39. Drinkers for Ukraine: How Members of the Beer Community Can Help
Collaborations for relief efforts in Ukraine and what you can do; plus new initiatives from Women of the Bevolution, and tarot for actually doing the work.
Drinkers for Ukraine Makes It Very Easy for All of Us to Do Something
There’s an elephant in the room when you log on to your silly little laptop and make silly little content about truly anything that isn’t directly addressing human rights, equity, discrimination, abuse, terrifying politics, the pandemic and other health crises, and/or climate change. You know that as human beings, we need the other stuff. We simply can’t survive this world and all of its injustices without things like theater or TV or sports or crafting or, yeah, beer. I mean, technically, we could, and that’s the little nagging reminder that grows into the elephant. But there’s something to be said for the more trivial, optional aspects of life that bring us any amount of joy, that they allow us to keep getting up every day to fight and work on the stuff that matters. That’s why we’ve had alcohol and music since the dawn of humanity.
And there are intersections, too, of course. In 2022, if you’re writing about beer without ever incorporating rights, equity, and discrimination, well, I don’t know what you’re up to. These are arenas where we have some real power, too. Depending on whether you own a brewery or report on the beer industry, you can impact real change that matters; you can tell important stories.
But then there’s a seismic event like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I don’t know about you, but watching this ever-unfolding atrocity triggers a cycle of horror, sadness, anger, and…numbness. Because what can any of us do?
We can help relief efforts. Everything is happening so fast, and personally, I’m grateful to the organizers of Drinkers for Ukraine. They have leapt into action to form a three-part initiative that makes it so easy for any of us to get involved—there’s really no reason not to.
#DrinkersForUkraine has been spearheaded by Lana Svitankova, a writer, educator, and translator, as well as the first ever Certified Cicerone in Ukraine; Lana is joined by beer writer and sommelier Eoghan Walsh; author, journalist, and editor-in-chief of Ferment magazine Richard Croasdale; and writer Robyn Gilmour also of Ferment along with the rest of Ferment’s team. There are three activities under the campaign’s umbrella, and you can participate in any or all of them. “The point is to get involved either by drinking, brewing, liking or sharing – every single Dollar, Pound, Euro, and Peso counts,” reads a Drinkers for Ukraine email.
Activity #1: The Solidarity Brew. This is an open collaboration to show solidarity with the brewers in Ukraine who have lost their livelihoods and maybe their entire businesses because of Russian attacks. Breweries and homebrewers alike can brew the Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout RESIST. Find the recipe, developed by displaced Ukrainian brewers, here. As far as design, Drinkers for Ukraine just ask brewers to use the name as well as Ukraine’s national colors. Once brewed, brewers should donate the sales proceeds to the Red Cross humanitarian relief effort. More info here.
Activity #2: Sponsored Auction. Drinkers for Ukraine is inviting businesses and professionals, really anyone involved with the beverage alcohol industry in any way, to auction off products and/or services. The winning bidders donate the final sums to the Red Cross, and receive their product or service once they’ve shown the provider/seller proof of their donation. There’s more info like a guide to setting up your auction (on your own social channels) here. Check out Drinkers for Ukraine’s Facebook group for some of the awesome auctions going on; bid on some and/or get inspired for your own.
Activity #3: Fundraising Livestream. This will happen on March 26. Hosted by drinks industry media figures, there will be interviews and videos from members of Ukraine’s beer community, plus prizes and lotteries. Stay tuned to Drinkers for Ukraine’s website as more details are announced, and reach out to them if you have something you can donate that could be one of the prizes.
By the way:
An upstate New York brewery, 42 North Brewing Company, has partnered with 2085 Brewery in Ukraine to establish an open-source collab called Resolve to support the humanitarian effort. Naz Drebot is one of 42 North’s founding brewers; he helped build the business before returning to his native Ukraine to build 2085 Brewery, according to Brewbound. The beer itself is a kellerbier, and as with other collabs in this vein like Brave Noise, Black is Beautiful, Resilience, Native Land, and All Together, the organizers provide the recipe and label art—that and more info, like participating breweries, here. Proceeds are to go to Global Empowerment Mission, “providing emergency aid in Ukraine to the fighters and families that have stayed behind, as well as humanitarian aid to the women and children that are trying to cross the border into Poland.”
There’s a similar open collab organized by Lviv-based Pravda Brewery, who famously pivoted to making molotov cocktails. Called the “Victory Beer Series,” this project actually offers multiple recipes from Pravda, and they invite breweries to meet with them and share parts of the brewing process virtually. Call me a bad writer, but I don’t have any more eloquent reaction to this than, fuck, what an inspiring group.
New Collabs from Women of the Bevolution
Still ever hard at work on initiatives like Brave Noise and the Brave Voices Fund, Ash Eliot and the platform she founded, Women of the Bevolution, has two new partnerships you’re going to want to check out.
