Drunch, a Spokane project "by womxn, for womxn and about womxn," highlights female issues in a relaxed, conversational format

click to enlarge Alcohol isn't required, but it helps Lara Estaris, left, and Alisha Merkt break the ice. - EMILY MITCHELL PHOTO
Emily Mitchell photo
Alcohol isn't required, but it helps Lara Estaris, left, and Alisha Merkt break the ice.

Drunch is the podcast equivalent of you and your closest pals going to weekend brunch, having perhaps more than a few mimosas and, with a sincere sense of shamelessness, talking about everything from parenthood in the modern age to feminist issues, healthy sex lives to community activism.

It's a wild and fun ride, offering an informed and judgment-free space for discussion in each of its (usually) biweekly episodes. Hosted by Spokane women Lara Estaris and Alisha Merkt, Drunch was launched in early 2018, and has since released 15 full-length episodes.

"We used to have these girls nights at another co-worker's place and we would just make dinner and drinks and share stories with each other with no inhibitions, no shame or guilt," recalls Estaris.

"And I was like, 'Why are we not recording this?' The stories we were telling were really hilarious and almost unbelievable. Alisha and I have such a good rapport with each other, we decided to start a podcast."

Most of Drunch's episodes so far feature women in the Inland Northwest community, including the hosts' friends who've volunteered to be featured, pitching their own topics to discuss. For last year's Father's Day episode, however, Drunch invited a local single-parent dad with a young daughter, and for its recent Valentine's Day episode, the women quizzed a straight man and a gay man on women's reproductive anatomy.

"It's really informal," Merkt notes. "We make sure to talk to guests about what they want to talk about, although we still have some things planned."

Before sitting down to record, the co-hosts cook a breakfast meal requested by their guests, like vegan chicken and waffles, Dutch babies or breakfast casseroles. Alcohol is also served, but not required for guests to consume.

"We do want it to be more of a conversation they would be having with a friend," Estaris says. "Drinking helps if you're nervous to be recorded, and food makes everyone happy."

Then, one of the hosts starts off the episode with an icebreaker, telling a personal anecdote or awkward memory, like the time teenage Merkt unknowingly downloaded lesbian pornography on Limewire that was mislabeled as an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy. After chatting with their guests for an hour and a half to two hours, Drunch closes with a track by an up-and-coming music artist.

For future episodes, the co-hosts hope to continue expanding the diversity of their guest list, bringing on more people of color, local business owners and activists, even sex workers and drag queens.

"We want to promote women and people of color and queer people and trans and nonbinary," Merkt says. "And promoting taboo things that shouldn't be taboo, like regular body functions and stereotypes about women... We just want everyone to embrace how they are and love themselves and not feel ashamed for anything." ♦

Stream episodes of Drunch on Soundcloud, Podbean, iTunes, Pocket Casts, Stitcher and other podcast apps. Follow Drunch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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About The Author

Chey Scott

Chey Scott is the Inlander's food and listings editor. She compiles the weekly events calendar for the print and online editions of the Inlander, manages and edits the food section, and also writes about local arts and culture. Chey (pronounced Shay) is a lifelong Spokanite and a graduate of Washington State University...