Virtual beer tasting to spotlight Ypsi's 734 Brewing and the changing face of Ypsi's Rotary Club

The Ypsilanti Rotary Club and Southfield Area Rotary Club have partnered with Ypsi-based 734 Brewing Company for a virtual beer tasting Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m.


Participants can register for a $50 ticket that entitles them to a six-pack of beer from 734. A $65 ticket adds a beer mug and a packet of pretzels. Participants in the Ypsilanti area may pick up their six-packs directly from 734, while Southfield participants will pick up their six-packs from the local chamber of commerce office.


Participants will receive two bottles each of three different beers. Three are for tasting during the event, with three more to drink later.


The event will also include a virtual tour of 734's brewery and a brief brewing lesson, as well as discussion of how Rotary Clubs contribute to the communities they're based in. Both Rotary members and non-members are welcome.


"We won't be talking about Rotary the whole time, but there are reasons you should look into participating in your local Rotary Club," says Ypsilanti Rotary Club President Taryn Willis.


She notes that most of the time will simply be spent socializing, but she does want participants who are thinking of joining a Rotary chapter to know what the organization does in their community and what fundraising money is used for.


Willis notes that Rotary Club members have traditionally been predominantly white men, and the organization didn't even admit women until the late '80s. She's hoping to change that by promoting diversity in the membership and in the speakers chosen to present to the Ypsilanti chapter. Both chapters are also looking to attract an intergenerational membership.


"One of our goals as a club is to start recruiting new and younger members, even people just out of college," Willis says.


Willis says she originally joined Rotary as a strategic career move but came to appreciate the organization's motto, "Service Above Self."


She notes that Rotary uses funds from pancake breakfasts and other events to support college scholarships for local kids. Since in-person wine tastings or breakfasts aren't an option during the COVID-19 pandemic, Willis suggested doing something different this year.


The event will also include a bit of trivia and giveaways with prizes that include a 734 membership, gift certificates, or a packet of Rotary-themed swag.


Willis says the event can accommodate as many as 500 people, but, more realistically, organizers are hoping for 100 participants from each city for a total of about 200.


The deadline to purchase tickets is Nov. 7. More information and tickets are available via Eventbrite.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.
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