Create Ethical Breweries:
This one is from Women of the Bevolution, The Hoppiest Shop, and Beer Is for Everyone. The Hoppiest Shop’s founder, artist Sabrina Rainn, posted about the t-shirt that they concepted in order to raise awareness about instances of sexual and racial violence in craft beer, and to raise funds to help those affected. 100% of the tee’s profits go to the Brave Voices Fund.
Women of the Bevolution BIPOC Creators in Brewing Grant:
Here, Women of the Bevolution has partnered with Beer Is for Everyone and educator, Advanced Cicerone and BJCP beer judge, and podcaster Jen Blair. They’ve created a grant for “women and non-binary entrepreneurs, digital creators, brewers, and homebrewers who identify as an underrepresented or under-served member of the brewing community including, but not limited to, Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, Asian American, and Pacific Islander,” as per the Instagram announcement. Basically, any BIPOC individuals in the beer space looking to get into podcasting, newsletter-ing, social media content—this is for you. There are five $300 grants that each come with one hour of marketing and content creation strategy consulting from Ash, plus one hour of consulting from Jen. The submission period is open from March 8 to March 28 with grantees announced April 4. Apply here. And for anyone who can donate, that would be a great help in addition to the funds for this program that have been generated Brienne Allan and her work plus WotB donors. Donate here.
This week, I pulled the Seven of Swords.
The suit of Swords speaks to intellect and decisions; the Seven of Swords speaks to betrayal, deception, and being a clever little sneaky sneak who gets away with something.
The gist here is that you are trying to pull one over on people or a particular someone in your life, or that someone is trying to do that to you. And so, the the takeaway here is pretty simple, simpler than many other tarot cards. If you’re the liar here, cut that shit out. Everyone’s going to find out anyway. Even if your motivation is shit—not getting in trouble rather than genuinely wanting to do some good—maybe try to fake it (being a decent person) until you suddenly find yourself making it. The result would be the world not having to deal with your shenanigans. And if you’re on the opposite end, in danger of being duped, well, that’s shitty. It happens to all of us. People suck. Without building up the kind of barriers you’ll need double the therapy for, just be careful with your trust. This card would like to remind you that you can trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t wave off your own feelings.
You know, this card immediately made me think of all the breweries out there trying to get away with being part of positive change when really they are part of the problem. There are few things more nauseating and infuriating in this industry than a brewery trying to enjoy the support and celebration of a business that truly values its people and works to build equitable, safe, welcoming, inclusive systems from the ground up, when they’re actually trash just posting empty promises for the ‘Gram and tokenizing their employees. If you’re a brewery who, for example, puts together some kind of event on diversity and advertises the shit out of it, but you don’t have a truly diverse panel of speakers and/or you’re not paying your diverse speakers, this is you. Don’t try to get away with anything. Do the actual work 24/7, 365 days a year and mean it. Or, just be your shitty yourself. Own it, baby. That way, we know not to bother with you.
As far as beer recs for everyone to go with this tarot card, support any of the breweries who are fierce examples of those who walk the walk. You know who they are, you know who they aren’t; it’s not that hard.
Ex-BEER-ience of the Week
It already feels like a lifetime ago, but last Thursday night, BierWax had a metal night as part of NYC Beer Week. BierWax and metal and NYC beer, worlds colliding, much joy, etc. The tunes, DJ-ed by the likes of KCBC’s Tony Bellis, were top-notch, and so were the beers. Speaking of KCBC, I loved their Hades Corpses dark lager, as well as Fifth Hammer’s Love & Hades smoked helles.
This Week’s Boozy Media Rec
I am always grateful for the work of Kate Bernot, reporting on stories few others can or will, and doing it with both vital information and sensitivity. Today, Kate’s latest must-read for Good Beer Hunting is “‘It Just Wasn’t Getting Any Better’ — How Sexism, Assault Pushed One Woman Out of the Beer Industry.” This one is hard to read but so incredibly important to do so. I’m also grateful to Sarah Hite, the woman courageously telling her story here. There is, sadly, no surprise here in the fact that time and time again, the beer industry failed to do absolutely anything to address awful treatment and abuse that Sarah faced. But every single person’s story is unique and an integral part of understanding what is so unbelievably broken about this industry (and other industries, as Kate points out).
Yesterday, I snapped after recent weeks of seeing glowing praise for Hill Farmstead and Shaun Hill start creeping back into my social feeds. People, if they ever even really cared to begin with, are forgetting, just as we feared and kind of knew they would. But just because the momentum of 2021 and the stories Brienne Allan started sharing has calmed doesn’t mean that close to enough in this industry has actually changed. Yes, some breweries are taking responsibility and making changes—we (cautiously) love to see it. But others, like Hill Farmstead and Moody Tongue, are carrying on like nothing happened, and people are still fucking kissing their rings, and all of this allows the beer industry in its most harmful form to travel onward. And that is why people like Sarah Hite, and people who are anything but straight white men, reach the point where they feel the only safe option is to leave the career they worked so fucking hard to build. That’s awful. The industry is failing its people. And too many toxic breweries and their willfully ignorant fans are helping it.
Until next week, here is Darby with some cider at a farm upstate, because we both miss not-winter.