For the time of a beer, I received none other than Émilie Leclerc, also known by her hoppy stage name ‘La Petite Bière‘ on my show. This is a second career for the young Montreal actress, who created a second identity as an ‘ambassador of nectar.’ But be careful, don’t call her an influencer: Émilie brews much more than photography and colors.
Behind the kaleidoscope of visual flavors on her Instagram account, there is a real production chain whose stated goal is to spread her passion for craft beer. Portrait of an ambassador with boundless energy.
Le Temps d’une Bière: How did La Petite Bière come about?
It happened gradually. In my twenties, I acted a lot on television. But in Quebec, there is a strange phenomenon that affects women in their twenties. It’s a kind of fictional void. Unfortunately, on television, there are no roles for women in their thirties. Since my casting was not in fashion, I found myself facing a void. While waiting for the phone to ring, I found a hobby. Since I wasn’t working, I saw my friends more often and realized that they asked me a lot of questions about craft beer, which I already loved at the time. I started making beer and eventually turned it into my second career.”
Since I wasn’t working, I saw my friends more often and realized that they asked me a lot of questions about craft beer, which I already liked at the time. So I created a blog to write down everything I was telling my friends. My first articles were about Boréale beer. It’s simple: I wrote about places where you could get Boréale’s Northeast beer.
I wanted to get involved in something, and I saw an opportunity. It was either journalism or politics, but I was demoralized by the treatment of women in politics. Blogging about beer was more for me.
Hoppy History: Why “La Petite Bière”?
“La Petite Bière” or “small beer” is the beer that was given to children and servants. Until modern times, two brews were made. The first brew produced a stronger beer, and the second brew was nicknamed “La Petite Bière.” “La Petite Bière” was often a very low-alcohol beer given to children. Given my size, I can’t afford to drink a lot, so I’m careful. With my experience at festivals, I realize that it’s worth controlling your alcohol intake. At brew fests, I hear people starting with a scotch ale right away, but I find that it doesn’t really allow you to savor the quality of the beer.
Personally, if I start with a Scotch ale and then drink a lager, it ruins my experience a bit. At some point, it’s a matter of survival! But there’s also the aspect of moderation: to enjoy beer, it’s important to drink better but also to drink less. That’s also a message I want to convey with my blog.
Hoppy History : what does an average day look like for you?
It’s not just Instagram posts, I can guarantee you that. It’s a lot of work: we’re a whole team managing our production. I could never do it alone. First, I have my own photographer, Carl Thériault, with whom I work almost all the time. I also have an assistant who does pre-production and post-production. Sometimes, I also have a makeup and hair artist. Depending on the project, we can end up being four or five people preparing our photos for an order. For product photoshoots, I have to wear multiple hats, so I do several tasks at once.
During the holidays, I receive almost one package per week. That’s a lot of beer! Fortunately, I didn’t receive an Advent calendar, because that would be way too much beer. Interestingly, it’s not just microbreweries that approach me for promotion. There are also tourism agencies. For example, I recently worked with Tourisme Cantons de l’Est, Bleu Feu, the government of New Brunswick, and the state of New York!
But it must be said that it’s demanding. I had days with 15 hours of work for a while, and I have since decided to take a little more time for myself. I want to keep my energy to be able to continue doing what I love. That means that “La Petite Bière” is open from 9am to 5pm. I have two cell phones: my work cell phone closes at 5pm. It’s a matter of choice.
Hoppy History: You have a lot of success on social media. What’s your secret?
I took a training course with M.C Gilles, who explained how to use the same content on different social media platforms by making variations to maximize the algorithms of the networks.
With the same material, it’s possible to make variations that increase traffic. The idea is to use the right format for the right platform. You can also record the same clip in a different way on each social media platform to create exclusive content for each platform, and this encourages your subscribers to go around the networks. In the end, you create a lot more traffic.
The content that works the best is humor! Don’t underestimate humor in Quebec. When I started making jokes, it took off right away on the Internet. What I do is I look at the type of joke that is being made on the platforms and try to adapt it to beer.
Hoppy History: What are your future plans and where do you see yourself in five years?
Initially, my goal was to promote craft beer, but while traveling. It’s precisely the travel aspect that I wanted to put back in the foreground. Right now, I’m working with two companies that hire content creators like me to guide small exploratory circuits. What I like is that we all choose where and how we want to explore the craft scene. So, we’re preparing two exploration trips for 2023.
I’m also launching my own podcast. What inspired me was the “À la Vôtre” exhibition at the Sherbrooke History Museum, an exhibition that tells the whole history of alcohol, talking about women and the taboos associated with it. I think there’s a particular taboo about women who drink, and I don’t think we talk about it enough. For example, I want to address how we approach alcohol with teenagers.
Émilie is a beer and food enthusiast known as “La petite bière“. She travels around Quebec and the world to meet craft beer players. In addition to her blog, La petite bière has been a “beer-nalist” for Ton Barbier, Nightlife.ca, and Ton petit Look since June 2018.
By Pierre-Olivier Bussières