Brewers association

Brewers Association CEO: ‘It’s time to wake up’; BA and industry organizations launch Brewing Respect and Unity coalition to tackle harassment

Brewers Association (BA) President and CEO Bob Pease today announced the formation of the Brewing Respect and Unity (BRU) Coalition to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the coffee industry. beer.

“COVID-19 is not the only disease that has afflicted our communities, harmed our businesses and our employees,” Pease said in the opening address for the first general session of the 2021 Craft Brewers Conference (CBC ) in Denver. “We as a community – and we are by no means alone in this – have suffered under the cloud of racism, sexism, discrimination based on gender identity, sexual harassment, even assault, for far too long.

“This scourge of discrimination has embittered and held us back as a community, as individual businesses, and as human beings,” he continued. “It’s time for a revival. »

BAs in the formation of the BRU Coalition joining are the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA), the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC), the Rose Boots Society and the Cicerone Certification Program.

The BRU Coalition aims to drive change by “adopting a set of industry-wide best practices proven to reduce harassment, discrimination and violence” and “compiling and sharing tools and resources that enable industry members to adopt best practices,” according to a press release.

“This is just the beginning,” Pease said. “The coalition is a long-term commitment to providing industry-wide best practices to build a growing community that is fair, safe and inclusive.”

Nearly 2,000 members of the combined BRU Coalition organizations participated in a three-part training on sexual harassment organized by the BA in May, June and July. The BA has also negotiated discounted rates for its members with WeVow, which offers sexual harassment prevention training, HR advice and a harassment reporting platform.

CBC includes six sessions of the “Bystander Challenge” workshop, an educational session hosted by the National Conflict Resolution Center that aims to teach participants “how to have empowering conversations in a way that demonstrates respect, inclusion and dignity of all involved” regarding workplace harassment.

The formation of the BRU coalition comes after several months of addressing the harassment, discrimination and violence that women and people identifying as women working in the beer industry have faced. The discovery of thousands of stories of women in beer from around the world on the Instagram accounts of Brienne Allan (@ratmagnet) and @EmboldenActForward started in May.

Following the revelations, the founders and executives of several prominent craft breweries have resigned, including Pennsylvania’s Tired Hands, California’s Modern Times, Massachusetts’ Lord Hobo and Wormtown, as well as smaller breweries and beer-related organizations. , such as Pollyanna Brewing of Illinois. and Connecticut Valley Brewing of Connecticut. Other breweries and organizations have shared the results of external investigations that revealed employee mistreatment, including Minnesota’s Indeed Brewing.

Cicerone, which is among the organizations leading the BRU coalition, released the findings of an external investigation and accepted the resignation of an employee named in stories shared by Allan. In addition to this employee’s behavior, the investigation also cited problematic quotes from an employee identified as “Employee X”, noting that for said employee “further training (or coaching) is warranted, but not necessarily disciplinary” . Employee X told Hartrick Employment Law, which conducted the investigation, that he regretted making those comments in 2010 and would not make them again today.

The investigation included a quote from employee X included in a History of the Chicago Tribune 2010who attributes it to founder and global director Ray Daniels.

“We are certainly aware of what Cicerone went through; we read the investigation, read the report,” Pease told Brewbound. “I’ve known Ray for a very, very long time and I know he takes this very, very seriously, so we’re proud to have them involved.”

The BA hopes to add other beer industry trade groups, such as the National Beer Wholesalers Association, to the BRU Coalition.

“We would like to involve people from a wholesaler community because a lot is happening in the field,” Pease said. “The more people we include, the easier it will be to impact change.”

We invite you to the call for an industry wake-up call was echoed by Virginia Morrison, co-founder and CEO of San Diego-based Second Chance Beer Company and co-chair of the diversity, equity and the inclusion of the BA.

“We are at an inflection point – we can and must come together and be better,” Morrison said during his address to the General Session. “We need to come together, talk to each other, listen to each other, understand and learn from each other, educate each other, not just on social media, maybe read books.”

Morrison called on white men, who make up the bulk of BA members, to speak out against injustice and mistreatment.

“Please know that we can’t do this without you,” she said. “You still hold a lot of power, and we need you to stand up, speak up, plead and stand up for those of us who don’t have your power, just like you would your mother, your brother, your best friend. , your partner.”

Morrison praised Allan’s efforts to expose misogyny and misconduct in the industry, and admired “the courage and bravery it took to lead this charge.” »

BA Board Chairman Dan Kleban, co-founder of Maine-headquartered Freeport, Maine Beer Company, also implored BA members to speak out against injustice or abuse within the company. ‘industry.

“We need to be responsible for the actions of our industry and hold ourselves and our fellow brewers accountable,” he said. “Creating lasting, lasting change, however, is neither quick nor easy, and it shouldn’t be, but that shouldn’t discourage us.”