Brewery Organizations Create Inclusive Coalition to Fight Discrimination

Photo Courtesy of Jen Jordan

Originally posted Sept 2021.

As more survivors have bravely come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and discrimination in the brewery industry, a few organizations have come together to form the BRU (Brewing Respect and Unity) Coalition. This coalition will not only acknowledge that there needs to be change in the industry, but it will also help create solutions and actively make the necessary changes. 

The BRU Coalition consists of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, Brewers Association, Cicerone Certification Program, Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and the Pink Boots Society. Together, these organizations hope to work with experts to identify an industry-wide set of best practices that will improve outcomes for businesses, individuals, and survivors.

“Some examples of best practices may include: bystander/upstander training, anti-harassment/nondiscrimination policy and complaint processes with regular training to support policy,” marketing and communications director of Brewers Association, Ann Obenchain said. 

Per the press release, BRU hopes to accomplish the following: 

  • Compiling and sharing tools and resources that enable industry members to adopt best practices.
  • Implementing organizational Codes of Conduct noting the expected behavior of members and attendees at events organized by coalition members.
  • Monitoring the adoption of best practices by respective constituencies.
  • Offering reporting systems for their members (if applicable) to report inappropriate behavior of members
  • Committing to ongoing conversation/roundtable at organization meetings.
  • Seeking input from key subject matter experts and allied organizations.
  • Committing to ongoing training for the leadership of each organization.

The group of current members loosely formed in mid-May after an outpouring of stories on social media around sexual harassment and gender-based violence, according to Obenchain. It is clear to see that this level of change cannot be enacted or successfully accomplished with only one person or one group. As a community, it is crucial for everyone to come together and understand the immense importance of what needs to be done. 

“We can only be successful if we leverage the combined reach of all the craft brewing community’s organizations and their constituents,” Obenchain said. 

This sentiment is shared by all of the current members of the BRU Coalition. In the Pink Boots Society press release, their president Jen Jordan, is quoted as saying: 

In our work with the BRU Coalition, Pink Boots Society is bolstering our long-term commitment to promoting a more equitable, safe, and inclusive industry. The full participation and shared work of each organization and the entire alcohol beverage industry are necessary to drive the transformative change that our community needs.”

For some, it seems that the brewing industry focuses more on the product rather than the people. This is an aspect BRU hopes to change as well. 

“I want to change the ‘beer comes first’ way of thinking,” Jordan said. “Yes, it’s delicious but our industry is overly focused on a few entities, and the associated profits. People come first. All people. Always.”

The coalition understands that this process is not going to be finished overnight. Some steps may be longer than others, and the process as a whole will be long. The coalition has also already started the beginning stages of educating and training those in the industry. 

“Saying you’re committed to change doesn’t mean much anymore, we have heard that for too long,” Kimberly Bacigalupo with Sierra Nevada said. “You must not only commit to adopting these best practices such as anonymous reporting, training, and code of conduct, but provide data showing the adoption, frequency of updates, etc. We don’t expect drastic change immediately but rather slow steady progress to permanent change.”

There will be a website coming soon for the BRU Coalition with more information on how the new process will work and how it is progressing. 

To view the press release you can visit here: Industry Groups Form Coalition to Foster an Equitable and Inclusive Brewing Community


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