Happy Sunday! 

My apartment has felt like a revolving door lately — it's a four bedroom situation, but only two of have lived there since the lease began in June. Craigslist fun and flakiness meant we didn't finally get filled until this month — fortunately all with relatively normal people.

My most recent roommate is in her early 30s and moved to Boston from a rural-ish town a few hours away and most of her family and friends are in the Midwest anyway. Our paths don't cross too much except for the chitchat-over-cooking-dinner, but I was stunned when she said she had been going to different Meetups every Saturday so far this month and actually hung out with a couple folks from the group afterward. Meetup? You mean that website for "Minglers over 40" groups? And it's working out? 

Okay, maybe I wasn't that astonished. When I was interning in another state, I signed up for a few Meetups and even got to go on a free bar crawl with my roommate because of it (the crawl company wanted more people to leave them good Yelp reviews). Meetup's website actually has a lot of variety and filtering to find the recurring event that works for you. (No, I'm not paid to say that.) I was just surprised that she, newly transplanted to the area, was brave enough to try it from day one in a new town.

I did a little perusing of Meetup myself and discovered that it happened to be the seventh birthday of BABES: the Boston Area Beer Enthusiast Society, what the Boston Globe described in 2014 as "one of Boston's newest niche social groups":

"Karen Miller, 38, is a full-time mother of two from Somerville and works in retail at 10,000 Villages while her kids are in school. Jennifer Shell, 40, is a sewing instructor at the Stitch House in Dorchester. Klara Junker, 29, came to Boston from Sweden to study microbiology. And Nicole Labrecque, 36, is an oncology nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Once a month, this diverse group of women meets up with others for an activity that’s traditionally associated with men: beer drinking."

How do you build a Meetup into a robust, inclusive, not lame-o event year after year? I reached out to BABES' founder and head Meetup organizer Kristen on how Meetup has worked for her.

Stay cozy out there. 🍻

Your friend,

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Christine: Can you tell me a bit about yourself — where you live, where most of your friends/family are, and how you decided BABES was something you wanted to do? 

Kristen: I currently live in Western, Massachusetts. I have lived all over the country, so my friends and family are spread out around the U.S. and abroad. Before I moved to the Boston area (I started BABES 7 years ago when I lived in Cohasset, MA) I lived in Philadelphia. While in Philly I joined a women’s beer club called IPA (In Pursuit of Ales). When I moved up to Boston I decided to start my own women’s beer club.

Christine: What were the most intimidating and most exciting parts of building BABES?

Kristen: The most intimidating parts have been finding venues and also having good attendance at each event. Most of the events have between 20-25 people but often people don’t sign up till the last minute, which can be a bit nerve-racking.

The most exciting parts have been creating a community of women who enjoy beer. Many friendships and relationships have started because of BABES, which is pretty cool. It’s also been awesome to support the craft beer community in Boston, especially women in the beer industry.

Christine: Why organize it through Meetup instead of say, Facebook groups?

Kristen: I actually started first with a Facebook group, which still exists but I realized that not everyone is on Facebook so I also started a Meetup group. Additionally, I have an email list where people get information on upcoming events. The demographics of the BABES MeetUp are pretty similar to the Facebook group, women 25 – 35.

Christine: How have you been able to make friends through Meetups (either BABES or otherwise)? If you can share specific examples, that would be great! 

Kristen: I have made so many friends through BABES over the 7 years the group has been in existence. A number of these friends I have done separate beer/foodie trips with. It really has been a super supportive and wonderful community. I have also provided advice or connections to women looking to get involved in the beer industry.

Go sow: Challenge for the week. 

Peek at Meetups! Go check out what is available in your local area — or consider making your own. (If you don't do it, who will?)

Grow the Sow.

Zoom into the full map here.

Share Sown
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