What better location to celebrate the peaks and valleys of 2016 than the first female-owned microbrewery in Minnesota?! Urban Growler was filled with a bustling community of merry drinkers and was the perfect place for the Yes Way! Holiday celebration. We raised a glass to all the women in our community and those around the country giving it all to their awesome businesses.
While catching up with friends, family and former colleagues, our second round of beer was delivered by one of the owners, Jill Pavlak. We were so excited to meet her and hear her story!
Jill started Urban Growler with her partner Deb Loch. Deb is the master brewer and Jill is the master communicator. These two women make a dynamic team and you can feel the love and support from their patrons throughout the tap room.
Later in the evening, Jill offered to give us a tour of the brewery. She was one of the warmest, most personable women-business owners I have met. She was excited to tell us about Urban Growler and her enthusiasm for her brewery was infections. Jill shared with us the unfortunate reality that many women business owners face - getting funding from the banks was tough. Real tough. They were turned down by 12 banks before getting a loan for their brewery. Jill and Deb were naturally discouraged throughout the process, but they knew they had solid footing and the market to start their brewery. She also shared with us that business is booming and Urban Growler is expanding and starting to can their beers!
Besides their taproom, Urban Growler also has some great event spaces. Jill took us back to one of their hosting areas, which houses old kegs and other brewing equipment. They also have an upstairs loft that looks down onto the taproom. Jill believes the brewery used to be a barn, of sorts, as the upstairs loft has window fixtures similar to those in many haylofts across the state. So cool!
Urban Growler also has a sprawling biergarden in the front. I can't wait for the spring to come so we can sit under the sparkling string lights with the industrial background of St. Paul.
As many of you know, Yes Way! is just starting out. The past few months have been a labor of love, filled with long, diverging conversations about the power of women, travel and our spending habits.
I am so thankful to all these women, and others not pictured, for keeping me focused, inspired and good-humored throughout the process. They are so smart, talented and uplifting - just what any women needs when starting something new and unknown. Oh, and Beyoncé. All women need Beyoncé. #islay
Thank you, Jill and Deb and happy holidays, everyone! 2017, here we come - Yes Way!