How you can help us spread the word and keep this important conversation going for much-needed change in the beer and alcohol industry.
Where do I begin? First off, I spent yesterday icing my sprained ankle and binge watching the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Felt appropriate on the day I had planned to do the Women’s March for reproductive rights but unfortunately I could not partake. Anyway, it has been a whirlwind of a week or 20+ weeks I guess you could say. There’s a lot of work to be done in beer, hospitality and in just every day life when it comes to the issues women are facing in their professional and personal lives. Sexism, harassment, assault, discrimination…it’s everywhere and that’s why it needs to be addressed and we all need to take action. This week has been infuriating more than ever. Beer industry professionals and consumers still don’t know about the Brave Noise initiative or global collab advocating for a safe and discrimination-free beer industry or maybe they’re ignoring it. Festival organizers are saying one thing but doing another thing ie. Untappd with their Code of Conduct yet still allowing problematic breweries at their fest. One step forward and one step back. I’ve spoken to numerous leaders in the industry and every conversation feels like I’m giving free consulting. This is just a taste of what women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community are fucking dealing with all the time. I’m all for helping but when leaders in the industry who have teams and funds are asking you to give them a free guide and create action items, that’s a real red flag. If leaders in the industry aren’t willing to invest in third parties and understand the importance of why we need to put policies in place then that’s again a real red flag. It has been five months since hundreds of stories were shared by women in the beer industry. Now, there’s thousands of stories, and slowly leaders in the industry are starting to address them by putting out statements, having CEOs step down even though they still have have equity, trying out misconduct reporting tools ie. #NotMe at events. But it’s still not enough and a lot of it feels very performative (that’s our focus word here).
The inequalities within the beer industry are starting to surface more and more. The work going into breaking down the misogyny and boys club will not happen over night. It’s one heck of a long road and that’s no surprise. We have to educate one another and have these tough conversations in order to create real change. We have to call out performative behaviors because we need businesses and the leaders of this industry to do the fucking work. As I’ve said now, what feels like thousands of times now, there’s showing face and there’s showing up. And this isn’t just in relation to breweries, this is about every beer-related business and anywhere beer is involved. This is why both Brienne Allan and I have been reaching out to various groups and companies to try and have these hard conversations. Some have engaged and taken action, but many are still very much performative. And on top of that, many still are being reactive vs proactive. That’s the real problem. Men should be actively reaching out to those in the community who are doing the work and they should be offering to help. There’s a lot of things that should be happening but they’re not.
Most recently, I’ve been thinking more and more about how media / podcasters / content creators will directly impact what happens next and whether or not change will actually happen. This past week this topic was top of mind in regards to Next Glass who owns Untappd, Hop Culture and Beer Advocate. All which have a major following within the beer industry. Untappd also hosts festivals like this past weekend’s beer fest in San Diego, they hold so much power. And how is that power being used? Five months ago, a thread on Beer Advocate from the founder Todd Alstrom stated Next Glass was working to develop a code of conduct and address what they’re planning to do at fests. A week before the festival, they posted a Code of Conduct and announced a partnership with the #NotMe reporting app. A step in the right direction, yes you would think that. Yet if the fest still includes breweries who are problematic and those companies have not addressed nor fixed the issues, then the company/fest isn’t living up to their Code of Conduct. Brienne and I collectively asked about this and addressed why this seems a bit backwards. This is an example of being performative. Similarly to also when Untappd reached out to Brienne about doing an interview for their YouTube channel in July of this year about the movement and Brave Noise but 30 minutes into the interview with Kenny Gould he hadn’t even asked any questions in regards to it and tried to end the interview. Brienne told him no, they hadn’t even spoken about what she had came there to speak about so they continued the convo. Both Brienne and I never heard from Next Glass or their affiliated properties after that in regards to the movement or Brave Noise. Here we are in October now. In light of all these things, Brienne has since asked them to remove the interview and she said quote “I no longer want my name affiliated with your company.” This is the stand we need to see more of. We need to wake up these so-called leaders who have a following and platforms like this to understand they need to do better and be proactive. Since, Lindsay Hayes (@HoppyHayes) a beertender and content creator who has been very vocal about the movement, and Caroline King, host of the Bitch Beer Podcast who spotlights women in the beer industry, have both followed Brienne’s lead and requested their interviews be removed from Next Glass properties. And there have been several posts shared on Instagram show using users deleting the Untappd app. If we don’t take a stand, then nothing will ever change.
