Windsor group encouraging millennials to vote using craft beer

Young adults are known to not vote — but a new Windsor group is taking a shot at changing that perception.

CBC News to livestream Tuesday's meeting with both Ward 2 candidates attending

Neil Mens, left, and Gio Petrucci are the two people behind YQG + Me. (Michael Hargreaves/CBC)

Young adults have a reputation for not voting — but a new Windsor group is taking a shot at changing that perception.

A group called YQG + Me is hosting four events at breweries in Wards 2 to 5 called Ballots and Brews, in an effort to engage millennial voters with a love for craft beer and healthy discussion.

Municipal candidates from their respective wards will attend the meetings and there are opportunities for the audience to ask them questions. 

"We're working to attract and retain millennials here in Windsor. We think that it's good for the economy and good for the population over all to balance out the aging population which Windsor has," said Neil Mens of YQG + Me.

"I think by saying that we have a vested interest in keeping young people and creating the next wave of Windsor's evolution — that was the idea behind the name of the group," said fellow group member Gio Petrucci.

CBC Windsor will live stream Tuesday's all-candidates meeting in Ward 2 on Facebook, Twitter and our website. (CBC)

Petrucci, a millennial, said new methods need to be used to engage young people in politics. He said Ballots and Brews creates a less intimidating atmosphere, which eliminates the embarrassment of "not knowing" enough about the municipal election.

As for why Ballots and Brews isn't being hosted in Wards 1 and 6 to 10, Mens said 57 per cent of millennials drink craft beer every week — and since this is the first edition of Ballots and Brews, the group wanted to focus on where craft breweries are.

"What we're trying to do is to convert the craft beer drinker to start the habit of voting," said Mens.

CBC News livestreaming Ward 2 meeting

The format of the event is as follows:

  • A two-minute opening statement for the candidates.
  • A lightning round of questions about "living in the city."
  • A series of "longer questions."
  • Social time between the audience and the candidates.

Ballots and Brews will be making four stops at the following locations.

  • Ward 2 at Sandwich Brewing Co. (Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m.)
  • Ward 3 at Craftheads Brewing Co. (Wednesday from 9 to 11 p.m.)
  • Ward 4 at Walkerville Brewery (Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.)
  • Ward 5 at Chapter Two Brewing Company (Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.)

Tuesday's meeting in Ward 2, featuring candidates John Elliott and Fabio Costante, will be streamed live on CBC Windsor's Facebook, Twitter and website.