Brewbound Podcast Episode 33: Discussing Diversity and Inclusion with Dr. J, Graci Harkema and Shyla Sheppard

Look around the craft brewing business, and you’ll find an industry dominated by “young white dudes with beards” who predominantly sell their beer to people that look the same way.

According to the Brewers Association diversity ambassador Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, women make up just over half of the general U.S. population but comprise only 31 percent of craft beer drinkers.

At the same time, people of color make up approximately 32 percent of drinking-age Americans, but only 20 percent of craft beer drinkers.

Over the last nine years, the U.S. craft brewing industry has grown from roughly 1,800 breweries to more than 7,300. But very few of those businesses are owned and operated by females or minorities, and most taproom patrons across the country tend to be white, upper-middle-class males.

And as category-wide growth has slowed, the industry has finally begun to take a hard look in the mirror, asking itself not how it can diversify its consumer base, but how it can become more diverse itself.

In episode 33 of the Brewbound Podcast, we rebroadcast this month’s Brew Talks conversation on diversity and inclusion with Jackson-Beckham; Founders Brewing diversity and inclusion director Graci Harkema; and Bow & Arrow Brewing founder Shyla Sheppard.

Listen to episode 33 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.

Episode 34, which features an interview with Ninkasi Brewing co-founder Nikos Ridge, will be released on Thursday, May 2.

For questions, comments or suggestions, please email

Show Notes:

0:00 – 16:25: Furnari and Kendall introduce episode 33 and discuss the latest news

16:25 – 1:02:05: Furnari and Kendall moderate a Brew Talks panel discussion on diversity and inclusion

1:02:05 – 1:17:33: Furnari and Kendall share their takeaways from the interview and rundown segments

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The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.