47. Is Everyone Hanging Out at CBC Without Me?
(Cheers if you get that Mindy Kaling book reference) Things are...bad; BrewDog's still chaotic; more beer fest safety; a reminder to get excited about beer, and more!
Lololololllll What Are We Even Doing Here?
Trying to write a beer newsletter of substance this week feels like a real fool’s errand, and I am indeed your trusty fool! As we come back to day after day on this burning bus of a planet speeding us all toward hell (are we there yet?), it feels insane to write about something like craft beer with ~the state of things.~ But we do because of things like escapism and human beings needing to be alive and find some joy and also because human beings need jobs and they need them in better, more equitable industries. And so we play our little violins while the ship sinks and through our tears we can sort of see a bunch of venture capitalists, politicians, and tech company founders hurrying off in the lifeboats, but at least there’s good beer! ANYWAY.
As news of the SCOTUS leak broke on Monday night, it obviously became quite difficult to try to force myself to care about, like, dry-hopping this week. Which is eh tricky because I’m in the middle of two stories about it! In other words, landlords and bill collectors don’t care if you’re feeling too much despair to make your deadlines. Personally, with all my energy gone toward the things that pay me, I don’t have a lot left over for the newsletter this week. And just thinking about that rage and sadness and exhaustion, I remember how much privilege I have and how dire things are for so many people right now. And so because of that, and frankly, because everyone’s at CBC and having all kinds of interesting and fun beer discussions there, I’m going to keep things short and sweet here with a focus up top where it counts:
Remember—this matters as misinformation spreads—abortion is still legal and clinics are still open. And, as fucking hopeless as it feels right now and as hard as this is to remember, there’s still so much we can do. Alison Turkos created this extremely helpful Google doc full of resources for where you can give money, how to talk about abortion, learning more about self-managing abortion, getting involved politically, finding information about access state by state, finding demonstrations, how you can take action as a business leader, and more. Here is another doc with abortion funds in every state, from Olivia Julianna.
Okay, now a few beer-related bits and bobs, some for distraction’s sake and others because stuff is still happening that matters.
What Will That Wacky BrewDog Get Up to Next?
The antics never stop, do they? BrewDog has announced profit-sharing measures for employees in response to…oh, wait, that’s right, no one was actually complaining about money. Money is great, and they should obviously give more of it to their employees, literally everyone in beer and beyond should. But this feels like a showy, clumsy Band-Aid on a deep, open, systemic wound. First of all, how will past employees benefit from the profit-sharing that will be offered to current employees, especially when past employees are the people usually coming forward about mistreatment, harassment, and abuses? And importantly, how does this actually with any real meaning or impact address the need for necessary cultural changes? This could be good news if it came just as part of a whole list of shifts in leadership, culture, and workplace conditions, but on its own, it falls flat.
BrewDog @BrewDogWe are now an employee and community-owned business. And now share 50% of our bar profits with our team. The new BrewDog starts here.
They could leave it at that, at flat and insufficient, but this is BrewDog! They’re wild, man. Punks, as it were. So they’ve one-upped their own stupidity and added tone-deaf and inane to the list. Presenting, the BrewDog Alumni Club. THE BREWDOG ALUMNI CLUB? I mean—can you—what the—hahahahaaaa
I thought I never wanted to drink a BrewDog beer again but now I think I’d like to chug a shitty Hazy Jane just to break the world record for longest spit take. Former BrewDog employees! Are you nostalgic for your trauma? Do you have a special place in your heart for getting mistreated in the workplace? Want to forever salute the company that discriminated against you and is now investigating your anonymous report because they think you’re out to get them? I thought so, and you’re in luck! You can get a lifetime discount, a 12-pack every December, an invite to BrewDog social events, and so much more!
Is this performance art with a human toll? This. Is. Unhinged.
Pro Tip for Bartenders…
…And anyone in a position to help anyone else they see in a potentially dangerous situation:
More Updates in the Beer Fest Safety Discussion
Just yesterday, a story that Ash Eliot and I worked on went live on VinePair. Ash, of course, is an extremely dedicated advocate for safety and inclusivity in beer, in general, and at beer festivals, in particular. If you haven’t yet, take a look at our four-part collaboration on fest safety from last fall, which was researched and written to include info and resources for organizers, workers, volunteers, vendors, performers, and attendees alike.
