Brewers Association Launches Initiatives to Combat Sexual Harassment, Receives Second Complaint

As allegations of sexual harassment, assault and other workplace hostilities continue to come to light on social media, the Brewers Association (BA) announced Wednesday several initiatives to combat the seemingly pervasive toxicity in the craft beer industry.“Recent conversations around sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the craft brewing community, as well as ongoing conversations about inequity, discrimination, and injustice more broadly, continue to underscore the fact that in order to build a flourishing and inclusive brewing community, breweries, distributors, suppliers, and all businesses within the industry must be safe places that encourage respect, empowerment, and freedom from harassment or discrimination of any kind,” the organization wrote.

Additionally, the BA received a second formal complaint on Wednesday about behavior that violates its code of conduct for members, a spokesperson told Brewbound. The first complaint came in on Monday. All other information about the complaints is confidential.

An outpouring of stories of harassment, assault and abuse began on social media last week when Brienne Allan, production manager for Salem, Massachusetts-based Notch Brewing, asked women in the beer industry to share their experiences of discrimination. She posted them as stories to her Instagram account, “@ratmagnet.”

What began with accounts of snide remarks and rude questions snowballed into stories of toxic work environments and sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Founders of two well-known breweries — San Diego-based Modern Times and Ardmore, Pennsylvania-based Tired Hands — have stepped down from their leadership roles and employees of other breweries have been dismissed after accusations of their predatory behavior appeared in Allan’s stories.

The BA and other beer industry organizations will form “a coalition to explore how our organizations can collaborate to provide the resources and support that businesses and individuals in the brewing industry need to create and maintain a culture of safety, inclusion and equity.”

Those organizations include the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC), the Craft Beer HR Professionals Group (CBHR), the Master Brewers Association of the Americans (MBAA) and the Pink Boots Society (PBS).

“Realizing our shared vision of a safe, inclusive, and equitable community will require a long-term, industry-wide effort, which the Brewers Association is prepared to lead,” the BA wrote, adding that it “cannot and should not do this alone.”

In addition to forming a multi-group coalition, the BA also plans to provide “an ongoing pipeline” of human resources-focused content for members. The BA will add topical speakers to its seminar lineup for Craft Brewers Conference in September and noted that the MBAA will do the same for its fall conference.

BA members also have access to a 50% discount for membership to WeVow, a consulting service that helps organizations “proactively address sexual harassment, while also offering resources and support for anyone who expeirences it.” WeVow offers training, an incident reporting platform, sample language for sexual harassment policies, workplace signage, counseling sessions for victims and HR consulting following reports of harassment.