Brewsters project has brought me such valuable experience in so many facets of the brewing process and the added bonus of friendships with the incredibly strong women we have here on the North Fork working in the industry,” Malone said.

“It’s great to be able to showcase our strengths and highlight what we, as women, can bring to the table,” she said.

Demetillo, Malone and Callaghan developed the recipe for “Fragile Like A Bomb,” with the guidance of the production teams at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Long Ireland Beer Company and North Fork Brewing Company.

“As spring starts to emerge and the days grow longer, the season gives way to cravings for juicier flavors and the buzzing of new energy,” Callaghan said. “The refreshing and delicate taste of guava, the floral allure of orange blossom honey and utilization of carefully chosen complementary hops are a perfect reflection for the transitional season,” she said.

The IPA will feature North Fork Brewing Company’s Chinook hops from their very own hopyard in Peconic, as well as Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic, creating juicy tropical and citrus notes.

Since guava is a Mexican fruit, the ladies were inspired by the quote associated with the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, “Not fragile like a flower, fragile like a bomb.”

In the spirit of collaboration, the label art will feature a collaboration by North Fork female artists. The design was created by Kara Hoblin and Verona Peñalba.

Peñalba said she is drawn especially to the “sacred feminine,” inspired by the women in her life and their influence in the world. Her featured piece is shown with a strong woman’s side profile.

Hoblin illustrated the mandala-inspired work of fruit as well as the beer’s handwritten name.

“Through the work I create, I am a vessel or conduit for helping to protect, heal, spread compassion and love in our society and environment,” Hoblin said. “Continually being surprised and ignited by the human psyche, a river of emotions and oceans of understanding fuel my creative process.”

“Fragile Like A Bomb” will be released on draft and in cans on April 9 at all participating breweries. Four-packs will be sold for $17. To find out about this collaboration and their events, visit and follow along on social media @ladybrewsters.

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