Ash had the idea to do a story like this new one for VinePair because we have to keep a close eye on progress. We all know how this kind of thing goes, in terms of a reckoning dying down and people moving on and not enough change ever actually happening. It’s been a year since Brienne Allan’s Instagram question sparked this reckoning, and in the flood of accounts from people all over the industry and community, we learned just how many instances of harassment, discrimination, abuse, and assault happened at beer festivals, specifically. A year is a tricky amount of time, especially when you factor in that many festivals are still struggling to come back to life after-but-also-still-during the pandemic. It’s enough time to know the situation and start making changes, and that frankly, there’s no excuse to not have done so. But it’s not enough time to be able to look out over the entire beer fest circuit and be able to see sweeping, systemic change.
For this story, we checked the temperature. Where are we at, progress-wise? Who’s taking real steps, who’s a good organizer for others to look to? Where are we still lacking? How do industry members working and attending fests feel? What do the people behind initiatives and resources that organizers can and should be using have to say? Read all of that and more here.
This week, I pulled the Queen of Wands.
Wands as a suit speaks to intuition, communication, and travel; the Queen of Wands speaks to courage, confidence, and determination. This card shows up to remind you of those qualities in yourself, that you have these parts of yourself you should embrace. There’s lots of life happening, and joy, in this card. It wants to celebrate you and maybe bring you out of your shell, or out of a recent funk (a tall order for the Queen of Wands these days, huh?).
Our queen here is outgoing, and knows how to work a room. They’re busy, energetic, and making shit happen. So getting this card is like a call to embolden those parts of yourself. Are you out there connecting and reconnecting with people at CBC? Great, baby, make stuff happen, for yourself, for your career, for change in the industry. Or, are you feeling hopeless right now and like nothing you can do will have an impact in the fight for reproductive rights? Au contraire: You can get people together and inspire them, and you have good ideas and sticktoitiveness to put them into action. Don’t give up and remember every single person can do even some small thing that truly will help, from donating to speaking out to calling representatives to demonstrating.
For this energy, Fair State Brewing Cooperative has a nitro stout with cold press coffee called Wired & Well-Connected. Hey, it’s you! Wired on coffee for the fuel you need, well-connected, and ready to wear that crown.
This Week’s Boozy Media Rec
I just listened to Em Sauter on John Holl’s podcast, Drink Beer, Think Beer. What a delight—a truly fun conversation to brighten your day with. They discuss Em’s new, second, book, Hooray for Craft Beer!. I needed this episode and I need this book in my life. First of all, I am obviously a huge banner-waver for Em’s approach to craft beer, which is that it is a judgment-free zone, everyone likes beer, there’s a beer for everyone, we all need to respect each others’ preferences and welcome everyone into the fold, etc. Like truly based on that, and the fact that Em walks the walk by making her cartoon-driven beer education under Pints and Panels free so it is accessible to all, idk, Em Sauter for president…of…craft beer? Can that be a thing?
It’s easy to get bogged down in craft beer’s industry culture issues, and doom-scroll through articles about supply chain challenges and shrinking demand. All of these things are important, but as we’ve talked about here, we still also need something to motivate us to fight the good fight for change, right? This all reminded me to let myself feel excited about beer. There’s so much of the good stuff out there. Who else is craving a rauchbier?
Ex-BEER-ience of the Week
Speaking of things to be excited about in beer! Y’all, I found a few this weekend. Number one, NS Beer’s grisette. This is desert-island-beer territory, friends. Like, drink all day forever. So crisp, so refreshing, a little citrus and spice.
Then there was the double-header of a visit to an old hangout, The Levee, in Williamsburg. I really leaned into beery nostalgia here and it was lovely. A Racer 5 while sharing cheese balls with Darby. I don’t want to be a stick in the mud but was the IPA not good where it was? I know, I know! And also, the entire beer menu at The Levee is so deliciously 2012. These kinds of menus, including this one in particular, are how and why I got into beer. West Coast IPAs, Belgians…Abita Purple Haze. Perfection.
Until next week, here is Darby with a dunkel (Schilling) at Sea Witch in Brooklyn.