Going back to media / podcasters / content creators role in all of this. They have a platform and user base to educate and engage the beer and alcohol community. When you scroll through stories or podcast episodes, take a look at the topics and see how many white men are included in comparison to women, nonbinary, BIPOC and LGBQIA+ are featured. If they covered what happened in May around the time when hundreds of stories by women in the industry were shared in regards to their experiences with harassment, assault, sexism and discrimination in the workplace, what have they done since to continue the conversation, shed light on the inequalities, take action and provide a platform for women, nonbinary, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+? Look around. Ask the tough questions. And let’s just work together together to develop plans and actions to create a more inclusive and safe space for all.
How can you help? You can start by sharing the below and helping us spread the word. And follow / subscribe to the voices of the industry who are advocating for change and covering these topics.
The Brave Noise Beer global beer collab is advocating for a safe and discrimination-free beer industry by asking for breweries to be transparent in their policies and post their code of conduct publicly, commit to the long-term work and donate a majority of proceeds from the beer to a non-profit that is focused on creating safe spaces, providing resources (harassment training and diversity training) and support for the physical and mental well-being of industry staff. The collab is open to all beer/brewing/alcohol and non-alcoholic related businesses. Learn more at BraveNoiseBeer.com.
Bevolution Brave Voices Fund – To further support the brave voices who have shared their stories, Women of the Bevolution has partnered with Another Round Another Rally (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization) and beer industry professionals Brienne Allan and Jen Blair to launch an emergency relief fundraiser to provide women, femmes and nonbinary individuals who work in the alcohol industry with resources to help them leave toxic work environments and move forward. Tax deductible donations will be used to provide financial aid for bills, mental health therapy, legal advice and job placement assistance. If you’d also like to donate items for a digital auction and raffle, you can submit here.
Women of the Bevolution partnered with creator @CuteCatCalls who illustrates public harassment stories and has been vocal in bringing awareness to the issues women face daily. We worked together to spotlight three stories shared by women in the industry.
Is it safe? Introducing an urgent collaboration with Hugging the Bar Substack and Women of the Bevolution on festival safety. In partnership with Courtney Iseman who is a beer writer focused on topics of inclusivity for Decibel Magazine and Vinepair and founder of the Hugging the Bar Substack, we have developed a four-part series on how festivals can create safe spaces for attendees and staff.
Journalist Beth Demmon known for her continuous work to spotlight and discuss the inequalities of the beer industry for outlets like Good Beer Hunting, Vinepair, CraftBeer.com and many more has a Substack called Prohibition that highlights underrepresented voices in beer, wine, spirits and other fermented beverages. Subscribe here.
Wine Enthusiast: Whistleblowers, Internal Investigations and Ongoing Reckoning in Craft Beer featuring interviews with Brienne Allan, Mikaelaa Crist, Rebecca Royster.
Good Beer Hunting: EP Charlotte Cook of Coalition Brewing & previously of BrewDog who has been speaking up about the mistreatment at the brewery | Interview by Jonny Garret. Learn more here.
Beer.Diversity Presents: Ren Likes to Talk hosted by Ren Navarro, alcohol professional, public speaker and DEI consultant. You can learn more about her work at Beer-Diversity.com. In the below episode, Ren talks with Mary Beth Keefe, a brewer, a lover of well crafted beer and Ontario, Canada, beer royalty.
Brews with Broads featuring LaTroya Butts, Brewer at Five Wits Brewing and recipient of the Michael James Jackson Scholarship for Brewing and Distilling | Interview by Hannah Kiem
Brienne Allan and I (Ash Eliot) spoke with The Beer Mighty Things Podcast about on our efforts to making change fucking happen and the Brave Noise collab.
Good Beer Hunting: EP-315 Laura Garcia, Brewer from Baja | Interview by Beth Demmon. Learn more here.
In case you want to learn a bit more about my background and how Women of the Bevolution came to be listen to my conversation with Beers with Broads.
Follow, read and listen:
Brienne Allan @RatMagnet
Ren Navarro @Beer_Diversity
Jen Blair UndertheJenfluence
Latiesha Cook @Kulture_Muva Co-Founder of @BeerKulture
Beth Demmon of @TheDelightedBite
Kate Bernot @KBernot
Dr J Nikol Jackson-Beckham of @CraftedforAll
Kimberly Owen @CraftBeerPinup
Siobhan Buchanan @BritishBeerGirl
Fanny Wandel @Fanny.Wandel
Breeze Galindo @Craft_Breezy of Other Half Brewing
Ann Reily @NYCCraftBeer of NYC Brewers Guild