Women have been a part of beer’s history from the very beginning. In fact, it was women who were the first to brew, the first to introduce hops to the process, and were the sole driving force behind the creation of beer. Over the years, however, women were pushed out of the limelight of beer, slowly turning the industry into a male-driven one.
This series on the Tap Trail fights for women to take back the spotlight. Bellingham is filled with tons of kick ass, beer-loving ladies, and it is time for the community to know their presence and their story.
If you glimpse into the soul of Boundary Bay, you’ll find Janet Lightner filled with nothing but peace and love for Bellingham.
Boundary Bay has been a local institution for nearly 21 years, both in the craft beer industry and the Bellingham community. General Manager Janet Lightner is integral to the success of Boundary Bay.
From creating a healthy and supportive workplace for her employees, to building relationships and partnerships with businesses in Bellingham, Janet cares deeply for her community.
Before arriving at Boundary Bay in 1997, Janet was very involved as a chef in Bellingham’s foodie scene. Having been a farmer, Janet really pushed for restaurants to join the Farm to Table movement. After working at several Bellingham restaurants, helping each refine their identity and develop a menu, Janet moved onto Boundary Bay. She didn’t think she would be there long…
“The environment and challenges at Boundary Bay became so dynamic,” Janet says. “It’s so much fun to see the growth and changes, I’ve never been bored!”
As the chef at Boundary Bay she began to revolutionize the menu, making it more “restaurant oriented,” without losing the pub feel. Pairing food with beverages has always been important to Janet, although her previous experiences were with wine pairings. As the craft beer trend was relatively young there wasn’t much research on beer pairings, so she had to teach herself.
As time passed, Janet became invested in other aspects of the company, and eventually she moved to a new role: general manager.
“Boundary Bay feels like home; it feels like family,” Janet explained. “It’s so comfortable here. I love to see the staff stick around, buy homes in Bellingham, and start families of their own.”
Janet’s path has taken her from Grand Canyon to Mt. Everest, but returning home means the world to her. She’ll do anything to help build up the community she loves.
“My favorite part of this whole process has been finding home,” Janet explained. “I like to travel and visit other places, but I always can’t wait to come back home to Bellingham and Boundary Bay.”