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Beer Advocates: How Breweries Can Navigate Social Issues

Like it or not, social and political issues are becoming impossible for breweries and other businesses to avoid. Here is concrete advice on knowing when and how to get involved, and on how to choose your battles.

Kate Bernot Dec 13, 2021 - 13 min read

Beer Advocates: How Breweries Can Navigate Social Issues  Primary Image

Proceeds from a series of beers produced by L.A.'s Brewjería Company in collaboration with Norwalk Brew House and South Central Brewing go to emergency funds for immigrant workers struggling during the pandemic. Photo: Courtesy Norwalk Brew House.

The conventional wisdom against mixing business with politics no longer applies—or, at least, not in the way it once did. Heightened political partisanship, greater attention to social justice, and social media all have changed the calculus on how and when small businesses should take stances on issues of the day.

In a 2020 report from Kantar Consulting, titled “Igniting Purpose-Led Growth,” almost two-thirds of millennial and Gen Z consumers say they prefer brands that express a point of view or stand for something. It also translates to the bottom line: Companies recognized for a high commitment to purpose—think Nike and its Colin Kaepernick ads—have seen their brand value grow at more than twice the rate of others, Kantar reports.

“The previously held taboo of crossing commercialism with politics may be well gone,” Harvard Business Review declared in 2020.

Understandably, this makes some breweries leery—especially small breweries without paid communications teams to fine-tune their press releases and Facebook posts on sensitive issues. However, there are upshots to being a small, local company when it comes to weighing in on political or social topics.

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