Instagram Influencer | The Beer Maven

My name is Sondra Baker and I am known as ‘The Beer Maven’.  What truly makes me a Maven is that I am always sharing my knowledge and passion for craft beer. As a writer I write for several different online magazines, websites and magazines in print. My articles feature my own product photography which I shoot usually outdoors in places all around Calgary. My favourite place to take ‘beertography’ is at Fish Creek Park and in suburban farmers fields. I work with a variety of local craft breweries offering tastings and beer education at liquor stores and private functions. I also am a beer judge and utilize my Cicerone training at several judging events in YYC including Beer Fest. Cheers!

What inspired you to take over the lifeincalgary Instagram account?

I love all aspects of social media especially instagram. The idea of reaching thousands of people and sharing my passion of craft beer and the local gems we have in YYC was a no brainer.

Where did you come from and what attracted you to the city?

I moved here in the summer of ’99 from Fredericton, NB. I was attending University there and needed a change of scenery. I am originally from Summerside, PEI.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am big on family time and volunteering. So If I’m not with my husband, two teens and dogs I’m volunteering my time with different city groups. Mostly the Humane Society where I am a "stressbuster" and have the amazing job of cuddling with dogs and sharing some love. And the group WTFF Women where I am an executive and run their social media sites, we started the #SocksforHomeless campaign and have donated over 15,000 pairs of socks for Calgary’s homeless.  

What is your favourite Calgary past-time or activity?

I love being outdoors and have been in love with Fish Creek Park for a long time. I will sometimes sit along the river with my dogs and write poetry or bird watch. The kids will bring their fishing gear while I do photography and I always bring my red picnic blanket and snacks.

Where is your favorite place to eat or visit in Calgary?

We love Vietnamese food and our favourite Vietnamese restaurant is Hong An on 130th Ave SE. The owners are the friendliest people and they always make fresh delicious food. A close second has to be Kinjo in Mahogany. Their sushi, atmosphere and customer service cannot be beat.

What is a fun fact people wouldn’t know about you?

I speak fluent French with a proper accent and have been confused many times as a French Canadian.

Any tips or advice for Calgary newcomers or those considering a move to Calgary?

Yes! Our beautiful city is divided into 4 distinct quadrants SE/SW NE/NW and all offer a unique space to live and work. I would do research of the different areas and see where your family or you would fit best. I have lived in every area except the NE. And love the diversity and changing landscapes of them all.

What do you tell your friends and family from other cities about life in Calgary?

I usually start off by saying “You’re not going to believe what I did this week”.  When telling my YYC stories. I am very fortunate to always have amazing social invites and a busy calendar. Having fun is a top priority for me! There is always an event going on in Calgary and I want to attend them all !

Where do you take friends and family when they visit?

I like to take them to Stephen Avenue, it’s the best place for people watching and strolling in the sunshine. I love it when the buskers are there playing music and the patios are busy. The ambiance is so vibrant! Fish Creek Park is always a must to unwind after the downtown visit. We pack a picnic, bring the dogs and enjoy nature.

What do you think is the biggest surprise about Calgary for anyone who isn’t familiar with the city?

Hands down the biggest surprise is that not everyone is a Cowboy! I love Stampede and go full out western but there is so much else that YYC has to offer that has nothing to do with cowboy boots.

How has the city influenced who you are or your organization?

Calgary has everything to do with my business. The craft beer scene here and the people that are in this industry are the most down to earth beautiful humans. We support each other and always lend a hand when needed. They are why I started doing what I do and why I love every minute.

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