Behind the Idea: “When There Are Nine”


Sara Abernethy


New Beer Release News Post


One of my professional goals for 2023 was to enter the year feeling like I was more on the offense as opposed to spending 100% of my time and capacity playing Whac-A-Mole, putting out fires. Some of that is just the nature of running a new business, especially in the restaurant industry. I wanted to create time and space for ideas and projects that lit me up with joy as a human, but also added a new layer to the conversation in our industry.

Last fall, Director of Brewery Operations Greg Winget came to me with the idea of getting together a group of staff, especially women who were interested in the brewing process, to come together for a Brew Day. I jumped at the notion, and we quickly escalated to a special beer release we could share with our community as a result of this effort. At the time, we also had nine incredible women in leadership roles across our Hospitality Group, which also includes Research Triangle’s Glasshouse Kitchen.

In my experience, I’ve found the process of naming anything to be excruciatingly difficult.  I get way too in the weeds of my own thoughts and assumptions, and play mental tennis about how important, yet not important, any name for a thing is.  This was no different, and the stakes were even higher for me as I wanted this effort to make a splash. I searched song lyrics from female musicians I deeply admire, read books, scoured Google searches for a phrase that felt true, authentic, and wouldn’t err on any cultural appropriation.

Finally, I landed on the story about Ruth Bader Ginsberg clapping back like the absolute boss she is when asked, “When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court, RBG?” Translation: “When will you be satisfied and finally shut up about women’s issues?”

She answered, “When there are nine.

This was such an inspiring mic drop moment that hit me right in the soul, and when I put the pieces together that we had exactly nine women in leadership roles at the time, it was a perfect fit. Since conceiving this idea last fall, we’ve since added several more women to leadership roles.

We gathered as a group to discuss what kind of beer style would be most amenable to the group, and while everyone unanimously was drawn towards a lighter, more crushable beer, we also were intrigued by adding a meaningful adjunct ingredient to our brew. We landed on Blood Orange – not only because it’s beautiful, delicious, and in season at the time of this brew, but it also drew a very poignant metaphorical parallel to our experience as women.

(What you’re thinking? Yes. Women bleed, whether literally or metaphorically.)

We also made the call to utilize the annual hop blend from the Pink Boots Society, a professional development organization dedicated to supporting women and non-binary people in the brewing industry through education.

Not only did we want to support our sisters and humans specifically within the industry – we will be donating a portion of the proceeds of this beer to the No Woman, No Girl Initiative, an incredible organization that provides support and vital items to women in our community going through crisis. This project is a wonderful way to give back.

This endeavor has been incredibly fulfilling to me as a creative entrepreneur, being someone who deeply values how even the smallest offerings we give the world have a greater outward ripple effect. This initial idea from Greg to involve and include more women in the brewing process also provides a professional development opportunity for our leadership team to connect with our brewery, an avenue for creation and joy, and a way to give back to our Raleigh community.

When There Are Nine is available for pre-order today.  I hope you try it and share in this wonderful initiative with us.

Wishing you all the happiest of International Women’s Days today – thank you all for your love and support of Wye Hill.