Big Grove toasts 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with new drink

Big Grove Brewery, in collaboration with the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, is releasing a new brew, Equalitea Party, to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage, and the 40th anniversary of DVIP


Jeff Sigmund

A new flavor and label to celebrate the 100th anniversary Womens Suffrage and 40th anniversary of Domestic Violence Intervention Program as seen at Big Grove Brewery, 1225 S Gilbert St. on Thursday,March,5,2020.

Naomi Hofferber, Senior Reporter

One hundred years after a culture-shifting crusade, Big Grove Brewery and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program are raising a glass — and dedicating a new beer — to the women’s suffrage movement, International Women’s Day, and the 40th anniversary of the Domestic Violence Intervention Program.

Equalitea Party, Big Grove’s latest concoction, is a sour beer, brewed with honey, white tea, and lemon peel, according to a March 2 press release by Big Grove.

The name of the beer, according to Big Grove graphic designer and Marketing Coordinator Katie Kiesewetter, is both after the fact that the beer is brewed with tea, and also in honor of the tea parties suffragettes held, where they would organize and spread ideas with one another.

Kiesewetter conceived the idea for teaming up with DVIP to release a beer after attending an event at a Chicago brewery last year. Revolution Brewery had released a beer titled Spirit of Revolt, and the proceeds benefited a nonprofit directed toward helping women and their children fleeing abuse.

“I just kind of thought like, ‘why aren’t we doing something like this at Big Grove. This is totally something we should be involved in,’”she said. “We’re so involved with the community as a brewery that like we should totally be doing something specific to women’s organizations or charities that benefit women specifically.”

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Alta Medea Peters, the Director of Community Engagement for DVIP, said that the organization jumped at the opportunity to celebrate women, and their own anniversary, with Big Grove. Especially, Peters said, since the number one way survivors hear about DVIP is through word of mouth.

Since its inception 40 years ago, DVIP has undergone a massive expansion.

“40 years ago, we were part of the Women’s Resource in Action Center. There were a couple of individuals, primarily women, that had gotten a grant to study if there would be a need for domestic violence services in Johnson County and immediately in the Iowa City area,” Peters said. “Within 24 hours, individuals were coming in. That study didn’t need to happen, as people were saying, ‘Yes, we need help.’”

In 1981, DVIP had opened its first shelter, and then opened its 40-bed emergency shelter, exclusive for victims of domestic violence, in 1993. They currently serve eight southeastern Iowa counties, and last year helped over 1900 individuals, according to Peters.

“In addition to providing resources, we help individuals gather resources. How do we create a network around them so that they can not only just find safety, but also have dignity and the tools to succeed?” Peters said.

Big Grove will start its beer launch and celebration at 5 p.m. today, with kids activities, a presentation by DVIP, and a concert that begins at 9 p.m. The lineup includes Jayce Nguyen, Fickle Weather, Dog Dave, and Midwest Waves. Big Grove’s Solon location will also hold a celebration on March 8, which is International Women’s Day.

Mia Rubio, the lead guitarist for Midwest Waves, said that their surf-punk band was brought up as Kiesewetter was seeking bands with non-binary or women leads.

“Our lyrics are very centered around holding people accountable, especially when it comes to abusers and people who defend those types of people, and just those life experiences that we’ve all shared,” she said. “The aesthetics of the band is just being yourself and standing up for others, and what you believe.”